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Some Words of Advice Before the Snow Shoveling Begins

It’s hard to believe it but winter is upon us! And with it comes not only all the anticipation and excitement of the Holidays- but also all the dread and trepidation of the cold and wintery mix that will be heading our way soon!

Since our parents always preached to us that a little forethought was the best way of avoiding being caught un-prepared – I decided to pass along a few simple tips that will make preparing to shovel the oncoming snow a little less painful.

1. Stay prepared- Don’t wait until we get that first blizzard before you pick up a weight. Keep up with your exercise program to maintain good muscle tone all year long.

2.  Warm up- So many of us rush out to shovel our cars and driveways 10 minutes before we are leaving for work when our muscles are still cold. Think ahead – get up an hour earlier to give yourself time to warm up sufficiently and to stretch your muscles before the vigorous activity that you have in store for them.

3.  Don’t overdress- Baby- I know it’s cold outside- but shoveling snow is a highly aerobic activity and if you are bundled up too much- you will definitely overheat. So dress in layers that you can remove as you begin to warm up.

4.  Shovel with your legs- Shoveling should be a leg and buttocks exercise, not a back straining activity. So Push the snow straight ahead of you and bend with your knees and lift with your legs- not your back. Try to avoid sharp twisting or turning motions and lastly, walk the snow to your pile- don’t throw it!

5.  Be the Tortoise not the Hare- Shoveling shouldn’t be a race so take frequent breaks, rest between shovels, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  Remember that a fatigued body is much more likely to get injured.

6.  Watch your footing- Remember that there is often ice underneath that snow- so make sure to wear proper boots with good grips to avoid slipping and falling.

7. No Hot Toddies-  Keep in mind that nicotine and alcohol are vasoconstrictors and therefore avoid smoking and drinking while shoveling snow as they can lead to heart attacks.

8. Be Smart- If you start to experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, or extreme tiredness- stop all activity and go inside immediately and seek professional care if symptoms persist.

9. Job Well Done- After you are back inside, make sure to ease those sore muscles with an ice pack for 20 minutes , followed by a nice warm bath or shower an hour later. If soreness continues- call your chiropractor for more advice on how to relax those tired muscles.

 Dr. Michael Cocilovo has been practicing chiropractic in Rockland County for over 25 years and is the Director of New City Chiropractic Center (www.newcitychiropractic.com) . A Certified Sports Team Physician, Dr. Cocilovo is also one of a select group of chiropractors who is certified to perform Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA). He is a long-time member of the New York State Chiropractic Association and is Past President of the Rockland County Chapter of the American Chiropractic Association. He chose chiropractic because of its holistic approach to patient wellness. Dr. Rodriguez is board certified in Chiropractic and Physiotherapy by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. He is a current member of the American Chiropractic Association, as well as of the New York State Chiropractic Association.

The Magic Food

 

If someone tried selling you a supplement that claimed to reduce your chance of cancer, reduce asthma attacks, prevent Alzheimer's disease, reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease, help with depression, improve eye function, and help with sleep, you may think it a scam. Yet, these are exactly the benefits that have been found in numerous studies when participants were given increased doses of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats are considered the healthiest fats and are extremely important for many bodily functions.  Unlike many oils and fats in our bodies, Omega 3s are essentials fats, meaning your body cannot make them on its own. The only way for the body to obtain them is through food.

 

Though people know that omega 3s are somewhat beneficial to overall health, most fail to truly appreciate how crucial these compounds are for the body. They are literally the building blocks of almost all cell membranes, the outer layer that covers the cells. This covering is primarily composed of omega-3s and omega-6 fatty acids with different proteins spread throughout. So if you don't have enough omega-3s it is very difficult to produce optimally functioning cells, and therefore an optimally functioning body. This is one of the reasons why so many benefits are noted with an increase in intake.

 

From a Chiropractic and wholistic standpoint, omega-3 fatty acids are excellent anti-inflammatories. They even beat medications like Advil in relieving pain and symptoms in certain studies! Participants in numerous studies who suffered from back and neck pain saw great relief in their symptoms, in the groups that were given diets high in omega-3s.  It is a much safer and healthier alternative to Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, whose side effects can range from ulcers to even heart attacks. These fatty acids work to relieve pain by reducing inflammation at the cellular level. They essentially send a stop signal to inflammatory pathways and help to resolve and heal the affected areas.  

