chiropractor, wilmington nc

Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: A Close Up On Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (pronounced “plan-tar fash-ee-EYE-tis”) is also sometimes referred to as a heel spur. It’s a debilitating and painful condition that can make walking even a short distance difficult. The discomfort—ranging from mild to severe—is typically most pronounced near the bottom of the heel, usually toward the front, though it may also extend across the entire bottom of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is usually at its worst first thing in the morning after you get out of bed and walk a few steps, or when you stand up after sitting for an extended period. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more. 

What exactly is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of very tough, fibrous tissue that extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. When this ligament develops micro-tears, pulls away from the heel bone or becomes inflamed, pain and bone spurs can result. The muscles in the foot may also be involved, especially if the pain occurs after long periods of standing or from chronic overwork, which causes the muscles to shorten, making them less resilient and more susceptible to micro-trauma. 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can occur for a wide variety of reasons and it’s frequently difficult to isolate any one specific cause. That said, here are some of the primary culprits:   

  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Wearing shoes with little support
  • Having flat feet
  • Having exceptionally high arches
  • Being overweight
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • Repetitive stress
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Overpronation (walking on the outsides of your feet)
  • Aging 

What can be done?

Unfortunately, recovery from plantar fasciitis usually takes time and is prone to setbacks. However, there are some things you can do to help ease the pain and speed the healing process.

Rest the foot as much as possible. Applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation, as can taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Many people with plantar fasciitis find it helpful to wear Birkenstocks or other shoes that have good arch support. Custom foot orthotics and heal cups can also provide some relief. At night, wearing a boot that gently stretches the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles (not allowing the foot and toes to point) can help reduce morning symptoms. If you work in an office environment, rolling a baseball or lacrosse ball beneath the arch of your foot while sitting at your desk can help achieve the same thing during the day.       

In the long-run, it’s important to address the cause of the problem so that it doesn’t become chronic or recurring. Fortunately, your chiropractor can help in that regard. Chiropractic physicians are experts at treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems—not only those that affect the back and neck, but also those that affect the extremities. To treat plantar fasciitis, your chiropractor may use a combination of therapies, including manipulation/mobilization, stretching, cold laser, and ultrasound. He or she may also recommend custom orthotics and useful exercises that you can do at home to gently stretch tight muscles and tendons. Since one common cause of plantar fasciitis is overpronation, a series of chiropractic adjustments can ensure your bones are properly aligned, allowing for greater range of motion and helping to take some of the strain off the overworked muscles and connective tissues in your feet.

Healing plantar fasciitis is a slow process that may take weeks or months. However, with good chiropractic care, conscientious at-home treatment and proper shoes, it doesn’t have to become a chronic or recurring condition. Have any questions? Please call or visit our office today! We’re always happy to help!

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.

chiropractor, wilmington nc

Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: Summertime Grilling and Your Health

For many people, summertime just isn’t summertime without a barbecue! It’s a generations-old cultural phenomenon that combines three things American families love—food, family and fun! Unfortunately, though, there are also some potential downsides to grilling when it comes to your health. This article presents a quick overview of the risks and offers some advice to help make grilling a little bit safer for you and your family this summer. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more.

What’s unhealthy about grilling?

The first issue has to do with HOW the food is actually cooked. Grilling meat or fish over high heat produces carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to increased risk of various cancers. The second issue has to do with WHAT KINDS of food many people choose to grill. Many of the most popular foods for grilling can be high in fat and sodium and have little other nutritional value. With these two issues in mind, here are some tips on how you can enjoy healthier grilling all summer long.

Clean the grill. You don’t want to incorporate rancid grease and the charred buildup from previous barbecues into your meat before you’ve even begun cooking it. Use a sturdy wire scrub brush and warm soapy water to scrape any residue from the grill’s surface, both before and after you grill. This will also greatly improve the flavor of your food!

