Where is My Center of Gravity?

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Direction of gravity in relation to your COG

This is where things get interesting. Gravity is a downward force; because you are in the middle, gravity travels through you and your COG toward the center of the earth. Your COG is part of your base of support– the area beneath you, including the points of contact your feet make with the ground. This base of support determines how stable you are- if the line of gravity travelling downwards stays within your base of support, you are stable. However if the line of gravity falls outside your base of support, you are unstable. 

It therefore follows that a larger base of support therefore increases stability, and helps explain why a low center of gravity is advantageous; the lower your COG, the less likelihood that the line of gravity will fall outside your base of support.

Stability and the center of gravity

At Community Chiropractic and Acupuncture of Park Slope, we want to help you get to know your center of gravity. Balance is an important part of wellness and we want you to start taking advantage of it to prevent injury and function optimally. Give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today.

The Relationship Between Acupuncture and Muscle Function

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Acupuncture for improving muscle function

Acupuncture focuses on restoring muscle balance and function. It is able to do this in a variety of ways: firstly, when we activate an acupuncture point, it stimulates the production of nitric oxide. allowing blood vessels to relax and opening the arteries. This results in more oxygen and nutrient flow to your muscles, helping them to rebuild quickly and effectively. This overall uptick in circulation contributes to a reestablishment of homeostasis, or balance, throughout the body, helping your musculoskeletal system to reach peak levels of performance. 

What’s more, your recvovery post-workout relies on relaxation. After exercise, our muscles are often in state of tension that is counterproductive to recovery, while also causing us to feel stiff and sore. Acupuncture releases endorphins that fight pain and necourage muscle relaxation.

How can acupuncture help you become a better athlete? 

Acupuncture can help you become a better athlete by encouraging musculoskeletal balance, boosting circulation and improving the effectiveness and speed of your recovery between workouts. If you are interested in finding out how acupuncture can take you to the next level of sports performance, give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today. 

The Importance of Strength Training For Over-50s

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Why seniors should focus on strengthening

Whether you identify as a senior or not, strengthening should be an indispensible part of your weekly workout routine. We generally recommend lifting the appropriate level of weights 2-3 times a week, focusing on the major muscle groups of the core, arms and legs. The main types of strength training include:

  • Using weights to create resistance: Resistance training
  • Swimming with the natural resistance of the water. 
  • Body-weight training: using your body’s weight as the resistance for your exercise

While focusing on these areas of exercise will not reverse aging, they will directly address some of the main symptoms of aging, including:

  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss in strength, endurance and vitality

In fact, strength training, along with aerobics, are your body’s only natural defense against these incursions of age. They also help you avoid inherent dangers like falling by increasing your body’s natural range of motion, coordination and balance. 

Importance understood, now how do I start?

No single exercise plan fits all. Every single person should approach their strength training based on their level of ability and the condition of their body. If you are living with a debilitating spinal condition, you need to take extra care before employing any plan to strengthen. Many movements, exercises and stretches that are considered appropriate for people with average fitness can actually increase the severity and pain inherent in your condition. If you are looking for a completely customized plan for strengthening as you age, give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Sleep Configurations for Different Spinal Conditions

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Science speaks: the best sleep setups for different conditions of the spine

  • Herniated disc: depending on the location of the injury, you may feel moree comfortable sleeping on your side or your stomach with a medium-firm mattress that allows your shoulders and hips to sink in a bit, but maintains the alignment and curvature of your spine. 
  • Osteoarthritis: a loose fetal position is generally recommended: sleeping on your side, with your spine in alignment throughout your neck, but with your knees pulled up. The goal is to relieve pressure on embattled spinal facet joints, which can also be achieved using an adjustable bed or reclining chair to elevate the knees.
  • Degenerative disc disease: people with this condition often find relief sleeping on their stomach, on a firm, supportive mattress with a pillow under the stomach. The goal is to reduce stress on the affected region and, in particular, to open up space between the discs to allow for relief from compression. 

No matter what spinal condition you suffer from, we are certain we can help you find more comfort and support in your sleep setup. If you need help finding more rest and rejuvenation to ease your spinal condition, give our office in Park Slope a call. We are your go-to resource for spinal health and we want to help you start sleeping better today! 

