Northwest Wellness's Blog

Useful information for a healthy lifestyle.

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Stretches for Sciatica

Stretches for Sciatica

Sciatica,(aka pain in the butt), affects the buttocks, legs, groin, and lumbar spine. The symptoms can range from pain, weakness, tingling, numbness, or burning.  The source of the pain is the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine, into the glutes, and down the back of the legs.  The following are some stretches that can help relieve the pain by stretching the surrounding muscles.  The first three stretches are for the piriformis muscle. They range from more beginning to more advance depending on your level.

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Benefits of using Cold Laser

Benefits of using Cold Laser

At Northwest Wellness, our patients benefit from cold laser use for a variety of different spinal issues. Cold laser is a newer technology used by chiropractors, physical therapist, and acupuncturist. You may be wondering how cold laser works. Cold laser is a low level light that puts red light photons into the tissue and bone to help reduce pain and stimulate healing. Cold lasers are FDA approved for a variety of different issues: Acute and chronic pain, ligament sprains, muscle strain, soft tissue injuries, tendonitis, arthritis, tennis elbow, back pain, bursitis, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

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How To Prevent Back Pain

How To Prevent Back Pain

Eighty percent of all adults will experience and episode of lower back pain during their lifetime.  For some individuals this will become a chronic condition that can become debilitating.  Here are some tips to avoid back pain and take good care of your spine:

·         Sit with Proper Posture-Shoulders back with your lower back slightly curved forward.  You can also use a lower back cushion for extra support.

·         Avoid Prolonged Sitting-If your job requires you to sit for eight hours per day be sure to stand up, stretch and walk around every hour.

·         Bend At Your Hip-When bending over,  hinge at your hips while keeping your back straight rather than bending in the lower back.

·         Use Proper Lifting Techniques- Hold the item close to your body, engage your core and bend at the knees or the hips.

·         Sleep on the Proper Mattress in the Correct Position-A mattress should be firm enough to support your weight but have a soft enough cover to cushion your body.  Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow under your knees.

·         Avoid An Inflammatory Diet –Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and healthy proteins.  Avoid sugar and processed foods.

·         STOP SMOKING-smoking inhibits blood flow, weakens your bones and breaks down the cushioning disks between the bones of the spine.

·         Exercise Regularly – Walk, swim, cycle, stretch and lift weights.  These activities promote flexibility, strength and circulation which will keep your spine healthy.

·         Maintain a Healthy Weight- carrying extra weight will stress the joints of the spine as well as the knees and ankles causing degeneration and pain.

For more information on avoiding back pain and maintaining a healthy spine call Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660

 

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Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerves

 

The nervous system is interconnected throughout our bodies, allowing organs to function properly and a person to respond to stimuli.  The nervous system runs from our head to our toes, and if a vertebra is out of alignment, the pain can be felt in another area of the body.  When someone suffers from a pinched nerve, it means that a nerve is compressed and in an abnormal position. Pinched nerves can be caused by improper posture, lifting heavy items or reaching for something in an awkward way.

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Things You Should Know About Low Back Pain

Things You Should Know About Low Back Pain

Low back pain is far too common in today's society. About 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point throughout life. Low back pain can be very debilitating for many people and can severely impact overall quality of life. The good news is that low back pain can be managed. In fact, most low back pain conditions are easily managed conservatively and do not require surgery. 

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How To Choose The Best Mattress For Your Spine

How To Choose The Best Mattress For Your Spine

One of the most frequent questions I receive from patients is how to select the best mattress for their spine.   These days’ mattresses can be quite sophisticated and expensive.  It is certainly worth your time to do your homework and to buy a mattress with a reasonable return policy should it not be the right fit.  When shopping for a new mattress keeps these things in mind:

·         Select a mattress that is medium firm.  Too hard will not for enough cushion for your soft tissue and too soft will not support your bones and joints.

·         Chose a medium cushion top to allow for comfort, cushioning and proper circulation.

·         Find a mattress with a high number of individually wrapped coils to provide support and allow for movement.

·         Replace your mattress at least every 10 years.

·         Consider your sleep position; either on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees.

·         Use the proper pillow that allows support to the cervical spine when lying on your back and keeps your head aligned with your spine when lying on your side.

·         You don’t have to break the bank to purchase a good mattress.  Be sure to shop for good quality, but not necessarily lots of bells, whistles or specialized electronics.

For more information on spinal health, posture and restful sleep contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way at 2539270660

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How Does My Spine Work?

How Does My Spine Work?

Your spinal column consists of series of 33 bones called vertebra.  These bones cover the delicate spinal cord while simultaneously protecting the nervous system and allowing for movement of the trunk through the 24 moveable segments.  Muscles, ligaments and tendons attach to the spine and the spine to the extremities which allows for dynamic movement of the entire body

There are 5 different sections; cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx.  When viewed from the side, an adult spine has a natural S-shaped curve. The neck (cervical) and low back (lumbar) regions have a slight concave curve, and the thoracic and sacral regions have a gentle convex curve  The curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and allow range of motion throughout the spinal column.

Each vertebra in your spine is separated and cushioned by an intervertebral disc, keeping the bones from rubbing together. The discs have two distinct parts; a strong fibrous outer ring called and annulus and a soft, gelatinous center called the nucleus. The nucleus acts like a ball-bearing when you move, allowing the vertebral bodies to roll over the incompressible gel. The gel-filled nucleus is composed mostly of fluid. This fluid absorbed during the night as you lie down and is pushed out during the day as you move upright.

Between the moveable bony segments and intervertebral discs, spinal nerves exit the spinal cord to innervate the entire body.  This allows the brain to send messages via the spinal cord and spinal nerves to every cell, tissue, organ and muscle of the body and for the body to send information back to the brain.

The entire system works quite well and provides us with mobility, stability, strength and nerve function.  However, problems arise when the segments of the spine become stuck or immovable. When this occurs the system works poorly and decreased mobility, pain or lack of coordination occurs. 

For more information on spinal health and wellness call Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660

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How To Prevent Lower Back Pain

How To Prevent Lower Back Pain

Most all adults will be affected by lower back pain at some point in their lives.  Here are some tips to prevent lower back pain and avoid injury:

·         Watch Your Posture.  When you are standing keep your core engages and your knees relaxed.  When sitting, sit up straight with a slight forward arch in your back or use a small pillow for support.

·         Exercise.  Keeping the core muscles strong through exercise provides support to the lower back or lumbar spine

·         Stretch Regularly.  Stretch the muscles of the lower back and legs daily.  If you have trouble doing this on your own consider a yoga or stretching class

·         Lift Properly.  Bend at the knees and hold the object close to your body.  If you do have to bend at the waist be sure to keep your back straight, hinge at the hips and engage your core

·         Wear Supportive Shoes.  Particularly if you stand at work or home it is important to wear shoes with proper support and a reasonable heel.  For some patients custom orthotics are also helpful

·         Watch Your Weight.  Carrying extra weight, particularly around the mid-section, puts undue strain and pressure on the lumbar spine.  A regiment of healthy eating and exercise will keep your weight within a normal range.

For more information on preventing or treating lower back pain call Northwest Wellness in Federal Way at 2539270660.

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