Couch Potato Blues

Health Matters Q&A” with Sherman Mills chiropractor Dr. Ron Merriel. This installment: getting off the couch and into the exercise swing.

COUCH POTATO BLUES

Hi Dr. Ron:

Just bought a house in East Falls with my girlfriend. When we lived in center city we walked or biked everywhere. Now we drive a lot more and the recent cold snap has kept us indoors, which makes me feel kinda sluggish. Any tips for getting back on track?  — Ryan B. 

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Dear Ryan,

Try not to over-think it.  You want to form the exercise habit and make it a part of your life.  And don’t think that you have to go full-out in the gym for an hour or run a mile or two to get back into things.

Just put aside 20 minutes 3 times per week for some easy-going physical activity such as walking, yoga or a light weight routine. The easier it is to get from the couch to exercising, the better.

Once again, and I can’t stress this enough, start with a light routine.  I don’t know how many times I have seen people getting so gung ho about exercising again that they end up over doing it.

Sometimes they injure themselves or sometimes their muscles end up so sore that they are unable to work out again for 3 or 4 days.  When that happens, there is a good chance that they will lose their momentum and stop their exercise habit before they really had a chance to get it started.

EastFallsLocal 1-4 GC queen lane dog run action shot px txt RESIZE keep active

Remember, you want to make exercise a part of your lifestyle.

Once you have been exercising regularly for a couple of weeks, you will begin to start feeling better mentally as well as physically and you will likely find it much easier to make time for it.

You can even start to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts at this point.  Keep in mind though, listen to your body.  If you start to feel nauseous, dizzy or light headed, you should stop, get some rest, and get back at it in a day or two.

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Well, I hope this helps you get started and once you do, try to mix it up a bit by taking some classes or whatever piques your interest.

Yours in health,

Ron Merriel, D.C.

Ron Merriel has lived and worked in East Falls for years — his 2nd-floor Sherman Mills office features free, plentiful parking (!) and the latest chiropractic advancements for holistic family healthcare.  Visit Ron’s website for hours, directions, and further details about healing & pain management through chiropractic therapies. Facebook too

BLUE SKIES CHIROPRACTIC
Sherman Mills at East Falls
Suite A-13
215-844-8484
info@blueskieschiro.com
(visit site for map, directions, plus more street view pics)

GOING WITH THE FLOW

Hello Dr. Merriel:

Really excited to be going on a long vacation with my family but I’m concerned how the travel might affect my back. (I’m a middle-aged man with a history of back problems.) I haven’t had any issues in a while, but being stuck on a plane or in a car for long periods of time could lead to trouble. I thought maybe you could suggest some exercises or other steps I could take to get the most out of my vacation and avoid injury.  — Brian K.   

Dear Brian,

I commend you for not allowing your previous spinal problems deter you from a vacation.  Just taking a break from day to day physical and mental stress will help to ease spinal tension a bit.  I am also glad to hear that you have not had any spinal pain in a while and I hope that you have been getting adjusted, using proper ergonomics and exercising regularly in order to stay limber and strong.

Eastfallslocal collage travel planes

Here are some tips that I hope you find helpful:

Choose an aisle seat on the plane so that you may get up to stretch and walk around every half hour or so.  If you are doing any travel by car, try to take a break so you can get out and stretch as much.

Bring neck and low back support for the plane and car.  There are specialized travel pillows available, but a sweat shirt or fleece can work just as well when folded into the proper proportions.

Pack lightly if possible.  If you have 2 bags, try to pack the weight evenly.  If you haven’t already, invest in luggage with wheels.

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Don’t keep anything in your back pants pockets, such as a wallet.  This will cause your hips to be uneven when sitting, thus forcing your lumbar (low back) spine to compensate, thus creating unnecessary stresses on it.

Stick to your back care regimen when you travel between destinations, as well. Short trips can add up.

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When you get to your destination, get around by walking or biking rather than taking public transportation or driving.  This has the added benefit of allowing you to take in the sights, smells and sounds of your new locale at an enjoyable pace.

