Healthy Kids

Backpack Safety

Backpack Safety

Yes, it’s true.  It’s the end of summer and back to school for our children. Soon our children will be hoisting heavy backpacks over their shoulders filled with important tools for learning such as books, laptops, school supplies, and loads of homework. All of these things are important for learning but when loaded into a backpack the weight of making the grade can add up. Making good grades is very important but will your child continue to make “A’s” if they have the stress of an overloaded book bag weighing down the spines destroying their posture over time even leading to stress on their brains?? What?!? Yes, I said stress on their brains! An overloaded backpack pulling down the shoulders can cause structural changes to your child’s spine leading to a forward head carriage posture thus stretching and irritating the spinal cord and brain stem. An irritated and inflamed spinal cord and brain stem leads to an irritated and unruly student. So, an overloaded backpack can not only result in lower back, neck and shoulder pain, but also regular headaches, ADD, and ADHD when this kind of physical stress is endured for a long period of time. Add it all up and that’s why backpack safety is so important for our children’s health and well-being. Here are some tips that can help parents and teachers make sure that school children aren’t carrying the wrong amount of weight so they can avoid ruining their key to maintaining good health, their spines and central nervous system.

Backpack Safety Tips:

  1. Your child should carry no more than 10% of his or her body weight. This means that a child that weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds.
  2. Make sure the backpack is the correct size for your child. A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso. A backpack should not hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. A backpack that passes the the 4 inch mark hanging lower than acceptable will cause a child’s head to lean forward when walking causing structural changes to the normal cervical curve over time.
  3. Make sure your child carries their backpack wearing both straps. It is important to have an equal distribution of weight by using both straps. Using a single strap will lead to uneven shoulders, mid-back problems, and lower back spasms.
  4. Make sure the backpack as two wide padded straps. Backpack straps without padding can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulders and can be very uncomfortable in general.
  5. Make sure the shoulder straps can be and are adjusted properly. Uneven straps will cause a shift in the weight of the backpack and distort a child’s posture. Straps that are too long will cause the backpack to hang lower than acceptable resulting in forward head carriage.
  6. Get a backpack with multiple compartments. Having many compartments can help distribute the weight of the backpack better and allow it to be carried with greater ease.
  7. Having your child under chiropractic care is also a great way to make sure that their spine is in proper alignment to prevent problems and symptoms from arising.

 

 

 

 

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Proper Hydration and Healthier Discs

Are you drinking enough water to properly hydrate the intervertebral discs in you spinal column? Okay, maybe you’re getting your recommended  6-8 glasses of water a day but can I ask you this question. Is that enough water to replenish the water you lose in your intervertebral discs on a daily basis? This may not be enough.

Our adult bodies are 60% water at best and an infant’s body is approximately 78%. Water is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and has many important properties. Water acts as the body’s first building material, it regulates our internal body temperature, helps metabolize our foods, is an important component for our blood, helps deliver oxygen throughout our body, and helps flush waste from our body. Water also acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord and helps lubricate all our joints.
CLEAR2GO SPLASH WOMAN ILLUSTRATION_small

At my chiropractic office in Joshua, Texas I commonly see patients with disc injuries and herniations. The intervertebral disc is a fibrous pad between the vertebrae in our spines. Intervertebral discs have an outer annulus that is made of of rings of collagen fibers and a liquid gel-like central nucleus that acts like a ball bearing allowing for better movement of the spine. The disc separates the vertebrae and allows our body a greater range of motion and also acts to absorb a small amount of mechanical stress on the spine. Our discs require water such as every cell in the body does and when our bodies are dehydrated so are our discs. Being dehydrated is not good for the health of our discs and can lead to injury when stresses are applied to our spinal column. A disc that is poorly hydrated has a much greater risk for injury than one that is adequately hydrated. Staying properly hydrated can help avoid injury to the intervertebral disc. Below are some things you should know about your intervertebral discs, risks of injury, and how to stay hydrated.

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THINGS TO KNOW: DISC HYDRATION

  • During the day our discs lose water due to stress and the weight of gravity
  • At night while lying asleep gives disc the chance to reabsorb water (We are taller in the mornings and shorter as the day goes by due to compression on the spine and discs causing them to lose water)
  • As we age our discs lose their ability to absorb as much water
  • Avoid sodas, teas, coffee, and alcohol that can dehydrate your body
  • Avoid nicotine and other diuretics that can dehydrate your body
  • Drink more water, double the amount recommended during the hot summer days in Texas heat
  • Athletes playing summer sports or subjected to heat should drink water before, during, and after competition and practice

Written by Joseph J. Thomas, D.C., CCSP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlling Inflammation with Supplementation

Inflammation within our bodies is a natural healing response that occurs to help our bodies heal from injury, exercise, infection, harmful chemicals, processed foods, and internal stressors such as emotional and mental stressors that can damage our body’s tissues and cells. Inflammation is the necessary protective response the body must undergo to facilitate the healing process. However, if inflammation becomes chronic and long lasting it can damage the body’s tissues causing the body to go into a state of distress and dis-ease. Chronic and frequent inflammation has been linked with many health conditions from Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cardiovascular Disease, Allergies, Asthma, Celiac’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, multiple skin conditions, gingivitis, and even Cancer.

