Sit or Stand? Strategies to Improve Workplace Health

It’s high time to discuss a somewhat revolutionary trend that is beginning to take hold: the notion that it is better to stand, as opposed to sit, while at work. During the past several centuries, humans have moved from a largely agrarian lifestyle to one in which many people sit throughout the day. In fact, I’m sitting at my computer as I write this. And when I take a break from my work, I will often go sit outside on the patio for a short while.

Since so many people sit at work these days, there has been a large amount of interest in designing the seated workstation to optimize the time spent and to reduce the likelihood of injuries from occurring. Ergonomic principles have been broadly applied, particularly to the seated workstation.

However, with the changes to a more sedentary lifestyle has come a change in the types of diseases we are likely to encounter. No longer are we as likely to succumb to infections and injuries, the types of ailments that did our forefathers in. Instead, we are now plagued by the development of more chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Partly because we have largely conquered some of the infections and injuries, the life expectancy in the United States increased by almost three decades during the 1900s (from the mid-40s to the mid-70s). It’s said that we are now living long enough to get sick.

Sitting and Chronic Disease

Current research shows that sitting for long periods of time is a risk factor for a variety of such chronic diseases. It is now known that prolonged sitting contributes to the risk of heart attack, stroke and a variety of metabolic syndromes. As an example, a study by Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg found that sitting for 11 or more hours each day increased the risk of death by 40 percent compared to sitting less per day. And that was in spite of other activity levels.

workplace health - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkAdded to this increase in the development of chronic diseases are the negative effects that accompany a relatively sedentary lifestyle. The plain fact is that Americans are getting bigger! The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that nearly 36 percent of American adults are obese. This is up from 12 percent in 1990. And another 33 percent of adults are overweight. There is increasing evidence that the seated lifestyle contributes to this increase.

Ways to Increase Movement at Work

During the past few years, there has been an increasing interest in getting workers out of the office – or at least out of their chairs. As part of this trend, many employers have started to use and promote the stand-up workstation as a way of enforcing movement on an otherwise sedentary work force. A recent article in the Huffington Post provided the following suggestions for adding movement to the workplace:

  • Use a standing desk. Working from an upright position burns more calories (40 percent) than sitting. Additionally, prolonged sitting has been shown to increase plasma triglyceride levels, decrease levels of high-density lipoproteins and decrease insulin sensitivity.
  • Take frequent office laps: Regular walk breaks helps circulation, helps to refocus the brain and helps to burn fat.
  • Desk exercises: Perform exercises such as stretching while seated.
  • Treadmill desk: This allows the user to walk at a slow pace while working. You can place a computer and a keyboard on a treadmill and type (work) while you walk.
  • Yoga ball chair: Sitting on a yoga ball (aka Swiss ball, balance ball) helps to engage the core muscles and improves balance.
  • Standing station: There are commercially available standing work stations, but improvisation is also acceptable.
  • Active meetings: This is my favorite tip. Instead of sitting in a stuffy meeting room, move meetings to a track. I’m confident that meetings wouldn’t last quite so long if they were not held indoors in meeting rooms with attendees seated comfortably in chairs.

When Sitting Is Healthier Than Standing

While many of the preceding suggestions involve standing at work, prolonged standing is no panacea, either. It would appear that movement is a key to remaining healthy. Workers should be encouraged to move from a sitting to a standing position and back as frequently as possible. It would appear that the use of a sit / stand stool might be a valuable resource. All one has to do is to look at the drawing tables that are used by architects. They even have an adjustable work surface. UCLA provides the following pointers for when work done when standing is preferable:

  • When the job task cannot be done with the arms comfortably at the sides
  • When working on products that are greater than 6 inches high or more than 10 pounds in weight
  • When the work area is too large to be comfortably reached when seated
  • When the work requires more than one workspace
  • When the work task lasts less than five minutes
  • When the work surface does not allow the worker to comfortably position their legs under the surface
  • When tasks require the frequent application of downward pressures

Tasks that are to be performed from a seated position include those that are visually intensive or require precision. Also, when the task requires repetition it is best done from a seated position. By the way, one of the earliest ergonomic devices I’m aware of is the bar rail. Bartenders realized a long time ago that when their patrons had to lean on the bar, they fatigued quickly and went home. To keep them feeling better longer, the bars were fitted with a foot rail that patrons could place their feet on. This reduced the stresses on the lumbar spine, allowing them to stay longer. The same foot rest is a useful addition to any standing work station.

