Keeping Your Balance as You Age: 5 Simple Exercises for Seniors

Balance is important in every stage of your life. It allows you to walk with grace, easily see your surrounding and stay pointed in the right direction. Balance allows you to make automatic adjustments to your posture and stability during every activity.

exercising womenBalance is achieved via a set of  ‘sensorimotor control systems’, which includes input from your vision, touch, and vestibular system. The vestibular system involves equilibrium, motion, and spatial orientation. All that sensory input is directed to the muscles of your eyes and body.

Any one of those sensory components can be negatively affected by disease, Injury, certain prescription medications, or—that undeniable part of our life cycle—aging.

How Age Affects Balance

Balance problems as we age usually result from deteriorations in our sensory and muscular functions. After all, many people begin to exercising and move much less after middle age. Here are a few common reasons seniors are more susceptible to falls:

  • Vision decreases;
  • The legs and hips weaken, making walking difficult;
  • Spinal degeneration or the posture becomes poor and it’s difficult to stand up straight;
  • Often people can lift their feet like they used to, increasing the likelihood of stumbling;
  • Our reactions slow when we encounter a physical obstacle, which can cause a fall;
  • Prescription medicines can cause dizziness or affect balance;
  • Low blood pressure can cause light-headedness that increases the risk of falling.

For these reasons it’s a good idea for seniors to begin a gentle exercise program that addresses strength, endurance, and balance. Even a small amount of targeted exercise can help restore good balance.

Simple Exercises for Seniors

The main muscle groups should be exercised several days a week, including the legs and arms, shoulders, chest and abdomen.

Staying safe while retraining the balance system is critical. Before beginning any kind of physical program, check with your doctor to be certain you or your family member’s balance problems aren’t the result of disease or infection. Make sure you or your family member aren’t alone while performing these exercises. Start slowly! There’s no hurry and it will take time for balance to return.

• Single Limb Stance
This is an exercise for seniors that can be done with either a chair or a counter to hold onto. An armless chair from the kitchen or dining room is good. Wear shoes with a smooth bottom so they don’t catch on the floor.

This is an excellent exercise to strengthen the hips and ankles. Keep your body weight over your ankles as you stand with your feet together and your arms as your side. Steady yourself with one hand on the back of the chair, which should be placed a bit to the side and in front of you. Bend the knee of the leg that’s closest to the chair, raising your foot back behind you so you’re balancing on the other foot. Hold that position for 10 seconds, then move over and do the same thing with the other foot.

Work up to standing on one foot for a full minute, and lessen your need to use the chair (or counter) by eventually using only a finger, then letting go completely.

• Eye Tracking
The exercises below helps the eyes track, and assists in the visual and vestibular systems, which in turns improves postural stability.

If you get dizzy while doing the exercise below, stop, sit, take a drink of water and look straight ahead until you feel better.

Begin by bending your elbow and holding your thumb in front of your face. It’s as simple as that. Now, move your thumb to the right, tracking it with your eyes until you can’t see it. Don’t move your head! Move your thumb back to the left until you can’t see it. Lift your thumb up, drop it down—track only with the eyes and not your head.

Now hold your thumb at arm’s length. Repeat the tracking exercise; this time follow the movements of your thumb with your eyes and your head.

Clock reach
This exercise is to designed to improve standing balance by strengthening hip and ankle muscles. It will also add motion range to the upper body and shoulders. Hold onto a chair to avoid a fall. If you want to add to the workout, use a one pound wrist weight.

As you hold onto the chair with your left hand, visualize a giant clock at your right side. Think of the 12, 3, and 6 o’clock positions. Stand tall, lift your right leg and balance on your left leg. Bring your right arm up to the 12 o’clock point then circle your arm back to the 3 o’clock. Don’t reach back too far because it might strain your shoulder. Now go to the 6 o’clock position. Repeat on the other side.

Staggered Stance
This is to strengthen the ankles so they can help keep the center of gravity, which improves standing balance. Remember your chair!

Start with your feet together and hands at your sides. Step forward on the right foot and stand that way for 10 seconds. Now alternate by placing the other foot in front of you. If you need more accuracy, put tape on the floor to guide your feet. To make it more difficult, close your eyes. Or try twisting at the waist. For a really big challenge, do it standing on a pillow.
And don’t do it alone!

• Knee Marching
One final exercise. This is a mild cardio exercise that also addresses leg weakness and helps your ‘moving’ balance.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Lift one knee as high as you can and still be comfortable. Lower that leg and lift the other knee. You’re marching in place. Repeat the knee lifts 20 times on each side. Keep the chair or counter close.

