Your spine is always under pressure
Whether you like it or not, the most common positions we adopt during a given day are putting a disproportionate amount of pressure on our spines, and our lumbar vertebrae is where this pressure accumulates! Here are some statistics as measured by the pressure sustained by a lumbar intervertebral disc:
- Low pressure: lying on your back: ~25kg of pressure
- Medium pressure: standing upright: ~100kg of pressure
- High pressure: sitting: ~125kg of pressure
Sitting and standing are made worse by leaning forward and bearing weight, while forward head posture magnifies the pressure of the head on the spinal column by up to 10X for every inch it is held forward. So if there is one thing we can start doing for our spines right away, it is being aware!
Relieving lumbar pressure with decompression therapy
There are many ways we can work to prevent the damage that will result from pressure accumulation. Strengthening the core stabilizing muscles and improving our posture are tied for the most important thing we can do to help our lumbar vertebrae- stronger muscles support the burden while better posture reduces the pressure. If your spine is suffering from the effects of too much pressure, i.e. herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, nonspecific back pain and nerve compression, decompression therapy can help.
Decompression therapy uses manual and instrument-assisted modalities to stretch the spine and provide healing therapy by doing the following things:
- Opening space between the vertebrae
- Providing for rehydration of intervertebral discs
- Allowing for retraction of bulging disc material
- Elongate the spine and provide for spinal realignment
Decompression therapy feels great and provides pain relief and lasting correction of spinal misalignment. If you are interested in using decompression therapy to reverse the accumulative effects of pressure on your spine, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Marlene Rivera is the most recent addition to our practice. She is a graduate of Sherman College of Chiropractic, based in SC. She is trained and experienced in Webster, Cox, Thompson, Gonstead and Diversified Techniques. Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Rivera is a Park Slope resident and loves living in our beautiful neighborhood. She sees patients Tuesday through Saturday and is fluent in Spanish.
In 1998, Dr. Thomas added traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture to her qualifications when she completed a four-year program at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in New York City. She creates and teaches programs on complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) approaches to pain management. She has served as a college lecturer and has also worked with multi-disciplinary clinics.
Graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, achieving a duel Masters Degree in four years. Dr. Ruiz studied The Asian Triad: Acupuncture, Asian Herbology, and Massage Therapy. Prior to these professional studies, he was a professional personal trainer, bodybuilder, and owner of his own gym. Combining all his training and interests, Dr. Ruiz combines his talents by specializing in orthopedic and scalp acupuncture to promote healing of the brain and nervous system, musculoskeletal injuries, and organic dysfunctions. He is a talented healer, sensitive to feeling the energy in the pulses and utilizing combined Asian Triad skills, is remarkable in helping to re-establish balance to the body, mind, and spirit. His treatments are powerful and beneficial for treating acute injuries as well as long term issues that disturb the spirit and disquiet the mind. You will benefit from his explanation of your disharmony and clear instructions for ways to restore harmony to the energy flowing through the meridians to benefit your organs, joints, muscles, and mental attitude. Dr. Efrain Ruiz brings his healing talents and wealth of experience to benefit each and every patient. He is also fluent in Spanish.
Here are some excellent back strengthening exercises to help rehabilitate & strengthen your spinal muscles.
First of all a 20 to 30 min Cardio-Vascular warm-up is imperative. Rowing, biking, jump-rope, swimming, elliptical are all good options.
Next, begin with EXTENSOR muscle work & strengthening. These are the muscles (triceps, latts, quads, buttock & back) that help us stand up straight, with straight arms & legs.
It is always best, whenever possible, to do ‘cross-crawl’ exercises. This means opposite arm & leg engagement. For example, imagine throwing a javelin – your eyes will be on the hand in extension & you will be standing on the opposite leg. We are designed this way & it is the best way to exercise.
Finally, wind down w/ flexor muscle exercise – only now do you do any biceps, pect & ab work! And finish w/ a few minutes of stretching.
Plan routine work-outs 3 to 4 times a week. Keep a well aligned spine with chiropractic adjustments & enjoy a long & healthy life!
Dr. Karen A. Thomas Park Slope Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture
Diet and Nutrition
They’re right. You ARE – and WILL BE – what you eat.
Foods. Fluids. Supplements. Dietary aids. Medicines. All contribute to the bio-chemical makeup of our bodies.
