How Are Weather and Joint Pain Related?

Perhaps you’ve heard a family member report something along these lines: “My joints are acting up again – rain must be on the way.” But have you ever paid attention to whether their forecasting proved to be correct? While there haven’t been many concrete findings to explain the apparent connection between weather and joint pain or headaches, many professionals in the science and medical industry will tell you there are plausible theories.

The Weight of the World

The weight of the atmosphere around us is called barometric pressure. As the weather changes, so does the weight of the air surrounding us. When the barometric pressure is reduced, there is less overall pressure (or compression) pushing on our bodies. This atmospheric “relief” could give body tissue room to swell, causing extra pressure or inflammation on or around the joints.

Increased Sensitivity

While changes in the body due to weather may be microscopic, they do exist. Those who suffer from chronic pain typically have sensitive nerve endings due to a previous injury, scarring build up, or another related condition. Though you might not hear them broadcast the pain constantly, many people with chronic pain may tell you they can feel a storm coming.

Is There Any Help?

While it doesn’t seem to matter if you move to a warmer or cooler climate, since the body adapts to even the slightest changes, there are still ways to relieve your pain. First, try to keep warm. Make sure to stretch and get your blood flowing before starting any activity in cold weather and wear warm clothes to keep your joints from losing too much heat.

A licensed chiropractor can reduce pain and stiffness and minimize the effects of future joint pain by addressing the root problem and helping to realign the joints. If you recognize your pain to be related to the weather, talk to your chiropractor about creating an action plan.

How Your Mental Health Affects Your Physical Health

There’s a growing interest in the real-world implications of the mind-body connection. More and more doctors are realizing that a critical way to support optimal physical health is to ensure patients are mentally healthy first. Strong negative emotions can impact everything from your muscular tension levels to hormones in your body. While there are many reasons to take care of your mental health, its profound impact on your physical health is among the most important.

Depression, high levels of stress, anxiety, and even loneliness can all impact your well-being. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure or stomach ulcers and events like heart attacks and strokes can often be correlated to emotional and mental health issues such as extreme and prolonged stress.

Address mental and emotional health issues early

If you find yourself struggling with feelings of low self-worth, anxiety, isolation, or depression, find constructive ways to address them as soon as possible. Many people could benefit from talking to a loved one or a compassionate professional. Understanding the root of an issue can help you better process and release negative emotions and thought cycles.

Tapping into a creative outlet can also help reduce these issues. Writing, singing, dancing, or painting can help release negative feelings while boosting confidence, pride, and productivity. In addition to expressing yourself through a creative activity of your choice, look into other forms of stress release and ways to increase mindfulness.

Meditation, yoga, and other self care can influence your outlook

Committing to regular personal time can be difficult, but the benefits are staggering. Spend at least 15 to 30 minutes each day doing something just for yourself. A brief morning meditation may cause you to feel calmer during the day and can help balance your blood pressure. No matter how you choose to do it (as long as it’s healthy and constructive!), daily self care is important if you want to find your way back to a calmer, healthier place.

Yoga or Tai Chi can also be great practices to cultivate mindfulness and strengthen the body. These physical exercises come with the added benefit of encouraging participants to live in the moment and honor the body’s natural abilities. Unlike more strenuous activities, yoga and Tai Chi are low-impact, meaning people in virtually any physical shape can try them.

Massage therapy can help offset stress-related issues

A host of health benefits are associated with manual therapies such as massage and chiropractic adjustments. In addition to treating specific physical symptoms of discomfort, these therapies can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety in many patients.

The reason why is simple: hands-on therapies result in the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with both bonding and reduced stress hormones. Additionally, releasing physical tension can help you mentally and emotionally let go. Gentle touch, combined with an increased sense of physical well-being can improve both your physical and mental health.

How to Prevent Water Sports Injuries

Whether you’re an outdoor sports enthusiast, a dabbler, or a full-blown adrenaline junkie, you’ve likely been trying to fit in plenty of active fun in the sun while the weather permits. For some, this may mean relaxing on the shore of your favorite lake or beach, and for others, it may mean taking advantage of water sport season.

While a great form of exercise during the summer months, like any activity, water sports can be dangerous without necessary precautions. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned pro, it is critical to prepare for the safest possible session on your waterskis, wakeboard, surfboard, jet ski, kayak, or other watercraft.

What to Do Before Hitting the Water:

Water sport injury prevention is just as much what you do outside of the water as what you do in it. Here are a few tips on what to do before you get into the water to save you a world of potential trouble in the future.

Hydration is essential for the body in general, but it is particularly important during exercise and heat, and you’ll be experiencing both while out on the water in the summertime. The musculoskeletal system works best when it is hydrated, so drink up to prevent muscle cramping, tears, and strains.

Stretching lowers the likelihood of injury on land and in the water. Do some dynamic warm-ups before practicing any sport, specifically focusing on mobility in the ankles, calves, and neck.

Inspect your gear to double check that everything is functioning as it should be. Rogue binding or loose screws can cause major problems down the line if they go unnoticed. You may also want to bring supplemental gear that can increase your comfort and safety in and out of the water, such as a basic first aid kit for any minor bumps or scrapes, or even a specialized device to prevent swimmer’s ear by removing lodged water from your ears after any falls.