Older people can achieve better balance and reduce their risk of falling by faithfully working to improve the strength in their ankles and hips, and by moving their arms to build flexibility in the upper body and shoulders. These 5 simple exercises for seniors will help you do just that.

If you would like to learn about our customized programs of exercise rehab, please contact Texas Spine & Wellness. Our doctors can help you achieve your goals and feel your best!

Chiropractic Treatment and Your Immune System -Natural Ways to treat Allergies and Sinus Problems

Sinus problems and allergies are often treated with medicines, antihistamines and cold remedies, but surprisingly, chiropractic treatment may also play a role in improving allergies. It may sound strange, but recently it’s been learned that there is a direct link between the immune system and the nervous system. If your body is performing at its optimum level then your immune system will be stronger and therefore can prevent infections and disease more easily.

image of a man with sinus problemWhether you have sinus problems, are allergic to pet dander, foods, or are unable to successfully fight off infections, an improved immune system will help. By making strategic adjustments to your neck and spine, our Garland chiropractor can reduce the stresses on your body and help the nervous system operate more effectively.

Although many allergy sufferers rely on over the counter medicines to treat their symptoms, this may not always be the best choice for your body. Over time, traditional medicines can create inflammation within the liver. In addition to fine tuning your body with chiropractic treatment, there are a number of other natural ways you can help your body fight off allergies and sinus congestion.

  • Saline Rinse – Occasional use of a neti pot or a nasal irrigation bottle using a saline rinse can be helpful for many people to thin mucous secretions and aid drainage. We recommend using boiled water to make the saline solution, as it will help prevent contamination from potentially harmful bacteria that might be found in tap water. Please don’t ignore this recommendation as a few net pots users have suffered a fatal brain infection linked to the parasitic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. You can follow this link for a demonstration on how to use a neti pot.
  • Homeopathy – This system of medicine has been around for more than 200 years. Developed in Germany, homeopathy is based upon a system of like treats like. To give you an simple example, if you were suffering from sleeplessness due to an overactive mind, a couple of cups of coffee drunk late at night might add to your distress. However, a homeopathic remedy, called coffea cruda, which uses infinitesimal doses of the original ingredient, can be used to calm and soothe the mind and promote peace, tranquility and rest. Although traditional science may dispute Homeopathy’s claims of success, we have found remedies to produce wonderful results for many of our patients. We stock several fine homeopathic remedies for both sinus and allergy conditions.
  • Herbal Supplements – Many herbs can be used to tone down or alleviate typical hay fever symptoms, such as stinging nettle, milk thistle, and yarrow. Our office stock products by Allergy research group, Standard process, Douglas Labs and NutraBiogeneis that combine natural ingredients with advanced science to deliver products that can help you get through allergy season with barely a sneeze!

2-A-DAYIn addition, it’s important to check your diet. Be sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Five to seven serving per days is ideal. This will help ensure you’re receiving a rich source of vitamins and mineral through your food. We also recommend supplementing your diet with a professional grade multivitamin, which can be found here.

To sum up, the Health Care professionals at Texas Spine and Wellness are more than just “back doctors”. In addition, to providing chiropractic treatment, our team of health care practitioners which includes an MD and nurse practitioner, can help your body get back on track in other ways. We also offer nutritional advice and recommendations on supplements to help your body work in a more harmonic way to fight disease, infections and allergies. Our doctors are always available to assist you when you need them.

Having a properly balanced and healthy lifestyle, in conjunction with regular chiropractic treatment, helps the body heal naturally and become aligned quicker and more easily.

Contact us today if you’re ready to start feeling your best.

5 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Help You Feel Your Best

Bad posture is one of the unfortunate results of a modern lifestyle. We sit working for hours at our computer screens, hunch over our cell phones and sit watching endless TV programs. Eventually, most of us will suffer from some sort of problem as the bones in our back and neck become misaligned after long periods spent in unhealthy positions. These bones are called vertebrae and one of their functions is to protect the nerves that run through them. When the vertebrae go out of alignment they put pressure on these nerves and reduce their ability to function properly. One of the first signs of a misaligned back is neck or back pain. Other joints in your body can also suffer from similar problems.

image of chiropractic careThe main role of a chiropractor is to keep your vertebrae in healthy alignment and reduce the problems that can occur. There are many ways that a chiropractor can help your well being, but I want to focus here on 5 important ways a chiropractor can help you feel your best.

1. Chiropractic care can alleviate pain quickly. It helps free up and relax muscles and joints that have become frozen and unable to function properly. Nerves that have become pinched in these misaligned joints can then relax, allowing for significant pain reduction.

