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Your Core | Optimal Chiropractic Post Falls & Coeur d'Alene

Strengthening your core will really help you long term, to have less lower back pain, and can even have positive effects to lessen neck and shoulder pain. At Optimal Chiropractic in Post Falls, we strive to improve your health and overall quality of life. We recommend specific exercises to help strengthen and heal your body. Patients who are proactive and exercise regularly will have significantly better results with chiropractic care. Strengthening your core is vital in improving your condition.I remember a conversation with a good friend of mine in High School. She was saying something along the lines of “the best way to build your abs when you’re not working out is to suck it in and hold your abs all day.” Oh boy, if I had a time machine I would go back and smack myself for listening to such awful advice! Then again, we were young and dumb.“Sucking it in” and holding tension in the abs is probably one of the WORST things you can do when it comes to core strength and stability. You may be asking, why? And the answer, is because it causes POOR BREATHING PATTERNS. That’s right, by holding tension in your stomach the upper abs are contracted which does not allow the diaphragm to fully expand during breathing. But why is that important? Because the diaphragm is probably the most important muscle when it comes to breathing and overall stability.The diaphragm is a very thin muscle which lays over the top of the stomach and liver, basically separating the heart and lungs from the abdomen. When you take a breath in, the correct movement is for the belly to expand which allows the diaphragm to lower down. The opposite happens when you exhale or breathe out, the stomach is supposed to come back in and the diaphragm elevates to the previous position.So how do you know if you are breathing correctly? It’s simple. Take one hand and lay it across your chest. Then take the other and place it on your belly. As you breathe, the top hand should have very little movement, and the bottom should move in and out as you inhale and exhale. “Chest breathing” occurs when tension is held in the abdomen. This causes muscles in the chest, neck and back to work EVEN HARDER to raise and lower the rib cage with EVERY breath. “I hold so much tension in my neck/shoulders”…well then let’s start by breathing properly to help them relax!A healthy core is a stable core, and the way to stabilize the core is to utilize the diaphragm when breathing!

The Key to Your Low Back Pain

Why Do I Have Back Pain?Such a common question to be asked in our office. And often times, there may not be a simple answer. Did you know, from your skull to your “tailbone” there are 3 different layers of muscles in the back? There are the superficial, intermediate, and deep layers, which are all broken down further into muscle groups based on their attachment and region of the spine. There are even textbooks solely dedicated to low back pain (the one sitting on my desk now is nearly 1000 pages, titled: Low Back Syndromes), not even focusing on the rest of the spine.Low back pain is the most prevalent of all musculoskeletal conditions, and will affect nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and often a combination of many different things before you even start to notice pain. In this blog we will focus on 1 single muscle which is often overlooked, but may very well be the culprit to your low back and hip pain.Hip FlexorsThe muscle I am referring to is called the psoas (oddly pronounced “so-as” or “so-ass” – for which I often get strange looks or giggles from patients). The psoas is a muscle located deep in the abdomen. It attaches to the front and side of the lumbar vertebra and even to the discs of the lumbar spine. It travels downward to the pelvis and is combined with another muscle called the iliacus, and together they attach to the femur or "thigh bone". As these muscles join together, they become known as the iliopsoas, but are commonly referred to as hip flexors.The main function of the hip flexors are to bring the thighs toward the stomach. There are simple things we do every day which may cause the psoas to be repeatedly shortened or remain in a contracted state. Sitting is one of the most common postures which causes this repeated shortening of the hip flexors. It is very important to get up and get your body moving throughout the day, especially for those working at a desk all day long.Even though the psoas is located deep within the abdomen, it is still possible to treat the muscle to help release tension and possible trigger points. These trigger points in the muscle may refer pain to the low back anywhere along the course of the muscle itself. It is not uncommon to have more tenderness when treating one side compared to the other possibly due to compensations which have developed elsewhere in the body. This muscle is also very important when it comes to overall stability of the spine and of the core, which we will discuss in a later blog regarding abdominal bracing for core stability.Treatment of the hip flexors is often overlooked or may be incorrectly addressed. Many of the patients we treat in our office report they do static stretches for the hip flexors and quads, but do not seem to notice a significant change. We often find that this is because they are not getting specific enough with the area they are trying to target, or are stretching incorrectly. Many other doctors and even some chiropractors who do not focus on soft tissue or do not look outside of the spine for dysfunction tend to miss some of the other factors, such as the psoas, for treating low back pain and hip pain.If you, or someone you know suffers from hip pain or low back pain, contact our office to learn how we can help you to achieve a pain free and healthy lifestyle.Looking for a Post Falls Chiropractor? Contact Optimal Chiropractic in Post Falls for more information (208) 777-4305. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/postfallschiro as well as Twitter and Instagram @optimalchiropf for updates in the office!

