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7 Things I Tell My Patients: Notes from a Chiropractor

Dr. Karen Erickson - March 05, 2018 12:25 PM

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Do you know that you are taller in the morning because your discs rehydrate and expand when you sleep? If you are dehydrated, this can not happen. Dehydration also increases the perception of pain. Muscles, joints and discs, and even organs need hydration. Go for 2 giant glass upon rising, and get in 8 glasses throughout the day.
 
2. Get your body worked on
 
Get a chiropractor and get checked periodically. A chiropractor can clear things that exercise, rest, and a hot shower alone can not. It will help you recover from neck and back pain, and help your body age without degenerating prematurely. Arthritis is common, but not really normal or inevitable.
 
3. Move
 
Our bodies are designed to move in more creative ways that robotic sitting and standing. Walking and other aerobic exercises are important to perfuse blood though your tissues. If you are confined to a chair or bed, find ways to safely move your body daily, even if you need assistance to do it. Gently stretch your body daily. Explore yoga, stretch class, tai chi, and Pilates. Never push into pain, and do not overdo. 
 
If you are a caregiver or ambulatory, look into high-intensity interval training 3 minutes 3 times a day is as effective as an hour on a treadmill. I love this video from Dr Mercola: https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/05/05/exercise-for-aging-muscles.aspx.
 
4. Proper Workstation Ergonomics
 
Get a keyboard tray so your keyboard is at elbow height. Put the screen at eye level. If you use a laptop get a remote keyboard so you can seperate the keyboard and screen. Get a desk that converts from sitting to standing. Invest in a good chair.
 
5. Avoid text neck.
 
Most of us are never further than 3 feet from their cell phone all day. Forward head position from texting is epidemic and leads to neck pain, muscle soreness, eye strain and headache. Hold you phone at eye level. If your neck does get sore, try 10-15 minutes of heat.
 
6. Sleep and Meditate.
 
Sleep is essential for body and mind. Most people need 7-9 hours a night. Less than that means you are basically jet lagged.
 
Meditation literally changes the structure of the brain, promotes relaxation and neurological organizstion. There are so many mediation techniques. Find a meditation style you like, and do it for at least 15 minutes a day, ideally in the morning.
 
7. Eat Clean
 
Keep to an anti-inflammatory diet of mostly vegetables and fruit with plenty of healthy fats and just small amounts of grass-fed meats/poultry. Go organic if possible. Minimize grains, sugar, and alcohol. Don't overdo caffeine. If your doctor approves, try to fast for 12 hours (water only) between dinner and breakfast. This means if you stop eatting dinner at 8pm, you should not eat again until after 8am.

Dr. Karen Erickson is Director of Erickson Healing Arts in New York City. Dr Erickson is a Spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. Her passion is sharing health and wellness information on chiropractic and natural healthcare through print, television, workshops, and speaking throughout the country. She pioneered expanding chiropractic utilization in 2001 by being the first chiropractor to be credentialed by a teaching hospital in the United States at Beth Israel's Continuum Center for Health and Healing. Dr Erickson sits on the Board of Trustees at New York Chiropractic College, and is a Fellow of the American College of Chiropractic.

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