As you can see, it important to keep inflammation levels normal within the body in order to avoid chronic sickness and ill health. Controlling inflammation levels can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. In my chiropractic office, the first thing we do to reduce acute inflammation is apply ice to the inflamed and injured area. Secondly, in more severe cases I will recommend chronic inflammation sufferers to avoid any dairy and grain products. Dairy products contain proteins that are difficult for the body to breakdown causing inflammation in the intestines and joints. Grain products contain a protein known as gluten that causes severe inflammation in the gut thus irritating the intestinal tract. Proper nutrition plays a key role in how your body functions under stress and how it can balance out inflammation levels. Unfortunately, the “Modern American Diet” puts us all at risk because it is full of processed foods that causes high amounts of inflammation in the body. To find out more ways to keep your body in balance I highly recommend to visit http://www.deflame.com and to read all of Dr. David Seaman’s articles to learn more about eating healthier to avoid foods that can cause chronic inflammation in the body. Lastly, if needed I will suggest a natural herbal anti-inflammtory option for patients to use in order to avoid harmful stomach irritations that over-the-counter pharmaceutical anti-flammatory drugs produce. Herbal and other natural supplementation is almost always necessary in cases of chronic inflammation of joints and tissues. There are many supplements out there that can help reduce inflammation in the body as well as making changes to your diet. Listed below are some of my favorite natural supplements that I recommend to patients in my office.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids  – “Nature’s Natural Anti-Inflammatory” plays an important role in regulating inflammation response in our bodies. Our modern day diet of processed foods, sugars, and grains throws off the proper ratio between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. An excessive amount of Omega-6 Fatty Acids in our diet can cause inflammation levels to be high in the body. Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in order to keep a more ideal ratio between the them and keep inflammation levels normal in your body. Food sources are salmon, wild game, grass fed meat, fresh and wild caught fish, and flax seed. Krill Oil is also a good source of Omega-3’s and has currently gained popularity as of late. I strictly stick with fish oils from Nordic Naturals or Standard Process of Texas because of the quality assurance of these two company’s supplements (Both companies test their fish oils for mercury). If a patient has Gout and cannot do fish oils I often recommend adding flax seed oil to their regime.
  • Turmeric (Curcumin) – The spice known as “Curry” in it’s concentrated from plays an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. Studies have shown the societies that use the spice curry in their diets have less arthritis as a whole. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant that is 5 to 8 times stronger than Vitamin E and it’s even stronger than Vitamin C too! A super supplement that has helped myself as well as many of my patients that I often recommend is Turmero-Active from Apex Energetics.
  • White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) – “Nature’s Natural Aspirin” has been used since the Ancient Greeks to reduce aches, pains, and fevers. It has all the benefits of aspirin but none of the side effects! Use this herb if you have a headache but don’t forget to get your chiropractic adjustment too!
  • Bromelain – Typically extracted from pineapples this supplement has been used to reduce swelling , bruising, and inflammation. It is capable of breaking down the proteins that cause inflammation. It is even used as a meat tenderizer in grocery stores because of this property. Use it to help your body to break down the proteins that produce inflammation. Who doesn’t love a little pineapple at breakfast?
  • Boswellia (Boswellia serreta) – Is yet another herbal option used for arthritis, inflammation and it has even been said to have some anti-cancer properties.
  • Vitamin D – Not actually a vitamin at all, Vitamin D is a hormone! It’s a super hormone that has many important jobs in our body. Our body is capable of making “Hormone D” by absorbing sunlight. Unfortunately, most of us are stuck indoors for 40 hour work weeks and locked inside during the winter months. Vitamin D supplementation is an absolute must for everyone. It promotes proper immune function, tissue regeneration, brain function, bone support, and helps fight depression. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and MS. We use vitamin D3 Gummies by Nordic Naturals for kids at our office because the important role Vitamin D plays in optimal development. Other Vitamin D products we like are Liquid Ultra-D form ApeX Energetics and Vitamin D from Garden of Life as well.

At our office in Joshua just south of Burleson, Texas we carry whole food nutritional supplements by Standard Process of Texas, Apex Energetics, Garden of Life, and Nordic Naturals because of their superior quality control. Please consult with a health care professional before using any of the above suggested nutritional supplements. Some of the above herbal/nutritional supplements may react adversely with medications and other health related conditions.

Written by Dr. Joseph J. Thomas (Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner by the ACBSP)

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Frontiers: Texas, Sports Chiropractic, and Family

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

My name is Dr. Joseph Thomas and I am the chiropractor and owner of Joshua Spine and Health Center, PC.  My wife and I moved to Texas at the end of 2013 to start a new adventure by purchasing a chiropractic office in the town of Joshua.  For the past 11 years I worked in group practice in central Pennsylvania and felt it was long overdue to spread my wings and expand my horizons in my own practice. While in Pennsylvania I completed my Sports Chiropractic training and became a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner or CCSP for short. In order to fully utilize my expanded education I decided it was time to have a clinic of my own in a place with a great enthusiasm for sports and family life. After a long search of exploring different regions of the country, we decided that Texas was the right place for us.

Owning and operating a chiropractic clinic focused on family wellness and sports in the state of Texas was a perfect fit for us. We could raise our future family, grow a practice, and help people in need in an place that was focused on community togetherness through youth sports, family values, and a foundation of sound beliefs.

We are happy to be in Johnson County and look forward to sharing more about health, chiropractic, and ourselves with our healthy-living bloggers and family of patients.

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Joseph Thomas

Board Certified Sports Chiropractic Practitioner by the ACBSP

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support