2. Chiropractic treatment can improve the function of your immune system. Your body interacts in a complex way. Whenever any part of your body is not functioning well, the rest of your body is also affected. When nerves in your spine are under pressure, the function that they control in your body is impaired as well. Your immune system is connected intimately with your nervous system and it benefits your spine is correctly aligned. Your chiropractor can help.

3. Chiropractic care has been shown to result in more satisfied customers than those treated in hospitals. A three-year study in 1995 reported by the British Medical Journal, studied 741 people with low back pain. These people sought treatment from either a chiropractor or from hospital outpatient treatment. Their ages ranged from 18 to 64 years and it involved both men and women. At the end of the three-year study, it was found that those who received regular chiropractic treatment found more benefit in their treatment and were more satisfied with the outcome than those patients who attended the hospital outpatient clinics.

Chiropractic care can also reduce your need for pain relief medication. This allows you to reduce the chance of any unpleasant side effects that these medications can give.

4. Chiropractic treatment can help reduce stress and depression. When you’re in pain and unable to move freely it can quickly become stressful and get in the way of your ability to function at school or work. It can also get in the way of personal relationships as you become more irritable. Compound this with difficulty sleeping due to discomfort, and your ability to cope is further lowered. As soon as you’re able to start a regimen of chiropractic care, you should see a reduction in stress levels and an improvement in your ability to function as a whole.

5. Chiropractic treatment is non-invasive and can treat both old and recent problems. Chiropractic care aims to help your body heal itself naturally. It does not rely on medication or surgical intervention to achieve this goal. While it is helpful to seek treatment as early as possible, treatment can be very helpful for long standing problems as well. Most people benefit from “maintenance” to deal with the general ‘wear and tear’ their bodies face over time. Regular appointments will also keep your boss happy as you’ll be less like to miss work days!

What to expect when you see our garland chiropractor for the first time

Texas Spine and Wellness is an integrated clinic where our team of health professionals work together as a team. Within our Garland chiropractic clinic, you’ll have access to the finest care with services ranging from exercise rehab and therapeutic massage to advanced solutions for knee and shoulder pain. Our team includes a medical doctor, chiropractors, a nurse practitioner, exercise physiologists and licensed massage therapists.

In short, our staff is fully equipped to help you regain strength, and range of motion while decreasing any pain you’re having. If you would like to learn about the many ways the staff at Texas Spine & Wellness can help you feel your best, contact our office at (972) 840-2520.

Tingling Hands and Fingers? It Could Be Thoracic Outlet Sydrome

Have you ever awakened with your hands tingling or numb? It’s an alarming sensation, as it often takes time to regain feeling. For some people the condition is more pronounced and affects them throughout the day.

Not every episode of tingling fingers or hands is a problem. Sometimes the symptoms are relatively harmless, and can be caused by something as simple as sleeping on your arm overnight or keeping your arm in a fixed position for too long.

Additionally, most people, at one time or another, have accidentally hit their “funny bone” near the elbow joint. This is simply a nerve plexus concentration area. While the blow can be painful and can cause arm or hand numbness, the sensation quickly dissipates as the nerve signals return to normal.

But for the majority of cases, tingling in the hands or fingers is caused by a compression of nerves in the chest area called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Thoracic outlet syndrome is a fairly common problem that occurs when there’s not enough room for nerves and blood vessels to pass through the thoracic outlet, which is located between the base of the neck and the armpit.

It is important to understand there a wide variety of potential causes of tingling in the hands or fingers. For most people nerve compression in relatively benign. But there can be other causes, such as a herniated disc, shingles or herpes zoster infection, injury to the nerve from infection, migraines, diabetes,, lack of vitamin B-12, multiple sclerosis, radiation therapy, among others.

That’s why it’s important to consult with a chiropractor or your MD about chronic tingling and numbness in your hands and finger.

Simple treatments and exercise can provide relief

If you’re diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a chiropractor can perform basic neck, shoulder, back and spinal manipulations to alleviate the nerve compression.

Routinely stretching the pectoral muscles will also help to relieve the problem. Here’s a simple exercise that can performed at home:

Stand in a corner of a room. Lift your arms so that your elbows are aligned slightly below your shoulders and your hands are facing forwards. Place one hand on either side of the corner.

Now lean forward slowly. You should feel a slight stretch in your pectoral (chest muscles). Hold that position for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times. Take a look at the picture below to understand the technique.

Perform this exercise twice daily for two weeks. Within a relatively short period of time you should notice improvement. If you feel any pain or discomfort in your shoulders, discontinue the exercise and contact your chiropractor or physical therapist.

