Attleboro, MA Chiropractor
Miller Chiropractic Health Center
1237 South Main Street
Attleboro, MA 02703
(508) 226-2333
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Another school year means ... back pain? Yes, it's true: Your kids are at risk for back pain during the school year. Here are a few of the primary reasons why they're at risk and what you can do to help prevent it:

Problem #1: Backpack (Mis)use

Backpacks are a significant cause of back pain in children for several reasons. First, the average backpack is loaded with binders, books, lunch and all sorts of miscellaneous items. Add that up and strap it to your child's back, and you've got a significant negative force – sometimes 25-30 percent or more of the child's actual weight. Struggling to shoulder that heavy a load on a daily basis can lead to postural compensations (leaning forward, leaning back, etc.) and other issues that can lead to back pain.

What You Can Do: The American Chiropractic Association suggests backpack weight be no more than 5-10 percent of a child's bodyweight. Weigh your child's fully loaded backpack; if it's above 15 percent, talk to them about how to reduce the weight. Does every textbook need to be brought to / from school every day? Are online versions available? Can copies be purchased / rented? Is a rolling backpack a better option?

Problem #2: Sitting Around

After 2-3 months of blissful leisure, kids return to the classroom essentially full time. Instead of running around outside all day, they're confined to desks from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on their age. Now consider the average school desk for a moment – not exactly a massage chair. More likely hard plastic or wood, with no real options for adjusting height or anything else. No wonder a recent study found nearly six in 10 schoolchildren ages 12-15 reported back pain in the previous year, with "remaining seated at school" a primary cause.

What You Can Do: Obviously you can't do much about your child's desk size / height at school, but you can certainly do something about it at home, which is where kids progressively spend more and more time doing homework and studying. Make sure your child's desk is appropriate for their size in terms of height, space for their legs / thighs under the desk, and room to "operate" on the top of the desk. If they have a computer, make sure the keyboard is positioned correctly so their shoulders don't slump / roll forward when typing. Also ensure that they aren't bending their neck up or down to look at the monitor. Finally, select a comfortable desk chair that can be adjusted, provides good support for their entire spine, and helps meet the above requirements regarding monitor and keyboard positioning.

Problem #3: Stress Levels

It's said summers are stress free, and your kids deserve it after a long, productive school year. But then school starts up again, which can increase the entire family's stress levels exponentially. As adults, we're much better (with exceptions) at handling stress than kids are, which means the school year can create significant angst for children. And what's a major contributor to back pain: stress!

What You Can Do: As parents, we can teach our children stress-reduction techniques and put them into practice throughout the school year. Adequate sleep is a must, as is a balanced diet. Scheduling their day, including homework and free time, is key to both keep kids on track with their schoolwork and also let them enjoy some moments of respite during what can be a hectic day. Encouraging them to communicate with you openly and honestly during times of stress builds the parent-child bond, and in terms of stress, it lets them release their frustrations, rather than keeping things bottled up. And the most important stress-reduction tip: Don't sweat the small stuff! If they're done with their homework for the day, let them enjoy their electronic devices / TV for awhile. It won't destroy them ... not like stress can.

Don't let back pain limit your child's potential. Talk to your chiropractor about these and other causes of back pain, and how you can limit your child's risk. After all, don't all children deserve a pain-free school year (and every day in between)?

 

September 16, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Many people exist in such a perpetual state of stress that activities generally considered stressful actually come as a welcome relief. When you've been under the gun at work all day and find yourself faced with a screaming carload of kids, suddenly spending a little quiet time doing household chores or catching up on the bills - in silence - doesn't sound too bad. Really? You deserve much better than that.

Taste: There's nothing like a soothing cup of tea and your favorite dessert to take some of the edge off a hectic, stressful day, particularly when combined with a little time to enjoy your own time, far away (as far as you can get) from the stress-inducers that seem to surround you.

Touch: When you're overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed and just plain over it, find the time to escape and experience the power of touch. Schedule a chiropractic adjustment or a massage, or retreat into the soothing, stress-releasing luxury of a bubble bath and see how your attitude changes in a matter of moments.