As I’ve written this article, most of the work (in fact, all of it) has been done while seated in front of my computer. While I am aware of the risks, I still find it more natural to sit while I work. I have to admit, though, I have a treadmill in the garage and am intent on attaching one of my laptop computers to it so I can stand and work. And that walk the dog and I take is going to be a little longer now. I may even go twice each day, rather than once. I’m sure he’ll enjoy that.

By Paul Hooper, DC, MPH, MS

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Beating Back Pain: Get Moving

Back pain is bothersome enough when it only lasts a short time; when it keeps coming back or doesn’t ever really go away, it can change your life. Of course, that’s where spinal adjustments provided by your chiropractor can help, both to deal with the initial pain and help prevent its recurrence. But your chiropractor’s probably told you other things can help as well, particularly in conjunction with adjustments and to lower your risk of suffering repeated episodes of pain. Exercise is one of them, and research continues to prove it.

New research suggests people who participate in regular physical activity, whether low-intensity activity such as walking or more intense pursuits such as athletics, are less likely to suffer chronic low back pain compared to less-active people. In fact, according to the research, which reviewed 36 studies involving more than 150,000 people (none of whom had back pain at the start of their respective study), the risk of experiencing chronic LBP was 14 percent lower for moderately active people and 16 percent lower for highly active people, compared to the least active.

Talk to your chiropractor to learn more about how staying active can not only help prevent back pain from becoming chronic, but also may help prevent it from happening in the first place.

back pain - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

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Growing the Right Way With Chiropractic

A healthy spine is essential for good overall health. Like adults, a child’s neck and spine need to be in proper alignment to facilitate good posture, movement and functionality. Understand the fundamentals of child spinal development and you’ll quickly understand why your child can benefit from chiropractic care.

As a chiropractor treating patients every day, I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most common questions posed to me is, “Why do children need to go to the chiropractor? They are so young. They don’t need to be adjusted, do they?” The answer to this question is a resounding “Yes!” Let me take you on a journey of understanding so you can see why kids and chiropractic go hand in hand.

kids back to back - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkI remember when 6-year-old Tucker (name has been changed for privacy) came in to see me for the first time as a patient. I had been treating his mother for over five years, and I had met him when he accompanied her on occasion. Tucker had been playing with one of his friends when he fell and hurt his neck. His neck was stiff and in so much spasm, he could not turn his head to the right. He was scared and his mother was concerned about whether he needed to go to the pediatrician.

After assessing his neck, I determined that his neck muscles were so tight that they had misaligned his neck vertebrae. I explained what was happening to him and then used very gentle methods to realign his spine. He was relieved to feel much better after we worked with him. The next day, he was almost back to normal.

Basics of Child Postural and Spinal Development

When babies are born, their bones are mostly cartilage, which is strong and flexible. Their muscles are underdeveloped, so they can’t hold up their own head. Over the first few months of life, their muscles strengthen and they develop the ability to coordinate movement.

By three months of age, most babies can lift their head while lying on their stomach. At around six months of age, they can roll from their stomach onto their back, and by nine months they can sit unassisted. Babies then begin to crawl, and by their first birthday most are able to stand. As their spine and muscles develop – along with their confidence – they begin to walk.

When a baby is born, the spine is “C shaped.” This changes at around the age of three months, when the curve in the neck develops and the baby gains control of head movement. The bones, ligaments, discs and muscles around the spine gradually become stronger and more coordinated, protecting the spinal cord and nerves within.