Also, try not to plan too much.  You may become overwhelmed by trying to keep as busy a schedule as you have at home, thus creating stress.  It is sometimes best to just go with the flow and see what may come your way.

I wish you well in your travels.

Yours in health,

Ron Merriel, D.C.

Ron Merriel has lived and worked in East Falls for years — his 2nd-floor Sherman Mills office features free, plentiful parking (!) and the latest chiropractic advancements for holistic family healthcare.  Visit Ron’s website for hours, directions, and further details about healing & pain management through chiropractic therapies. Facebook too

BLUE SKIES CHIROPRACTIC
Sherman Mills at East Falls
Suite A-13
215-844-8484
info@blueskieschiro.com
(visit site for map, directions, plus more street view pics)

PS:  I recently had the opportunity to follow my own advice — a trip to Paris with my dear friend and partner Tatiana. My first time in Europe!  The Fillmores asked me to share some vacation pictures, I hope you like them.

EastFallsLocal collage Paris vacation

12-22-15  MYSTERIOUS LEG PAIN

Dear Doctor Merriel:

Help, this really hurts! I’m a 42 year old, reasonably fit and active woman. About a month ago, I had the sensation I pulled a muscle in my lower back, just some general soreness on one side, especially sitting down. The aching I could deal with but now this soreness in my butt cheek has turned into shooting, searing pains down my leg.  At first it was just an occasional thing but now every day I’m having pain, and also experiencing some tingling/numbness too, which worries me.

 I’ve been resting as much as I can, but it only seems to be getting worse. I have stomach issues so I can’t keep popping Aleves, and anyway I’d prefer to actually figure out what’s going on rather than just cover up the pain. What kind of diagnostic tests and treatment options can I expect if I showed up at Blue Skies with my symptoms? How soon before I might feel some relief?    —   Dee H. 

Dear Dee,

I’m sorry to hear about your current situation.  What you are describing to me sounds like a nerve impingement also known as sciatica.

Eastfallslocal sciatica collage

With this type of condition, there is usually the pain, numbness and tingling you have described, but it may also worsen causing muscle weakness in the affected leg and possibly even incontinence.

For this reason, it is best to get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible so that the pressure can be released off of the nerve or nerves in question.  This pressure may be caused by a muscle spasm, inflammation or a spinal disc herniation, all of which could press on a nerve causing the symptoms you described.

If you were to come to my office, I would do a full examination to try to narrow the possibilities of your condition.  A MRI or x-rays may or may not be prescribed, depending on the severity of your condition.  From there, as long as I determine it safe to begin therapy, I would place you on electric muscle stimulation with heat to help relax the musculature.  Afterwards, I will perform some light muscle therapy using my hands to further relax the muscles.

Then I will adjust your spine, hips and possibly lower extremities in the areas of subluxation (a joint not moving properly).  I am able to adjust you using a gentle hands-on approach or by using an instrument such as an Activator or Arthrostim, depending on your preference.  I would prescribe 2-3 visits per week for 2-4 weeks with a re-evaluation at the end of 2-4 weeks in order to determine if the treatment is working.  If there is no improvement, spinal injections or surgery may be needed.

It is always best see if chiropractic care will help a condition such as yours rather than taking medications in hopes of the pain going away on its own.  This is because if it isn’t corrected, it may return and possibly more severely.  I hope that this helps you determine your next course of action.

Yours in health,

Dr. Merriel

Ron Merriel has lived and worked in East Falls for years — his 2nd-floor Sherman Mills office features free, plentiful parking (!) and the latest chiropractic advancements for holistic family healthcare.  Visit Ron’s website for hours, directions, and further details about healing & pain management through chiropractic therapies. Facebook too

Eastfallslocal Blue skies location collage

BLUE SKIES CHIROPRACTIC
Sherman Mills at East Falls
Suite A-13
215-844-8484
info@blueskieschiro.com
(visit site for map, directions, plus more street view pics)

 

 

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