See: The so-called "daily grind" is a major source of stress, and it only gets worse when the work hours get long and the days get short. In fact, during the winter months, many people never see the light of day, arriving at work before sunrise and leaving after sunset. Take a midday walk around the block and open your eyes to what the world has to offer. And at night, turn off the glare and light a few calming candles instead.

Smell: The next time you're on the brink of losing it, let your nose take you to a better place. Sounds funny, but it's oh so true. Just try to stay stressed after smelling your favorite food wafting up at you from your plate. And don't discount the power of a scented candle or two; replace the unpleasantry of another dreary day with the aroma of peace and tranquility.

Hear: When was the last time you truly appreciated the lyrics, melody and arrangement of a song? Music has an incredible ability to soothe the soul, but many of us don't take the time to listen - we just use it as background noise while working out or flip from song to song, station to station in the car. Tune out the stress and tune into the relaxing power of music.

By Claudia Anrig, DC

Many parents have a daily challenge that goes something like this: "My kids are picky eaters." Often, this challenge boils down to their children's tendency to avoid vegetables, but it can include avoidance of numerous other foods - usually the healthy variety. What's the solution? While there really isn't a single easy answer, much of this challenge actually stems from your own relationship with food, meaning that many of your childhood habits have persisted into adulthood and are now being passed on to the next generation.

Why It's Happening

Your child enters this world not knowing what they hate or love about food; for the most part, kids learn by example. If you hate vegetables and never eat them, chances are your children won't be very willing to try vegetables - and you may be not be particularly interested in serving them. After all, you'll want to serve the foods you generally eat. If you're a well-balanced, healthy eater, you're on the right track, but it doesn't necessarily mean you won't have some picky-eater challenges to deal with. However, if you're a picky eater stuck on a fairly limited number of not-so-good-for-you foods, you're creating the consummate unhealthy picky eater by your actions, perhaps without even realizing it.

What You Can Do: 9 Strategies

1. Start With You. Where do you begin? It starts right now, whether you're already a parent or expecting your first child. Start by reviewing your personal relationship with food. Consider how you and your significant other will blend or create new food relationships, and expand your knowledge or cooking base by researching books and Web sites that take a wellness approach to raising healthier children. This is all part of developing a clear strategy for raising your family. It includes the family's moral compass, discipline and education, of course - and a snapshot of your family in terms of "what in our background could create food issues for our kids," and the nutritional lifestyle that will grow and fuel your children's development.

2. You're the Motivator. If you've already created a picky eater, don't be nit-picky with them (remember, it was you who unintentionally contributed to their picky eating habits). Start by reviewing a week in the life of your family and what everyone eats and drinks, and then divide your dietary lifestyle into two categories: Wellness/Healthy or Processed/Packaged/Unhealthy. Then add a third column, New Strategy, where you can add food items that will help the family get where it needs to go in terms of better eating habits. Evolve your family into the healthier lifestyle, and remember, the motivation has to come from you first.

3. Introduce Variety Early. Regarding infants, it's ideal to go from breast-feeding to organic baby food, and then consider making your own. Develop a strategy to introduce a wide variety of vegetables, remembering that the greener they are, the more vitamins and minerals they contain, and that vegetables with bright color bring antioxidants to your children's diet. To prevent your child from developing a sugar addiction, avoid fruit juices, candy, ice cream and baked goods. The only sugar they should experience growing up should come from natural fruit. It's just too easy to get addicted to processed, overly sweetened foods; they'll have plenty of time for the occasional treat when they're older and have already developed a well-rounded, healthy diet.

4. Say No to Processed Foods. Avoid the trap many parents have fallen into, that of buying snacks marketed specifically by the manufacturers to start unhealthy habits. Children's cereals, colored crackers, cookies and the like are not healthy choices when you see the processing, dyes, and artificial flavors added to make these items "fun" to eat. Also keep in mind that two of the leading food allergies for children are wheat and corn (the latter more often in the form of a sweetener or additive in food products).

5. Think Healthy Snacks. Prepackaged toddler foods seem to be the "in" foods these days, marketed as great for kids and easy for parents. Instead of buying into the marketing hype, pre-plan healthier options for your family. Finely chopped vegetables like red or yellow peppers, shelled snap peas, steamed broccoli heads or zucchini are better than prepackaged items; so are natural fruits - but not fruit rolls and juices, which are high-glycemic. Many whole- or natural food stores also have gluten-free crackers, cookies and breads (wheat often is a food-inducing allergy).