 

The best way to increase your intake of these essential fats is through the foods in your diet. When eating foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids, you are not only getting the benefits of these healthy fats, but you are also getting other vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are also key to overall health.  Foods high in omega 3’s include fish (trout, salmon),  nuts (almonds, walnuts) , vegetable oils (cold pressed olive oil) , and certain vegetables (winter squash, cauliflower).

 

If you do decide to increase your omega 3 intake through supplementation, there are a few things to keep in mind:

 

  • Whenever buying any kind of nutritional supplement first check with a healthcare professional to ensure that there will not be any adverse side effects either due to your current state of health or any medication or other supplements you may be taking.  Most common contraindications are patients on blood thinners (omega 3s have the same effect)

 

  • It is also important to purchase your supplements from reputable companies that have a strong track record for purity and potency.  The two companies that we use in the office for supplements are called Xymogen and Standard Process, two very respected and independently tested companies.

 

  • Most supplements bottles will say two gel caps equal 1,000mg, but that is a total oil number.   Those same two gel caps may only contain 500-800 mg of the actual omega 3s. Make sure that you are reading the label and taking enough of the supplement to get at least 1,000mg of the Omega 3s per day to see the therapeutic benefits found in most studies.

 

Almost everyone can benefit from bumping up their intake of omega-3s. Along with vitamin D, it is one of those compounds we can always use a little bit more of on a daily basis. For more information, or if you have any questions on this topic please feel free to email or call our office at any time.  Stay tuned to our website for a quick video overview of this topic.  

 

 

How to Test Your Ski Readiness!!

Skiing season is upon us once again and many skiers of varying levels of fitness will be heading off to the slopes!

Without stating the obvious, being at least decently fit will help avoid many of the injuries that are so prevelant with this alpine sport. Even advanced skiers who have been sitting around playing Wi Fit up until now are still susceptible to the \"fatigue related\" ski injuries when they hit the slopes. This means that they are great first thing in the morning on the slopes, but as the day goes on and the legs are tiring and the slopes are getting mushy, they are more prone to catching an edge on that mogul and suffer low back and lower extremity injuries. 

So for those of us who want to be proactive  and who would like to do a self-assessment on their biomechanical faults that may predispose them to a skiing injury-  read on.

Self-assessment for ski readiness

Hop and stop test. Stand on one foot and hop forward onto the other foot landing about a meter in front with the knee bending to around 20-45 degrees to absorb the impact. Don\'t land stiff legged or collapse into a full squat. You need someone to video you from the front so you can replay and watch what your knee is doing. What you are looking for are the following points that may highlight you have an issue with that limb;

  1. Does the knee look like it stays over the foot (ideally it should stay centred around the third toe) or does it cave inwards and inside the big toe. If yes, then you may have serious hip abductor and hip rotator issues that need to be strengthened.
  2. Does the knee wobble inwards and outwards multiple times or do they look solid in the side to side wobble. This may represent a balance/proprioceptive fault. 

Side plank test. In this test the skier holds a side plank position for as long as possible. The average is usually around 35 seconds. Any worse than that, the skier may have poor lateral core and abdominal stabilization in the trunk and also in the pelvic and buttocks such as the gluteus medius.

 

  1. 10 second balance test. Self-explanatory. Are you able to stand on one leg for no less than 10 seconds with eyes closed without losing balance. If this is not possible then it may really predispose a skier to a nasty ankle or knee injury due to poor balance mechanisms.

So skiers need a combination of not only good Cardio fitness and some luck, but also a decent hip muscle and knee muscle complex to absorb the forces acting on the knees during skiing, underpinned by good balance and lateral core stability to stay on their feet when they catch an edge and potentially fall over and twist the knee. The above tests give the skier at least something to look for to assess their ability to be \"ski fit\"

If you have any questions about any of these tests or want a personalized exercise program to have you \"slope ready\" simply give us a call and we will have you on the expert trails in no time (.... or at least on the Bunny Hill!! lol)

Take our Ergonomics Quiz!

Do you have a stiff neck? Eye strain? Headaches? Sore wrists? Back pain? It might be the way you sit at your desk. Take our Ergonomics Quiz below and see how you do (scroll down when you\'re ready to see the answers). Then send us a photo of you sitting at your desk ([email protected]) and let us provide some feedback on what you could do to improve your set up and perhaps reduce any pain you might be feeling. We can also provide an ergonomic workshop and evaluation in your office. Give us a call to schedule one today at 845-634-8877.

If you have a stiff neck, it might be caused by \"Text Neck\". Scroll down to read more about it!

 

Office Ergonomics Quiz

How much do you know about office ergonomics? Try these 10 questions and find out.  

