Whether knowingly or not, we all do some things that probably aren’t the best for our health.
And because they spend their days with people suffering from a multitude of musculoskeletal aches and pains, a lot of chiropractors have a list of actions and activities that are causing people more harm than good. Therefore, if you want to save yourself some grief, both now and in the future, here are a few things that your chiropractor likely wishes you’d stop doing.
1. Looking down at your electronic devices
Robert M. Blaich, DC, DIBAK, DAAPM, DAAIM, DCBCN, with Dr. Blaich and Associates in Denver, Colorado says, “I wish my patients would stop spending so much time looking down at their cell phones and computers.” This is a phenomenon often referred to as “text neck” and involves the damage that results from spending hours with your head in the downward position.
According to research conducted by Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, bending your neck at a mere 15 degrees places 27 pounds of pressure on your cervical spine. Bend your neck even more, creating a 60 degree bend—which is a typical texting position—and that amount increases to 60 pounds.
Therefore, if you must spend a lot of time on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or similar electronic device, position it so you can look straight ahead when viewing the screen. This can save you a lot of neck-related issues in the long run.
2. Exercising at too-high intensity
Another thing that Blaich wishes his chiropractic patients would stop doing is exercising at intensities which are too high for their current physical shape. “Ultimately exercising this way treats the body to one more ‘high-stress event’ in the course of a day,” says Blaich, “and leads to higher cortisol levels a few hours after exercising as the body releases more of this gluco-corticoid to prevent low blood glucose levels. For many people this results in sugar cravings, fatigue, and anxiety, as cortisol is basically a stress hormone.”
“The ‘anaerobic excess’ also increases the risk for musculoskeletal injuries,” adds Blaich, some of which include “a sore or injured ankle, knee, low back, shoulder, elbow, and wrist.” That’s why Blaich suggests that his patients work to develop their aerobic system in a slower, safer manner “both through diet and heart rate monitoring during exercise.”
3. Keeping your wallet in your back pocket
Lily Friedman , DC, CFMP, who practices at the Comprehensive Wellness Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida says, “I wish my male patients would stop wearing their wallet in their back pocket. Sitting on their wallet, even for short periods of time, causes sacral dysfunction which eventually leads to chronic structural and muscular imbalance.”
So where should men carry their cash, credit cards, and identification? “There are wallets on the market nowadays that are meant to be placed in the front pocket,” says Friedman, “saving men from debilitating low back pain.”
4. Taking the latest fad supplements
Jackie Romanies, DC with Dr. Matt’s Wellness Center in Plano, Texas, says that she wishes her chiropractic patients would quit taking fad supplements. “Most people know that adding and subtracting supplements can alter your body’s function and performance,” says Romanies. “What they don’t know is improper dosage, inadequate quality, supplement-medication interactions, and taking supplements your body does not need can hinder your performance and can be dangerous.”
That’s why Romanies suggests that you always “check with your doctor and/or chiropractor before adding or subtracting any supplements to your current regimen.” This can help keep you healthy and safe while also providing the benefits you seek.
5. Being reactive versus proactive
Jason Yakimishyn, official chiropractor of the Ontario Blue Jays (Canada’s largest youth baseball program) and DC at Foundation Chiropractic Co., says that he wishes that his patients would “realize that there are many times when regular maintenance for your body is key,” potentially stopping injuries before they occur.
“If you’re someone who suffers from chronic tight hamstrings for example, then it’d be wise to be proactive and keep them as loose as possible rather than waiting until they become a major issue,” says Yakimishyn. This is especially critical if you’re an athlete, says Yakimishyn, as “doing things this way will allow you to spend more time on the court, field, or ice, rather than in the trainer’s room.”
6. Not listening to your body
Along the same lines, Yakimishyn also suggests that people start listening to their bodies. Pay attention to feelings of fatigue or pain as they’re signs that you may need to take it easier. This is true for athletes specifically, says Yakimishyn, as they often want to push themselves to “improve and hit new performance highs, but we need to recognize our limits.”
Do these six things and not only will you likely make your chiropractor happier, but you’ll probably feel better too. It really doesn’t get much better than that.