Backpack Safety Awareness Day

National Backpack Awareness Day

By | Nejat

With school back in session the importance of backpack safety should be top of mind. Adults and children need to be aware of the consequences of carrying a backpack incorrectly. There are some basic guidelines to follow when wearing a backpack. Carrying a backpack incorrectly can cause back pain and damage to the spine. The guidelines below will help in preventing damage and pain from occurring.

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, we are now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.

5 Types Of Headaches And What May Be Causing Them

By | Nejat

35932521_s-300x200Headaches are one of the most common types of afflictions among people in the workplace. They can be caused by too much pressure, such as too many deadlines, expectations, stress and other feelings of being stretched too thin.

And headaches can strike at any time, from a minor pounding, ringing, or feeling of pressure from your sinuses to a major attack or migraine.  Did you know there are five types of headaches?

At least 80% of people experience headaches without showing signs of a sinus infection. These can turn into more severe problems, such as migraines. Tame your pain with these tips.

What type of headache do you have?

  • Migraine headache: This type of massive pounding can last for four to 72 hours and often feel like a serious throbbing or one-sided pain. Some migraine sufferers also experience nausea and light/sound sensitivity. This can be hereditary and can cause eye damage. You might need a doctor for persistent migraines.
  • Sinus headache: If your sinuses become inflamed by infection from a cold or flu, it can be majorly annoying and painful. You can either get doctor-prescribed antibiotics or try an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine to treat sinus infections.
  • Tension headache:  These are the most common and feel like aching or pressure through the temples to the back of your head and neck. Although they are less severe than migraines, they can put a damper on your day.  Tension headaches can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  These types of headaches could be due to changes in brain chemicals or contraction of the neck.
  • Rebound headache: These headaches imply a frequent use of painkillers, alcohol or drugs that once taken out of the equation may bring on massive headaches.  Even common over-the-counter medications and prescriptions can cause these from the overstimulation of the brain. You have to wait for the withdrawals to subside.
  • Cluster headache: This is a headache often characterized by pain on one side of the head and may be in conjunction with watery eyes, runny noses and reoccurring headaches that affect one side of the face. Some think genetics have something to do with it and there is no cure, although certain medications can taper the frequency of occurrences.

Other common headache causes may include obesity, having an all-too-serious personality (you need to laugh and smile more!), overtraining at the gym, painting, dehydration, starvation, drinking too many cups of coffee, work overload, sleep deprivation, or even sex. However, you should not let a headache deter you from doing things you enjoy.

Research indicates that some types of headaches can be treated through spinal manipulation. A good massage or visit to the chiropractor can help to ease tension in your temples, as well as other benefits throughout your neck and back. The relief may last longer and have fewer side effects than medications.

This is because neck and spinal therapy hits the trigger points that may be causing a headache. Stress, loud noise, bright light, too much exercise, poor diet or bad posture; and insomnia are also common triggers of headaches. Prolonged headaches may be pointing to something more serious, such as having a disease.

Exercising and eating healthy can decrease your chances of getting frequent headaches. Sometimes this can also help your headache to go away on its own.

Spine Injury During The Holiday

Protect Your Spine During Holiday Shopping

By | Nejat

31866862_s-200x300Shopping is a big part of the holiday season, whether you’re part of the mad rush of Black Friday, or you favor a more laid back approach. Especially if you have a number of people on your holiday gift list, the process of finding the perfect gifts for everyone can be exhausting, as well as hard on your wallet. But did you know it can also be hard on your spine? Spending hours shopping means spending hours on your feet, which can put your back, neck and shoulders at risk. Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you’ll be able to spare your spine and still garner the gifts you need.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t to say you have to wear your grandmother’s orthopedic loafers, but heels are a bad idea. Not only can they put a strain on your back, but they also contribute to your risk of foot or ankle injury. Instead, choose walking shoes or athletic shoes, designed to provide healthy support.
  • Ditch the heavy purse. Instead, opt for a small backpack, which will distribute weight more evenly, using your strongest muscles, those in your back and abdomen, to support it.
  • Bring along a list. A list is the key to getting in and out of shopping centers quickly. When you know what you need, it’s easier to stick to a plan, and spend less time on your feet.
  • Ask for help when you need it. This applies to more than one situation. First, learn to delegate when you can, so that you’re not stuck with the bulk of the buying. Then, don’t be afraid to ask store personnel to help you with heavy items or things that are high up on shelves.
  • Avoid the crowds when you can. This will prevent you from bending, twisting, or being jostled as you try to maneuver through the masses, but it will also reduce the time you spend standing in line.
  • Distribute weight intelligently. Carry shopping bags close to your body, and try to keep the same weight in each hand. Where possible, however, use a cart, to avoid straining your back.  If you’re shopping at several different stores in the same shopping center, take your bags out to the car in several trips, to keep from having to carry them all at once.
  • Stop for sustenance. Taking a break to have a snack and drink some water is a good idea. It gives you the chance to rest and recharge, and staying hydrated helps to prevent muscle spasms.

