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Once-A-Year Winter Treks Take Preparation

Many Floridians will trek to snow country during the winter months to participate in active winter sports. Whether you charge down a mountain while strapped to a pair of skis or sled down a slope, you should be cautious of the risks to your spine. To enjoy a successful trip and reduce the risk of injury, preparation is key.

The easiest way to prepare for many winter activities or even a change in the climate weather is to incorporate exercises that promote core strength for flexibility and agility.

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Breathing and Your Posture Alignment

Breathing and moving about efficiently is so important with respect to posture. Breathing deeply is essential to good posture and good posture allows us to breathe deeply and fully. Deep breathing is the art of relaxation and provides an efficient air exchange, quiets tension, improves oxygenation of the blood and strengthens abdominal muscles.

Developing and using core strength rather than holding our position with superficial musculature is the center of training for Pilates. Using the deep core muscles of the powerhouse – the abdominals, back and pelvic floor to support our posture allows the shoulders to relax, the neck and head to move freely and relieves stress on the hips, legs and feet which ultimately improves our respiratory flow.

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Large Heavy Handbags Create Potential Spine Problems

When all of the weight of your bag or purse is carried on one shoulder, your natural gait is knocked out of balance. Proper gait is swinging your arms naturally in time with the opposite leg to keep your body balanced.

A large handbag on one shoulder hinders that arm from swinging properly making the other arm swing more and significantly interferes with a proper gait.

The unbalanced shift in posture that takes place to carry a weighted purse on the shoulder upsets the natural movement of the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the spine to compensate for the weight which can lead to headaches and neck and low back pain. This overcompensation can also affect your lower back and sacrum. As a result, muscles in your shoulder and neck become stiff, tight and spasm.

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Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

The other day I was speaking with a patient during her office visit. During that visit the patient stated that Advil just wasn’t taking care of her pain any more. I then proceeded to ask how many she was taking and she said “six”. I then clarified, 600mg, she said “no 6 pills at a time up to 4 times a day. I couldn’t believe she had not had any severe side effects, and immediately instructed her to stop her Advil routine.

Advil belongs to a group of pain relievers called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs aka “NSAID”. NSAIDs have been around for a very long time, they are very good for arthritic inflammatory pain. They come in many names, the most common are Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Mobic, Naprosyn to name a few. As with any medication there are side effects. The most common side effect is stomach upset, gastric ulcers, and changes in hearing. These complications can be serious or even fatal if the recommended dose is exceeded. NSAIDs also have an effect on blood clotting, making bleeding easier and more prolonged if injured.

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High-Impact Exercises Improve Bone Health

According to the research of Dr. Jon Tobias, a professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol, U.K., on the effects of high-impact exercise on bone mineral density, studies indicate that high impact exercises such as sprinting, hopping or jumping four times a week is the most effective way to improve bone health and add density.

The individuals in this research were women ages 25-50 and the study concluded that individuals who did high impact exercises increased the density in their hip bones, but interestingly individuals who did high impact exercises and also lifted weights improved the density of their spine. Weight training on its own was not as effective for bone density.

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