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Do you Know How to Lift?

lifting

Lifting is a common motion of the human body...

...that is perhaps one of the most perilous for the back. At our office in Sacramento, we see many people who have injured their back through the seemingly innocuous motion of lifting an object.  Perhaps it is an injury that occurred when they were younger and never healed, or something more recent- the point is that you can avoid a lot of discomfort and potential degeneration of the spine by remembering to lift properly. 

Lifting with your legs, not with the back...What does this really mean? 

Whether it be a cardboard box filled with books or a paper clip, the motion is the same! You can cause injury by quickly reaching down to retrieve a dropped object just as you can cause an injury by attempting to lift something too heavy. Here is a checklist for lifting properly: 

  • Keep the object in front of you and bend at your knees into a full squat (even if its a paper clip!)
  • Lift the object in toward your chest, keeping your back straightened.
  • Tighten the muscles in the lower back, core and buttocks which will effectively lock your back into position, preventing strain of the tissues. 
  • Generating power from the legs, stand straight up. 

Lifting is a textbook example of body mechanics

Done properly, a lift should cause no damage; done incorrectly, any multitude of injuries could occur. And chances are pain will strike when you are least expecting it. Lifting correctly is about being conscientious and taking the time to keep yourself from incurring injury. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we have nothing but time for you and your body mechanics! Give us a call and schedule an appointment so we can start changing the way you feel today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Back Pain and Your Butt

butt and back pain

Could your butt be contributing to back pain?

It is always worth asking the question. Back pain, particularly in the lumbar, can hardly ever be pinned down to a single factor. The nerve network is so complex and the muscle network so far reaching, that often what starts out as the root cause leads to developments in other parts of the body. The butt, in particular the gluteus medius, is a good example of this. 

What is the gluteus medius?

The gluteus medius performs the hip abduction function for your body, helping to raise the leg up to the side of the body. As you walk or run, this becomes essential for maintaining a level pelvis and contributing to stability of the lower back. As you raise one leg to take a step forward, the gluteus medius on the opposing side contracts to make sure that the weight of the free leg doesn't tilt the pelvis down to that side. If your gluteus medius is weak, the weight of the free leg will drop down cause the pelvis to tilt down the opposing side, causing hip pain and lower back pain. 

What can I do about a weak gluteus medius?

Muscle strength and range of motion are crucial for maintaining a stable spine and thus posture while walking, running and standing. With hip abductor exercises, we can strengthen the gluteus medius to prevent the imbalance of weight from causing back and hip pain. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we are Sacramento's movement specialists; we want to help you understand the mechanics of your body and how they influence pain. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment and stop your butt from causing you pain today!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Creating your Zen Den

Zen Den

Having trouble falling asleep in Sacramento? It may be time to change up your sleep environment.

When it comes to falling and staying asleep, a huge contributing factor is what surrounds you. As we get older, we are going to face more strain on our sleep life- things like stress, caffeine and alcohol consumption and lack of exercise stack the odds against us finding restful sleep. This is before you factor in genetics and the possibility of sleep disorders that can develop with age. It is important to balance these malefactors with things you can control and, quite fortunately, you have control over the environment that you sleep in. 

Establishing your zen den: getting creative with your sleep environment.

When renovating your bedroom to account for more sleep, think about the things that give you the greatest peace. What colors bring you serenity? I bet you could find a hue that looks good on your walls. What smells make you feel relaxed? A bit of lavender in a room can freshen up the smell. This is how you go about creating a zen den. Here are a few other things we came up with: 

  • Sleep hygiene: cleanliness is not overrated- a fresh, clean smelling set of sheets goes a long way to helping you relax. 
  • Mattress and pillow comfort: when it comes down to value for price, a mattress is one of the best purchases you can make. You spend a lot of time on your mattress, so its worth getting this decision right.
  • Control of noise: yes, keep out the bad noise, but do let in the good noise if it helps you sleep. A lot of people find success falling asleep with white noise. 
  • Ambient temperature: keep the bedroom cooler so you can get comfy and warm under the blankets.

Pain should not be a part of your sleep environment.

If you are struggling to fall or stay asleep because of pain in your back, joints or muscles, it is time to find and address the root of your pain. We are Sacramento's specialists in detecting the true cause of dysfunction in the body and we can help you set a course for rehabilitation to get rid of pain and make sleeping easier.  Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.  

Are you Ignoring one of the Most Important Muscles in your Body?

trapezius

Your trapezius could be the most important muscle you are not conditioning

It is certainly one of the least targeted muscles in the weight room. In fact, it rarely comes in for attention until you feel stiff across the shoulders after a day in the office chair. As with most muscles, lack of movement leaves the trapezius contracted and you experience that familiar stiffness in the upper back and neck. It's no surprise when you consider its location: the trapezius connects from the occipital muscles in the neck down to the lower thoracic vertebrae and influences shoulder and neck mechanics, as well as overhead rotation of the arms. 

Treat your trapezius 

The muscle is made up of three distinct parts: the upper, middle and lower, each performing a different function. The key to working out your trapezius is conditioning each part equally; by doing so, you can encourage a healthy alignment of the shoulders and upper spine. This can go a long way toward preventing the development of spinal conditions down the road.

A stronger set of traps could have you looking better and feeling better

We have given you a few reasons why you might want to pay attention to your traps. Shrugging your shoulders is the simplest way you can start conditioning your trapezius and we can show you ways you can stretch this muscle right from your desk to prevent pain and stiffness from surfacing due to lack of movement. Give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.

Before Bed: Replace Screens with Stretching

stretch and sleep

Stretching makes falling asleep easier

To riff on the trend of our last blog, why not try reallocating a few minutes of screen time to the relaxing pursuit of stretching. By stretching in the hour leading up to bed, you will release any lasting muscle tension from the day while promoting relaxation and harmony within your body. By being mindful and practicing deep breathing, you are also nourishing your brain with the oxygen it needs to calm down and switch off. 

You don't even have to get out of bed to stretch

Forget breaking out the yoga mat- you don't even have to leave the bed for these simple stretches. The ones we have selected here target the lower back, hip and hamstring regions, places that accumulate a lot of tension during a day spent sitting. All of these stretches start by laying flat on your back (in bed):

  • Knee to chest: bring one knee up toward your chest and clasp both hands on your thigh for support. Hold 30 seconds then switch sides
  • Spinal twist: bring both knees up toward your chest then lower them down to the right side. Extend your left arm straight out and look over your left shoulder. Hold 30 seconds then switch sides and repeat.
  • Hamstring stretch: Extend one leg up as straight and high as possible. Clasp behind the thigh with both hands for support. Hold 30 seconds and repeat with other leg. 

Stretching and sleeping are integral parts of our wellness plan

At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we know that a good night's sleep is worth its weight in gold. That's why we want to offer you all the tools at our disposal to help you find the solace of sleep. A great way to start sleeping better is to target long-standing pain in your back- by detecting the true root of your pain and creating a plan for getting better, we will have you sleeping more peacefully in no time. Give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.