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Winter Tiredness

winter

Fatigue can feel like a syndrome in winter. 

And there is a biological reason for this: with less daylight, the body produces more melatonin which makes us feel drowsier than normal. This sets the tone for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a mood disorder usually experienced during winter time and characterized by symptoms including: 

  • Depression 
  • Mood Swings
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping

....among other symptoms. It is thought that 1 in 15 people suffer from SAD but even if you are not among this statistic, most of us will feel fatigue of some degree higher than normal during the winter months. 

What can we do about it? 

There are several things within your control which impact your energy levels:

  • Exercise: Get outside, get your heart rate up and recoup what little vitamin D is available during the daytime. The endorphin release helps you feel happier and fights stress. 
  • Diet: many people are chronically deficient in iron and vitamin D, two nutrients that have an impact on mood and vitality. There are natural and delicious ways to get these into your diet.
  • Managing stress: don't work yourself to the bone simply because there is nothing else to do! Keeping stress at bay is a constant balancing act that can be weighted awkwardly during winter. 

How we help at Espinosa Family Chiropractic

Chiropractic is excellent for boosting vitality because spinal adjustments help to prevent impingement to the nerves and thereby optimizes the nervous system. By improving nerve function, the body is able to balance its own chemistry quicker helping to stabilize your mood. It will also help you to think clearer and move with less pain, both of which are necessary for feeling well in winter!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Dynamic Stretching

lunge

Working out optimally is about working smarter, not harder. 

This begins with the warm up- you may be itching to get going, but a few minutes (preferably 15) of gentle stretching will ease your muscles into a state of looseness that will allow for better physical performance, more muscle building and less chance of injury. When you transition from a more sedentary state to one where you are placing demands on your muscles, you want to prepare your body by getting the body temperature up and thus, the muscles will also heat up and release from their state of contraction. Warming up is especially important during winter when our muscles are even more contracted due to cold weather. 

Dynamic stretching is the key to a successful warm up.

Static stretching is the kind where you remain motionless (think reaching for your toes), while dynamic stretching seeks to get your body moving, blood pumping and muscles ready simultaneously. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we believe that a dose of dynamic stretching before every exercise will help you see marked improvements in mobility and muscle building. 

Staying fit during winter

With winter on the horizon, motivation is going down and complaints regarding joints and muscles are going up! We urge you not to join the crowd of people who kiss their summer fitness gains good bye during the holidays! While you may not be gym-oriented, and the thought of going out in the grey rainy weather holds you back from exercising, there is still plenty you can do from the comfort of your own home! And you can always pay a visit to your Sacramento chiropractor to get a fresh perspective, some newfound motivation and a check up for your winter body! We can help keep your spine aligned, muscles free of tension and range of motion intact, all elements that contribute to a happier you!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Free Those Hips

hips

Your hips don't lie: they have a claim for most important joints in the body and their health is essential for human movement. Hips have a lot of muscle mass that attach to them and they perform such crucial roles as conducting forces between the upper and lower body, activating and facilitating the movement of the legs, and providing for much of the movement we perform on a daily basis, including rotating and lifting. Unfortunately, our hips are up against it: as we sit more than ever, the muscles which make up the hip flexors are constantly contracted, which means that over time we are conditioning them to remain in a shortened position. This limits their abilities across the board and our bodies naturally compensate by shifting the burden to other parts of the body, including the lower back and knees, which have enough on their plate already. 

What's more, if we are going about our lives with shortened hip flexors, the minute we call upon them to perform even a marginally more extreme movement, the shortened muscle is stretched beyond what it can handle and injury ensues. Sitting has left our bodies in a veritable mess, and the hips are no casual victim; at Espinosa Family Chiropractic, the range of motion in your hips, and thus the greater health of your entire body, is our priority. 

Fortunately, chronically tight hips respond well to strengthening and stretching routines that seek to reverse the shortening which occurs during a session of heavy sitting. Chiropractic adjustment is great for relieving pain and nerve irritation associated with imbalance in the lower spine while simultaneously improving range of motion, allowing you to focus on a fitness routine that preserves the health of your hips. For help getting motivated give our office a call and schedule an appointment today!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Ice, Heat, Repeat

healing

Ice and heat can be an integral part of healing or alleviating back pain.

It is a time honored treatment which is readily available in most households; in case of emergency, or in instances of a flare up, many people reach for an ice pack or a heat pack.

Ice and Heat is tried and true, but do you know why? 

Because it relieves pain and instigates the healing process. When ice is applied to a region, a process known as vasoconstriction takes place in which the blood vessels narrow, inflammation goes down and muscles flex. An ice pack should be applied for no more than 15 minutes at one time. 

Follow this up with a dose of heat, which does just the opposite: vasodilation occurs in which the blood vessels open and nutrients and oxygen rush into the area. This provides for muscle relaxation and pain relief as the healing process begins. Moist heat is better than dry heat and you should also apply for no more than 15-20 minutes at a time. 

Ice and heat is usually associated with rest. 

And while rest is a useful tool for rehab, it can also hamper your efforts to get better quickly. In moments when the pain is most severe, rest, ice and heat are an advisable course of action. But if you can stand it, use movement as medicine to help fight inflammation and pain and preserve range of motion and strength of crucial muscles. To help identify and treat the root cause of your pain or stiffness, give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C. 

Movement > Bed Rest

run

A cricked neck or a bad back can cause pain so disproportional to the severity of the problem that all we can do is stay in bed and whine, taking aspirin and waiting for the peak of the pain to subside. While this may be recommendable in the immediate aftermath of an injury such as a herniated disc, extended bed rest is actually working against your recovery efforts. The reason for this is that not moving at all weakens the body even more; muscles tighten to perilous extremes and weaken from lack of use, soft tissues become more vulnerable to injury and, in the case of a herniated disc, intervertebral discs will stiffen and dry out when not articulated regularly. 

Most injuries, including herniated discs, will heal themselves given time and the appropriate attention to rehabilitation, but it is worth considering that the time you are out of commission can be shortened with regular stretching and strengthening. At our office in Sacramento, we use chiropractic adjustment, spinal decompression and trigger point therapy to alleviate your pain to a point where you feel comfortable taking on light activity. Once you have established a baseline of manageable pain, we start incorporating light aerobic activity, gentle stretching and corrective exercise which heals the injurious region and strengthens it against the recurrence of future injury. 

Of course, any rehabilitation plan is subject to your injury and ability level; nothing should be undertaken that will exacerbate the pain or make your condition worse; it helps to talk to someone who specializes in rehabbing these kind of injuries. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today and find out how good movement can defeat pain!

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.