Monday, November 14, 2016

Why Having Workplace Ergonomics Isn't Enough

“My chair isn’t right, that’s why my low back hurts all the time.” “My boss won’t pay for a standing desk, so I guess I’ll just have bad posture.”

While taking care of your workplace ergonomics is important, it’s not enough to prevent all neck and back pain, nor will it help you achieve better posture.

Why? While it may feel like you’re at work “all day” the reality is you do spend most of your time away from your desk, even if you’re just sleeping. How your posture is maintained during these activities can play a big part in helping you avoid spine problems, but I see that most patients are solely focused on their office’s desk.

Let’s break up your day into 3 areas; Work, Sleep, and Not Work.

Work Posture

Keeping it as simple as possible; think neutral angles. The fastest, easiest step to take is to raise up your monitor. I don’t agree that the top of the monitor should be at eye-level. Rather, the middle of the screen should be at eye-level.

Your head weighs 8-10 lbs and every inch your head is forward creates an additional 10 lbs of strain. It’s almost better to have your monitor too high than too low. If need be, stick a couple of books under the monitor stand and get as high as you can comfortably go.

Make sure everything is in front of you, so that you’re not twisting your head to the right or left to look at your screen. Multiple screens? swap the information that you have on your screen with other screens from time to time. Don’t keep your dominant screen in the same location (for example, if you usually have your e-mail on the right screen, move it to the left).

Sleep Posture

Best advice here? Don’t sleep on your stomach. This causes you to turn your head all night, changing your muscles. It also jams up your lower back. No good can happen to your spine from sleeping this way.

The best option is on your back, but this can prove to be a difficult transition for stomach sleepers. It can also prove challenging if you snore. Sleeping on your side is the next best option, so do that.
Best to hug a body pillow, with part of it between your knees. This will take pressure off your shoulders and your lower back.

Not Work Posture

This is the tough one for me to lay out for you, because everyone can have such varying activities that it’s tough for me to give you specifics without knowing you and what you do all day.

Most spinal issues will come from things you do repeatedly, or things you do for long periods of time. If you keep having the same problem over and over again, you just need to stay alert for the offending activity. A small change, a minor tweak, a slight adjustment can make a big difference when the action is taken often.

Most obviously is how you look at your smartphone. It’s not necessary for you to stare down at it in your lap. Lift it up, read at eye-level whenever possible. Remember, it’s the weight of your head that’s causing the issue, so try to keep your head over your spine as often as you can.

Why Aren’t Workplace Ergonomics Enough?

Because you do so much more in your day! It’s simply not enough to to “sometimes” sit at your desk correctly and neglect all the other areas of your spine.

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a 1997 graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic. For more information visit His bio page is located here.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Debunking Chiropractic Myths

Chiropractors Are Not Real Doctors: 

This myth has been around for a long time. The basis is that because chiropractors don’t receive an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) that they aren’t real doctors. However, Chiropractors hold a D.C. or Doctor of chiropractic degree meaning they specialize in locating, detecting, and correcting vertebral subluxations also called misalignments of the spine.

Like all doctors after finishing their undergraduate program chiropractors must complete a graduate program which typically last 4 years. Licensure for chiropractors must be held on a national level and requires that the chiropractor pass a four part National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Test. Again, like all doctors, chiropractors are required to take part in continuing education each year to keep their licensure.

I Can “Crack” My Own Back: 

Everyone has felt or heard their back “crack” or “pop” at some point. Many people can crack their back on demand and do so often because it feels good and seems to relieve tension or the “stuck” feeling.

The problem with this is that there is not plan or knowledge of what the underlying issue is that is causing the “stuck” sensation. When someone “cracks” their own back they are forcing bones into random places until they feel relief. This can be very dangerous often time causing more damage than good and can have harmful long-term affects.

When you get adjusted by a chiropractor you receive relief while having the reassurance that your bones are being helped back into the correct places so that your spine is properly aligned. When subluxations, a bone out of place that is not completely dislocated, of the vertebrae in the spine are present it can cause nerve interference, nerve irritation, or even a pinched nerve leading to pain and deteriorating function.

Adjustments to your spine can correct the subluxations affecting your nervous system allowing for better communication within your body and greater overall health. A chiropractor is the only doctor scientifically trained to detect and correct subluxations and restore normal nerve function.

Once You Start Getting Adjusted You Have To Come Back Forever: 

The “once you start you can’t stop” myth has been floating around for years leaving many confused about the length of chiropractic treatment needed. For many, treatment length depends on any injuries or illnesses they are experiencing at the time and may range from 1 week to 3 months or more.

However, in no case, once you begin chiropractic care are you required to continue coming regularly for life to keep receiving relief. Chiropractic, unlike pain medicine, gets to the root of your pain and works to fix the underlying issues so that you can live life naturally pain free.

When you solve the root problem you are always looking at a more permanent fix than that of just covering up the pain. Once any initial issues are resolved many choose to continue getting adjusted here and there for “tune ups” just as you would go to the dentist for cleanings.

Dr. Brandon Siegmund is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College. For more information visit His bio page is located here.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What is a “Crick?”

How often have you heard someone say that they woke up with a “crick” in their neck? As a chiropractor, I commonly see patients come into the office with a “crick” being their main complaint. But what exactly is a “crick?”

When people think of a crick, most think about waking up one morning with a stiff neck. 

The most common symptoms associated with a crick are neck pain and decreased cervical range of motion. The severity of pain and restricted range of motion can vary greatly. Some people might complain of mild neck stiffness, while others might have severe pain and can not move their neck at all.