The curve in the baby’s lower back develops as the baby starts to crawl, and is further developed as the baby begins to stand and walk. The C-shaped spine eventually changes into an “S shape” that will form the adult spine. This S shape gives the spine its flexibility and allows a greater range of movement, helping children’s bodies to cope with the slips, jolts and falls that are part of growing up.

In most cases, the spine develops as a straight, upward structure. At times, there can be a side-to-side curvature called scoliosis. Scoliosis can vary from mild to severe. The more severe a scoliosis, the more likely internal organs and other structures can be stressed or compromised.

When we are born, our feet have no arches. As we go through our stages of development and begin to stand and then walk, the arches begin to form. We have three arches of the feet that eventually develop; they are fully formed by the time we reach 6-7 years old. Once a child has reached 7 years old, the feet are done developing and will grow accordingly with the rest of the body.

Your Child’s Spinal Health

How do you know if your child is on track developmentally? To help determine your child’s spinal health, perform this simple test. Look at your child and see how the spine looks when they are standing (facing away from you) with their shirt off. Does the spine appear straight or mostly straight? If you see a curve either to the right or the left, make a note of how it looks to you. Then, have the child bend forward and see if the curve disappears. This is helpful information to tell your chiropractor when you bring your child in to see them. Early detection of spinal health concerns will likely offer more effective treatment options.

Also, look at your child’s feet. Do they seem to walk with one foot turning outward? Do they appear to have flat arches? As a parent, you can help identify any “interesting” ways your child might be walking, standing or running. How do you know what to look for? You can always compare them to their siblings and other children their age. Then talk to your chiropractor, who is trained to know what to look for and can help you make sense of your observations.

Why Chiropractic Care During Childhood Is Beneficial

three children - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkRemember that children have a spine, just like you and I do as adults. Kids go through their daily activities of playing, running, riding their bikes, playing sports, falling down and roughhousing with their friends. Their spines and the bones that make up their joints can move out of alignment, just like adults; sometimes even more so, since they are so active and often “throw caution to the wind” in terms of personal safety.

Just as you believe in getting regular tune-ups from your dentist, medical doctor and your optometrist, make sure your children benefit from that type of thinking as well. Most of the aches and pains that we go through as children (and as adults) can be greatly helped by getting adjustments from a doctor of chiropractic.

The youngest patients could see the biggest benefit from chiropractic care. Think of an infant who, during birth, has their head, shoulders or neck pushed against the mom’s pelvic bones. Or perhaps the child had a difficult birth and was stuck in the birth canal at an odd angle. There is spinal stress associated with those scenarios, and the baby can be born with their spine out of alignment as a consequence.

Babies respond quickly to adjustments. Often common infant/toddler conditions like ear infections, colic and irritability can be improved with adjustments to their spine. Start them off right while they are young and they will keep those good habits into adulthood.

Straightening Up America

“Straighten Up America” is a bold and innovative health promotion initiative designed to empower the American people toward better spinal health and an improved quality of life. This national program also serves as the prototype for an international health promotion initiative.

The vision driving Straighten Up America is very simple. It envisions a time when every American will take two or three minutes every day to care for their spinal health, just as they care for their dental health. The need for spinal health promotion is great, as evidenced by the billions of dollars that are spent each year related to disability from low back pain alone.

Before the creation of this initiative, there was no short, simple, engaging spinal exercise program specifically designed to promote the public’s spinal health. But now, you can apply the Straighten Up America initiative to your life and that of your family by performing spinal health exercises and getting your spine checked by your chiropractor on a regular basis.

Our children are truly amazing beings; as we watch them grow from infancy to adulthood, the wonders never cease. Their bodies are constantly changing, and it is often challenging to keep them functioning in a healthy, happy manner. Take the time to establish good health patterns, including spinal health, for your whole family. Talk to your chiropractor for more information.