Make sure your helmet is secure. A good rule of thumb: if you’re practicing a sport in which you’d even pause to consider wearing a helmet, you definitely should strap one on. Many people assume that water makes for a softer landing. In fact, water essentially turns to concrete above 15 mph, putting you at high risk for concussions. Wear protective headgear anytime you can, and be sure to replace it after a big fall if necessary.

What to Do While in the Water:

Once you’ve completed a good warm-up session and secured your protective gear, it’s time to play! Just remember to keep your safety in mind at all times, and try not to get caught up in going too hard, too fast. Here are a few things you can do to prevent injuries once you’re in — or on — the water.

Choose your surrounding area carefully. Even if you take all the other precautions on this list, your surrounding environment can also cause injuries if you don’t scout it carefully. Avoid areas that are overly crowded. While you may know what you’re doing, someone else may not, which could result in their injuring you by accident. Know where you’re getting in and out of the water, and make sure you verify how deep it is before leaping in.

Pay attention to the weather. Summer weather is often agreeable, but there’s always a risk of a summer storm or high winds. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, so you don’t end up in the middle of a body of water when inclement weather hits. If anything seems off, head for land sooner rather than later.

Be realistic. Know your experience level and practice accordingly. If you’re a novice, take it slow and progress gradually instead of rushing ahead several steps. When people try moves they aren’t prepared for, injuries tend to occur.

Despite our best planning, accidents can happen — regardless of experience level. If you sustain an injury, even a seemingly minor one, seek treatment from a sports injury expert as soon as possible. Spencer Chiropractic Center has the experience necessary to provide the care you need for recovery… and to get you back into your chosen sport as soon as possible!

How to Maintain a Healthy and Strong Body This Summer

Summer means spending time with friends and family. Mind and body become rejuvenated as you can finally spend time comfortably outdoors, soak up some vitamin D, and be active. However, if you neglect to take care of your body, you may wind up spending more time indoors than you’d like. Here are a few basic tips to keep your body strong and healthy this season so you can enjoy every minute.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink water, water, and more water. Especially when temperatures rise, your body loses more water than you think, even when you’re just moving around completing daily tasks. Try to carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times, so you can hydrate all day long. Proper hydration helps you sustain your energy and enhances muscle function and body temperature regulation.

2. Enjoy the sun (with SPF)

By all means, get outside and soak up the vitamin D you missed out on during the winter months. However, it is absolutely critical to protect your skin when doing so. Treat sunscreen as an essential accessory that you wear at all times. Apply SPF 30 or higher regularly throughout the day, even when you’re not laying out on the beach or by the pool.

3. Know when to be active and when to rest

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor sports and exercise! For those with joint pain, look into water sports that are more gentle on your body. Otherwise, get out there and get your sweat on! As we all know by now, regular exercise is essential to remain healthy and happy. In order to avoid overexerting yourself, it’s just as important to pair regular exercise with some R&R.

4. Visit a chiropractor

Your chiropractor is your partner in health. We can help you stay active and healthy by correcting problems before they become serious issues, and even by boosting your immune system. Throughout peak vacation season, chiropractic treatment can help prevent aches and pains, ultimately allowing you to enjoy your trip (and feel more at ease during a cramped road trip or long flight, when stiff joints can become a real comfort killer!).

What Is Subluxation and How Does It Impact Your Health?

dr phillip spencer examining patient xray

Many people who experience chronic symptoms or discomfort seek chiropractic treatment before they’ve ever heard the term “subluxation.” The issue, while not inherently severe, can have far-reaching impacts on your overall wellbeing and quality of life. Thankfully, a chiropractor can help correct misalignments with manual adjustments, improving the subluxation reducing your symptoms.

What is subluxation?

In the simplest terms, subluxation occurs when one of your back bones, called vertebrae, slips out of alignment. This can put considerable pressure on the disc between vertebrae, on your spinal cord, or on your nerves, resulting in pain, discomfort, and other health issues. A number of different factors can cause subluxation, including poor posture when standing or sitting at work, inadequate spinal support, sleeping position, repetitive motions, sudden trauma, birth, and weak spinal muscles.

Subluxation impacts your nervous system’s ability to fully function and regulate your body. When nerves or the spinal cord are pinched or impeded, your health can suffer. Depending on the cause of the subluxation, changes to your lifestyle, including your sleep habits or posture while at work, may be necessary for long-term relief. Chiropractic care can help reduce symptoms while simultaneously improving your posture and alignment.

How subluxation impacts your overall health

Your brain (and by extension, your spinal cord) controls everything in your body. When your spinal cord or nearby nerves are pinched or under pressure, it can affect your health in a variety of ways. Some of the most common symptoms are back and extremity pain and headaches. If untreated, however, a subluxation can intensify and have a profound impact on your overall health.

In some cases, untreated subluxations result in high stress levels, and your immune system is usually the first to take the hit. Decreased immune function, combined with increased pain and mobility issues, can aggravate other issues. Even internal organs can be adversely affected by poor nerve function if the subluxation isn’t promptly treated.

As you might guess, even if you don’t suffer from a known subluxation, it’s important to visit your chiropractor for regular treatment to ensure proper alignment and avoid a world of potential health issues.