6. Easy Meal Options. Who says you can't introduce vegetables with breakfast? Chop up, steam or lightly saute veggies and combine with a good source of protein (eggs or beans) and you're on your way to a complete, tasty meal. Wrap all this up in a whole wheat or sprouted tortilla and you have a healthy breakfast burrito. (The bean family is actually an overlooked source of protein for children.)

For lunches and dinners, it's important to find a balance with proteins, vegetables, salads and whole grains. If you're thinking, "How do I start?" realize there are resources and recipes that have been developed by parents who are in the same position as you are. A quick Internet search will get you started in the right direction.

7. Make It Fun. Depending on the age of your children, create fun recipes around themes to get them involved and excited about the meal. For example, "Pirate Night" may include fresh fish, seaweed mash (spinach and mashed potatoes) and stolen treasures (a medley of fresh berries) for dessert. Or try "Princess Night," which will vary in terms of menu depending on which princess you are mimicking. Example: Jasmine Night can feature Genie chicken cubes and lantern (use couscous, a wonderful grain) or magic carpet dip (hummus) for veggies, and golden jeweled dessert (pineapple cubes with a sprinkle of coconut shreds).

8. It's OK to Negotiate. If you've created a truly picky eater who demands only certain foods, like macaroni and cheese, pizza, hot dogs, fast foods and sweets, you need to learn the art of negotiation. Remember, your kids are in a pattern of getting what they want. Start with a strategy of slowly eliminating certain foods from your home and dining table. Let your children know what you are doing and that it will not happen all at once, and don't be afraid to ask for their input, but also don't back down. (Note: Negotiation should not mean "You can have dessert if you finish your food." Dessert should not be construed as a reward. Negotiation is really about getting your children to try new things without "forcing" them to do it.)

9. Take Charge. Grocery shopping without your children can help to eliminate aisle battles. And consider signing up your older children for cooking classes. If you're having trouble getting them to adopt more nutritious foods as you eliminate some of their unhealthy favorites, you can ensure good nutrition by purchasing "green" flakes (which can be found in natural stores) and mixing it into foods to camouflage its appearance.

In the beginning, when you are a slowly replacing your family's old habits with new ones, it won't be easy. Most children actually win this battle because many parents have troubling committing to their new lifestyle. However, the encouraging side is that most picky-eater habits can be changed within 90 days if you stick with it. Remember, it all starts with you. Teach your children healthy nutrition habits, lead by example and enjoy the results!

 

More Do's and Don'ts for Dealing With a Picky Eater

The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com) offers some sound suggestions for what to do (and not to do) when trying to broaden the diet of your picky eater. These tips are good for children of all ages, but especially younger children just learning about the wonders of food:

DO: Respect your child's hunger -- or lack thereof. Young children tend to eat only when they're hungry. Don't force food on them when they're not ready for it.

DON'T: Be impatient when introducing new foods. Young children often touch or smell new foods, and may even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. They may need repeated exposure to a new food before they take their first real bite.

DO: Make it fun. Serve veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters.

DON'T: Expect too much. After age 2, slower growth often reduces a child's appetite. A few bites may be all it takes to feel full.

DO: Stay calm. If your child senses you're unhappy with their eating habits, it may turn into a battle of wills. Threats and punishments only reinforce the power struggle.

DON'T: Mandate the "clean plate club." Don't force your child to finish all the food on their plate. Again, this may facilitate a power struggle. Allow your child to stop eating when they're full.

DO: Keep an eye on the clock. No juice and snacks for at least one hour before meals. If your child comes to the table hungry, they may be more inclined to eat.

DON'T: Start too big. Offer several different foods in small portions. Let your child choose what they eat.

DO: Limit liquid calories. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products and 100 percent fruit juice can be important parts of a healthy diet, but too much may make your child too full for meals or snacks.

DON'T: Forget about the routine. Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. If the kitchen is "closed" at other times, your child may be more likely to eat what's served when it's served.

DO: Leave taste out of it. Instead, talk about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture -- not whether it tastes good.