By Kevin M. Wong, DC

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Managing Sports Injuries Without NSAIDs / Painkillers

As an active person, your favorite sport or exercise is an important part of your life. It gives you energy, it challenges you and it makes you come alive. You can’t imagine a day without it until the day you get injured. Sports injuries are a natural consequence of the choice of being active. Keeping informed on how to manage an injury is just as important as taking precautions to avoid them.

The Standard Protocol for Managing Injuries

The first line of treatment and the standard protocol for managing acute injuries is a method known as RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Rest means reducing physical activity in the injured area, for example, by using a crutch or some other method of taking weight off the injured part of the body. Ice is applied to the area to reduce inflammation to the muscles. Compression refers to compressing the area using any means like an elastic wrap to help reduce swelling, and Elevation refers to raising the area, also to help reduce swelling.

Painkillers Help With Pain, But They Aren’t for Everyone

During the course of rehabilitation, doctors sometimes prescribe medication that can relieve pain. Common medications include opioids like morphine and methadone, which, despite their benefits, can lead to addiction and a number of side effects; and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. NSAIDs reduce swelling and help patients return to activity more rapidly than with the RICE method alone. The way NSAIDs work in the body, however, can be problematic:

  • They are contraindicated for patients with a history of gastrointestinal bleeding and must be used cautiously in those with chronic kidney disease.
  • Some patients can’t tolerate the adverse effects, which may include stomach upset, vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Others may have medication interactions that prohibit use of oral NSAIDs.

Two Scientifically Backed Alternatives to NSAIDs/ Painkillers

1. Precut Kinesiology Tape is an option that uses and supports the body’s own natural neurology to deliver drug-free pain relief. These tapes work by lifting the skin to create a small space between the muscle and dermis layers of the skin. That extra space takes the pressure off injured muscles, allows muscle movement, and provides space for drainage and blood flow to muscles and joints, thus reducing swelling; while also soothing overworked muscles and strengthening weak or fatigued muscles.

sports injuries - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkA recent study conducted at the University of Toronto and published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found that using precut kinesiology tape was as effective as using NSAIDs for relieving pain and improving function when used alongside physiotherapy for patients with shoulder injuries. In fact, the precut kinesiology tapes were better tolerated than NSAIDs because there weren’t any chemical side effects.

Furthermore, using these precut tapes is convenient because one application of a precut tape lasts several days, which means, unlike medication, there won’t be any hassle of retaking or reapplying the treatment every few hours. Additionally, because precut kinesiology tapes are designed keeping in mind human anatomy, you can apply them easily yourself after instruction by a health care professional.

Health care practitioners are increasingly using precut kinesiology tapes as a means to standardize patient care and provide drug-free pain relief option to patients. Professional athletes are turning to kinesiology tape, as it provides a DIY knesiology solution for performance enhancement and pain relief.

2. Chiropractic Care: Millions of people visit chiropractors every year for all kinds of sports injuries, including injuries to their back, neck, arms and legs. In the sports setting, chiropractors work by manipulating joints that are restricted due to muscle injuries. They help to improve joint alignment so the body can heal itself without surgery or medication.

Chiropractic care not only restores function; it also helps prevent future injuries, in addition to providing relief from pain. Research shows chiropractic treatment is safe, effective and helpful in treating sports-injury-related pains and is a great alternative to NSAIDs.

Professional athletes use chiropractic treatments as a regular part of their training. In fact, studies have shown that regularly incorporating chiropractic care enhances athletic performance and lowers the amount of subsequent injuries athletes experience.

Tip: Chiropractic care is complemented by the use of precut kinesiology tape. The two treatments are increasingly used together to provide further relief, hasten recovery and enhance performance.

The possibility of getting injured while being active is not a reason to avoid exercising or playing sports. Injuries are part of the deal and professional athletes and active people know this for a fact. You should stay active and have fun, while striving for prevention and keeping informed on all the options available to you for treatment and management of sports-related injuries.