In most cases, what is actually causing the crick is a misalignment in one of the vertebra of the neck. When the vertebra shifts out of position, it can start to put pressure on a nerve, causing pain. This misalignment may also cause the the muscles of the neck to be pulled, which can lead to muscle spasms and decreased range of motion.

A chiropractor may treat this problem in a number of ways. 

The most common treatment from a chiropractor would be an adjustment. The chiropractor will find the areas in the spine that are misaligned and use their hands to correct the misalignment. They may also use electric stimulation to help with the muscle spasms. Some chiropractors may also perform deep tissue work to the muscle to help relieve spasm and increase range of motion.

Although chiropractic treatment is effective in treating the common “crick,” it is important to also correct the cause of the problem as well. Most commonly, a “crick” occurs after sleeping in an incorrect position. First and foremost, never sleep on your stomach, this is the position most likely to cause neck pain.

If you sleep on your side, make sure that your pillow is neither too high or too low. A good general rule is that your pillow height should be equal to the distance between your ear and your shoulder. Pillow height is also important if you sleep on your back. Usually, a single pillow is sufficient to keep your head in a neutral position while on your back.

The next time you, or someone you know, wakes up with a crick, be sure to see a chiropractor as soon as possible. Also, make sure that you sleep in a proper position in order to decrease your risk of future issues.

 Dr. Kevin Wafer is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College. For more information visit His bio page is located here.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Tree Of Life?

I like to use the example of an apple tree with my patients to describe the importance of the spine and how it’s considered the “life flow” of the human body. When that life flow is interrupted by compression on the nerves it causes dysfunction.

Chiropractic adjustments are done to remove the compression or interference and allow the body to function, grow and heal properly on its own. FYI, the body is self-healing.

Imagine that your spine is a big apple tree.

The roots of the tree represent the most important part of the tree, your brain. Without the roots the tree dies and the creation of a new tree starts with the roots. In the human body, the brain and spinal cord are the first things created and from there the rest of the body is formed.

Furthermore, the trunk of the tree represents your spinal cord down your back. When there is damage to the trunk, the results are usually permanent which is very similar as in the spinal cord. Many times I’ve seen symbols of love drawn on trees from lovebirds who decided to share their love with the world.

Fact is, you can come back to that same tree 10 years from today and that same carving is still there. If there is enough damage to the spinal cord, as in the case of Christopher Reeves. The true Superman became paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury.

The nerves in your body are just like branches in a tree.

They branch off from the trunk and stretch in different directions. Just like a branch, your nerves are the most vulnerable. Tree branches are cut, broken, bent, sometime sat on and on climbed.  Nerves of the body are often compressed by misaligned vertebra which causes interference.

Last but not least the apples represent the organs of the body such as the heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, just to name a few. When there is compression to the spinal cord or spinal nerves it causes dysfunction to the organs.

Your nerves supply your body’s communication channels

The nerves supply the bridge of communication to the organs and tell them how to heal, how to work, when the heart should beat, when the lungs should breathe, when the stomach should digest, what is hot, what is cold, look here, step there, and on and on.  If that communication is disrupted how will your body or “life flow” function at 100%? The answer is “it doesn’t.”

If you notice, the American Medical System usually focuses on examining and treating the rotten apples instead of figuring out why the apples are rotting in the first place. They’ve started cutting off the rotting part of the apple and saying “it’s healed”, they’ve created fake apple pieces and glued them to the apple to make them look appealing, and the most popular is poisoning the apple, filling them with medications that makes the apple feel and appear healthy. 

Why not first examine to see why there is pain and symptoms, locate where it’s coming from and fix the problem instead of masking the problem. My solution is to find a chiropractor, get evaluated and get to the “root” of the problem.  

Dr. Bryen Brown is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College. For more information visit His bio page is located here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Nature’s Anti-Inflammatories

When patients come into our office, they are almost always in pain. When they are in pain, commonly they are also dealing with inflammation. I am often asked if there is anything that they can be taking at home to decrease inflammation. Instead of prescription anti-inflammatories and NSAIDs, here are a few natural options that will help decrease inflammation and get you out of pain as quickly as possible.

Natural Anti-Inflammatories

The most commonly used, and probably most effective, natural anti-inflammatory is fish oil. Studies have shown that taking between two to four grams of fish oil daily can decrease inflammation, espeically in chronic conditions. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil are the catalyst for decreasing inflammation. Although omega 3 fatty acids can be found in other sources, the most benefit has been shown with fish oil. Fish oil has also been shown to help with a number of other conditions ranging from heart disease to depression to asthma.

What About Turmeric?

Although fish oil works very well as an anti-inflammatory, its pain relieving ability has not been proven. However, when used in combination with turmeric, a natural pain reliever, the effect is improved. Turmeric, commonly found in curry, has shown to be even more effective than some NSAIDs when used to treat patients with arthritis. There is even research currently being done to test the anti-cancer properties of turmeric.

While fish oil is very good at decreasing inflammation in chronic cases, it has not been shown to help acute pain and inflammation. In acute cases, try bromelain, an enzyme naturally found in pineapple. Research has shown that bromelain can be effective as both an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever when used with other proteolytic enzymes.

Warning Before Starting

Before taking any of the above supplements, be sure to consult with your doctor. They can determine what supplement is right in your case, and make sure that you will not suffer any ill effects. As an alternative to medication, fish oil, turmeric and bromelain can help calm inflammation or help ease your pain.

Dr. Kevin Wafer is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College. For more information visit His bio page is located here.