How to Choose YOUR Chiropractor

What is it that separates one chiropractor from another? Each practitioner has a variation in techniques or services they utilize. It is important to realize that a technique or treatment which may work well for one patient, may not be the best for another.From headaches to heel pain, chiropractors have a wide range of conditions they are able to treat outside of neck and back pain. Like the medical profession, there are many areas of specialty in chiropractic. It is important to know what you are looking for before choosing a chiropractor.Functional chiropractic care focuses on movement and function of the body as a whole, rather than just a traditional structural approach. With a combination of chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue treatments, and exercises, we are able to pinpoint the cause of dysfunction and make corrections to help the body function at its optimal level.With advanced diagnostic imaging and research, our understanding of how the spine functions has greatly improved. A typical chiropractic adjustment is not only restoring proper movement to a single joint, but is having a more global effect on the region being targeted. Postural correction and alignment of the vertebrae still remain very important, however, our focus shifts to proper joint movement and muscle function overall to support or stabilize the spine.Musculoskeletal SystemAs daily activities and stress take their toll on the body, it changes the way we function. Chiropractors have a thorough knowledge of how interconnected the muscle and joints are with bones and connective tissues of the body. In combining our knowledge of structural correction and functional movement, we are able to personalize treatment to each individual depending on their needs.The majority of the cases involving joint or muscle pain, there needs to be some level of stretching or strengthening activity. These types of activities tend to produce better outcomes and satisfaction with care. Functional chiropractic care is for people of all ages and all activity levels. Exercises and activities are often of minimal intensity and designed to help patients reach their goals much faster.Not only are we looking to the spine, but the entire musculoskeletal system to pinpoint causes of pain and dysfunction. The doctors at Optimal Chiropractic have sought out additional training to better understand and educate their patients to be able to provide a comprehensive and conservative approach to their health care. If you are looking for a chiropractor in North Idaho, give our office a calls at (208) 777-4305. We serve all of Kootenai County including Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, and Rathdrum.

Why This Diet May Do More Harm Than Good

At Optimal Chiropractic, we get a lot of patients who come in to the office asking for advice about weight loss and specific diets or programs. One of the many "fad" diets out there is called the HCG diet. It may go by different names depending on the type of health care office you are at. In this blog, we will answer many questions about what exactly the diet is, why it works, and more importantly, how to make an educated decision on whether or not to start his diet plan.HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is a hormone produced in pregnant women, and is the specific hormone detected when using a pregnancy test. So why would you want to use a hormone for pregnancy when trying to lose weight?? HCG is used to assist the body in resetting your metabolism, and also helps to break down long chain fatty acids. Neither of these claims, however, has ever been evaluated or approved by the FDA. In fact, HCG itself has never even been approved for weight loss.HCG DietThe next question we always get asked, is "then why does the HCG diet work?" The simple answer has nothing to do with the HCG injections, drops, or any other way the hormone is administered. It has to do with the details of the diet itself. On average, humans should consume anywhere between 1200-1500 calories per day. With the HCG diet, calories are restricted to 500-800 calories at the most on a daily basis. There are specific types of foods to eat throughout the day, reduced portion sizes, and very little to no exercise recommended due to the low caloric intake.An article found on healthline.com put these numbers in perspective, a single slice of pepperoni pizza or two handfuls of peanuts is equal to about 250 calories. To make a long story short, OF COURSE you will lose weight when consuming such a low number of calories, regardless of whatever else you take with it.When making an educated decision on weight loss you should always ask yourself a few different questions. Is it safe? According to the FDA, the answer is no, and you should steer clear of this diet. Does it work? Yes, the HCG diet CAN help you lose weight. Again, this is due to the calorie restriction being much lower than what people need on a daily basis. Can you maintain the results? It depends. If you go back to your typical diet and schedule, the weight will come back on just as quickly if not faster than you lost it. If, however, you use this diet to kick start a change in your life and develop a healthier diet and lifestyle, then it is possible to keep the weight off.Our suggestion is this, instead of following the unhealthy "fad" diets, such as this which only yield temporary or unhealthy results, find something that will help you achieve the results you want in a healthy way. The doctors at Optimal Chiropractic encourage a diet which will help you to achieve your optimal health inside and out and to sustain long lasting results. Contact our office in Post Falls, Idaho at (208) 777-4305 for details to start achieving your best health today.

The Importance of Symptoms

Although many symptoms of an injury or illness can be a nuisance, they are actually extremely important. Things like headaches, dizziness, insomnia, acid reflux, and many other types of pain are like a built in warning system. It is our body’s way of telling us that something has gone wrong, or that something is not functioning properly.At times, it may be easy to determine when and where a particular symptom may come from. For example, if you get a splinter or cut your finger, it is very easy to see specifically why that injury is painful. At other times, however, it can be more difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of certain symptoms. Why do some people experience heartburn or migraines while others do not? These are not necessarily genetic traits handed down, but may actually point to an underlying problem somewhere in the body.Medication TeeNow, the first thought that may come to many peoples mind is, “I take _(fill in the blank)_ medication for my problem, and it goes away.” My usual follow up to a statement like this is to ask “How long before it comes back?” The reason for this, is that it ALWAYS DOES come back! These medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed only mask the symptoms you may be having. In addition, many of them also have side effects of their own to contend with, and eventually, something else may be added again to cover up the new symptoms.In our chiropractic office, while we do not base our entire treatment approach off of the pain or symptoms you may be having, we do pay close attention to what each patient is feeling or how those symptoms are changing. Symptoms are like a fire alarm, they let you know something isn’t right in the building, but they don’t necessarily tell you where or how severe the problem is. It wouldn’t make sense to shut off the alarm and ignore the fire, but rather to investigate the problem and find the best way to put it out.At Optimal Chiropractic, we take time to listen to our patients and develop the best possible course of treatment for each individual patient. If you are looking for a chiropractor in the Post Falls or North Idaho region, give our office a call today to see how we can help you achieve your best health.