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Backpack

Backpacks: Choosing Wisely for Your Child’s Well Being

The Back-to-School sales are in full swing now, and it is time to be finding the perfect backpacks for your children’s upcoming school year. While your children are probably more interested in the fashion statement they are making, parents need to be concerned about the ergonomic value of their choice. Students sometimes carry their entire locker contents on their backs every day. This frequently leads to neck and back issues as well as muscle and joint strains, especially if not carried correctly.

 

Sizing

The most important key is to choose backpacks with the right fit. Good quality backpacks use “torso length” as a sizing tool. The bag should cover your child’s torso length from the shoulder straps to the bottom of the bag. To determine this length, measure your child’s back from his C7 vertebra (the bone that sticks out when you bend your neck forward) down to the top of his hip bones (approximately waist level). If the backpack tags do not tell you the torso length, you may need to bring a tape measure with you to the store. (The torso length does not necessarily correspond with a child’s height. A tall person can have a short torso length and vice versa. Some backpacks may have an adjustable torso length; others are fixed.)

 

The width of the backpack is also important. The backpack should not be wider than your child’s back. Click this link for a chart which gives general guidelines for sizes vs. age. Remember, however, that each body is different, and children do not all grow at the same pace.

 

 

Style

The next key to good backpacks is the style. They should have broad shoulder straps with good padding. Be sure the pack has straps for both shoulders so that the weight can be distributed evenly on both sides of the body. You also want to see that the weight inside the pack is evenly distributed. Choosing one with lots of dividers, pockets, and extra compartments will keep the contents stationary and well balanced and will also make the load feel lighter.

 

 

Loading

The total weight of a filled backpack should not exceed 15% of your child’s weight. For example, a 60 lb. child should not carry a load of more than 9 lbs. (For small children, 10% of their weight should be the upper limit.) If you see your child bending forward when he is wearing his backpack, it is overloaded.

 

Where each item is placed in the bag is also important. Put the heaviest items so they will be closest to your child’s body; put the lighter items toward the outside. Use the various compartments as much as possible rather than dumping everything in the larger central compartment. It is a good idea when you go shopping to carry some extra items with you to put in the pack to see how comfortable it feels before you purchase.

 

Backpacks tend to accumulate junk from day to day. Be sure your child is cleaning it out regularly so that he is not carrying any more weight than is actually necessary. Each day have him take inventory to see what items he needs for that day and leave everything else out of the bag.

 

 

Wearing

The backpack should not go below the waist. Shoulder straps need to be adjusted to keep the pack close to the body and high on the back. Be sure your child is actually using both straps so that the weight inside is evenly spread to both sides of his body. A waist strap is also good to help relieve shoulder pressure and to keep the pack from swaying. Your child should use this strap as well if his backpack has one.

 

Backpacks have become an indispensable part of school life. Choosing one wisely makes a big difference in so many aspects of your child’s school day. Wishing you and your children a great, pain-free school year!

 

Photo by Austin Nicomedez on Unsplas

osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: Some Tips to Help

Osteoporosis is a diagnosis that many of us fear as we age. It causes our bones to become weak and brittle. Just a minor stressor such as coughing or bending can cause a fracture. This happens because old bone tissue is being broken down and removed faster than new tissue is being produced. Our hips, spine and wrist tend to be most prone to fractures. Weight bearing bones such as the pelvis, femur (leg bone) and the lower back vertebrae are also very likely to be injured. Although anyone can be affected, osteoporosis tends to show up in Asian and Caucasian women the most frequently.

 

Indicators That You May Be Suffering from Osteoporosis

 

  • Bone fractures
  • Collapsed vertebrae
  • Chronic back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Stooped posture

 

Osteoporosis Solutions

 

The leading cause of osteoporosis is lack of exercise. To help reduce the chance of getting osteoporosis, three specific types of exercise are best: weight bearing, resistance, and flexibility exercises. If you already have symptoms, exercise will help to slow the progression. Weight bearing exercises include activities such as hiking, jogging, jumping rope, and high-impact aerobics. Resistance exercises make your muscles work against a force or weight. Examples of resistance exercise include planks, straight leg raises, or weight lifting. Flexibility exercises allow your joints to maintain their full range of motion. These may include stretching exercises, yoga, or swimming, for example.