By Mehwash Zafar


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Why You Should Be Making Periodic Visits to Your Chiropractor

When you experience back pain, chiropractic care can help relieve the pain and identify the underlying cause. But your care shouldn’t stop once the pain stops (or comes back, which can frequently happen). A new study suggests maintenance chiropractic care (defined by the researchers as “treatment at regular intervals regardless of symptoms”) is more effective than symptomatic treatment (receiving chiropractic treatment only when you’re experiencing pain).

In the study, patients with recurrent / persistent low back pain who received maintenance care (scheduled every 1-3 months) after their initial treatment reported an average of 19.3 less days of “bothersome” low back pain over a 12-month period compared to patients who received only symptomatic chiropractic care. Overall, during the 12-month period, maintenance care patients made seven visits, on average, to their chiropractor, versus five visits, on average, for symptomatic patients.

So, if you’re suffering low back pain and your chiropractor suggests you come in periodically for treatment, you may want to heed his/her advice. It’s a research-supported suggestion that could dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend in pain.

regular chiro care - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

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Chronic Pain Damages Your Brain

Chronic pain is front and center these days now that the opioid crisis – the wrong way to manage pain – has been exposed and opportunities to prevent and treat pain instead of medication (a key example: chiropractic) jump into the spotlight. The reason for this increased emphasis isn’t just because opioids have been proven often unnecessary and frequently dangerous, if not deadly, for treating pain – it’s also because pain, particularly chronic pain, can be just as dangerous / deadly if not addressed. In fact, recent research suggests chronic pain may be so damaging as to cause brain changes that lead to cognitive decline and dementia.

In a study involving more than 10,000 elderly adults, researchers reviewed more than a decade of surveys that tracked pain levels and cognitive abilities. While cognitive function (memory, attention, etc.) tends to decline with age, those declines occurred significantly more rapidly in people who reported ongoing moderate to severe pain compared to people with little to no pain. What’s more, the risk of suffering dementia (Alzheimer’s is the most common cause) was also slightly higher in people with chronic pain.

  This is a great example of how pain can impact areas of your body and life that aren’t directly tied in to the source of the pain. And that’s where chiropractic care can be so important, because chiropractors look for the cause of the pain and then work to resolve it, rather than just treating the symptom with a dangerous opioid or other medication. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, talk to your chiropractor; your body and mind will thank you for it.

brain - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

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Back Pain: Bad for Your Mental Health

If you’re not already utilizing chiropractic care to resolve your back pain and reduce the likelihood it will return – not to mention improving your overall health and wellness – that means one of two things: you haven’t suffered back pain (yet) or you’ve decided to temporarily suppress the pain with over-the-counter or prescription medications. The latter is, as mentioned, a temporary solution that doesn’t address the root causes of the pain, while the former is also likely temporary, since an estimated 80 percent of adults will suffer back pain at some point in their lifetime.

Back pain can be a problem for a variety of reasons beyond the pain, whether it’s limiting your daily function, forcing you to take time off work, or otherwise impacting your life. But there’s another reason suggested by recent research that should vault “getting rid of back pain” to the top of your priority list: Back pain could increase your risk of suffering mental health problems.

  The study used data from the World Health Organization’s World Health Survey 2002-2004 and involved more than 200,000 study subjects ages 18 and older from 43 countries. Data analysis revealed that compared to people without back pain, those with pain were more than twice as likely to suffer from one of five mental health conditions: anxiety, depression, psychosis, stress and sleep deprivation. Subjects with chronic back pain were particularly at risk for a depressive episode (more than three times more likely) or psychosis (2.6 times more likely) compared to pain-free subjects.

Think you’ve got your back pain handled? Nice try. Do something about the pain – and the potential mental health consequences – with regular visits to your doctor of chiropractic.

back pain - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
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Your Foot Bone’s Connected To Your Spine Bone

Spinal Stabilization: Your First Step Toward Lifelong Spinal Health

By Dr. Brian Jensen

Stabilizing your spine plays a vital role in your overall health. Your spinal cord contains the nervous system, the center for all your mental activity. Misalignments in your spine can prevent your nervous system from functioning normally, causing you pain and discomfort. It even can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick.

