Even the most conscious gym-goers can neglect important muscles
Case in point: the muscles of the lower back which are often neglected during people’s pursuit of the “mirror muscles-” abs, biceps and pecs that make you look attractive but leave you short on stability. Building a great body means building balance, and the muscles of the lower body are essential for stability and spinal health. What’s the point of looking great or having a lot of muscle if the most crucial structures of your body can’t bear the load that this extra muscle brings on? Here are three new sets of muscle to focus on during your next gym session:
- Extensors: posterior muscles which allow for lifting and standing. Among them is the erector spinae which allows the spine to stand straight.
- Flexors: attach to the front of the spine and allow for flexing, bending and lifting.
- Obliques: attach to the side of the spine and allow for rotation.
All these muscles work together to help you maintain proper posture, which is the first pitfall of not training them- it makes posture all the more difficult. From here, the problems compound, especially when you are asking your lower back to bear more strain as you scale up your ab routine.
Neglecting your lower back no longer
There are many exercises and stretches which can be easily learned and quickly added into your routine to ensure that you are rounding out your exercise and contributing to spinal health. After all, these are the muscles that matter most for the longevity of your body. Chronic pain, postural problems and degradation of the spine can all be prevented by paying attention to the conditioning of the lower back muscles. To resolve pain in the lower back, establish good posture and restore spinal balance, give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
Acupuncture is a powerful tool for women’s health
To demonstrate this point, let’s take a look at the efficacy of acupuncture when it comes to treating something common during the days leading up to and during a period: cramps. Scientifically known as dysmenorrhea, pain during menstruation does nothing more than add to the stress of your period. Pain is most often experienced in the lower abdomen, pelvis and lower back, and generally responds well to pain relieving medication. However, some women look for a more natural way to deal with menstrual cramps and acupuncture is a great way to do this.
How acupuncture works to treat menstrual pain
By freeing the body from stagnation, acupuncture encourages your blood to circulate smoothly, reducing pain from cramps and headaches. When combined with simple stretching that focuses on the abdomen, hip flexors and lower back, you can effect great improvements with pain relief without reaching into the medicine cabinet.
Your acupuncture specialist in Park Slope
Acupuncture can add another dimension of effective and natural support for many women’s health issues including:
- Menstrual pain
- Pregnancy and postpartum life
We are proud to be a resource for women’s care in the Park Slope area. If you are looking for an alternative from traditional western approaches to your particular issue, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C., L.Ac.
Inflammation is an individual struggle
As we age, our bodies will face their fair share of degradation and, for many of us, this will include a modicum of painful inflammation; this is a reality of nature. What is not inherent in nature is the choices we are making as a society and on an individual level that actually encourage inflammation when it doesn’t need to be there. Obesity and diabetes are the current epidemics of our age and the kind of diets that contribute to those conditions are the ones that are sure to contribute to inflammation as well.
Take stock of your habits to see if you are living a pro-inflammation lifestyle
Below you will find factors that contribute to inflammation, but only those that are within your control; genetics, autoimmune diseases, virus and injury are not included.
- High-sugar foods: raise the presence of an inflammatory markers called cytokines
- Saturated fats: increase adipose (fat tissue) inflammation and can simultaneously affect chronic or acute inflammation
- Too much stress and too little sleep: raise your level of cortisol, a stress hormone which is linked to inflammation.
- A sedentary lifestyle: When your muscles move, they produce anti-inflammatory substances; if you’re not moving, this isn’t happening for you.
How we help reduce inflammation in Park Slope
Chiropractic targets inflammation at the source: when joints are misaligned, inflammation is never far behind. When a joint remains misaligned, and inflammation is allowed to subside, it can create pain in the affected area. Correcting misaligned joints and reducing inflammatory cytokines are two key ways that chiropractic helps reduce the presence of inflammation. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment and start turning around a pro-inflammatory lifestyle today!
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
Define: Junk Food
It’s the kind of food that gets your mouth watering at the very thought. We can all think of our favorite junk food, but what does the term really entail? From McDonald’s to freezer pizza to donuts, junk food is pre-prepared food that has little to no nutritional value. It is usually high in processed ingredients, sugar and bad fats. It is formulated to taste great and treat your brain’s reward complex, make you feel full and give you the baseline of nutrition to stay alive but not much more!
Junk food is not your friend
All that sugar:
- Spikes blood-sugar levels
- Inflames tissues
- Raises blood pressure
- Raises and drops insulin levels
The fat raises levels of undesirable cholesterol and your risk for type 2 diabetes while the sodium causes your body to retain water, making you feel bloated but also contributing to an enlarged heart muscle.
Balancing out the junk food diet
So you’ve gone on a junk food bender and you are looking to recover. Don’t feel bad- with our on-the-go lifestyle, the drive-thru or ready made meal is almost an essential from time to time. However, it is important to not make this your only source of fuel. Below we have come up with ways to balance a junk-food bender.
- Anti-inflammatory ingredients: junk food has a tendency to raise inflammatory markers in the blood, which makes it important to balance this by eating anti-inflammatory ingredients. Adding turmeric to your next stir fry is a great place tos tart.
- Water, water, water! to fight inflammation and nourish the cells of your body.
- High-fiber foods: to balance blood sugar and optimize the function of your gut.
- Healthy starches: rather than the good-for-nothing starches that characterize junk food.
Food is fuel so therefore food should be your friend!
At our office in Park Slope, we are aware of the difficulties inherent in a fast paced lifestyle; we are often at the mercy of the clock which leaves us little room for choice when its time to eat. If eating is a constant challenge, let us help you find the time to eat right and make healthy decisions across the board.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
Goal-setting helps you figure out where to start
Spring, the season of renewal, is right around the corner and there is no better time than spring to make powerful changes in your fitness routine. While it is more common to make fitness resolutions at New Years, we think it makes more sense to start when the weather is warming and the colors are getting brighter- there just seems to be more energy to tap into. For people looking to shed their winter skin and join in the movement of spring, it can help to focus on realistic goal-setting. Start by finding yourself on the fitness spectrum, with no shame: are you a no-fitness-fanatic, a dedicated gymrat, or something in-between. Before you set any goals, it is important to be honest with yourself and know just where you stand.
A checklist for success in goal-setting
- Choose an appropriate time frame
- Start with just one goal
- Write it down
- Schedule the time
Make goal-setting easier with our help at Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture
The feeling of fully achieving a goal can be a powerful incentive to continue with more ambitious goal-setting in the future. Let’s leave the winter in the rear view mirror and reap the benefits of the season to get our bodies feeling their healthiest. If you need help addressing long-standing limitations such as muscle pain or problems stemming from spinal conditions, we are your resource! At our office in Park Slope, we will help detect the true cause of your dsyfunction and create a plan for healing that will allow you to focus on successful goal-setting. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today!
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.