Hayes Family Chiropractic

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

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The Thoracic Spine Is More Important Than You Think

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Maintaining wellness in the upper back 

The 12 vertebrae in the thoracic segment make up the longest part of the spine, providing stability and range of motion in the upper trunk. It is the only spinal segment that attaches to the rib cage meaning that it forms a vital anchor point for the structure that surrounds and protects many internal organs. It is important to understand the structures of your upper back as they give us the clues as to what is causing pain and dysfunction. To begin with, range of motion in the thoracic segment is defined differently.

Read more: The Thoracic Spine Is More Important Than You Think

Spinal Health is a Balancing Act

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Balance is essential for spinal health

Balance is innate- the three main requirements for balance are vision, the vestibular system and the somatic sensory system. These three elements work together to define your position in space, while keeping you upright and centered, whether stationary or in motion. From a chiropractor's perspective, balance is further defined by your level of control over equilibrium and stability. This has important ramifications for wellness, injury prevention and athletic performance. But so many people treat balance as just another subconscious human process; the reality is, improving balance is a signal way to improve your overall health, while preventing against spinal injury and degeneration. 

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Hunched Over All Day: An Unnatural Position For Your Spine

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Are you a habitual sitter?

Whether it is a job requirement, or a personal preference for leisure time, Americans are spending more time in a seated position than ever. The problem? Humans were simply not designed to sit; sitting is not our spine's preferred position, as evidenced by the fact that sitting puts more downward pressure on your spine than standing or laying down. We then compound this pressure by adopting poor posture- whether you slouch down, hunch forward or perpetually sit with your head forward, any posture that is not neutral is going to increase the amount of downward pressure on your spine. Unfortunately, for many of us, there is no way to break this cycle of sitting; instead, the best thing we can do is practice damage limitation.

Read more: Hunched Over All Day: An Unnatural Position For Your Spine

The Sleeping Dragon: When Injuries Remain Dormant

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Most people will suffer an injury at some point in their lifetime

And while the degree of injury varies greatly, all of them should be treated with the gravity they deserve. The younger your body, the more resilient you are to pain and dysfunction, meaning that you are able to process an injury more effectively than an older person. However, spinal injuries, particularly those that occur in the intervertebral discs, can occur, be processed in their acute phase, and rehabilitated, but then remain; this dormancy phase essentially means that while you are able to go about your life unaffected in the meantime, the structural integrity of the disc is compromised and it begins to degrade slowly over time. Once the pain re-enters your life down the line, it seems as though it has come to stay. 

Read more: The Sleeping Dragon: When Injuries Remain Dormant

Is My Bed Causing My Back Pain?

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If not causing, it could definitely be contributing. 

While you may have a sentimental attachment to your current mattress, it is worth asking the question: does it support your back? Sleeping on the wrong mattress can indeed cause, or at least worsen, back pain symptoms by failing to support your spine in its extended, resting position.

Sleep should be a time of rest and recuperation for the spine and surrounding musculature; by failing to provide adequate support, a compromised mattress could cause a double-whammy effect on your spine and well-being. So what is the difference between the wrong and right mattress? There is no single answer- the right mattress for you is determined by several factors. Read on to find out more.

Read more: Is My Bed Causing My Back Pain?

Morning Time: When Sciatica Symptoms Are Sharpest

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Waking up in pain

Sciatica is caused by compression of the largest nerve in the body. Many people find that this type of pain is at its most severe in the morning time and there is one quite clear explanation for this: as sciatica is caused by nerve compression, any activity that causes such compression is bound to cause you more pain. It is very likely that if your sciatic nerve pain is at its most severe in the morning, you may need to address the way you sleep. When choosing to account for your sciatica with conservative treatment methods like chiropractic, there are three main avenues available to you: 

  • Address misalignment that is causing the compression in the first place
  • Stretch and condition the muscles that could be impinging on the nerve
  • Avoid the degree to which the nerve is compressed

The latter is where your sleeping style comes into question. Read on to find out how you can sleep comfortably while accounting for your sciatic nerve pain. 

Read more: Morning Time: When Sciatica Symptoms Are Sharpest