Many people do not maintain healthy diets and may suffer from digestive disorders and other conditions aggravated by poor eating habits. Studies show that 80% of American adults are chronically dehydrated. The balance of macro-nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats), as well as micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and enzymes), is essential for the cells and organs of the body to function properly. Poor supplies of macro- and micro-nutrients to the cells and tissues make it difficult for the body to work properly. Sluggish cell activity may result in overall body fatigue, susceptibility to infection, chronic inflammatory disorders – including digestive problems, arthritis, and allergies.
In the emerging field of nutrigenomics studies show that all ‘sizes’ of nutrients do not fit all people. In other words, every individual has an optimal caloric standard, as well as a nutritional combination that best suits them. The science of nutrigenomics advocates that we adopt an ODA (Optimal Daily Allowance) to reflect this finding, and abandon the model of RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) that is based on a generalized global ‘minimum’ of nutrients necessary to avoid disease.
The current so-called “Modern American Diet” is high in meat sources, processed foods, sweets, colas, alcohol, coffee, tobacco, and pharmacologic medications. This diet contributes to a high-acid (low pH) condition in the body that injures cells and impairs the ability of the body’s organs – including the brain – to function optimally.
The American diet and its resulting high levels of systemic acids is made worse with the sedentary lifestyle many people have adopted. Inactivity does further damage to the internal workings of the body. Lack of fresh air, shallow breathing, and reduced oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange add to the body’s acidic state.
Systemic acidosis is associated with chronic inflammatory disorders (arthritis, lumbago, headache), auto-immune diseases (RA, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia), cardio-vascular disorders (leading to increased risk of heart attack and stroke) and even certain types of cancer.
The good news is that we are ever changing organisms and many high-risk conditions can be reversed with improvements in diet and nutrition.
At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture, with re-education, instruction, and routine monitoring we help patients recover their health. We recommend dietary changes, vitamin and mineral supplements and new eating habits.
Increasing intake of healthy proteins like chicken, fish, or non-meat sources such as beans and nuts; fresh leafy green vegetables; complex carbohydrates, and thirst-quenching health drinks invigorate the cells, the organs, and the entire body.
With a helping hand, food choices and eating habits improve. Results become evident with more energy, less pain, clearer mental function and lost inches.
A healthy diet that includes appropriate, individually prescribed nutritional supplements, is essential to rebuilding lasting health and well-being. No one is ‘put on a diet’. We educate and encourage informed healthy choices. As you learn about and make improved food choices, you will begin to look better and feel healthier.
Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Increasing Energy Flow, Establishing Balance & Creating Internal Harmony
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is an ancient healing art founded nearly 4,000 years ago in the Buddhist monasteries of China and Tibet. It integrates spiritual beliefs with theories of life-force and bio-energetics, Qi ( or Chi, pronounced “chee”). The priests treated members of their communities with herbs, animal products, acupuncture, cupping (pressure cups applied to the back), and moxabustion (a warming herb that is ‘smoked’ along meridian points). Needle acupuncture (insertion of thin, sterile needles along energy points of the body) evolved from a discernment of energy meridian points along the skin’s surface that correlates with organs such as the lungs, liver, stomach and kidneys. All forms of body disharmony, illness and disease are effectively treated by restoring harmony to the qi along the meridians and thus healing organs and body systems.
Western medicine is currently researching the ways in which TCM and acupuncture actually work. Modern science has developed the technology to detect and measure the subtle bio-energy and confirm the acupuncture points along the meridians. Although this research is still ongoing, Western medicine has acknowledged the positive health effects of TCM, particularly needle acupuncture.
According to TCM, the meridians traverse all tissues and organ systems of the body. As a result acupuncture can affect all aspects of health.
At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture located in Park Slope, Brooklyn 11215, acupuncture treatment is provided for musculo-skeletal conditions including:Repetitive stress injuries such as CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from clicking the computer mouse)Sports injuries involving nerves, muscles, joints, discs, ligaments, and tendonsTrauma due to work accidents, motor vehicle accidents or personal injuries
Dr. Thomas, a Brooklyn Chiropractor & Acupuncturist helps treat disorders of bodily systems, including:Digestive system treatment (irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); constipation; acid reflux; bloating and gas)Respiratory system treatment (colds; flu; asthma; allergies; sinusitis)Reproductive system (premenstrual syndrome (PMS); infertility; menopausal complications; dysmennorhea)Emotional disturbances (post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); depression; anxiety)Aging (arthritis; memory loss; motor and sensory changes)Behavioral (smoking cessation; eating disorders)