10 Minute Stretching Sequence to do Everyday!

Stretching is usually bottom of everyone’s health list, but it should be at the top! Holding a pose from 10-30 seconds can significantly improve range of motion around your joints. While the best time to stretch is when muscles are warm—say, after a walk or a workout—stretching is so beneficial that whenever you can squeeze it in, you should. Use the following routine to get started. Try to hold each stretch for as long as it takes to breathe five to six slow, deep breaths.

Chest Opener
Muscles targeted: chest, shoulders

Directions:

Stand facing a corner of a room. With your arms at your sides and elbows bent at about shoulder height, press one palm into each wall while staggering your feet behind you.

Slowly lean inward, pressing your chest towards the wall until you feel a stretch in your chest.

Hold without allowing your forearms or hands to move.

Glute Bridge
Muscles targeted: glutes, quads, core

Directions:

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet as close to your pelvis as possible.

Press down through your heels and lift your pelvis off the floor.

Continue lifting until your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees (your shoulders should still be on the floor). Keep your knees in line with your feet.

Hold at the top before lowering back down.

Figure-Four Stretch
Muscles targeted: piriformis (a gluteal muscle)

Directions:

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet pressed into the ground.

Cross your left ankle over your right knee, and then reach your hands around your right thigh.

Pull your right thigh towards you (keeping your upper body on the floor). Hold, then repeat on the other side.

Seated Stretch
Muscles targeted: spinal flexors, obliques

Directions:

 Sit with legs extended straight in front of you.

Cross your right leg over your left, planting your right foot outside your left knee.

Twist to the right, placing your left elbow outside your right knee, and look over your shoulder. Hold, then repeat on other side.

Straight-Leg Pull
Muscles targeted: hamstrings

Directions:

Lie on your back with both legs flat against the ground.

Lift your right leg up off the ground, placing your hands behind your right thigh.

Keeping your right leg straight, pull it towards your chest as far as you can. Hold, then repeat on other side.

Pancake Stretch
Muscles targeted: Hip extensors, adductors

Directions:

Sit on the ground with your legs straight and in the shape of the letter “V.”

Hinge forward at the hips and reach your torso towards your toes, getting your upper body as close to the floor as possible between your outstretched legs. Hold, and then walk your arms back toward your body to sit back up.

Calf Stretch Against Wall
Muscles targeted: calves

Directions:

Standing near a wall, place the toes of your right foot on the base of the wall.

Lean in towards the wall, feeling the stretch in your calf.  Make sure not to bend your back leg—only go as far as you can while keeping it straight.

Hold, then repeat on other side.

Should I use ice or heat?

Ice in the first 24 to 72 hours

As a general rule, it is best to apply cold therapy to your lower back in the first 24 to 72 hours following your lower back injury. The application of cold therapy can minimize your inflammation and swelling—which in turn may reduce your pain. In addition, ice can decrease your tissue damage and numb your sore tissues.

There are numerous options for cold therapy, including a frozen bag of vegetables, frozen gel packs, and a frozen towel. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure to note the following precautions:

*To avoid ice burn, place a cloth between your skin and whichever source of cold you select.

*Apply cold therapy for no more than 20 minutes at a time. You can apply cold therapy 8 to 10 times per 24 hour period.

Use heat to encourage healing

After your initial swelling and inflammation has subsided, heat therapy can be utilized to encourage healing in your lower back. The application of heat therapy stimulates blood flow to the area, which brings restorative oxygen and nutrients. Additionally, heat can inhibit the transmission of pain signals to your brain and decrease your stiffness.

What about chronic lower back pain?

The simple answer is that there is no right answer. Finding the balance between cold and heat therapy for chronic lower back pain is a process of trial and error—and what might work for one patient may not for another. But when it comes to exercise, many people with chronic back pain find heat therapy helps to warm up their muscles beforehand, while cold therapy helps with pain and inflammation afterwards.

Additionally, if you do suffer from extended or chronic lower back pain make sure to receive care from a qualified medical professional. Relying on self-care for too long may make your back pain worse.

Chiropractic and Massage together

Massage therapy and chiropractic care are both fantastic treatments for relieving pain, restoring mobility, and increasing overall health. When used together, these compatible therapies extend the health and wellness benefits of each treatment, benefiting the patient in a variety of ways. Massage therapy deals with the soft tissues, where chiropractic focuses on the nervous system, the musculoskeletal structure, and hard tissues. Knowing how these treatments work together can greatly improve your musculoskeletal function, thus improving your overall health.

Massage Prepares the Muscles for Chiropractic Adjustments

Massage therapy focuses on manipulating the soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and ligaments by improving circulation and blood flow that warms these soft tissues, causing them to loosen and relax. To do this, our experienced therapists apply light, moderate, or deep rhythmic hand and arm movements that help alleviate muscle pain and ache, while increasing flexibility. Using a variety of massage techniques, therapeutic massage improves circulation, decreases muscle tension and stiffness, and promotes relaxation. Increasing circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients that stimulate healthy muscle function, which promotes healing, reduces pain, and can prevent future injuries. This process helps muscles dispose of lactic acid that gathers in our muscles, often causing painful muscle spasms and stiffness. Additionally, massage therapists often incorporate stretching, herbal remedies, and aromatherapy into their treatments. A therapist’s healing touch encourages relaxation, while decreasing muscle ache associated with tension and spasms, leaving you feeling less tense and rejuvenated.

