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Safe Shoveling

Love it or hate it; snow is part of life in Iowa.  Most of us don’t give a lot of thought to the mechanics of moving snow off driveways and sidewalks.  But we should…. because shoveling snow is one of the most common causes of back injuries during winter months.  So what should you do? Follow these tips to avoid injuring your back.


Warm Up 

Shoveling is a work out so you need to warm up those muscles and stretch, just like you do before exercise.  Especially if you have had soreness or a prior injury, remember to stretch your low back and hamstrings.  If you wake in the morning to a fresh layer of snow, take a little time to wake up and move a bit before going out to clear it.


Pick the Right Snow Shovel 

A curved handle or adjustable handle will enable you to bend at the knees to keep the blade on the ground. Additionally, a smaller shovel will help reduce the amount of snow you lift at one time.


Push vs. Lift

If possible, push snow to the side instead of lifting it to reduce strain on your spine.  If you do lift snow, ensure you are facing the direction you need to move it with shoulders and hips square. Avoid twisting- always pivot your whole body. Bend at your hips or knees, instead of your back.  Never throw snow over your shoulder.


Work Smart

Shoveling smaller amounts of snow over a longer period of time is safer than trying to shovel a large pile all at once.  Remember that wet snow is very heavy.  Take breaks every 10-15 minutes and stand up and stretch.


Slipping is another common cause of injury during freezing temperatures. Remember to use footwear with good tread to minimize your likelihood of slipping.  Spreading kitty litter, gravel or salt on your walk can increase traction, too.  It is common to slip getting in and out of a car so spread some around where you normally park at work or home.


As with any physical activity, if you experience pain, stop what you are doing. Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor, who has specialized training in musculoskeletal issues.  Don’t have a chiropractor? Nelson Chiropractic would love to help you! Call 563-359-9541.


The Performance Edge

Exercising and participating in sports is an important part of an active, healthy lifestyle. How can you boost performance in competition?  Chiropractic care gives athletes the edge in performance and injury prevention. From the professional athlete to the youth or developing athlete, chiropractic care can enhance performance while preventing and managing injuries, giving athletes under chiropractic care the chance to play their best.

More and more professional athletes are speaking out about how chiropractic has helped them.  Studies have shown chiropractic care can enhance performance (speed, strength, reaction time, etc) by up to 10%!  Most professional athletic teams have team doctors that travel with the team to support their players.

You are never too old, or too young, for chiropractic care, especially if you are an active person!  Children put their bodies through lots of stress and injuries can lead to problems in adulthood if they are not dealt with appropriately as they grow. In fact, OSHA, which is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, stated that by the age of 13 you have already experienced over 1,000 traumas to your spine.   Think of “cleaning” up your spinal injuries much like you have plaque cleaned from your teeth. If you did not keep up with that, your teeth would have more and more damage over time.  If properly maintained, teeth will last your entire life.  It is the same with the spine; take care of it and it will last longer!

As a parent, how often have you found yourself buying special equipment like sneakers or clothing to help your child perform better? And more than likely they grew out of it! Chiropractic is an investment in their health and their mobility… and they won’t grow out of it!  Wellness is much more affordable than illness, or in this case, injury.

So how exactly does chiropractic help? The brain communicates to all parts of the body through a central nervous system. Nerves in your spine communicate between the brain and all parts of the body. That’s what determines how quickly your body moves, how quickly it reacts. The reactions are all controlled by these messages. It is essential that this communication is at 100 percent or the body cannot perform at its peak. Misalignments of the spine cause nerve interference (called “subluxation”) so that your brain cannot communicate properly to the rest of the organs and muscles of the body. The result is you have a decrease in your overall performance and in your overall response.  The speed and quality of healing is also improved with proper nerve function.  The Journal of Neurological Science states “The quality of healing is directly proportional to the function capability of the nervous system to send and receive nerve messages”.

We align your spine using gentle adjustments. The adjustment moves the spine back into its proper alignment so that it’s no longer irritating and interfering with nerve communication. Common areas of injuries in which chiropractic can help include: shoulders, knees, ankles, elbows, and of course, the spine.  So what position should chiropractic care play in for the athlete?

  • Improving performance by as much as 10%
  • Preventing injuries as well as speeding healing
  • Preserving future mobility

Our office in Bettendorf specializes in care for the entire family.  We encourage you to make an appointment and learn more about chiropractic and how we can help you!

Stay Healthy While Traveling

In this season of Thanksgiving, we reflect on our many blessings and give thanks for family and friends with whom we share our lives. Whether you are taking a short road trip in your car or traveling across the country by plane to visit loved ones for the holidays, it is important to take safety precautions to protect your body and stay healthy while traveling.

