Hayes Family Chiropractic

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 516 Patricia Ave. Dunedin, FL 34698
(727) 736-1000

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Your Neck: Friend or Foe?

The internet would have you believe that a sore, stiff neck is simply an unavoidable part of getting old. Indeed they are unavoidable if we choose to live more sedentary, immobile lifestyles; in this scenario, your pain is most likely a manifestation of several factors including strained muscles, injured ligaments and nerve compression. And while random flares of neck pain tend to get better on their own in a matter of days or weeks, pain is a signal that something is wrong and if you have recurring episodes of neck pain, it may be time to start listening.

Take a minute to admire the functionality of your neck; for movement and articulation of the head; for channeling blood to the brain and food to the stomach; among other things, the neck is a magnificent structure. Within that trunk the respiratory, lymphatic, nervous and immune systems operate in a state of fragility. Very few of pay attention to the neck before it exhibits signs of pain or stiffness and, by doing so, we are leaving it vulnerable to the physical and mental stress agents with which we live in close proximity. For some people who have reached their limit, it is time to stop reaching for the pain-muting pills, and seek a totally natural form of response to the problem.

Fortunately, chiropractic treatment is tailor made for the management and, in many cases, dissolution of recurrent neck pain. Chiropractic adjustment, performed gently and purposefully, help restore alignment to the vertebrae which allows for unimpaired nerve communication down the spinal cord. An example of this can be made out of the phrenic nerve, which powers the diaphragm (main breathing muscle), and is itself powered by nerves exiting between C3 and C5. A subluxation in this region can cause restrictions to the respiratory system as well as pain and stiffness due to nerve compression. Furthermore, trigger point therapy and massage can release muscles from epidemic tension, allowing you to feel looser and move with less pain. It's time to take the health of the neck seriously, to prevent an old age full of more problematic conditions. If you are interested in protecting your neck, give our office in Dunedin a call and schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Chris Hayes, D.C. 

Sitting Posture

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As soon as posture is mentioned, most people sit up straight in attempt to look dignified, a slight look of shame on their face. But be honest and do a quick posture check: how are you sitting right now? Chances are that many of us are reading on laptops that rest on desks well below eye level, which is an almost certain way to lead yourself into the hunched over laptop pose shown above. This "laptop pose," as you might call it, is characterized by shoulders scrunched forward and upward and a neck and chin leaning down toward the screen. This posture casts unreasonable pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles, as they attempt to compensate for the weight imbalance your head is imposing on the spine. 

Proper seated posture looks something like this:

  • Head facing straight forward, centered over the spine. This may mean adjusting the height of your monitor to account for this position. 
  • Back straight, buttocks touching the back of the chair and shoulders relaxed.
  • A pillow or rolled up jacket can be useful for encouraging the lordotic curve.
  • Weight of torso distributed evenly between hips
  • Legs at 90 degrees or slightly higher 
  • Feet flat on the floor without too much pressure being pushed through them. 

Even holding this "perfect posture," for the entire time you are seated is not quite good enough. You must still find time to move around and free up the tension that accumulates when you spend significant time stagnant. 

Sitting, besides already being the worst position for the spine, is the posture that most lends itself toward laziness, and thus the muscular imbalance and poor curvature that can develop as a result. Sitting up straight is not a maxim to be taken lightly; for those of us who spend hours a day desk-bound, it should be a rallying cry. At Hayes Family Chiropractic, we are your posture specialists. That is, we can help you find and establish proper posture throughout all phases of the waking day. Muscles in the core can be developed to help stabilize the body and lend a hand to the vertebrae and discs in the lower back which may be under fire from a sit-heavy lifestyle. Whether you need to heal damage that has already been done, or establish a seated lifestyle that will prevent it from occurring, we can help; give our office in Dunedin a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Diane Hayes, D.C. 

Text Neck: An Overuse Syndrome

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"Pocket computers are linked to the premature onset of spinal problems in the world." Such a headline would have been unfathomable for most of our world's history, but the damage caused by cell phones is becoming a global reality in the 21st century, for millennials and their parents alike. Without you even knowing it, the cell phone, your all-in-one life manager, could be creating a pain in your neck: roughly 9-in-10 American adults have a cell phone, and estimates say that young adults spend up to 3 hours a day on the cell phone. If you are on your cell phone even half as much with poor posture, it could contribute to problems including muscle spasm, stiffness in the neck and excessive strain that can lead to spinal problems earlier than usual. 

The cell phone itself is not the problem as much as the human's proclivity for poor posture when interacting with the device. To demonstrate this, I urge you to take your cell phone out of your pocket. Chances are slim that you held it in front of your face at arm's length to take a look; chances are greater that you held it at hip level and craned your neck downward. Whether out of habit, a need to be discrete, proximity to the pocket or most likely all of the above, we rarely raise the screen to eye level, instead choosing to conduct our social lives and business from the hip. 