Use a low flame and cook briefly. When direct flames touch the meat it can add to the HCAs produced. To reduce these HCAs, keep the gas flame low or, if you’re using charcoal, wait until the coals have been reduced to glowing embers. The heat will still be sufficient, but will not be as likely to char the meat. Try not to overcook your food, as overdone meat has more HCAs. Discard any charred parts.

Flip burgers often. To reduce the chances of E. coli contamination in your ground beef, be sure to flip your burgers every 30 seconds or so. The USDA advises that you cook burgers to an internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill any possible bacteria. However, if you are someone who thinks that a burger cooked beyond medium-rare is a travesty, buy a cut of beef and grind it yourself and form your patties just before grilling. Or, if it is commercially prepared, be sure to flip your burgers often. A study found that when two burgers were cooked to the same temperature, the one flipped more often had a fifth of the E. coli. 

Pre-treat your meat. To allow you to cook your meat for a shorter time while still retaining flavor and tenderness, consider marinating it first.  A marinade will tenderize the meat, and by using some flavorful spices in the marinade or in a dry rub, you can add a host of antioxidants to your meal that will reduce the production of HCAs. Researchers from Kansas State University found that marinating meat reduced carcinogens by 57 to 88 percent. Red wine, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and garlic are among the great-tasting, cancer-fighting ingredients you can include in a marinade.  And by combining two parts onion, two parts garlic and one part lemon juice in your marinade, you can reduce HCAs by 70%, as some researchers in Germany have found.

Choose healthier meat. Grass-fed organic meat is a far healthier choice than conventionally raised meat. Compared with conventionally raised meat, organic grass-fed beef and chicken are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and abdominal fat. It is also free from hormones and antibiotics.

Go veggie. Though meat is certainly tasty, grilled vegetables are delicious too, and vegetarian versions of burgers and hot dogs have come a long way from their early roots, when they had all the flavor of foam peanuts or confetti. Fortunately, there are now a host of excellent veggie “meats” on the market that don’t force you to sacrifice good taste for good health. And there’s nothing quite like grilled red peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini and onions. A good way to grill veggies is to cut them up into small chunks and put them on skewers. You’ll get a healthy serving of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each bite. And topping your burger with some slices of avocado will give it a nutrition boost as well as a taste boost. Its mono and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol and can be a good substitute for mayonnaise.

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.

What is “Radiating Pain” and How Can Chiropractic Help?

back pain chiropractorIf you have ever had a case of sciatica, in which pain seems to start in your lower back or hip and radiate down your leg to your foot, you have suffered an example of what is referred to as “radiating pain.” The medical term for pain the starts in one area and travels to another is radiculitis, and although it is not the most common form of nerve pain, it causes a lot of misery for those who suffer from it.

What is Radiating Pain?

True radiating pain is usually the result of a nerve or nerve root in the spinal cord being subject to pressure of some sort, whether through inflammation, injury or spinal subluxation. For example, a herniated disk may create radiating pain because it has bulged out of its normal place and may impinge on a nerve root extending from the spinal cord.

The nerves that run the length of the spinal cord from neck to tailbone and branch out to the left and right are called the radicular nerves. When these are injured or compressed they are more likely to radiate pain than the other types of nerves in our body. If there is a neck injury, for example, pain may radiate down the arm to the fingertips. The pain of something like tendonitis, however, is from pressure on the nerves in the elbow and forearm and does not generally radiate. Some people think they have radiating pain, but the pain is instead often just due to myofascial trigger points that cause a more diffuse pain that seems to radiate out from one area. This is caused by tense muscles and scar tissue that has built up trapping nerves in the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Why Use a Chiropractor for Back Pain?

Chiropractors are expert at treating radiating pain. Your chiropractor will first take a thorough history, examine you, and may order diagnostic tests such as an x-ray or an MRI to determine if your problem may be due to a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or another condition that is not apparent from a physical examination.

A chiropractic adjustment can address any spinal misalignments that may be impinging on spinal nerves, taking the pressure off the nerve and reducing pain. In addition, many chiropractors utilize additional therapies that can free trapped nerves, such as the Active Release Technique (ART). A chiropractic ART therapist will be able to break up the fibrous adhesions and scar tissue that has built up in the soft tissue, freeing trapped nerves.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for a Back Pain Chiropractor!