 

Proper nutrition will also help your body to produce the new tissue that it needs to stay healthy. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the two most important nutrients for preventing and managing the disease are calcium and Vitamin D. They also said, however, that “there are a number of foods, nutrients and vitamins, besides calcium and vitamin D, that help to prevent osteoporosis and contribute to bone, muscle and joint health, including protein, fruits and vegetables, and other vitamins and minerals.”

 

Nutrition Response Testing® is a system that reveals what nutrients your body is lacking. Dr. Marone can do an assessment and recommend the nutritional supplements that will give your body exactly what it needs.  Both chiropractic care and Nutrition Response Testing are very helpful in the fight against osteoporosis. If you are dealing with the disease or are wanting to prevent the devastating effects of it, please call our office at 864-963-9304 to see how we can help you.

See also: http://maronewellness.com/muscle-testing/

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.
young-athletes

Young Athletes: The Benefits of Chiropractic

This time of year finds many young people in sports training, a rigorous game schedule, or gearing up for competitions. While all those are great opportunities, they do put a lot of strain on the body. Many school-aged children and teen athletes are already experiencing injuries and chronic pain. Most traditional treatments for these complaints will only mask the underlying issue and may include addictive substances as well. Chiropractic care, instead, works to find the source of the problem and heal the issue itself rather than just doing symptom control.

 

Athletes: Why Chiropractic Care is a Good Choice

 

  • Chiropractic can keep kids in their game. Athletes are always wanting to improve. Keeping their spine in good alignment is an excellent way to gain the maximum benefit from the workout routines they put in.
  • Chiropractic is non-invasive. None of the procedures used by a chiropractor involves techniques such as surgery. Non-invasive care helps to avoid or lessen recovery time.
  • Chiropractic can help to avoid future pain.  By learning how to prevent muscle sprains/strains or soft tissue damage in the first place, young athletes are learning how to keep their bodies functioning into their later years.
  • Chiropractic can teach how to increase range of motion. Stretching and flexibility exercises help athletes to function at the peak of their game without injury.

 

At Marone Family Chiropractic we use a number of methods to help keep athletes healthy. These are some of the most common:

 

  • Chiropractic adjustments—to help improve communication between the brain and the body. Adjustments also help the body to heal from previous injury while helping to avoid new injuries in the future.
  • Pain relief modalities—such as electrical stimulation and ultrasound will help to heal current injuries.
  • Nutrition Counseling—helps athletes to develop strong bones and healthy muscles. Good nutrition also helps to maintain the energy levels needed for peak performance.
  • Weight Loss—if needed to function optimally.

 

To help your young athlete stay on top of his or her game, consider chiropractic care as a part of their training regimen. Call our office at 864-963-9304 for a free consultation.

Balance-ball

7 Reasons Why a Balance Ball Chair Is Good for Your Spine

Many of us spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk. And many of us experience a good deal of back and neck pain as well as headaches during that time. One reason is because those who design office chairs are not building them to fit our bodies; they are thinking of them as furniture to fit a particular “look.” Add to that the keyboard and monitor heights which are typically not appropriate for the user, and you have a perfect opportunity for spine issues to creep in.

Just because you must stay at a desk doesn’t mean you have to deal with these issues, however. Recently some designers have developed chairs that can alleviate many of these concerns. The chair consists of an balance ball in a stationary base. (The ball may also be known as a stability ball, yoga ball, Swiss ball, or physioball.) If a full chair will not work for you, a balance wedge or disk that sits on the seat of your chair is another alternative. The downside of the balance ball chairs and disks is that they need to be re-inflated periodically and have a weight limit of 300 pounds. However, the benefits may outweigh those issues. These are some of the benefits that researchers are finding.

 

Balance Ball Benefits

  • Engages Your Core Muscles

Because the balance ball is not stationary, it forces you to keep making small movements to stay balanced. This movement engages the core muscles of your back, abdomen, and pelvic floor.

 

  • Improves Posture

As you build those core muscles, your posture will  improve. When your head, spine, and pelvis are all in alignment, you will both look better and feel better.

 

  • Increases Circulation

Because you are constantly moving, circulation is improved.

 

  • Relieves Back Pain

As your core muscles become stronger, you will be less likely to slouch as you get tired. In fact, the chair makes slouching at a desk almost impossible.

 

  • Gives You an Opportunity for Mini Exercise Breaks

If you have opportunities to take little breaks in your work day, you can use the balance ball in or out of its frame to provide a quick chance for some good exercise.