 


1.  How should the mouse be positioned with respect to the keyboard?

 On the desk above the keyboard.

 On the wrist rest.

 Near the keyboard at the same height or slightly above the keyboard.

 As close to the monitor as possible.


2.  How should the monitor be placed if the lower lens of a bifocal is used to view the screen?

 30 inches away with the top of the screen at eye level.

 20 inches away with the middle of the screen at eye level.

 20 inches away or less with the top of the screen about 30 degrees down from eye level.


3.  If you are injured on the job, what should you do?

 Request and complete an incident report form from your supervisor.

 Fill out BA Form 725A - employee right to know training form.

 Request a leave of absence.


4.   True or false: The keyboard should be approximately at your elbow height when seated?

 True

 False


5.  The chair should be adjusted to at least provide support to what part of the back?

 The shoulder blades.

 The lumbar region.

 The middle of the back.


6.  True or false: People who work in offices don\'t have to worry about workplace health and safety?

 True

 False


7.  Which of the following activities involve repetitive motion?

 Typing on a keyboard.

 Filing.

 Writing.

 Scanning library books.

 Using a mouse to draw pictures.

 All of the above.


8.  True or false: Your boss is required by law to train you if you are exposed or likely to be exposed to a hazardous substance?

 True

 False


9.  True or false: If no pain is noticed while doing repetitive task than you do not have to worry about cumulative trauma?

 True

 False


10.  If you have a question about health and safety at work, you can talk to:

 Your health and safety representative

 Your supervisor

 A member of the workplace joint health and safety committee

 A union representative

 A health and safety professional

 Any of the above

 

Email us a photo of you working at your desk and we’ll help you evaluate what you might need to change!

Send it to [email protected]

 

We also provide workshops on topics such as managing stress, reversing diabetes, and back safety as well as workshops on ergonomics at your office. Just give us a call!

(Answer Key: 1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 4-T, 5-2, 6-F, 7-all, 8-T, 9-F, 10-all)

 

Back Pain:

Chiropractic vs. Medical Doctors

Who Get Better Results and Who is More Cost Effective?

 Chiropractic Proves 300% more effective

Chiropractic Proves 50% More Cost Effective

 BY: Donald Capoferri DC, DAAMLP

William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP

Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAMLP, DAAPM

 

In 2010 a study of back pain patients insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee revealed patients receive nearly 3x better results at almost half the cost when consulting a chiropractor instead of a traditional medical doctor.

 Statistics show that back pain, and more specifically lower back pain will affect 70-80% of all Americans.  Back pain is one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States.  Costs directly associated with examination and treatment are in excess $50 billion dollars per year.  Indirect cost of back pain include lost work day, reduced employee productivity and disability are $47 billion dollars.  That makes the total economic impact of lower back pain in excess of $97 billion dollars per year.

 The study was conducted on 85,402 patients, all insured with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.  This insurer was chosen because it provided equal access to both traditional medical and chiropractic care. The population of patients were diagnosed with the following conditions: Spinal disc disorders, Lower back pain, muscle spasms, joint mobility restrictions, Sacroiliac joint sprain/strain and lumbar spine sprain/strain.  The results of the study revealed those patients who initiated care with a chiropractor had a 61% “very satisfied response” when surveyed.  Those patient who initiated care with a medical doctor had a 27% “very satisfied response.” The patients who initiated care with a chiropractor incurred 40% less cost than those choosing traditional medical care.

 There is a growing body of evidence indicating that chiropractic care is more effective and less costly than medical care for back pain.  In contrast to this and many other studies indicating the efficacy of chiropractic care for back pain, only 7% of U.S. back pain sufferers consult a chiropractor.  Using the data from this study insurers nationally would realize billions of dollar of savings if the population of back pain patients initiated care with a chiropractor first. 

 Insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care at this juncture with statistical evidence, are paying more for care and delaying necessary, effective care for no apparent reason other than politics or prejudice. If all restrictions for chiropractic access were removed carriers would save money and offer a significant public health benefit. The statistics speak for themselves.

 Reference:

Liliedahl R., Finch M., Axene D., Geertz C., (2010) Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated with Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician:  Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insure, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 33 (9) pgs. 640-643

Put Some Spring in your Health Steps!

Wow- what a Winter this has been!! Record snows and record cold... if you haven\'t gotten Spring Fever yet- then you never will!!
 
 But as I sit here today on this beautiful 50 degree March day- thoughts of Spring fill my mind. The signs are all happening: the clocks have turned forward, the snow banks are slowly melting, Passover and Easter are on the horizon, and even small patches of green grass are peeking through the cold tundra. 
 