A healthy spine is extremely important to your overall wellness. That’s why our clinic offers chiropractic and other physical medicine disciplines, embracing a holistic healing approach that helps patients reach their wellness goals. To schedule an appointment with our chiropractor, Dr. Shadi Nejat, click here. 

Stressed Woman During the Holidays

De-Stress Your Holiday Season

By | Nejat

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 2.41.26 PMThe holiday season has begun, a happy time full of love, warmth, and magical memories. Right? For some people, the holidays are anything but peaceful. In fact, as we try to make the season merry and bright, it’s easy to run ourselves ragged, chasing that holiday magic. Add to this the seasonal depression suffered by many Americans, and you have a recipe for a season that’s absolutely taxing. So how will you cope? Choose from the following tips, to find the ones that make the most sense in managing your holidays.

  • Don’t overbook yourself. It’s easy to do, with all the fun activities and social commitments available during the holiday season. Look at your options objectively, and know when to say no. Outsource things if you need to in order to keep your to-do list manageable. You don’t need to be a superhero, and you’ll enjoy the holidays much more if you slow your pace and only do the things that are important, and join the activities that offer the most value, whether in terms of meaning or fun.
  • Keep a sense of humor. A good laugh can make you feel great and shift your point of view. Learn to see the funny side of things and keep time in your schedule for silliness and fun. Even when you’re busy, curling up on the couch with your kids to watch a funny holiday movie may be just what you need to renew your spirits and make it easier to get back on task.
  • Focus on what you love. The most important things about this time of year are extremely subjective, and only you can decide what means the most to you. Learn to notice what’s going on around you, and keep your focus on the things you enjoy. Sometimes this means deciding not to multi-task, but taking the time to appreciate the moments as they happen, whether you’re baking cookies, wrapping gifts, or simply driving through a decorated neighborhood.
  • Take care of your body. Your hectic holiday schedule may disrupt your normal routine, but be sure to work in some exercise anyway. Practice healthy eating habits, and get plenty of sleep—two mandates that can be tricky this time of year. If you allow yourself to become run down and puny, you will have a harder time enjoying the holiday.
  • Nourish your spirit. If your faith is central to your holiday celebration, be mindful of that, and don’t let other things get in the way. Even if you do not have a faith tradition, take the time to meditate and center yourself, breathing in the things that calm and enrich you, and letting go of those things that drain your energy. Listen to music that uplifts you, and be sure to spend some time with nature each day, whether you’re taking a walk or simply taking a breath and really looking out the window at your surroundings.
  • Lower your expectations. If you’re trying to make the holidays perfect, just stop. No one has a perfect holiday season, and that’s perfectly normal. Shoot for a happy time, full of fun and opportunities to make memories, and it will be perfect enough for those you love. And speaking of those you love, don’t expect perfection from them, either. Especially when families get together and people are tense from travel and holiday preparations, tensions can run high. Defuse them by operating in the spirit of the season, making a conscious decision to give and accept love, without worrying about whether people, events and things are living up to your expectations.
  • Do something for someone else. It’s a great time of year to help others, because there are so many opportunities readily available! Shop for a needy child, volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen; bring blankets to a homeless shelter. By focusing on the needs of someone else for a while, you can not only help them, but also shift your perspective.

Once you strike a balance between working to make the holidays the way you want them, and just allowing them to be what they are, you’ll find that you’re much more relaxed. Minimizing your stress is important to your emotional wellbeing, and at our clinic, we strive to build our patients up and help to set them on the path to optimal wellness. For more information about how we can help you, give us a call or request an appointment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year?

By | Nejat

SAD-300x230The old song declares the holiday season to be the most wonderful time of the year, as well as the “hap- happiest season of all.” But is this true? For many people, the holidays are a difficult time, and depression is high in the winter months. Some of this is circumstantial, as people deal with the loss of loved ones or difficult personal situations. Others, however, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a very real illness in which the shorter days trigger depression.

SAD is not the same as a mild case of the winter blues. Most people get a little glum when the weather turns gloomy, but for the half million people in the United States who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, the winter can be debilitating. The condition occurs most often in women and adolescents, and symptoms tend to peak in January and February, improving as the spring arrives and days lengthen. While the cause is not known, this illness is thought to relate to the biological clock and its responses to sunlight. Fortunately, there are some natural solutions to the problem.