Dreading Sleep with Sciatica

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But laying down should help sciatica, right?

Clinically, the answer is yes: the act of reclining is decompressive in nature- it allows for space to open between the vertebrae, negating pressure that squeezes your discs and puts pressure on the nerves. But sciatica is not necessarily purely determined by impingement from problems with the vertebrae- it can also occur when muscles like the piriformis become overly-tight and push down on the nerve. So we can see that the first step to solving sciatica is to get a proper diagnosis. But what then? Sleeping with sciatica may require you to change your sleeping surface to a firmer, more supportive mattress; it may call for you to place a pillow under your knees to relieve tension in the lower spine. But neither of these is a long-term solution- they are designed to help you feel more comfortable so that you can get more sleep and wake up with less pain. The real solution is to find and address the cause of your sciatica.

 If your sciatica interferes with sleep, there are multiple steps we can take for treatment:

  1. Number one is resolving spinal alignment issues that are putting pressure on the nerve. 
  2. We then use massage acupuncture to relieve tightness from the surrounding musculature and augment the body’s natural healing process
  3. We demonstrate easy-to-follow stretches that can be implemented in your pre and post-sleep routines. 
  4. We show you when to use ice and heat to relieve pain, prevent inflammation and encourage healing. 

Defeating sciatic insomnia and the related problem of pronounced sciatic nerve pain in the morning is a long game. At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture of Park Slope, we are your sciatica resource and we will remain by your side for the long haul! Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

The Pre-Breakfast Stretching Routine of Champions

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In the morning, focus on spinal elongation

No matter what your job is, the likelihood is high that your spine will undergo a lot of compression throughout the day. Sitting and standing, depending on your posture, each contribute varying degrees of downward pressure on your vertebrae and the discs which separate them. Starting your spine off on the right food means that you start the process of fighting against this compression from the word go, each and every day. Any morning routine that accounts for your back should include stretches that focus on spinal elongation and, by extension, decompression. Here is a little three minute routine that can set you off nicely: 

  • Start by resting in child’s pose and welcoming the new day with deep breathing
  • Next choose downward-facing dog, a gentle stretch that provides full spinal decompression
  • Finish with cat and then cow stretch, two poses that alleviate pressure on the intervertebral discs

The benefits of starting your day with stretching are too good to ignore. These stretches will make getting through a full day of work easier, by boosting circulation, improving range of motion and alleviating tension from the musculature that supports your spine. As with any new exercise regime, you should always consult with a medical professional before beginning. We are standing by at our new office in Brooklyn to help you make your daily life more comfortable. 

Acupuncture Improves Hip Mobility

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Acupuncture for improving flexibility in the hips

This study, published in the Medical Acupuncture journal, states that, “acupuncture application in acupoints and no-acupoints before exercises of static stretching can generate an acute significant increase on hip range of motion.” By combining targeted acupoint treatment with hip abductor stretching, we can effect great improvements in hip mobility, 

Making your hips work for you rather than against you

Just as tight hips can destabilize and cause pain, open hips can contribute to stability and strength at the base of the spine. By facilitating a healthy transfer of forces and initiating movements in a healthy manner, your hips can be become an all-star member of your spine’s support network. Acupuncture is one of the best ways to open up those hips and set you on the path toward reducing spinal tension- if you are interested in finding out more about the power of acupuncture, give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Two Daily Movements for Resetting Neck Alignment

Two daily movements that help us restore balance and reduce tension:

  1. Shoulder blade squeezes: don’t try to squeeze a pencil between your shoulders, despite what some people suggest. This is too extreme of motion. Instead, focus on gently squeezing your shoulder blades and opening up your chest. This movement relieves tension in the thoracic and cervical segments. 
  2. Chin tucks: this simple movement is effective for strengthening the muscles that are responsible for maintaining spinal alignment through the cervical segment and supporting the weight of your head. 

Retraining your spine into a state of balance starts at the top

Always pay attention to your posture by performing posture resets as often as is possible. When you feel your head creeping forward, choose to realize that this is responsible for your aching, stiff neck at the end of the day; choose to reset your head atop the spine and give your neck a quick stretch. These little actions add up to make a world of difference in your spinal health.