 

  • Helps You to Maintain Focus

We work better when we are not sitting completely still. There is a pathway in our nervous system between the area that controls movement/balance and the area that controls our ability to focus. Studies show that the bit of movement we get from sitting on a balance ball increases our attentiveness and focus.

 

  • Helps Children with Attention Deficit

Researchers are finding that students who have ADD, ADHD, a sensory processing disorder, or those who just need to fidget are helped by these chairs because the chairs give the students a “productive” outlet for that need to move. When they are moving, they are also better able to focus.

 

No chair can provide all the movement that we need. We still need to engage the larger muscles of our extremities, which we can do only by walking or stretching. A good rule of thumb is to get up and move about at least once every hour. No chair is perfect for everyone, but a balance ball chair can be a good option for many people.

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/childs-posture-5-tips-help-improve/

http://maronewellness.com/a-forgotten-source-of-support-while-you-work/

teens-texting-with-poor-posture

Your Child’s Studying Posture: 5 Tips to Help Improve It

The school year is well under way by now. Have you noticed your children’s posture as they do their homework (or watch TV or play video games, for that matter)? When we are focused on the project at hand, we often do not think about our bodies. It is all too common to see children slouching, leaning against the arm of the couch, or propping their heads up with one or both hands. Children don’t see the long-term danger in poor posture, because they are not experiencing pain yet. It has even become “cool” to be seen this way and “uncool” to use good posture. All of this can make trying to change their bad habits difficult for parents. There are some things you as a parent can do, however, to help them with their posture.

 

  • Lead by Example: Show by your own good example what good posture looks like.
  • Show Them: A mirror is a great tool to show your child what his/her posture looks like vs. healthy posture. Have your child stand looking sideways into a mirror. Point out how the ear, shoulder, hip and ankle should be in alignment. How far from that is their posture? Which areas need the most correction?
  • Chair: The chair your child uses can either help or hinder their posture. The most important aspect of a chair is that it will allow his/her feet to rest flat on the floor while their knees are bent at approximately 90 degrees. This way their back does not have to try to balance with the weight of dangling feet. If all of your chairs are too tall, try putting a foot stool or wooden block under his feet. Back support is another issue. If the seat is too deep, your child is likely to slouch to try to reach the back of the chair. If you don’t have a chair that fits his body correctly, try putting a pillow behind him as he sits.
  • Desk:  Check the height of the desk he/she is using. Watch your child as he works. Where does the table meet his body? The desk tabletop should be at a level slightly above your child’s belly button in the middle of his torso.  If the table is too low, your child will tend to slouch forward while working.  If the table is too high, he/she will have to raise the shoulders (like shrugging) in order for their arms to reach their books and papers. This can cause overuse syndromes in the neck and shoulders. If the table is too high, try putting pillows under your child as he/she works. If the table is too low, try finding a lower chair to compensate. Then check to be sure this has not thrown his legs off balance. (See the last tip.)
  • Set Limits: What about the other activities—video games and TV?  Since most seating in our family rooms is not conducive to good posture, it is important to set time limits on these activities. Try limiting gaming to 20 minutes at a time. Set a timer; at the end of each 20 minutes, have your child get up and move around for a few minutes before going back to their game.

If you try these tips and still do not see improvement in your child’s posture, or if your child complains of pain, or has difficulty sitting still for longer periods of time, it may be that there is some underlying muscular tightness or weakness that is making it difficult for him to practice good posture. Dr.Marone can help in diagnosing the problem and help to get the body back to anatomical neutral through adjusting the spine and by recommending exercises for strengthening or stretching. It is this neutral positioning that puts the least pressure on the joints, reduces tension in our muscles, and optimizes circulation.

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/tips-healthy-laptop-use/

http://maronewellness.com/arranging-a-childs-computer-station-for-good-posture/

 

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

Good-laptop-use

Laptop Use: 6 Tips to Keep You Healthy

Laptops are an essential part of daily life these days, however they can also be a source of neck pain, back pain, and hand strain. The very aspects of the laptop that make them so useful—its small size and compact keyboard and screen all in one—are what also make it so difficult to use without putting strain on our bodies. If we move the laptop high enough to see it without having to scrunch down, the keyboard will be too high for our hands to use well. If the keyboard is at a good height, the screen will be so low we might find ourselves bending over and scrunching down to get a good look at it.

 

Laptop Tips

There are several things you can do to make a laptop work while still saving your body in the process.

