Do I have "Cervical Myelopathy?"

Do I have "Cervical Myelopathy?"

Cervical myelopathy, or more specifically called "cervical spondylotic myelopathy" (CSM), is the most common spinal cord disorder in those over age 55. A spine under repeated stress often undergoes degenerative processes.  This abnormal normal wear and tear, can cause a narrowing of the space through which the spinal cord passes, compressing the nerves. OUCH!  Sound like you have CSM or would like to avoid it?  We don't blame ya...

Longmont Chiropractor Dr Jay Breitlow refers to this narrowing of the spinal cord as "Subluxation".  If left untreated this disorder (both subluxation and it's chronic cousin CSM) can cause pain and possible disability.  As time goes by cervical disc degeneration, (often common, but still not normal, in those over age 40) creates a narrowing of the space between the vertebrae when the disc either shrinks or bulges. Unfortunately, this degeneration also has a tendency to accelerate if not properly addressed.

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Memory Foam Mattresses and Back Health: The Pros and Cons

Memory Foam Mattresses and Back Health: The Pros and Cons

Could a memory foam mattress help you get a better night's sleep? Could it help relieve your aching back? If you're not getting enough sleep every night or you're waking up every morning with a backache, you might be willing to pay almost anything to stop the suffering. But should you? It's important to start with one important idea: Everyone's body is different. Some people swear by memory foam mattresses, and some people hate them.

But first, let's examine what a memory foam mattress actually is. As the name suggests, these mattresses are made of a foam-like material that cushions the body. Designed for NASA in the mid-1960s, this material was perfect for cushioning astronauts from the heavy forces of acceleration during liftoff. The qualities of the memory foam mattress allow it to custom fit any person. The specially-made foam molds around the body, giving way to pressure and temperature to mold to each person's unique shape. The foam is designed to spring back to its original shape once the person gets up.

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Are We Sitting Ourselves to Death?

Are We Sitting Ourselves to Death?

Whether we like to admit it or not, much of the technology in our lives is used, sadly, while sitting down.  As time passes and the year tick by, we are starting to see that sitting is contributing to a growing list of health problems in our society. Those who sit at a desk for long stretches of the day or sit behind the wheel of a car/truck with little or no exercise are big-time increased risk for a number of chronic health problems.

According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have such a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like "obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, decreased energy, and abnormal cholesterol levels." Another study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a 50% greater risk of death from any source.

It's not difficult to imagine why this might be the case. Greater body weight combined with lower strength, low stamina, reduced balance, little flexibility means we are seeing more humans with less agility, decreased durability, and frankly a litany of health concerns. Not even to mention the likelihood of more accidents and injuries. The same study showed a 125% greater risk of problems from cardiovascular disease.

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Stand-Up Desks Are Much Better For My Body... Right??

Stand-Up Desks Are Much Better For My Body... Right??

Standing desks or stand-up desks are not a new fad. They've been around since at least the time of Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation's founding fathers.  Good ole' Ben used one over two hundred years ago in his print shop in Philly. However, there remains a great deal of controversy regarding the benefits and drawbacks of stand-up desks.

A number of sources agree that standing up while you work gives you more energy and keeps you more alert. The University of Chester performed a study in 2014 that showed heartbeats rose by ten beats per minute because of standing. Which then increased the total number of calories burned each day.

In addition, blood glucose levels after lunch returned to normal significantly faster in the study subjects who stood as they worked. Others have found that standing helps reduce lower back pain.

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5 Exercise Tips for Better Posture

5 Exercise Tips for Better Posture

"Good posture" is more than an indication of whether you paid attention as a kid when your parents admonished you to "Stand up straighter" or "Don't slump your shoulders like that". Posture is the position in which you naturally hold your body when you are standing, sitting, and even lying down.

"Good posture" is what you do to maintain the correct alignment of your body parts.  This means you are supported by the right amounts of muscle tension against the pull of gravity. Most of us normally give no thought to our posture. Our muscles tend to "do it for us," without us even thinking about it.

The problem with this largely unconscious process is that over time our muscles can become weak or improperly trained to hold our bodies in less than an optimum position. This is bad-news-bears because proper posture helps us to keep our bones in correct alignment so that their supporting muscles are used correctly

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You don't need to lift more weight, to put on muscle? C'mon...

You don't need to lift more weight, to put on muscle? C'mon...

The Argument for Lower-Weight, Higher-Rep Workouts

Lifting very heavy weights can be dangerous.  Nobody has to tell you twice that if you decided to lift a horse, you are gonna wake up hurting in the morning... and many mornings to come.  But we are not talking about farm animals here, we are talking about lifting weights in the gym to stay healthy.

Bench pressing, squatting, curling etc at a very heavy weigh makes it more likely that you will be susceptible to injury.  This is because technique will likely deteriorate thus raising the risk of injury from bad form and increasing the likelihood of sudden adjustments - with nothing to say of actually dropping weights on body parts. This is double trouble if you're new to weight training.

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What you need to know about a "Pinched Nerve"

What you need to know about a "Pinched Nerve"

A "pinched nerve" refers to a condition in which a nerve is compressed by surrounding tissue, such as ligament, cartilage, tendon or bone. The term "pinched nerve" is not a standard medical expression, but it's an intuitive expression that almost anyone will understand.  And frankly it's a term I don't love.  The "better" term to use in my chiropractic world is "Subluxation". 