Your chiropractor may also recommend using ice packs to relieve the inflammation, swelling, and numbness in your hands or arms.

To visit a chiropractor in Garland, contact us by phone at (972) 840-2520. Our clinic is medically directed, offers therapeutic massage, exercise rehab and the services of a nurse practitioner.

In addition to back pain treatment, our clinic specializes in treating patients with painful shoulders and SI joints and osteoarthritis of the knees.

Contact us at (972) 840-2520 to learn more about our advanced pain treatment programs.

How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain

Working in a chiropractor’s office, I have learned that at some point in their lives, almost everyone will experience back pain. If you’re lucky, your back pain will be short-lived. But for some, it impacts their daily routine – and their ability to get a good night’s sleep. When you can’t get enough rest, besides feeling tired, you’re more likely to feel depressed and feel pain more acutely. It can seem like an endless cycle.

Image of a man trying to sleep with back painHowever, there are ways to deal with back pain that can help minimize its effect both during sleep itself and during the day. Here are a few strategies to integrate into your routine that will help you sleep with lower back pain:

Sleeping Position and Posture

When you have back pain, your sleep can be interrupted due to sore muscles and joints. To remedy this, make sure your mattress is appropriate for your back. Typically, a firm mattress helps minimize any spine curvature, which can add to your discomfort. Or if you prefer a pillow top mattress, be sure your bed has good underlying springs or support. Our Garland chiropractor can offer professional advice about your mattress and how to sleep with lower back pain.

Next, try sleeping on your side with a pillow. This keeps your hips from jutting forward and twisting your back. Try not to sleep on your stomach as it places too much stress on your spine. Additionally, consider purchasing a neck pillow or place a rolled bath towel under your neck to align the top section of your spine properly. Make sure it rests naturally under the middle of your neck.

Exercise Can Bring Relief

Despite your first inclination, resting is not the recommended way to deal with back pain. First, the pain will probably prevent you from getting the rest you need, and second, with inactivity your muscle strength decreases. Gentle exercise can help alleviate these symptoms by increasing blood flow, improving range of motion and strengthening muscles.

Yoga, pilates, light stretching, and water therapy are good examples of exercises to try. If possible, also try a slow walk. However, don’t overdo it; take it slow and easy, so that you don’t aggravate your symptoms. Contact your chiropractor or other medical professional for advice on an exercise routine that will promote back relief and help you learn how to sleep with lower back pain.

Weight Management

Many of us carry a few extra pounds, but when you have back pain, those few extra pounds can take a toll The extra weight pulls down on your back, creating even more pain, affecting your ability to get a good night’s rest. Losing weight can lessen your pain.

If you decide to lose weight, begin with simple changes. If you’re a soda addict trying limiting yourself to one soda per day. Add in an extra serving of vegetables and fruit and try to cut down on processed snacks such as chips and crackers. If this feels like the right path for you, we’re here to help. Our nutritional counseling and Science Based Nutrition programs can get you started.

Supplements for pain

Sometimes you have to fight back pain from the inside. Certain supplements such as magnesium citrate, help to relax muscles and nerves, helping you to get deeper rest. In addition to maintaining healthy teeth and bones, calcium magnesium can improve insomnia conditions and aid in healthy functioning of muscles and nerves.

Painkillers

When back pain strikes, sometimes you want immediate relief. Certain over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can alleviate pain and relax tightened muscles. Always talk to a medical professional for advice about recommended dosage and any potential side effects.

Chiropractic Treatment

Professional help when dealing with back pain is critical. Garland chiropractor, Dr. James Mixon can assess your condition and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment which may include a combination of chiropractic treatment, massage, and exercise rehab.

During a chiropractic treatment, small spinal misalignments can be “adjusted”, gently and safely. This treatment can help the body’s nerves communicate more effectively, assisting the healing process.

Within our Garland chiropractic clinic, we also offer the services of our Medical Director, Dr. Mandy Thompson and our nurse practitioner. If you need to step it up a notch, both our MD and Nurse practitioner are here to provide advice, treatment and when necessary to prescribe muscle relaxers or pain medication. Joint and trigger point injections are also available.

Our physical therapy assistant delivers more help by assisting with neck, shoulder, low back and hip exercises that will increase your range of motion, strength and flexibility. Our licensed massage therapists perform relaxing chair massages or 30 minute complete sessions to round out your treatment.

No “One Size Fits All” Solution

Everyone is different and so is their back pain. What works well for one person may not be the best solution for you. However, the techniques listed above are a great start and are likely to increase your overall health, so that every moment – both sleeping and awake – is less painful, and much more enjoyable!

Please give us a call today to see if we can help.