Forward Head & Shoulders

Does this posture look familiar to anyone? Go ahead, look in the mirror… It may not be as noticeable to some of you, but I’m sure the majority, see the problem.Rolled-Shoulders-Posture1

How did we get this way? The main cause of this postural problem comes from our daily activities. Sitting at a desk typing, on the couch watching TV, at the table eating, or maybe you haven’t had your eyes checked lately and you are straining to see. Regardless of the cause, in this posture, you will eventually experience pain. Maybe it starts as a headache, or pain between your shoulder blades.

The solution? I’m glad you asked. There are many stretches and exercises we can do to reverse this posture, as well as ergonomic changes we can make to prevent this posture.

Let’s talk ergonomics! By raising your laptop or computer screen, you can diminish the amount of time you are looking down. Maybe, find yourself a nice comfortable chair with an adjustable back rest, adjustable height control, or adjustable supports (lumbar, neck, arm, etc.) Even switching to a counter height desk, and standing, would be better than nothing!

Here is a list of the great exercises and stretches that will be discussed in future posts, to reverse this posture!
Posterior Cervical Translation
Scapular Retraction
Pectoral Stretch
Brugger’s Posture


Disc Problem?

A vertebral disc problem can present itself with many different signs and symptoms, varying in severity. For this reason, not all disc problems are treated the same, or have the same prognosis.discThe facts about disc problems:

  • Not all herniated and bulging discs cause pain – Most are actually not symptomatic and many are misdiagnosed.
  • Surgery or non-surgical spinal decompression is usually required to correct a herniated disc – In most cases, surgery actually offers poor results for a herniated disc (current studies find that 74% of all back surgeries fail).
  • Herniated Discs can worsen with time (due to continued over-activity and stress to the spine) and can lead to degenerative disc disease.
  • Most herniated discs won’t resolve on their own – Pain may subside due to posture and structural compensation.
  • Herniated discs cannot be diagnosed with x-ray – You need an MRI.
  • Herniated discs can occur due to a spinal rotational decompensation caused by a pelvis misalignment, injuries/trauma, or repetitive stress/activities.
  • Medical treatment is not necessary for most herniated discs.

MRIs of a group of middle aged (average 45 years) individuals who have NEVER experienced back pain showed the following:

  • 38% had disc bulges,
  • 37% disc protrusions (aka: contained herniations),
  • 11% disc extrusions (aka: non-contained herniations),
  • 0% disc sequestrations (aka: free fragments) and
  • 4% nerve root compression by the disc herniation.

This means, more than 60% of asymptomatic middle aged people may have findings of disc bulge, or worse (protrusion, extrusion) on MRI!


51% of disc patients find relief with William’s flexion exercise protocols, while 49% receive more relief with McKenzie’s extension exercise protocols. For this reason, all disc injuries are not treated as equals!

Chiropractors will use special adjusting techniques, such as Cox Flexion-Distraction, pain relief therapies, and exercises to treat patients with disc injuries.

Exercises should be done in the doctor’s office first to establish the best exercises for each patient and insure proper technique. Exercises are a great way that patients can help the progress of their care outside of the doctor’s office.

If you are experiencing back or neck pain that radiates into the arms or legs, or even numbness and weakness, please see your chiropractor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Many disc conditions can be treated in the office, although some individuals may need to be referred to a Medical or Osteopathic Physician for additional diagnostic imaging and treatment (usually more severe cases).

Pelvic Tilt

Remember that posture thing?postures tiltPelvic tilt exercises are important for several reasons.

  1. Anterior Pelvic Tilt – This is commonly seen in individuals suffering from midline low back pain and may also be carrying extra weight around their midsections (overweight or pregnant individuals). This posture is associated with tight hip flexors (quads and iliopsoas), tight back muscles (paraspinals and QLs), along with weak abdominal muscles and hamstrings.
  2. Posterior Pelvic Tilt – This posture is less commonly seen, and associated with tight hamstrings, tight back muscles (paraspinals), along with weak abdominals and hipflexors (quads and iliopsoas).

Both postures can cause low back pain, hip pain, knee pain, mid-back pain, neck pain…you get the picture.

Let’s get to the remedy of our pain and suffering!

Pelvic Tilt Exercise – To fix the anterior pelvic tilt posture!

  1. Lay on your back with knees bentpelvic-tilt
  2. Tighten your abdominals (assuming you are breathing properly)
  3. Squeeze your glutes together
  4. Roll your hips back (flattening your back against the floor)
  5. Relax and Repeat!

Pelvic Tilt Exercise – To fix the posterior pelvic tilt posture!

  1. Lay on your back with knees bent
  2. Tighten your abdominals (assuming you are breathing properly)
  3. Roll your hips forward (lifting your back off the floor)
  4. Relax and Repeat!

~ Please consult your doctor before adding new activities to your daily routine.

Chiropractic, Omega-3, & Vitamin D3

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this video presentation are based upon the opinions of Innate Choice, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author(s), who retain(s) copyright as marked. The information in this video presentation is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Innate Choice and its community. Innate Choice encourages everyone to make their own health care decisions based upon their own research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using any of these products.

