It’s been a while since our last newsletter went out. A lot has changed across the healthcare world. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now in full effect, and Maine Community Health Options has sprung up as an exchange plan. We will be deciding whether to enroll as an “In-Network” provider in the next couple of months.
Our facility as a whole has seen a major uptick in snow and ice removal injuries since our crazy string of weather over the end of the last year. As a reminder, lift with your legs and rotate your entire body, not just your upper back, when snow shoveling to avoid major injury. Also, while it may sound silly, walking like a penguin will prevent major icefalls. Always keep your center of gravity over your feet!
As 2014 kicks into full swing, I would like to remind everyone of a couple of postural changes that you can implement in your everyday life to prevent chronic stress injuries.
It still amazes me how many people come into my office carrying a thick, bulky wallet in the back pocket of their jeans. An average American wallet can be 1.5 inches thick! This is especially important for those whose professions require long travel to and from work or being seated for long periods of time (desk work, truck driver, etc.)
Prolonged sitting on such an unlevel foundation can cause the SI joints (the large pelvic joints) to rotate out of alignment in an attempt to adapt to the unlevel surface. This affects your spine just like a shifting foundation affects the roof of your house. Your low back will shift away from the wallet side to compensate.
Carry your wallet in your front pocket or a coat pocket. This simple change can reap great benefits in reducing chronic low back and pelvic subluxation (bone out of place) and the resulting chronic pain. Some sciatica cases are being caused by this simple lifestyle mistake as the sciatic nerve is compressed between the pelvis and the wallet while sitting.
Although this rule applies to any electronic device, texting seems to be the guiltiest act. Those of you with teenage children watch their posture when using a tablet or texting their friends. Generally, they will sit with arms tucked in tight and their neck flexed down to their chest.
This position places incredible strain on the postural muscles and ligaments of the upper back and neck. Often, this results in pain, spasm, and tension headaches. The problem is getting so rampant today that a new condition has arisen called “text neck.”
Chronic flexed neck posture causes weakening of the spinal muscles and ligaments to the point that a “loss of lordosis” (flattening) of the neck can occur. This places excess strain and weight on the spine and can result in the aforementioned symptoms. Just shifting the head a few inches forward can make a huge impact on biomechanics.
On average, the human head weighs about 12 pounds. When shifted forward, it can functionally weigh up to 42 pounds, if not more. For those of you with toddlers that like to hang off of your neck, imagine supporting that weight all day, every day. Suddenly, the cause of the chronic neck pain and tightness that so many people experience becomes strikingly clear.
When using your electronic device, try to hold it up higher in front of you and maintain a better upright posture when doing so. One of the most common conditions we see in our office is neck pain and headaches from this particular issue. If this sounds like something you are experiencing, give us a call.
As a reminder, Dr. Daniel Myerowitz is available for health talks at your organization, referral group, business, or corporate event as part of an educating the community program. Please contact the office at 207-989-0000 or respond to this newsletter via e-mail at [email protected].
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Yours in good health,Return To Blog