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stiff-neck-morningLife is stressful enough during the day that it seems truly heartbreaking that many us cannot get the restorative sleep we need each night. Tossing and turning causing insomnia is an epidemic in the U.S., but worse, some of us wake up with actual pain and stiffness. What a way to start the day.

Sometimes it’s the mattress being too soft or unsupportive. Or maybe the too thick hotel pillow has gotten your number. Sleep posture is very critical to spinal health. The neck has a forward arch, and this has to be preserved for there to be maximal relaxation of the spinal cord and nerves. Also the head needs to be supported when turning to side sleeping. The pillow needs to be thick enough so that the head does not fall towards the shoulder, stretching the muscles and delicate nerves on the side of the neck.

You need to rest your spine each night so that the tissues can repair and heal. It is important that muscles are able to relax, and that the bones of the neck are not placed into abnormal postures. Ever fall asleep on an armrest of a sofa, or in a car or plane?

Most of us have experienced the stiffness that comes with this. But some of us have spinal bones that are already sprained and displaced from old injuries, which means good sleeping posture is even more critical. Simply a minor change from our usual bed or pillow is enough to make for a stiff neck in the morning. Or perhaps you thought a stiff neck in the morning was normal because it has gone on for years.

One of the more common problems for morning stiffness is neck and body position. Stomach sleeping is a definite no. In this position, the neck will be twisted excessively. The best positions will be side lying with adequate head support, or flat on the back with a proper neck-support pillow. These types of pillows allow the cushion to push upwards into the curve of the neck, while the head is cradled. Usually pillows are simply too thick and these can cause the neck to be in a forward stressed position which stretches the nerves and spinal cord.

If you are waking up with a stiff neck, then it is vitally important to get your neck and upper back evaluated for proper posture and alignment. At Desired Health Chiropractic we analyze body structure and movement patterns to see if there is extra stress being put on the neck.

Our goal is to help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your day. Call us today to see how we can help you feel better, function better, and ultimately perform better!

Headaches-stretchingFor many patients with health conditions, exercising seems to be the furthest thing from their mind. For migraine sufferers, exercise itself can be a provocation for initiating a headache episode. And if you already have a headache, just the idea of going for a three mile run will likely increase your pain, not lessen it.

But exercise is an integral component to overall health and that includes people who suffer from headaches too.

The key is to exercise when you are headache free, to manage your exercises so that your spine is not excessively stressed, and make sure you have good flexibility of your spine before you begin loading it with exercises.

This is where chiropractic enters the picture. Your spinal flexibility is integral to maintaining good posture and assuring nerve impulses transmit freely from your brain to distant areas of the body. If you have a spinal problem, or subluxation, this may interrupt the free transmission of nerve impulses and make you susceptible to headache.

You may want to consider getting adjusted before a strenuous exercise to make sure you have good spinal flexibility. After performing a strenuous activity, it may also be a good time to have your spine checked. Little by little, your spinal muscles will regain strength and you may find your headaches a less dominant part of your life.

Other points to consider are getting adequate rest/sleep and to avoid overtraining because sleep deprivation can provoke a headache. You will also need to pay attention to water intake. Being dehydrated may also be a trigger for people with headaches. The bottom line is this: if you get the spinal care you need, if you watch strenuous movements that strain the spine, and if you get adequate rest and sleep, then you can begin exercising again despite your chronic headaches. Many patients with headaches say that stress is a trigger for their pain. Regular exercise can be a great way to deal with the stresses of work. Exercise is also key to your maintaining a healthy weight.

At Desired Health Chiropractic we have vast experience with all types of headaches. Depending on what is causing your issue will determine the extent of care we can provide.

The first step for anyone with headaches is to contact our office for an evaluation. We test body structure, neurology, movement patterns and physical abilities to determine how we can help you feel better, function better, and ultimately perform better!

headache-seriousHave you ever had a headache? Most people have. Some get them quite frequently. Well, has this thought ever crossed your mind: “Is this just another headache… or is this something serious?”