So- with  Spring right around the corner- it is time to awake from our Winter hibernation and start getting our bodies recharged for the New Season. Here are some Health Tips to get you started:
 
1.  Take a Daily Walk- After months of inactivity, it’s time to start exercising again and the best way to start is with a 10-15 minute daily walk at lunch time. Not only will it get you outside enjoying the spring flowers, but it will also get you away from behind that desk and  be a great stress reducer too!
 
2. Start Your Garden - Spring is a popular time for getting down and dirty in the potting soil. But not only does this activity make your landscape pop- it is also a great form of exercise.  Activities like planting bulbs, hauling mulch and pulling weeds can help burn 250-350 calories per hour.
 
3. The Early Bird catches the Worm- Studies have shown that people who wake up earlier are healthier than night owls who sleep late into the day.  So take advantage of the earlier morning light which will give you a needed dose of Vitamin D while chasing the morning doldrums away. 
 
4. Flip those Mattresses and Change Those Pillows- Changes of Seasons are great times to remember to turn your mattress to prevent sags and soft spots. In addition, experts warn that after 5 years- up to 10% of the weight of our pillows is composed of allergic materials such as bacteria, fungi, mold and dust mites. So- if you can’t remember when your last changed your pillow, consider replacing yours with a non-allergenic cervical support pillow which will ease your neck pain while reducing your morning allergies.
 
5. Speaking of Spring Allergies…-  Spring rains not only bring the flowers, but they also create more sniffles and sneezes due to mold growth as well as pollen from grass, flowers and trees.  So- make sure to wash your bedding weekly, try taking evening showers to reduce pollen in your hair, wash surfaces and vacuum more frequently, and remember to change the air filters in your HVAC units.
 
6. Enjoy Nature’s Bounty of Fresh Produce- One of the best rights of Spring is the emergence of fresh fruits and vegetables at our local markets. Exploring community based agriculture is a great resource for in season healthy organic spring greens , fruits, vegetables and eggs.  Check out localharvest.org/csa/ to find the local markets closest to you.
 
Putting these tips into action will help you enjoy this beautiful upcoming Spring season more while making you healthier at the same time! For more information on any of these tips- feel free to contact our office or visit our website at www.newcitychiropractic.com.
 

Game Day Tips for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is one of America’s favorite holidays to be with family and friends, to give thanks for all our blessings, and to EAT. New research  released from the Calorie Control Council shows that the average American will consume 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving- with a whopping 45% of those calories (or 229 grams) coming from fat. That’s like eating 3 sticks of butter! The average dinner with all the dressings comprises about 3,000 of those calories with the remainder coming from pre- dinner munchies, appetizers, as well as soda and alcohol.

Considering that the average daily intake of calories should be between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day- it’s easy to see why most of us will suffer from Over-eating Hangover well into the weekend. But with some simple planning and awareness- we can avoid this dilemma. So here are a few Game Day Tips to keep us from overindulging this Thanksgiving:

1. Don’t Deny Yourself- That’s right- you heard me correctly!  The worst thing you can do is try and not have your favorite foods- but that does not mean over-enjoying them. Most of our gastric delight comes within the first 2 or 3 bites of our foods. So try everything that you would like to have- but make sure your portions are appropriate for the variety of foods you are going to eat. That means smaller portions will prevent you from having too much of any one item.

2. Take Time Outs- I come from an Italian family where tradition dictated that you sat down for antipasto at 1PM and didn’t  leave the table until the  pumpkin pie was consumed at 6! Realize however, that the longer you sit at the table with food in front of you- the more you will probably eat. So take frequent breaks between courses- get up and walk around, maybe take a prolonged trek around the neighborhood after the meal or participate in that Family Touch Football game in the backyard. This will lessen the time spent eating while helping you burn some of the calories you have just consumed.

3. Simpler is Better- Often it’s not the food choices we  make that is the problem- but it is what we put on those food that is the danger. So- keep the gravy bowl away from your turkey and stuffing, cut out that extra slab of butter on your mashed potatoes or green beans, and use a simple vinaigrette dressing on your salad instead of that heavy Blue Cheese dressing.

4. Avoid the “Empty Calorie” Pitfalls- You can dramatically cut down on the calorie count as well as your sugar intake simply by making better beverage choices. Substitute water for soda, and keep your alcohol or wine consumption to 1-2 drinks for the day. You probably could also do without that croissant roll with dinner- use a carrot stick instead to push the food on your fork!  