 

  1. Sit up with your spine straight and head balanced. Then look out at the horizon. Move your eyes down to meet the screen, not your neck. Tilt the screen of the laptop until you can see it well without having to bend your neck or hunch your shoulders in order to see it.
  2. Move the laptop far enough away from your body so that your arms aren’t pulling backward in order to use the keyboard. Be sure your arms are able to hang freely from the shoulders without tension.
  3. Use a book to raise the laptop a little closer to eye level. (Put it under the back half of the computer to raise it at a slight angle.)
  4. Place the laptop on enough books to raise the screen up to eye level. Then attach an external keyboard and place it at a height which will allow your arms to remain parallel with the floor as you work.
  5. If you wear glasses, be sure that you adjust them to fit you, not the other way around. Sometimes we can create neck pain by adjusting our necks so we can see through our glasses rather than adjusting our glasses so they are where they need to be for us to see the screen.
  6. If you find that sitting causes pain, you may want to try standing as you work. A kitchen countertop may be just the right height. Keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet to avoid strain on your back.

 

Work is so much easier if we’re comfortable while we’re doing it! We’d love to hear from you. Let us know which tips have been the most helpful!

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/arranging-a-childs-computer-station-for-good-posture/

http://maronewellness.com/what-do-you-look-like-when-you-use-your-phone-or-tablet/

http://maronewellness.com/i-pad-hand-the-new-technology-syndrome/

http://maronewellness.com/taking-care-of-that-not-so-furry-mouse/

http://maronewellness.com/how-do-you-use-your-hands-at-the-computer/

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

Handwriting

Handwriting Tips to Avoid Painful Hands

Pain while writing can be a result of something as simple as a tightened muscle, to something more involved such as arthritic changes. Handwriting doesn’t have to be painful, however. If we learn to use our hands and our writing implements properly, pain can be avoided or at least lessened.

  • Sit upright so that you are not putting your body weight on your forearm as you write. Doing so can put pressure on nerves and create pain.
  • It is best for your upper and lower arm to form an “L” or a wider angle as you write. The more your elbow is bent the greater the hand and wrist strain will be.
  • Keep your fingers and hand relaxed. Be aware of the back of your hand remaining relaxed.
  • Watch for knuckles turning white. This is a tell-tale evidence of tension.
  • The more open your fingers are the better. Curled (as opposed to curved) fingers put more tension on the flexor tendons and can lead to pain.
  • Allow your wrist and forearm to move your writing implement rather than your fingers. Keep your fingers as still as possible.
  • Be sure that your paper is at an angle that allows your wrist to stay relaxed. If not, rearrange your work space until the wrist is “neutral”—straight in relation to your hand and forearm, as it looks when it is hanging comfortably at your side.
  • If your thumb is painful while writing, try supporting your pencil in the web space between the index finger and middle (long) finger.
  • Use cursive as much as possible. Cursive writing puts less strain on the hands than printing.
  • Practice writing with larger lines. Larger handwriting is less stressful on the hands than small, cramped writing.
  • Use writing implements that are larger in diameter. They allow your hand to be more open.
  • Use rubber grips, tubing or tape on the end of your pencils and pens to reduce the amount of force necessary to grip.
  • Pens with easy flow ink, gel, or roller balls require less pressure and put less friction between the tip and the paper. Try switching to one of those.
  • Be sure to pace yourself. Take breaks when writing, and write more slowly.

Happy handwriting!

As usual, please feel free to let us know which of these ideas was the most helpful to you by leaving a comment below.

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/what-do-you-look-like-when-you-use-your-phone-or-tablet/

http://maronewellness.com/i-pad-hand-the-new-technology-syndrome/

http://maronewellness.com/taking-care-of-that-not-so-furry-mouse/

 

 

5 Possible Causes of Your Sciatica

Sciatica—that feeling of pain, numbness or tingling you may be experiencing in your buttocks and down one or both legs—is often due to the sciatic nerve being irritated. What we refer to as the sciatic nerve is actually several nerve roots from the lower spine that have joined together. It then connects to many other nerves that branch out throughout the lower extremities and into the ankle and foot.

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Pain While Driving? More Tips to Help

Because of the way car seats are made, it is very easy for us to curl our torsos as we sit at the steering wheel, and the weight of our body ends up being supported by our tailbone. But the tailbone is not designed to carry that weight. Our “sit bones”—the ones that are shaped like rockers and that can be felt underneath you when you are sitting—are the bones that are supposed to be holding us up.

Read More