Chiropractic Before or After Massage

While massage therapy focuses on the soft tissues, chiropractic care centers on the nervous system and musculoskeletal dysfunction related to hard tissues like the spine, bones, and joints. Because these hard tissues are surrounded by muscles, tendons, and ligaments, tight muscles pull joints out of alignment. Warming, loosening, and relaxing the soft tissues before a chiropractic adjustment helps the bone structures adjust more easily, as tight muscles can sometimes make it difficult to manipulate hard tissues. Because chiropractors perform more extensive physical examinations, make medical diagnoses, order x-rays, MRIs, and other tests, they can help massage therapists identify and treat specific musculoskeletal dysfunctions. Receiving chiropractic care either before or after a therapeutic massage increases the effectiveness of both treatments, improving range of motion, promoting faster healing, extending the length of both treatment benefits, and improving overall function.

Myths about Chiropractic

Myth: Having an adjustment by a chiropractor is not safe.
Truth: According to studies, a chiropractic adjustment can be safer than most day-to-day activities like stargazing, having your hair washed, and more.

Myth: Prescription drugs, including the non-prescription variety, are safe to use.
Truth: Having a negative reaction to a prescription medication is common, and it’s listed within the top three causes of death in the United States. Chiropractic care offers an alternative to these drugs and can provide therapeutic relief from several ailments.

Myth: After you’ve seen a chiropractor once, you’ll need to go back all of the time.
Truth: In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we recommend having regular adjustments. However, we do not put pressure on our patients to return, and the choice to continue is completely their own.

Myth: Chiropractic care does not actually work or is not that effective.
Truth: Chiropractic specialists across the U.S. have helped millions of patients suffering from various ailments. Several celebrities and athletes including Tiger Woods, Christie Brinkley, and countless others have benefitted from chiropractic care.

Myth: Kids should not see a chiropractor and do not need adjustments.
Truth: Chiropractic care is safe for all children of every age, starting from infancy and up to the teenage years.

Myth: The bumps and injuries my kids get throughout childhood are harmless.
Truth: An OSHA study estimates that a child may experience up to 1,500 traumas to the spine before their fifth birthday. If a child regularly sees a chiropractor, the adverse effects of these traumas may be minimized or corrected.

Myth: A chiropractic care specialist isn’t actually a doctor.
Truth: While in school, future chiropractors receive 4,485 hours of college classroom instruction while medical students receive around 4,248 hours.

Myth: Doing self-adjustments at home are safe and can help me.
Truth: A self-adjustment may appear to work due to the short period of relief, but it is actually just a false sense of treatment that has not fixed the underlying problem. In some cases, it may lead to an arthritic condition.

Myth: The sounds you hear during an adjustment are the sound of your bones rubbing together.
Truth: The sound is actually CO2 gas from inside the spine being released. When this occurs, a popping noise can be heard during an adjustment. AFC Physical Medicine & Chiropractic Care Centers now offers a noise-free treatment option.

Myth: Chiropractic care can become costly.
Truth: Several insurance companies, including Medicare, can cover chiropractic adjustments. These health insurers are aware of the statistical benefits of preventative care compared to other treatment options like prescription medication and surgery.

Don’t live in pain. See your Gainesville chiropractor today!

As summer approaches, we have so many things to think about. What will I do with the kids this summer? Will gas really hit $5 a gallon? Can I afford to take a summer vacation? Taxes are due when…… (April 17th in case you really wanted to know)? Maybe I should file an extension!!

Often we are so occupied with the things that need to get done by a certain deadline that we allow ourselves to suffer. Have you had chronic back pain but put off doing something about it? Headaches that just won’t seem to go away? Many times we minimize our health or at least fail to prioritize it. Pain is not natural and there is something you can do about it. In fact pain is usually the last indicator that something is wrong. The last thing you should do is ignore pain and hope it gets better on its own. Make your health a priority and see your Gainesville chiropractor today.

Use Chiropractic to Cope with Holiday Stress

While we all love the holiday season, let’s face it the season can also be an extremely stressful time. Dealing with the family visiting from out of town, battling traffic on the highways, the crowds at the shopping malls can get us tied up in knots. We all feel these pressures here in Gainesville, FL the same as those in big cities.

Hours in the car can cause that old back injury to act up. Sleeping on that pull-out sofa or air mattress can cause serious misalignments of the spine. Cooking in the kitchen for all those loved ones can leave you aching all over.

What can you do to cope? Often at these times we tend to focus on everyone else and forget that we need to take care of ourselves. Don’t forget that wellness is a lifestyle and that even while you may be tending to the needs of others you should still take the time to visit your Gainesville chiropractor and get your regular adjustments.

Whether its an adjustment or you treat yourself to a massage for the holidays to get rid of those aches and pains, it’s not selfish. You owe it to yourself. Give yourself the gift of health this holiday season.