Breathe. It’s Important.

Breathing is one of the most fundamental decisions we make in our lives; well, in order to live and make other decisions. You wouldn’t think that it would be a hard thing to learn, or maintain. So why are many of us doing it wrong?

Have you ever noticed the difference between how a baby breathes and how you breathe? Breathing is an innate function (meaning our bodies know how to do it from birth). When babies inhale, their bellies push out. When they exhale, their bellies are sucked in. The average adult uses their chest to breathe, causing all sorts of mechanical dysfunction.
Why is improper breathing detrimental to our health? You read it right. Our health is suffering. By not breathing correctly, we are unable to fully bathe our lungs with fresh air, leaving the air in the bottom of our lungs to become stagnant. We become winded easily, tired/fatigued, and we can become more prone to respiratory infections. Our neck and shoulders become tight and painful, and our core muscles become weaker, leaving our back muscles to become tight and painful. deep_breathingAnatomy Lesson:
At the center of the breathing process, is the diaphragm. The diaphragm is connected to the xiphoid process and the cartilage of ribs 7-12, in the front. At the sides it is connected to the ribs, and at the back it is connected to the abdominal wall and lumbar vertebrae. The diaphragm is also involved in several non-respiratory functions (not discussed at this time).
The central portion of the diaphragm is innervated by the phrenic nerve which is formed from the cervical nerves C3, C4 and C5. While the peripheral portions of the diaphragm communicates through the intercostal (T5-T11) and subcostal nerves (T12).

Its location and innervation is why many people notice that they can breathe deeper, and better, following a chiropractic adjustment.

The abdominal muscles also play an important role in breathing. They are the antagonist muscles, helping to expel the air from the lungs.

So how can we fix this breathing problem?

Simple. Just mimic an infant and practice belly breathing! When you inhale, push your belly out, and when you exhale, use your abs to push the air out of your lungs. This will not only help you feel better and less tired in the future, it will also strengthen your abs, relieve the muscle tension in your neck and shoulders, as well as help prevent that neck/shoulder/back pain!


Are you doing it wrong?

posturePosture is one thing that is often overlooked in today’s society. We choose comfort over comfort…What? Having poor posture may be comfortable at the time, but it can contribute to several uncomfortable pain and degenerative conditions. The 4 ‘not-so-good’ postures above can lead to tight and overused muscles, as well as weak muscles. A muscle imbalance can lead to joint misalignments. When joints are misaligned they do not function properly. The joint surfaces may rub together wrong, thus causing pain and is the first step in causing degeneration.

As a chiropractor, we can re-align a joint all we want. But, if we don’t address the problem, (the muscles and ultimately the patient’s posture) the misalignment will return just as before. As a patient, we must make a conscious effort to work with our doctors to address our posture and prevent our condition from getting worse or to even reverse it.

I know, exercises aren’t convenient or easy. But, neither is pain that we will experience when we attempt everyday activities. Wouldn’t it be great to pick up our kids without experiencing back or shoulder pain, or walking up the stairs without knee pain?

Having the correct posture will help us to function better for everyday life, sports activities, and most of all keep us out of pain.

Look for future posts about exercises to reverse our poor postures!

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

• Does it hurt when you chew or yawn?
• Do you have pain or discomfort in front of the ear, in the jaw muscles, cheek, teeth, or temples?
• Does your jaw click or pop when opening or closing your mouth?
• Do you find it difficult or painful to open your mouth wide?
• Does your jaw ever get stuck/locked as you open it?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD is a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint.
tmdSigns may include:
• Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders;
• Limited movement or locking of the jaw;
• Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth;
• A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together;
• Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing.
For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary, often occurs in cycles, and resolves once you stop moving the area. Some people with TMD pain, however, can develop chronic symptoms.

What Causes TMD?
TMD falls into three categories:
• Discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders
• A dislocated jaw or displaced disc
• Degenerative joint disease/arthritis of the jaw
Trauma to the jaw during a sporting activity and overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too frequently, may cause TMD. Also, TMD is common after a visit to the dentist and having to hold your mouth open for long periods of time.tmd_2TMD Treatment

To treat TMD, chiropractors use manipulation, massage, hot/cold therapy or special exercises. In most cases, your doctor’s first goal is to relieve symptoms, particularly pain.
• Apply moist heat or a cold pack to lessen the pain. A cold pack is recommended shortly after the injury or onset of pain has started. To avoid further injury, the cold pack should not set directly on the skin, and should not be used longer than 20 minute intervals. In the later stages of healing, you may need to switch to moist heat, especially if you are still experiencing discomfort. Moist heat, opposed to dry heat applications, will reduce swelling, achiness, and stiffness that may affect the joint.
• Avoid harmful joint movements. For example, biting into a hard apple or carrot is just as bad as chewing on hard candy. Large sandwiches can also cause the mouth to open too wide and have a destabilizing effect on the jaw.
• Perform TMD-specific exercises. Depending on your condition, your chiropractor may recommend stretching or strengthening exercises. Stretching helps to relax tight muscles and strengthening helps to activate and tighten muscles that have become weak.