That is an important question that could save you or a loved one’s life. But, before we differentiate headaches, the first thing to understand is that there is no such thing as “just a headache.”

While some are MORE dangerous and even life threatening, all headaches are a sign that something is wrong. Know this: Pain is not normal. It is your body’s way of telling you there is a problem.

For example, if you put your hand too close to a fire, it hurts. The closer you get… the more it hurts. Too close, and it starts to burn. If you have a headache, there is a cause. Your body is sending you warning signals and you should be examined by a healthcare professional trained to diagnose headaches, their causes and treatment options.

Chiropractors are trained to diagnose many types of headaches and have had success treating one of the most common types of headaches, the cervicogenic headache. A cervicogenic headache is a headache that is characterized by chronic head pain that is referred to the head from either bony structures or soft tissue of the neck. So, if you get headaches, a Chiropractor is a good option for both diagnosis and treatment.

Now, what you should know about headaches and medical emergencies?

In a recent article in Tribune Newspapers, Joshua Miller, Medical Director at the Cleveland Clinic Strongsville Family Health Center, said, “The headaches that worry us are ones that start suddenly, like a thunderclap… especially if it’s accompanied by a stiff neck, nausea, fever, bright lights bothering your eyes… it could be bleeding on the brain, encephalitis, meningitis or some other viral or bacterial infection within the spinal fluid.”

Here are other signs and symptoms of a medical emergency: Chest pain and squeezing/tightness of the chest, nausea and shortness of breath, and fluttering heart. If you feel short of breath after doing an everyday task you usually do not get shortness of breath from, you should not ignore it. Also, abdominal pain should not be ignored. Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting can mean big trouble. Kidney stones and gallbladder disease are possibilities.

Bottom line: you should not try to diagnose yourself. No headaches are “normal” and sometimes,

they can be quite serious.

At Desired Health Chiropractic we have vast experience with all types of headaches. Depending on what is causing your issue will determine the extent of care we can provide.

The first step for anyone with headaches is to contact our office for an evaluation. We test body structure, neurology, movement patterns and physical abilities to determine how we can help you feel better, function better, and ultimately perform better!

HeadachesThree types of headaches frequently at Desired Health Chiropractic:

  1.  Headaches unrelated to athletic activity;
  2.  Headaches that are exertion/activity related; and
  3.  Post-traumatic headaches due to a sports injury or whiplash

Headaches such as tension headaches and migraines respond very well to chiropractic care. We focus on aligning the neck to reduce muscle tension and improve blood flow.

Exertion headaches that start with physical activity have many different causes. We must rule out dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and more serious pathological conditions first. Often we will look at imaging and laboratory tests to help us uncover why these headaches are happening.

Post-traumatic headaches are very common with sports injuries. Depending on how the injury occurred an x-ray or MRI may be needed to rule out extensive damage. Of course there is always a concern of concussion with sports related or injury based headaches. More serious symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, lightheaded, blurry or tunnel vision, slurred speech, or unclear thinking.

At Desired Health Chiropractic we have vast experience with all types of headaches. Depending on what is causing your issue will determine the extent of care we can provide. Headaches from injuries and tension, as well as migraines respond very well to chiropractic care.

The first step for anyone with headaches is to contact our office for an evaluation. We test body structure, neurology, movement patterns and physical abilities to determine how we can help you feel better, function better, and ultimately perform better!

Being flexible is not always a good thing.

Athletes, such as Dancers, Gymnasts, Figure Skaters, and Cheerleaders, demand extreme flexibility for their sport. The amount of stretch in their muscles and ligaments put them at risk of it causing more harm than good.

If flexibility is not matched with the same level of stability, it can cause issues and injury for athletes.

Let me explain how this can be dangerous. ACTIVE Motion is when you are controlling your movement with the use of your muscles. When a dancer extends one leg behind them, that is Active motion. PASSIVE Motion is when you are able to move your body even more with assistance of an outside force. For example, the dancer can reach behind and use passive motion to pull her leg even more toward her head.  