Whether you are traveling by car or by plane, the following travel tips apply:

Pack Light– While it may be more bags to carry, packing lighter bags is better for your back! Even if you pack a rolling suitcase, at some point it will need to be lifted up stairs or into a car, so it is important that it not be too heavy. A heavy suitcase or bag can aggravate (or even cause) back pain by straining muscles and joints.  Take special precaution while lifting a suitcase up and into or out of a car trunk.   This bending over and lifting up and over the edge of the trunk has been a frequent cause of injury to our patients over the years.

Lift in Stages- If you can’t keep your luggage weight to a minimum, at least remember to lift in stages. For example, if you are using the overhead bin on the plane, instead of hurling that bag from the floor all the way over your head; first put it on the seat, then the seat back and then the overhead bin. This will reduce your likelihood of straining your back through your range of motion. Always remember to lift with your knees and pivot with your feet instead of twisting your back.

Bring Support– Whether you are traveling by car or by plane, it is important to support your back and many seats do not provide the right kind of support for prolonged sitting. Bring your own small pillow (or a jacket or sweater) to put between the seat and your low back to support the natural curve of your spine. Neck pillows help avoid neck strain by providing support while you are sleeping in a sitting position.

Don’t Forget Your Feet– If your feet are not flat on the floor, additional stress is transferred to your lower back. So, if your seat is too high, put your feet on something to lift up. While driving, you can utilize cruise control and rest both feet on the floor to provide more support.

Posture Please- We know you are on vacation, but poor posture puts stress on your spine! Your back should be against the seat and your headrest should support the middle of your head. Try to avoid hunching forward and try to keep both feet on the floor, avoiding crossing your legs at the knees.

Move & Stretch– Extended periods of time without movement causes stiff muscles and joints. If you are able, try to get up and move around periodically to stimulate blood flow. If you stop for gas or change planes, walk around! If you can’t walk around, stretch in your seat by pumping your feet, moving your legs up and down, reaching for the sky, and rolling your shoulders. Staying hydrated with water will help your body fight germs you come in contact with as well as insure your need for bathroom breaks, which get you moving!

Safe Travel for Children– Always use a car seat when traveling with children weighing less than 40 pounds. Make sure the car seat you are using is the right size for your child and that it is properly secured to the seat. Some estimates show that up to 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly. This means that a lot of people think they are using them correctly and aren’t so always (ALWAYS!) have it inspected by a professional. Go to www.safekids.org to find a car seat inspection site and schedule.

The Doctors and staff at Nelson Chiropractic wish your family a safe and happy holiday season. May your blessings be many and your injuries be few!

Natural Approach to Dealing with Attention Issues

Holistic health care providers, like Chiropractors, look at a patient’s health situation in its entirety and how one condition might affect another.  Chiropractors focus on how the function of the nerves can be improved to allow the body to work the way it was intended.  Attention Deficit Disorder is a great example of a condition that has different systems in the body that can complicate the symptoms.  New estimates show that about 11% of children ages 6-17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit disorder, which equals around 6.4 million children.  Approximately two-thirds of them take prescription stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall.  The use of these Class II controlled substances to alter the behavior of children is disconcerting to many parents and chiropractors.

Chiropractors offer a non-drug and non-invasive treatment alternative for ADHD patients that effects the underlying problems, not just symptoms. “Motor activity—especially development of the postural muscles—is the baseline function of brain activity. Anything affecting postural muscles will influence brain development. Musculoskeletal imbalance will create imbalance of brain activity, and one part of the brain will develop faster than the other, and that’s what’s happening in ADHD patients,” says Dr. Melillo, one doctor who is extensively studying chiropractic care and ADHD.

Chiropractic can also help ADHD children with the sensory integration aspect of attention problems.  Children with ADHD are often irritated by the tags on their clothes. They may not like the texture and coarseness of certain foods. Chiropractic adjustments together with tactile programs, such as exercises, help reduce their sensitivity. Reducing sensitivity means better attention spans, as children will not be distracted by the factors that used to irritate them.

While chiropractors do not “treat” ADD/ADHD, the effects of chiropractic care on children diagnosed with learning disorders and hyperactivity have been described in a growing body of publications.  These studies show dramatic changes that have been reported in children ADD/ADHD following chiropractic care. Every child with a vertebral misalignment that reduces nerve function, called a subluxation, needs chiropractic care, whether or not symptoms are present. By correcting nerve interference, function is improved, with greater expression of human potential.  Very simply, chiropractic helps nerves work better to improve health.

Some other lifestyle changes can be made to help improve the child’s overall health and correct chemical imbalances that cause ADHD.  We would encourage these parents to:

  • Remove as many food dyes, sugar, preservatives, and additives from the diet as possible.
  • Focus on natural, mostly organic foods with as few pesticides or herbicides as possible.
  • Determine if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try elimination diets.
  • Stop using pesticide sprays in the house.
  • Insure your child is getting quality sleep regularly.

According to the Center for Disease Control when compared to children with excellent or very good health status, children with a fair or poor health status were four times as likely to have ADHD.  Chiropractic is another way to help insure that your child’s little body is functioning at its highest potential for excellent health.

-Dr. Traci Nelson