DON'T: Offer dessert as a reward. Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which may only increase your child's desire for sweets.

DO: Recruit your child's help. At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods.

DON'T: Expect all their food preferences to change. As kids mature, they tend to become less picky about food. Still, everyone has food preferences. Don't expect your child to like everything.

DO: Set a good example. If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child will be more likely to follow your example.

DON'T: Follow convention. If your child isn't a fan of various ingredients thrown together, "unmix" the food. Place sandwich fixings outside the bread, or serve the ingredients of a salad, casserole or stir-fry separately. As long as they eat it, that's what matters.

DO: Minimize distractions. Turn off the television during meals, and don't allow books or toys at the table.

DON'T: Buy anything you don't want your child to eat, and when you do buy the occasional sweet treat or less-than-healthy snack, don't put it within easy reach; that's just asking for trouble.

DO: Be sneaky. Puree vegetables and add them to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated vegetables into casseroles and soups.

DON'T: Be afraid to ask for help. Consult your child's doctor if you're concerned that picky eating is compromising your child's growth and development, or if certain foods seem to make them ill.

By Miller Chiropractic Health Center
August 18, 2017
Tags: whiplash  

Could your sudden neck problems be due to whiplash?whiplash

You were rushing to work and didn’t realize just how quickly you were coming up on that the car in front of you. You slam on your brakes. The car behind you tries to brake but it’s too late. While you might just walk away from this mild fender bender with some unnecessary anxiety, you might also start to notice some symptoms that set in days later. Your Attleboro, MA, chiropractor, Dr. Jason Miller, is here to share the signs and symptoms of whiplash and when to come in for care.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is a neck injury that often results from a physical trauma that suddenly and violently throws the head and body in opposite directions. When this happens, it can cause the muscles and tendons within the neck to overstretch or tear. While this can often happen to those who have experienced a car accident, it’s also common for athletes who play contact sports to experience whiplash after a traumatic injury or blow to the head.

What are the symptoms of whiplash?

The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain, stiffness and a limited range of motion and flexibility in the neck. You may not be able to turn your head to the side or over your shoulder without experiencing serious pain and discomfort. The neck may feel tender or you may start to develop headaches more regularly.

These symptoms may come about right away or you may not notice symptoms until a few hours or even days later.

How is whiplash treated?

Most people can get the relief they need with simple measures such as resting and limiting certain movements that could exacerbate the damaged tissues and muscles. Of course, if your symptoms are more serious, or if you are looking for other effective and non-invasive ways to speed up healing and improve mobility and function in your neck then you may just want to consider visiting your Attleboro chiropractic doctor.

How will a chiropractor treat my whiplash?

Once we have determined that your symptoms are due to whiplash our goal for treatment is to reduce your pain and swelling, improve mobility and range-of-motion and also make sure that everything is properly aligned within the spine. One of the best ways to improve the function and alignment of your musculoskeletal system is through spinal adjustments or chiropractic manipulation. By applying a specific amount of pressure to certain areas of the body, we can improve blood flow to these joints, muscles and tendons within the neck to speed up the healing process.

Miller Chiropractic Health Center in Attleboro, MA, is here to help eliminate your aches and pains. Whether you think you might have whiplash or you are dealing with lower back pain, we are here to ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Back pain is bothersome enough when it only lasts a short time; when it keeps coming back or doesn't ever really go away, it can change your life. Of course, that's where spinal adjustments provided by your chiropractor can help, both to deal with the initial pain and help prevent its recurrence. But your chiropractor's probably told you other things can help as well, particularly in conjunction with adjustments and to lower your risk of suffering repeated episodes of pain. Exercise is one of them, and research continues to prove it.

New research suggests people who participate in regular physical activity, whether low-intensity activity such as walking or more intense pursuits such as athletics, are less likely to suffer chronic low back pain compared to less-active people. In fact, according to the research, which reviewed 36 studies involving more than 150,000 people (none of whom had back pain at the start of their respective study), the risk of experiencing chronic LBP was 14 percent lower for moderately active people and 16 percent lower for highly active people, compared to the least active.

Talk to your chiropractor to learn more about how staying active can not only help prevent back pain from becoming chronic, but also may help prevent it from happening in the first place.





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