Conventional treatment for SAD uses increased exposure to light, often in combination with antidepressant medications. While getting outside during the brightest part of the day can be significantly helpful, some people suffer side effects like headaches, eye strain, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia when exposed to bright artificial light.

Natural treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder include:

  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D levels drop during the winter, when people have less opportunity for exposure to the sun. Some studies have indicated that vitamin D supplements can help combat the effects of SAD.
  • Melatonin: A hormone that plays a major role in our biological clocks, melatonin is manufactured at night, with the body ceasing to make it when the sun comes out. While it may seem counterintuitive, a small study found that taking melatonin in the afternoon could benefit some people with SAD.
  • St John’s Wort: This herb has shown great promise in treating depression, though it’s too early in studies of St. John’s wort in conjunction with SAD to show any evidence that it could be beneficial for this particular problem. (It’s important to note, also, that St. John’s wort contains a substance that can cause the body to develop a hypersensitivity to light, which makes it incompatible with light therapy.)

If you suffer from SAD, your doctor can help you determine which of these supplements might benefit you. You can also take proactive steps to prevent SAD impacting your life, by improving your overall health. Try to spend as much time outside in the sun each day as possible, even if it’s cloudy. Eat a well-balanced diet, and exercise regularly to keep your body in good condition. Perhaps most importantly, nurture close relationships, participate in regular activities, and build a strong support system for yourself, with friends and family you can call when you’re feeling down.

At our clinic, we believe in treating people holistically, using natural, non-invasive therapies. Working with our patients to help them achieve better health, we’re able to treat them as whole people and set them on the path to optimal wellness.

New Year Clock 2015

Prepping for the New Year

By | Nejat

New-Year-300x298January is right around the corner, bringing New Year’s resolutions galore! Of course we all know that most of these good intentions will flop by February, but most of us still greet the coming year with optimism. Here’s a thought, though: what if we prepared to make next year better right now, while we’re still here in the same old year? It makes perfect sense! The holidays, for many of us, offer a chance to be mindful, counting our blessings and making an attempt to live with a purpose and reach out to those around us. This puts us in exactly the right frame of mind to change the way we enter the New Year! What if we combined our optimism for 2015 with the mindfulness of the holiday season? Striding toward the coming year with purpose rather than groggily limping out of the holidays is a great way to make changes in our lives. With that in mind, here are some suggestions as we end the year.

  • Eat with a purpose. Many people eat too much over the holidays, feel bad about themselves and their self-control, and decide to start a diet in January. This year, why not try something different? As you celebrate with friends and family, eat joyfully and purposefully, savoring each mouthful of your favorite foods while passing on those foods that don’t appeal to you. Think of food as fuel for your body, and envision it bringing energy to your cells, and you’ll find you crave fare that won’t weigh you down. If you can get into the habit of eating this way during the holiday season, it will be easy to continue to do so during the coming year.
  • Take charge of your health. It’s easy to get sick during the winter months, because people are crowded together indoors, and illness spreads quickly. Be mindful of your surroundings, taking care to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching germy surfaces when possible. Eat nutrient dense food, consider supplements to boost your immunity, and get plenty of rest. This may seem difficult during such a busy season, but if you prioritize your health, you’ll make it happen, and soon living a healthier lifestyle will become a habit.
  • Reach out to your community. The holiday season is the perfect time to notice those less fortunate, but they exist during the rest of the year, too. Go beyond the holiday toy drive, or Christmas day soup kitchen, to find where the needs lie in your neighborhood and town. Look for opportunities to give back throughout the coming year, and you’ll find that you enrich your life as well as lives of others in your community.
  • Take time to notice the people around you. While you’re noticing people in your community, take time to enjoy those to whom you are closest. Slow down, and learn new things about those you know best- it might surprise you to learn how much you don’t know! It’s easy to race through life without truly seeing those we spend time with each day, but if you make a point to stop and listen, you’ll find your relationships deepening and becoming more rewarding.
  • Be mindful of your money. One problem people create for themselves over the holiday season is accumulating debt. This year, look for ways to express love, gratitude, and warm feelings that are less monetary and more meaningful. Focus on experiences rather than accumulation, and spending time together instead of material possessions. Look for ways to give of yourself, while wisely using your resources, and you won’t find yourself struggling to catch up as we enter the New Year.

At our clinic, we embrace a holistic approach to medicine that is applicable to every aspect of life. By working with patients to help them purposefully live more healthful lives, we’re able to put them on the path to optimal wellness, making them happier, healthier people, with more to give to those around them. If you’re ready to change the way you view your health, give us a call at (806) 744-7223.