If you’re looking for a proven, non-invasive way for back pain relief, Southeastern’s team of experienced back pain chiropractors can help. We treat patients like you every single day. All it takes is one visit to discover for yourself the benefits of chiropractic care.

Stop living in pain; call Southeastern Healthcare today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring Wilmington NC back pain chiropractor. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Knee Care 101

By some measures, your knees are your body’s largest joints, but they are also the ones most likely to be injured. More than 11 million men and women over the age of forty visit doctors every year due to knee pain. Taking care of your knees helps to make sure these vital joints continue to work smoothly and comfortably so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle.

5 Steps to Healthier Knees

Step 1: Stay Active, but Don’t Overdo It. If you don’t put in the time and effort it takes to keep your knees moving, they can start to stiffen, leading to discomfort and increasing your risk of injury. At the same time, dramatically increasing your levels of activity (particularly if you haven’t been physically active for a while) can cause injuries from repetitive strain. If you have never followed an exercise routine, ease into this type of activity slowly. If you work out hard on a regular basis, make sure to include rest days to give your knees a break.

Step 2: Manage Your Weight. Every extra pound you carry puts additional pressure on your knees. A study conducted by Stephen P. Messier of Wake Forest University found that losing even a small amount of weight can significantly decrease your risk of arthritis in the knees. If knee pain makes it difficult for you to lose weight through exercise, try using a stationary bike or elliptical machine to reduce the impact on your joints.

Step 3: Build Muscle Around Your Knees. The muscles that surround and support your knees also help to absorb shock. Strengthening your hamstrings and your quadriceps will help give your knees the backup they need. Talk to your chiropractor or a personal trainer for ideas on the best ways to strengthen these muscles.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Stretch. While the muscles around the knees do need to be strong, they also need to be flexible. Regular stretching helps to keep these muscles from pulling the knee out of alignment.

Step 5: Don’t Ignore Pain. If your knee is painful, swollen, or making unusual noises, check in with a doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms can be a sign of damaged cartilage, an issue that can be corrected with early intervention. Trying to “push through” pain without knowing what is causing it puts you at risk of additional injury, so never hesitate to consult with a professional if you think there might be a problem.

Chiropractic Care and Your Knees

Chiropractic care is a vital resource when it comes to keeping your knees healthy. Your chiropractor will take the time to examine and evaluate your joints, muscles, posture and biomechanics to determine the root cause of any discomfort. He or she will then recommend and perform manual techniques that will help to bring your body back into alignment. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your lifestyle and receive recommendations on changes that you can make to continue to improve your knees’ health.

Taking good care of your knees takes commitment, but the rewards are well worth it over the long haul. Talk to your chiropractor today to learn more!

auto accident injury wilmington nc

Auto Accidents and Spinal Disk Injuries

Auto Accidents and Spinal Disk Injuries

Every day, thousands of people across the country are involved in auto accidents. Some are minor fender benders, while others are high-impact collisions. But, what they both have in common is that the spine takes a beating regardless of the speed you’re traveling when the accident occurs, albeit, the more severe the accident, the more severe the potential for injury.This may have you wondering – why is the neck and spine so vulnerable to injury? Taking a closer look at what happens during an auto accident will give us the answer. If you have suffered an auto accident injury, contact us! 

An Accident’s Impact on Your Neck and Spine

Think for a moment about those car commercials where they talk about the car’s safety record. Remember the scene where the car crashes into the wall? What happens to the crash test dummies? The car abruptly stops, but the bodies inside the car continue moving forward, halted only by the air bag and their seatbelts, which engage and pull the dummies back.

In a severe auto accident, the entire body goes through a snapping motion that can cause a host of different injuries to your cervical (neck) vertebrae, including fractures. Even in cases where fractures don’t occur, the sheer violence of the tension, rotation, extension, and flexion can result in a painful condition commonly known as whiplash.