The goal of athletes should be to have ACTIVE and PASSIVE range of motion as close as possible. Because injury occurs when an athlete cannot control the extra movement in Passive motion.

At our office, we focus on developing stability, so an athlete can handle flexibility and prevent injury. We test for this at our chiropractic office by putting an athlete through a series of movement patterns to see which areas are weak, tight, or overactive. Then engage the nervous system in these areas through treatments and exercises to engage the muscles.

Three ways to know if you have a stability issue that may be affecting your sports performance:

  1. You have extreme inconsistency with motion. For example, you can’t touch your toes while standing, but you can reach them without issue while sitting or lying on your back. Or you can’t actively turn your neck so your chin can touch your shoulder, but if you push is with passive motion it does actually reach there.
  2. You cannot control a joint in your body with your muscle tone. Classic example is after you sprain your ankle and it feels like it might give out on you at times. This can happen anywhere you sustain an injury, including neck and back.
  3. Stability issues make themselves heard through symptoms such as clicking, popping, pain and stiffness, dislocation, and recurring injuries. Even if there is no pain yet, degeneration and excess wear and tear is forming which can lead to early arthritis.  

If you think you have a stability issue you really need to contact our office for an evaluation of where and how severe it may be. Our initial visit will test your structure, neurology, movement, and physical ability. You will learn exactly where your issue is that is causing you pain or dysfunction.

At Desired Health Chiropractic, our goal is to help athletes feel better, function better, and perform better. When you are ready to fix your health issue once and for all, we will help you get better faster!

Great athletes have fine tuned their muscles and movements, but also their five senses are usually better than average. Some ways that athletes have honed in on utilizing their senses to improve their performance include:

  • Vision – They can track rapid movements of player, balls, or terrain with ease.
  • Hearing – They can hear an opponent approaching from behind.
  • Touch – They can put a spin on a ball by the tips of their fingers.
  • Smell – They can smell changes in
  • Taste – They can taste the sweetness of victory.

And then there is proprioception – The athlete’s 6th sense!

Proprioception is the sense of your body’s position and movement. It is produced by nerves embedded in our muscles which send information to the brain about how much pressure, force, and speed should be applied. The brain uses this information to figure out how hard your quadriceps are contracting, how bent your knee is, and how long a step you have taken.

A great example of proprioception is when you close your eyes and point one finger into the air. You can sense exactly where and what that finger is doing, even though you cannot see, hear, touch, smell, or taste it. It is your body’s ability to know where it is in space. This is essential for athletes to develop because a slight turn in leg position can ruin a field goal, an elevated shoulder can cause a slice in a golf swing, or a bent knee can ruin a split leap.

Sports chiropractic care incorporates enhancing this “sixth sense” to increase sports ability. The nervous system is important because it controls how the body functions, reacts and moves. Therefore, when the nervous system is working optimally, sports performance is enhanced. Our office helps athletes remove irritation on their nervous system, so they feel better, function better, and perform better.

At Desired Health Chiropractic we assess biomechanics and neurology of the body so we can find issues before they make things worse. We want our athletes to feel, function, and perform goal is to help all aat their best.

Call our office today for a free assessment of what you can do to improve your movement and enhance your athletic ability- 763-205-6192.

Have you ever been surprised at how quick you arrived home because you don’t really remember the entire drive?

Perhaps you were daydreaming of what the future holds, or going over your to-do list in your head, or making mental notes of your next big idea. It may seem like a car accident waiting to happen, but the brain and the body are amazing at keeping control when we mentally “check out.” These weird situations is when muscle memory takes over, and it has a lot to do with your athletic game.

“Muscle Memory” is actually a neurologically trained phenomenon where the brain sends signals throughout the nervous system to move the body in a way it has been programmed or repetitively trained to do. The muscles are told what to do by a system in the body that is invisible to us on the outside. Muscles are controlled by nerves which lead back to the spine to travel up and down the cord to the brain for proper communication. If you remove the nerves from the muscle it can do nothing- it is just a lump of useless tissue.