Athletic woman with illustrated bone structure. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkMany factors can contribute to misalignments in your spine. Poor posture, excess weight, injuries, heavy lifting, an unhealthy diet and improper sleeping positions are just a few causes. Something you might not know is that the majority of spinal problems start at your feet.

If you have pain in your neck, back, hips or knees – check your feet. Why? In the old song favorite, it’s because “Your foot bone’s connected to your leg bone, your leg bone’s connected to your hip bone,” and so on. By age 20, an estimated 80 percent of people develop some type of foot imbalance. By age 40, foot imbalances plague virtually everyone.

Your feet are the foundation for your entire body; they allow you to stand, walk and run. Every day we expect our feet to take us where we want to go, support our weight and act as our body’s main shock absorbers. Your feet contain one-quarter of your body’s bones.  Each foot has 26 bones and 19 muscles. If that foundation is not solid and balanced, your entire body is affected.

Chiropractors have long known what some other health care professionals are just discovering: There is a cause-and-effect relationship between your foot and your spine. Movement at one joint affects movement at other joints, and every time your foot hits the ground to take a step, you’re passing that imbalance all the way up your skeletal structure. Over time, your body tries to compensate and this imbalance can cause pain in any number of places, such as your knees, hips, pelvis, low back and neck. Every time your feet hit the ground, a shock wave travels all the way through your body. If your feet are balanced, they can absorb much of that shock. But if they’re not in balance, the shock can cause your body additional strain, and eventually pain. Surprisingly, most of the time, your feet don’t hurt!

When you walk, your feet go through a three-phase process known as the gait cycle. Phase one is when your foot hits the ground (heel-strike); phase two is when your whole foot is on the ground (mid-stance); and phase three is when you start to take the next step (toe-off). Research has proven that during the gait cycle, there are small movements in your spine. If there is a problem with your gait cycle, it eventually will create problems in your spine.

Inadequate or unbalanced support from your feet puts abnormal stresses on your spine. Excessive shock, unequal leg lengths, or poor joint function in the feet or ankles all can affect your spine. The most common foot problem is pronation, or collapsed arches, which can seriously affect your body’s ability to absorb shock.

Flexible, custom-made orthotics are designed specifically for spinal stabilization. They help your foot maintain its normal position and control foot function. This only can be accomplished by supporting all three of the foot’s natural arches. A gradual weakening of the arches often occurs naturally after years of standing, walking and wearing shoes. The goal of stabilization is to control – not restrict – motion within your foot structure. Flexible, custom-made orthotics can enhance the structure and performance of your foot’s three functions, as described in the sidebar at right.

The most effective stabilization is based on two principal considerations: the amount of imbalance in your weight-bearing foot, and the degree of physical stress created by your occupation or lifestyle. Evaluating both of these factors allows your chiropractor to prescribe the stabilizing support level that will most effectively address your individual needs.

Pair of work boots standing at work site. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkIf you are experiencing a loss of spinal stabilization, your imbalances can easily be corrected using orthotics that are custom-made for each of your feet.A weight-bearing cast or digital scan provides the most accurate image of your foot for prescribing a stabilizing, custom-made orthotic. Your body’s movements and forces on your musculoskeletal system can only be observed in a standing position. If your body is evaluated in a non-weight-bearing position, vital information regarding your foot function is lost. A flexible orthotic, made from a weight-bearing cast or scan, allows your foot to be supported, not “crutched.” The resulting foot balance allows your body movements to function properly.