But, don’t think that the neck is the only part of the body subject to injury in an accident. Because the forces caused in an accident can subject a body’s facet joints, muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, and spinal vertebrae to undergo enormous pressures, a wide variety of injuries can occur all throughout the body. When your spinal disks are already slightly degenerated as a result of aging, all it takes is a little bit of extra pressure for them to become herniated.

One of the biggest problems with auto accidents is that the injuries they cause are sometimes not even noticeable until days after the collision. This is because the body’s muscles tense up naturally during the crash and the body’s natural adrenaline kicks in to help manage any pain. But, once the adrenaline wears off; the true impact of the injury starts setting in.

Chiropractic Care Can Help Relieve Your Neck and Back Pain

Today’s chiropractors are highly trained in helping victims of auto accidents manage their musculoskeletal pain using a wide variety of chiropractic techniques, including spinal manipulation, traction, physiotherapy, kinesiology, and more. Chiropractors can teach you exercises to help heal your muscles and tendons from an auto accident injury Wilmington NC and they can help alleviate your pain so you can heal faster and more effectively. And, unlike traditional medicine, which only masks the pain instead of treating it, chiropractic care treats the actual cause of the pain, thus resulting in long-term relief.

Suffer an Auto Accident Injury Wilmington NC? Call Southeastern Today!

If you recently suffered an auto accident injury Wilmington NC and you’re experiencing ongoing pain as a result, call Southeastern Chiropractic today at 910-790-3666. We are here for you. Our chiropractic team can help you manage your pain naturally and effectively. Discover for yourself the difference that safe and effective chiropractic care can make. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy: A Great Combination!

Chiropractic physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating disorders that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They are specially trained to identify and correct structural misalignment and imbalances in the back, neck and joints that can cause a variety of health problems. The techniques that chiropractors use to accomplish this are typically referred to as adjustments, manipulation or mobilization.

Combining Chiropractic and Massage

Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary or useful for patients to receive therapeutic massage—either before or after a chiropractic adjustment—as part of a well-designed treatment plan. This is because the body’s bones are surrounded by soft tissues—muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage—that can contribute to pain and loss of function and that can also make chiropractic adjustments more difficult and less effective under some circumstances. Massage therapy can often be helpful in accelerating the body’s healing processes and in relaxing tight muscles.

In the simplest terms, chiropractors work with bones and massage therapists work with soft tissues. But as treatment modalities, they are compatible and complementary. This combination of treatments often produces a more comfortable patient experience as well as superior results. Massage is often recommended as a preparation for a chiropractic adjustment because it relieves the muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment and makes it easier to move them back into place. Massage is also relaxing, and a relaxed body is easier for the chiropractor to work with. In addition, as the chiropractor corrects the structural problems that are causing pain or limiting your mobility, massage can complement the healing process by stretching and relaxing muscles that have been aggravated by these structural problems, making it easier for you to stretch and exercise, and thus more quickly achieve a state of normal well-being.

Chiropractors Working With Massage Therapists

Many chiropractors work hand-in-hand with massage therapists because their treatment modalities are so complementary. Patients who are working with massage therapists to address soft tissue problems but find that their symptoms persist are frequently referred to chiropractic physicians for further diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, chiropractic patients usually find that their treatment proceeds faster and with less discomfort when the soft tissue has been relaxed with massage. Recovery—especially from musculoskeletal conditions that cause pain and limit mobility—is normally faster and more complete when the underlying causes are addressed holistically, with the chiropractor working to resolve the structural problems and the massage therapist working to resolve the soft tissue problems. Chiropractors and massage therapists who work together collaborate to find the proper combination of chiropractic adjustments and massage to achieve your health and wellness goals as quickly as possible.

Chiropractic and massage therapy are holistic treatment modalities that share a common goal of treating the whole body, helping you to achieve a state of optimal health and well-being without resorting to drugs or surgery. Both focus on trying to resolve the underlying cause of your pain or discomfort rather than simply treating isolated symptoms. Used together, they can be a powerful combination!