Any posture that involves shoulders slumped forward and neck looking ever downward will magnify the weight of the head to the spine exponentially causing muscles of the upper back, neck and shoulder to become strained and imbalanced as they try to compensate. For teens, who interact with a phone the most frequently (and, incidentally, who's backs are still in the process of growing) this is especially problematic. 

At Hayes Family Chiropractic, we believe this problem is entirely avoidable. We can help you stay aware of the pitfalls inherent with cell phone posture and provide you with healing modalities that can combat the stiffness and tension associated with a tech-heavy lifestyle. If you are interested in finding out more about Text Neck and how to keep well clear of it, give our office in Dunedin a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Diane Hayes, D.C. 

Bed rest...what is it good for?

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While the answer is not "absolutely nothing!" you could say that bed rest is an outdated prescription for treatment for all but the most serious of spinal injuries. Remaining sedentary is detrimental to the human body, regardless of whether there is an injury present; choosing not to move is a decision that weakens the body significantly. Take an injury to the lower back such as a herniated disc: with a degree of pain that still allows some movement, many people take to the couch for days on end: muscles atrophy, soft tissues become susceptible to injury and, specific to the injury, intervertebral discs stiffen and dry out when not moved regularly.

A herniated disc, along with many other spinal conditions, will usually heal by itself given enough time and attention to treatment. However, the time frame can be significantly shortened and the chance of a recurring injury lessened with purposeful movement, of the kind we can show you at Hayes Family Chiropractic. Once we alleviate your pain to the point where it is possible to get up and go, you can start with light aerobic activity such as walking or swimming, and combine this with gentle stretching and corrective exercises that will make a world of difference. It is important to not go at this blindly: certain exercises should be avoided depending on the nature of your injury. To stick with the herniated disc example, symptoms are usually worsened by exercises such as leg lifts, dead lifts and standing hamstring stretches. Instead we want to focus on establishing the core as a stabilizer using planks, side-planks and twisting crunches. 

In support of your attempt at healing, we provide modalities including chiropractic adjustment, spinal decompression, therapeutic massage and trigger point therapy and can help you establish corrective exercises and preventative stretching as part of your health care portfolio. If you are interested in healing your injury the natural way, give our office in Dunedin a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Diane Hayes, D.C. 

Sleepless in Florida

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While obesity has been the preeminent epidemic of the last few decades, another public health concern has been flying under the radar simultaneously: sleeplessness, in particular, the disorders of insomnia, sleep apnea and sleep deprivation. There are plenty of reasons why sleep is becoming harder to come by: caffeine addiction, the non-stop nature of the city and almost constant electronic stimulation during day time are some of the more modern factors. Regardless, lack of sleep creates a huge drag on quality of life: depression, obesity, hypertension and cancer have all been linked to chronic sleeplessness. On the other side of the coin, the one we hope to help everyone find, are the health benefits linked to sleeping well: 

  • Longer life 
  • Improved memory
  • Better mental and physical performance
  • Healthier weight with less fluctuation
  • Less stress
  • Lower levels of problematic inflammation

Chiropractic offers a multi-dimensional approach to helping you find a better night's sleep. At Hayes Family Chiropractic, we focus on correcting misaligned vertebrae helps to improve communication between the brain and body, while simultaneously regulating blood flow and the circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. If there is a physical problem that is holding you back, particularly in the realm of pain or structural dysfunction, we can help you address the root of the problem and get you pain-free so you can fall asleep. From here it may be a matter of making minute lifestyle adjustments that will allow you to switch your busy brain off and find a state of true relaxation. 

Dr. Diane Hayes, D.C.

Spinal Balance through Walking

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Walking is one of the simplest and most profound ways you can contribute to your own well-being. America on the whole is geared toward motorization: cars are a relied upon method of transport for a significant percentage of the population. Unless you are in the city, even a trip to the grocery store often involves a car and the outcome can be significant: sitting in a car for 5 minutes versus walking for 20 leaves your body at a disadvantage. For people managing back pain, this disparity is even more significant, because it perpetuates a lifestyle of sitting too much and walking too little. Consider the benefits that can be derived from a simple walk: 

  • Fighting back pain: going for a walk releases endorphins which help to manage pain. 
  • Managing weight: you are burning calories, albeit at a lower rate than with a full workout, but every calorie counts as the number one factor burdening adult spines is too much weight!
  • Boosts range of motion: sitting around keeps you tight; moving around frees you up. By getting spinal joints moving, you are helping to prevent against injury. 
  • Improves circulation: getting the blood flowing feels good. It brings oxygen and nutrients to cells in your body which have been suffering from inactivity. 
  • Spinal balance: keeping the muscles in your back from pulling your body out of alignment and your spinal column in a state of balance helps to improve the function of the nervous system. 

The only investment is time: can you carve out 30 minutes in the evening to devote to a post-dinner walk? At Hayes Family Chiropractic, we believe that great health improvements begin with the smallest of steps: unlocking a penchant for walking can help you with any health goals you have. Give our office in Dunedin a call today to schedule an appointment and find out how we can help you implement small lifestyle adjustments, to go along with chiropractic care that will let you live to the fullest. 

Dr. Diane Hayes, D.C.