To Your Health
April, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 04)
Your 40s and 50s
This is the time frame during which we start to see the effects of arthritis. Generally this is when your activities start to become limited because of reduced muscle flexibility and joint pain. Chronic pain is commonplace and destruction of cartilage in the knees and hips often results in joint replacement surgery.
At this point, your chiropractor can work to fend off the debilitating symptoms and help you maintain as much function as possible. Treatment can help you get your life back and slow down the effects of your arthritis.
How to Prevent or Slow the Damage
A well-adjusted spine is possible to attain! Using a combination of proper diet, exercise, regular chiropractic adjustments and custom orthotics if necessary, you can have an active role in preventing damage (or slowing down the wear-and-tear process).
This won't mark the first time you've heard how important it is to eat nutritional foods and maintain a proper diet. Yet, it plays a vital part of your overall health and one that is within your control and yours alone. Your chiropractor or nutritionist can suggest what you should be eating, but it's up to you to actually follow this plan and choose a healthy lifestyle. It may seem harder than it is - just start small with one healthy choice (veggies instead of fries for dinner tonight) and you're already moving in the right direction. Build on those moments and continue to make healthy eating choices and you can see a major improvement not only in your body, but in your overall health. The five keys known to contribute to longevity are:
- Don't smoke.
- Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Get regular exercise.
Getting exercise on a regular basis goes hand-in-hand with proper nutrition in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some easy tips to get you started:
- Start slow, gradually increasing the intensity of your workout.
- Always warm-up and cool down when working out.
- Drink plenty of water (8 ounces before you work out, 8 ounces while you work out and another 8 ounces after).
- Listen to your body - stop exercising if you experience pain or dizziness.
- Wear proper-fitting, supportive athletic shoes
Being evaluated by your chiropractor even when you are pain-free can have a very valuable payoff in the later years. Healthy joints, muscle flexibility and a healthy nervous system will allow you to continue to exercise and be active, which we all know contributes to overall health.
Motion is life to a joint and to a person. A properly balanced body absorbs and disperses stresses, while an imbalanced body absorbs and accumulates those stresses. Those stresses begin in the feet and can affect your entire back and neck. Custom-made orthotics can be a great addition to your chiropractic care. That's because the effects of your chiropractic adjustments can last longer if your body is supported between visits. Orthotics work to support all three arches of your feet, which supports your foundation and your entire body.
The key to a well-adjusted spine is starting early and continuing to keep your body in balance. This is a lifetime's approach to overall wellness and health.
Brian Jensen, DC, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska and Palmer College of Chiropractic. He specializes in structural biomechanics and has been in practice for 17 years.