Contact Southeastern Healthcare Today if You’re Experiencing Back Pain or Neck Pain!

If you or someone you care about is suffering from musculoskeletal problems, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re always happy to discuss our overall approach as well as the treatment options we provide. Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

chiropractor Wilmington NC

Can Poor Posture Really Cause Back and Neck Pain?

In a word, yes!

Unless your back or neck pain has been caused by some type of over-exertion or acute trauma, it’s actually very likely that poor posture is at least a contributing factor. The alignment of the spine—from the neck through the lower back and hips—is critical to the body’s ability to support its own weight and move efficiently, so posture problems (which are often chronic) can gradually lead to pain and reduced mobility.

When it comes to pain in your back or neck, the relationship between poor posture and injury can also be a complicated one. On the one hand, having poor posture makes it more likely that you will suffer an injury. On the other hand, suffering an injury can also affect your posture. Mary Ann Wilmarth, DPT, spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association explains, “Little things add up. You can increase the pressure on your back by 50% simply by leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.”

How posture problems contribute to neck pain

One of the most common posture problems is a “forward head and shoulder posture”. This occurs when someone “hunches over” and places their head in front of their neck. The weight of the head towards the front stresses the lower neck vertebrae, and leads to overworking of the upper back muscles to compensate for the pull of gravity on the head. Many people with this posture problem also have a rounded upper back and rounded shoulders, which can lead to further stress and shoulder pain. Often, poor desk and chair ergonomics contribute to these problems, but even slouching on the couch or at a table with your mobile phone can lead to hunching over.

How posture problems contribute to back pain

The “forward head” posture described above causes stress on the lower cervical vertebrae, which may end up sliding forward relative to each other as a result of gravity. This is a particular problem for people who have jobs requiring them to look forward or downwards all day. Eventually, the prolonged pressure on the cervical vertebrae will irritate the ligaments and soft tissues, radiating downwards to the upper back. This process can lead to disc degeneration, cervical osteoarthritis and herniated discs.

Tips for improving poor posture and relieving back and neck pain

Poor posture is typically the result of habits that have been developed over long periods of time performing the same activities over and over again. Here are just a few of the most common culprits:

  • Staring at computer monitors or mobile devices that are badly positioned.
  • Sitting in poorly designed office chairs.
  • Sleeping on mattresses that don’t provide the necessary support.
  • Carrying heavy backpacks or purses.

But how do you know which activities are contributing to your poor posture and causing you pain? The clues are usually fairly easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. For instance, the pain in your neck or back may be worse at some times during the day than at others, or it may come and go with changes in your body position. If you experience fatigue or pain when you first wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it might be time for a new mattress or new office furniture.

The good news is that once you become aware of the activities that are contributing to your posture problems and pain, most can be fixed relatively easily, with no need for either medication or surgery. Learn to recognize when you’re hunching over your computer, slouching in your chair or craning your neck to look at your mobile phone. Then sit up straight, aligning your hips, shoulders and ears in one vertical line.

Sometimes, however, the solution is not so simple—especially when poor posture has caused structural changes in the spine and neck. In these cases, a chiropractor can help by designing posture correction and spinal rehabilitation programs to restore the spine’s normal curvature. These programs will usually involve a combination of mechanical techniques that actively remodel the spine (including the use of braces and molding blocks), exercises and stretches that strengthen postural muscles and restore range of motion, and lifestyle changes to address the root causes.

As experts in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic physicians are specially trained to recognize and correct postural problems. If you’re suffering from neck or back pain and suspect that your posture may be at least partially to blame, call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

chiropractor wilmington nc

20 Surprising Facts About the Spine

The spine rarely gets much thought or consideration, but it is one of the most important features in the human body. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to move, let alone stand upright. It’s so important that it even has its own day – World Spine Day. If that surprises you, then here are 20 more spine facts from Southeastern Healthcare’s chiropractor Wilmington NC.