So how can you use muscle memory to your athletic competitive advantage? Of course you will need to practice for hours in the field, in the court, or in the gym to gain mastery of a particular move. But to really enhance muscle memory you can take it one step further by practicing an athletic move all the time.

For example, I was a competitive figure skater as a teenager. I woke up early to hit the ice before school and stayed up late to train well into the evenings. But I also had to go to school, worked a part-time job, and did massive amounts of homework throughout the week. I trained my body while doing all these daily tasks and it made all the difference in my skating.

For example, I would do math problems standing at the table and practicing my spirals. I hung laundry at the dry cleaners where I worked with poised arms and and graceful hands. I would practice one legged sit spins anytime I had to bend down. And my personal favorite was doing footwork routines while watching t.v.

The act of repeating moves while your brain is focused on something else will reinforce the automation of that movement. So if you practice these moves sloppily or without perfect form, then you will reinforce those bad habits. But if you make them precise and strong, then you will train the body to own this movement pattern much faster. Give it a try for 30 days and see how quickly your game improves!

At Desired Health Chiropractic we assess biomechanics and neurology of the body so we can find issues before they make things worse. We want our athletes to feel, function, and perform at their best.

Call our office today for a free assessment of what you can do to improve your movement and enhance your athletic ability- 763-205-6192.

Most people rate themselves as “better than average” on any desirable trait — which, of course, is a statistical impossibility.

‘Average’ can be defined as a level or standard that is considered to be typical for a particular place, group of people, type of business, etc. However, the world is designed around the needs of average people. Nothing would function if the majority of us were outliers. You are not doomed to be average, because being average in many aspects of your life will actually give you an advantage. However, being different is fun, exciting, and can lead to rewards and riches. It also comes with a cost of extra time, more expectations, increased responsibility, and greater stress.

At Desired Health Chiropractic, we have the mindset that each patient is unique and that no two injuries or health problems are the same. This leads to a more challenging treatment approach, but it also gets results that are “above average.”

Here are five things athletes implement to propel themselves above and beyond the status quo:

    1. They work on themselves globally. They do not train just sports specific. They know that their body must work in all realms. Kickers must have strong legs, but also core strength to support the power behind the kick and flexibility to control leg movements.
    2. They keep their body fine tuned perfectly. Professional level athletes utilize regular chiropractic care, because they know it is better to prevent an injury then try to fix one later. They consider signals that the body gives as warning signs it is not working to its full potential. Headaches, anxiety, muscle aches, tingling sensations, scattered thoughts are signs that the nervous system is irritated and not communicating properly.
    3. They have a plan and checklist for every situation. Like a pilot has an emergency checklist to keep them calm during issues so they can work through them. When everything goes wrong, how do you handle it with grace and serenity to improve your chances?
      Here is an example pre-game checklist: Physical check (how do you feel), Equipment check (is everything available and in working order), Team check (are you communicating well), Fundamentals check (always practice the basics), Mental check (keep a mindset of confidence).
    4. They have a positive mindset when things get tough. They never quit, even after failure, losses, or struggle. Problems along the road to success will either hold you back or serve as a tool to guide you forward. Average athletes are slow to change lanes when things don’t go their way. Ultra successful athletes will always jump to the fast lane even when it may seem dangerous, but their confidence and determination is what pushes them forward at a faster speed.  
    5. They decide what they are willing to sacrifice. Are you going to train, eat right, go to the chiropractor and truly take care of your health, get your mind right, and work when everyone else is rotting their brains watching t.v. and surfing the internet?

 

Mohamaded Ali summed it up perfectly when he said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”

Maybe we won’t all be championship fighters, but we each hold a unique talent that is waiting to be expressed. At Desired Health Chiropractic, we strive to help turn your dreams into reality by giving your body the best way to operate. Schedule an examination with us today to see how we can help you feel better, function better, and perform better.   

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