You see, the spinal cord radiates down from the brain, down your spine and where the nerves start is all the little "off-ramps" from the spine to all other parts of the body. Signals are sent from and to the brain along these neuro-superhighways, and if a nerve is compressed/pinched/SUBLUXATED, it will interfere with proper signal transmission.

After the subluxation has been there for a LONG time it will manifest as pain, not only at the site of compression, but also radiating from that point to surrounding parts of the body - including the organs. The reason why I say "a long time" is because only 90-95% of the nerve system transmits pain, depending on which research article you are reading. Once that misalignment of the spine (aka subluxation) has pinched nerves long enough is when you get that grey-cloud- day when the back pain shows up.  As the subluxation gets more "pinchy" and chronic with time it often turns into a deadening ache or sensitivity along your arms (aka cervical radiculopathy) or legs (the notorious sciatica). Any pain of this sort is a warning signal that there is a problem that should be treated right away!  Like last week!

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Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs?

Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs?

One of the most painful causes of lower back pain occurs when the spinal discs in the lumbar area become "herniated." A herniated disc happens when the soft inner core between the bones bulges out into the spine.  This places pressure on the spinal nerve root, and often the spinal cord itself!  OUCH!   The result can be pain in the lower back as well as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs and buttocks.  DOUBLE OUCH!

Medical doctors tend to treat acutely herniated disks with oral steroids and epidural injections of cortisone, both of which have limited success rates and adverse side effects. Recently, however, a major study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics has found that both chronic and acute herniated disks can be effectively treated by chiropractic adjustments. Woohoo!

The year-long study followed 148 patients whose lumbar herniations had been confirmed by MRI scans. All patients suffered from a form of back pain, sciatica, and radiating leg symptoms, and 79 of them had experienced these symptoms without noticeable relief for over three months. The patients in the study were treated with chiropractic adjustments appropriate for their individual cases, characterized by the researchers as "high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation." This is what your Longmont Chiropractors at New Leaf Chiropractic do! Triple WOOHOO!

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Understanding Inflammation

Understanding Inflammation

Inflammation is a natural part of the body's own self-healing mechanism, but is widely misunderstood and misrepresented in the popular press. First, many people confuse the term inflammation with infection-the two are not the same, although infection often causes the inflammation.

Inflammation is the body's reaction to the presence of harmful stimuli such as injury, damaged cells, pathogens, or irritants. It manifests as pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function in the inflamed area, but these symptoms are actually part of the body's own healing process, and an attempt to expel the harmful stimuli

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Good Posture: The "800-Pound Gorilla" of Health of Wellness

Good Posture: The "800-Pound Gorilla" of Health of Wellness

Good posture isn't exactly a high priority for many Americans. For millions of us, the number-one priority is working to provide for our families-and sitting all day at a desk is how we achieve that. However, poor posture while sitting at work for many hours every day can actually lead to poor posture while standing the rest of the time-and that's a more serious problem than one might think.  Posture is  the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to health. We see the spine  being critical to a patient's functionality and their satisfaction with their life.

This means that many Americans' habit of sitting all day with no thought to their posture has severe consequences-without good posture, many people can develop serious neck, shoulder, and back pain, leading to a sharp decline in their quality of life. Sitting all day with poor posture can lead to muscular back pain, herniated discs, and even pinched back nerves. Poor sitting posture can also cause tension headaches, diminished breathing, and fatigue.

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How Do Chiropractors Measure Range of Motion?

How Do Chiropractors Measure Range of Motion?

Limited range of motion is usually caused by an injury in a specific joint or by a chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, and is often accompanied by stiffness, pain, and swelling. At some point, limited range of motion can interfere with a patient's ability to perform day-to-day activities. When this happens, range of motion testing becomes a very important. At New Leaf Chiropractic, we measure a patient's range of motion to set a baseline, design an appropriate treatment plan and monitor progress over time.

Range of motion-the movement of a joint from full flexion (flexed) to full extension, usually measured in degrees-is a very important concept in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems that affect joint function, and it can be measured in several different ways depending on the part of the body in question. Each joint has a different range of motion, and the parameters of a "normal" range of motion are arrived at by observation and general consensus within the chiropractic community.

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Want to Upgrade Your Running Routine? Try Cross-Country

Want to Upgrade Your Running Routine? Try Cross-Country

For many running enthusiasts, it is essential to keep improving the workout technique and to keep things interesting. One way of doing this is it to try out different surfaces such as the treadmill, the street, and the track. However, new information is coming to light about the best way to upgrade your running routine: running cross-country on a trail. Why is trail running so beneficial for runners?

* Running on trails is better for your body. A trail's surface is much more forgiving on your joints-the stress of impact is significantly mitigated, making the trail a better place to run, physiologically speaking. Many runners suffer from knee pain, shin splints, ITB syndrome, or other injuries caused by running on a hard surface that puts a lot of pressure on the joints. For these people, trail running can be a life-changer. Trail running is also purported to help prevent most forms of tendonitis (unless you suffer from Achilles tendonitis, in which case, running on a harder surface may actually be better for you).

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