  1. There are about 22 ligaments in the spine
  2. The spinal cord has more than 13.5 million neurons
  3. The average spinal cord weighs about 35 grams
  4. The spine is so flexible that when bent it can form 2/3 of a circle
  5. The spinal column has more than 100 joints
  6. Humans and giraffes share the same number of cervical vertebrae (seven)
  7. The first cervical vertebrae is called “atlas” after the character in Greek mythology because it “carries the weight of the head”
  8. There are more than 120 muscles in the spinal column
  9. One-fourth of the spine’s length is made up of cartilage
  10. More than 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some time in their lifetimes with most injuries resulting from auto accidents
  11. After the age of 40, humans “shrink” at a rate of a quarter- to a third-of-an-inch per decade as a result of gravity’s effect on the spine
  12. Astronauts return to earth approximately 3% taller than when they left because of microgravity’s expanding effect on the spine’s cartilage
  13. Spines have 33 individual vertebrae, but some fuse over time to become the coccyx and the sacrum
  14. The spine has four primary motions – forward, backward, side bending, and rotating
  15. Sitting in a hunched position puts 200-lbs of pressure on the lumbar spine
  16. October 16th is the official World Spine Day
  17. Lying flat on your back with legs elevated puts 25-lbs of pressure on the lumbar spine
  18. The spine is capable of withstanding several hundred pounds of pressure
  19. The spine has a memory. This is why it is so important to make sure it is always properly aligned
  20. People with back pain who don’t undergo chiropractic treatment or rehabilitation are 22 times more likely to experience a relapse

Get Relief from Back Pain – Visit a Southeastern Healthcare Chiropractor Wilmington NC Today

There are dozens of causes of back pain, but a great many of which can be improved simply by being treated by an experienced chiropractor Wilmington NC. Isn’t it time you stopped living in constant pain? Get the relief you’re looking for, safely and holistically, at Southeastern Healthcare.

Call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

iPosture? Is Technology Causing Neck and Shoulder Pain?

neck painWhether you’re an Apple fan, an Android lover or a hardcore Microsoft user, there’s no denying the popularity of tablet computers. The numbers speak for themselves—technology market analysts estimate that over 200 million of them are sold in the US each year. Even if you don’t follow the latest tech trends, you know that mobile devices—principally phones and tablets—are a regular feature around town. From coffee shops and supermarkets to airports and train platforms, they seem to be everywhere. Plus a growing number of businesses are beginning to equip their sales and service staff as well as their executive teams with them. They’re even finding their way into hospitals and doctor’s offices!

Are Tablets Causing Neck Pain?

But while tablets certainly have their benefits, new research suggests that they also have their drawbacks when it comes to musculoskeletal health. It has already been shown that frequent texting on your mobile phone can cause problems with neck pain (the so-called “text neck” epidemic), but those who use their tablet for everything from work-related applications to just surfing the internet and watching full-length movies may be in for even more pain. The anecdotal evidence is already starting to show up in the waiting rooms of chiropractic offices around the country, and researchers at leading universities are beginning to seriously study the ergonomics and health risks of tablet use.

How to Prevent Neck Pain?

The results of a study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation found that the use of tablet computers was associated with greater head and neck flexion than traditional desktop computers and that placing the tablet higher on a table and using a case to put the tablet at a more optimal angle could help prevent neck and shoulder problems.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Microsoft Corporation studied 15 volunteers who were regular users of tablet computers. The subjects performed simulated tasks on an Apple iPad2 and a Motorola Xoom, during which the posture of the head and neck, the subjects’ gaze angle and gaze distance were measured by a three-dimensional infrared motion analysis system. They surfed the internet, wrote e-mails, watched movies and played video games.

Each tablet came with its own proprietary case that enabled users to set the tablet at different angles. The Apple case allowed for 15° and 73° tilt angles, while the Motorola case allowed angles of 45° and 63°. Greater flexion of the neck was found with the iPad2 when used in its case. Not surprisingly, tablets set at the least perpendicular angle caused greater neck and head flexion than when the subjects used a desktop or laptop computer. Head and neck posture only began to approach a neutral position when the tablets were set in their cases at the Table-Movie angle at which they were closest to perpendicular.