Your doctor can assist you in determining the extent of your imbalance (in your foot, pelvis and/or spine) and physical stress levels. If you are experiencing a loss of spinal stabilization, your imbalances can easily be corrected using orthotics that are custom-made for each of your feet. Sore or tight muscles; muscle or joint pain in the back, neck or extremities; poor foot function; and sore or tired feet are just some of the indications of loss of spinal stabilization. Ask your doctor to examine your feet if you are experiencing these or similar problems.

Your feet are foundational to the functioning of your entire musculoskeletal system. Spinal stabilization is the first step in spinal health. Your doctor can provide additional information specific to your needs.

1. Support. Over time, the effects of gravity upon a normal weight-bearing position will weaken the tissues and stress joints in your feet. Custom-made orthotics help reduce body-weight stress and strain by supporting proper joint position and reducing excessive motion.

2. Locomotion. When your foot hits the ground during the normal gait cycle, a series of responses occurs along your body’s kinetic chain. Excessive pronation due to structural or functional abnormalities is responsible for more chronic postural problems than any other foot disorder. Flexible orthotics can control both the degree and duration of pronation.

3. Shock absorption. Heel-strike shock generates forces reaching five to seven times your body weight. Normal pronation relaxes the foot to absorb some heel-strike shock directly, and decreases the angle between the bones at your knee joint to help protect your spinal/pelvic structures from extreme shock. When you have excessive pronation, this protective mechanism breaks down, resulting in excess shock transmission to your spine. By controlling pronation, custom-made orthotics enhance your body’s natural shock absorbers.

Brian Jensen, DC, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Palmer College of Chiropractic. He specializes in structural biomechanics and has been in practice for 17 years.

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Maintain Strong Bones With Vegetable Protein

Elderly women who get too much protein from animal products like meat and cheese risk fractures and bone loss. Improving bone health can be as easy as using vegetables as a great source of protein. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who received a higher ratio of their protein from meat or dairy products rather then vegetables, had three times the rate of bone loss.

Researchers gave more than 1,000 women a questionnaire, which covered 64 different kinds of foods. They then broke the results down to show how much of each group the women ate and looked at how much protein the women got from animal products and how much from vegetables. They were then categorized by intake level of animal protein.

Vegetables have some acid, but they also have a substance called base (a biocarbonate), which neutralizes acid. Our bodies don’t like too much acid, like the levels found in meat/dairy protein, so our kidneys help us adjust by excreting acid in urine. Because we get older, our kidneys become less and less capable of excreting the acid. As a result, bones, which are partly made up of base, step in to try to neutralize the acid. Over decades, this process causes the bone to dissolve, causing it to lose bone mass and calcium, which increases the risk of fractures.

The point is not to stop eating meat and cheese, but to eat more fruits and vegetables instead. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about the basics of a healthy, balanced diet. For online information on nutrition, go to


Sellmeyer DE, Stone KL, Sebastian A, et al. A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001:73, pp. 118-122.

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Help Your Heart: East Whole Grain Foods

In today’s fast-paced world we order pizza on the cellphone, whisk through the fast-food drive-through for burgers and fries, and microwave just about anything we can get our hands on. But how many of us take the time to eat enough whole grain foods?

Whole grains are exactly that: foods that contain the entire kernel or grain  oatmeal, popcorn, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, rye bread, puffed rice cakes… the list goes on and on. Familiarizing yourself with this list is important, and making sure that you include whole grains in your daily diet is even more important.

Here’s why: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed more than 75,000 women for 10 years as part of the Nurses Health Study. During that time, the researchers administered food-frequency questionnaires at two-year intervals, and documented all cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) as they occurred.

Results showed that women who consumed higher amounts of whole grains had a decreased risk of developing CHD compared with women who consumed lower amounts. Interestingly enough, this reduced risk could not be explained by the contribution of any of the nutritional elements of whole grain foods (dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, etc.), suggesting that this protective effect may be attributed to whole grain intake in general, rather than any specific aspect of whole grains.


Liu S, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB, et al. Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary artery disease: results from the Nurses’ Health Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999: Vol. 70, pp412-419.

For additional information on women’s health, go to

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