Sure, you can go see a chiropractor when you're in pain, just like you would go to the dentist when you have a toothache... but chances are you like to learn healthy habits to prevent the tooth pain from happening again. That's why you likely brush your teeth daily, floss, get dental cleanings, and x-rays on a schedule.
Did you know there are daily healthy habits you can do for your back too? Here are the healthy habits for your spine + nervous system to prevent pain and optimize your adjustments.
1. Provide nutrition for the muscles
Muscles, like any organ, need nutrients for daily activity. What do muscles need? Water, minerals, electrolytes.
Our recommendations: filtered water with reverse osmosis with added Trace Mineral Drops for remineralization + electrolytes (LMNT is carried at the office)
2. Condition the muscles
One of the main jobs of the muscles is to create stability and proper posture of the skeletal system. If we spend the majority of our time sitting in a desk chair, we're not activating these postural muscles. Over time, these muscles become de-conditioned aka weakened, leading to instability of the spine + joints.
Our recommendation: strength training of postural muscles for spinal and joint stability: target glutes (including glute med + glute min), core (including paraspinals, obliques, pelvic floor), lower and middle trapezius, rhomboids, lats, and serratus anterior
Favorite exercises: bear crawl, bird dog, dead bug, seated rows, lat pull downs, pull ups, push-up plus, reverse pec flys
3. Decrease inflammation
Inflammation from the diet can be affecting your body's ability to hold an adjustment. If the body becomes inflamed from dietary choices, there may be more fluid/swelling present in the joints interrupting healing and stability. Main culprits: sugar, alcohol, food sensitivities (most common are from dairy, wheat, corn, soy), MSG, seed oils (like canola & vegetable oils).
Our recommendation: decrease inflammatory foods and eating out - and if inflammation is present, take natural anti-inflammatories like quercetin, bromelain, and curcumin to help calm down the body's response.
4. Keep up with movement
Most of us sit all day for work, but that's not normal for the body nor does it feel great for 8+ hours. Lack of movement means muscles stay cold, have less blood flow, and are prone to becoming tight and de-conditioned. Our best tip- add walking into your daily routine and make time for fun movement-based activities (biking, hiking, swimming, running, intramural sports). Our bodies need blood flow to muscles, joints, and organ and daily sweating!
5. Mobility work after exercise
You just had a great workout: Peloton ride + weight-lifting! You feel amazing. But then you shower and start your day at work, sitting for the next 8 hours. You went from high activity to sedentary within a 30-minute span. All of that exercise is so good for your body but if you had repeated muscle contraction (aka biking or lifting) without increasing muscle length (aka stretching + mobility work), you'll likely feel VERY tight and uncomfortable for the next day or so. Therefore, we recommend mobility work after ANY exercise to increase range of motion of the joints, flexibility of the muscles, reduce joint deterioration, and prevent aches and pains.
Our recommendation: add some yoga flows and/or active stretching after ANY exercise or physical activity
6. Visit your chiropractor even if you don't have pain
When there is dysfunction occurring in the body, pain is often the last symptom to show up. Likely, there are other symptoms present before aches, pains, and headaches present. What should you pay attention to? Mobility/Range of motion of your neck, low backs and hips, flexibility, energy levels, ease of falling and staying asleep, menstrual cycle regularity, mood, immune system challenges... if any of these shifts or get worse, your nervous system may need help regulating. Chiropractic adjustments help regulate your autonomic nervous system by removing interference.
Our recommendation: stay on a schedule that works for you - regularly checking in with a chiropractic before symptoms begin. This may be once a week if you have high physical demand on your body, every other week, or even monthly!
7. Decrease your toxic burden where you can
Our nervous system, organs, and glands are very sensitive to the chemicals and toxins in our environment. As applied kinesiologists using muscle testing, we find toxins like artificial sweeteners, dyes, preservatives, fragrances, parabens, and phthalates creating inflammation + hormone imbalance in our patient's body.
Our recommendation: Start at home with cleaning products - opt for vinegar + water or baking soda for cleaning. Would you rather purchase cleaning products for convenience? We like Molly's Suds for laundry and Branch Basics for nearly EVERYTHING else (counters, tiles, windows, shower, toilet, hand soap, veggie wash, laundry).