What is Recommended?

The researchers recommended that tablet users place the devices on a table and at the steepest viewing angle possible to avoid neck and shoulder pain. However, they cautioned that this configuration might cause problems for the arms and wrists, which in this configuration are not optimally placed for input. This of course can lead to its own set of musculoskeletal problems in the extremities. So the simple fact of the matter is that tablet ergonomics involve some tough compromises or trade offs for users. A position that’s ideal for viewing is troublesome for typing and gestures and vice-versa.

For many people, tablet computers have become an indispensable part of work and home life (for better or for worse). If you’re one of these people and can’t conceive of either giving up your iPad or reducing the number of hours you spend using it, then it’s very important to develop good ergonomic habits that minimize musculoskeletal stress and have the smallest impact on your posture. You should also consider seeing your chiropractor on a regular basis. Chiropractic care has been shown to be more effective in treating neck and shoulder pain than using pain medication. A chiropractic adjustment can realign neck vertebrae and take the pressure off compressed nerves, bringing relief in a gentle, natural manner and allowing you to use your tablet more comfortably. In addition to addressing the problems you already have, your chiropractor will also be able to offer specific ergonomic advice to help prevent them from recurring or becoming chronic.

We Can Help Relieve Your Neck Pain at Southeastern Healthcare

We’re here to help! Whether you have specific concerns about a musculoskeletal problem or more general health and wellness questions, we encourage you to call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-790-3666 to schedule an appointment with our experienced and caring chiropractor Wilmington NC. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.

Are Stand-Up Desks Really Any Healthier for Office Workers?

chiropractor Wilmington NCStanding desks or stand-up desks are not a new fad. They’ve been around since at least the time of Benjamin Franklin, the founding father who used one over two hundred years ago. However, there remains a great deal of controversy regarding the benefits and drawbacks of stand-up desks.

More Energy and More Alert?

A number of sources agree that standing up while you work gives you more energy and keeps you more alert. The University of Chester performed a study in 2013 that showed heartbeats rose by ten beats per minute because of standing. This increased the number of calories burned each day. In addition, blood glucose levels after lunch returned to normal far faster in those study subjects who stood as they worked.

Reduces Back Pain?

Others have found that standing helps reduce lower back pain. Users of stand-up desks found that they engaged more fully with their colleagues and felt more ready for action if something called them away from their desk. They felt their minds wandered far less and they stayed more focused. Some users even found that stand-up desks lent themselves to certain “power poses” that benefited physiology, increasing testosterone and decreasing cortisol, the stress hormone.

Getting Used to the Stand Up Desk

Stand-up desk users seemed to agree, though, that leg and foot soreness can be a problem. This may be a particular problem for individuals who are just starting to use a stand-up desk user and whose bodies aren’t yet accustomed to the new way of working. More comfortable shoes and an anti-fatigue mat can help reduce this problem. Gradually building up the amount of time spent at a stand-up desk can also help.

If you do opt for a stand-up desk, it’s important to get one at the right height. Because each person is different, getting a custom desk built can be prohibitively expensive. A better alternative is to get an adjustable desk. One with hydraulic power can be lowered for occasional sitting and increased to a custom height to suit your individual needs.

Sitting for long periods each day can lead to all manner of illnesses—heart disease, diabetes, vein disease and more. But standing for long periods can also create health risks, especially vein disease.

What to Do

A Cornell University ergonomics team found that the real solution was simply to move around regularly. If you’re sitting at a desk, stand up every 20–30 minutes and move around for two minutes. The movement gets the blood pumping, increases calorie burn, and decreases the risks for heart disease, diabetes and other ailments. This doesn’t require vigorous exercise. Simply pacing for a couple of minutes will be enough to undo the damage of sitting for half an hour. This, of course, requires an awareness of the time and a measure of discipline to move when the appointed time arrives. Adding some moderate exercise to your daily routine can do wonders for your health, even without the use of a stand-up desk.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at 910-790-3666 to schedule your chiropractor Wilmington NC appointment now.