5. It’s a New Day- Most importantly, remember that Thanksgiving is only one day. Friday morning- don’t lament what you ate the day before- but make sure that you’re back on your road of good nutritional choices.  

The Holiday Season that has just begun is a marathon- so make sure you don’t come out of the starting gate too quickly. Pace yourself- make good food decisions and remember to stay on your exercise routine.  Happy Thanksgiving to all and remember to give thanks and share your blessings with others!

Make Room for the Great Pumpkin !!

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin beer- it seems that these days the options of these seasonal treats are endless, and endlessly mouthwatering.  But not only is fall\'s signature squash versatile enough to create all these delights and more, it also packs some powerful healthy perks -- like keeping our hearts and vision healthy and our waistlines in check (as long as you take it easy on the pie, that is).

 So let’s explore some of the nutritional highlights of this seasonal Favorite!

1. First, did you know that the pumpkin is actually a member of the gourd family, which also includes watermelon, cucumber and squash?

2. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, with three grams in every one-cup serving. It is also very low in calories. In fact, 100 grams of the vegetable provides just 26 calories and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, so it’s a great way to help shed pounds.

3. Like many of its orange cousins such as carrots and sweet potatoes, pumpkin is lauded for being high in the antioxidant beta-carotene which may play a significant role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute.

4. A cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.

5. Pumpkin seeds are naturally rich in certain plant-based chemicals called phytosterols that have been shown in studies to reduce LDL or \"bad\" cholesterol. They are also rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is important in production of serotonin, one of the major players when it comes to our mood.

6. Pumpkin can help boost your immune system by being a solid source of the essential nutrient Vitamin C.  One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams the IOM recommends women need daily. (Men should aim for around 75 milligrams.)

So the next time you’re sitting in the pumpkin patch thinking that your pumpkin is just for carving Jack-o\'-lanterns, remember that Pumpkin isn’t just Halloween and Thanksgiving anymore!

Buying an “Ergonomically Sound” Child’s Book Bag

As autumn approaches, our thoughts turn from beaches and barbeques to apple picking and foliage sightseeing. It is also a time when we start to prepare for ‘back to school’- and that means shopping for new backpacks.

 
This is an important purchase because it directly impacts the health and posture of our children including scoliosis. Recent studies have shown that 64% of children suffer from back pain. Most cases can be traced to overloaded or ill fitting backpacks or other school bags. Learning to load, wear and use a backpack properly is important and so is making sure the backpack distributes the load efficiently. If you have determined that the best book bag for your child is in fact an ergonomic backpack, then here are some key features to look for:

1. Two Straps- Make sure the bag has two straps. Single strapped bags, like satchels and duffel bags, should be avoided. A single strap places the entire load on one side of the body. Two straps balance the load on both shoulders.

2. Size- The second most important thing is to have the right size bag. The bag should be no larger than the child\'s back. It should rest 1-2 inches below the shoulders and no more than 4 inches below the waistline (note: the waistline is level with the bellybutton).

3. Wide, Padded Straps- The bag should have wide shoulder straps. Wide straps distribute the load over more area of the shoulder. The wider the better, with a minimum of two inches. The straps should also be padded. Padding spreads the load and alleviates any pressure points.
 
4. Waist Strap- A waist strap is a wonderful thing! It dramatically helps direct the load away from the shoulders and onto the much stronger waist and hip muscle groups. By lowering part of the load to this point you also remove it from the spine. Less stress on the back and spine means less chance of back pain.
5. Chest Strap- A strap across the chest from shoulder strap to shoulder strap is a small, but worthwhile improvement. It holds the shoulder straps securely on the main part of the shoulder eliminating slippage and load shifting. It also reduces the urge to slouch.
 
6. Compartments- Having a bag with several compartments helps in two ways. First, it helps keep the load where you put it and a properly loaded backpack can go a long way to reducing the stress and a load that shifts means shifting  or dynamic stress -- dynamic stresses are bad.
Second, it lets you put flat things next to the back and pointy things, like pencils, pens and protractors, away from it.

7. Lightweight- The bag should be light - the lighter the better. Stress on the back is caused by the weight of the bag. Anything you can do to reduce that weight will reduce the stress.
By following these simple but important guidelines when purchasing your child’s new backpack, you will be eliminating much of the stresses and strains that can cause back pain and contribute to scoliosis. 

Do You Suffer from \"TEXT NECK\"???

In this age of mobile devices and smartphones, more and more of our patients are being diagnosed with neck pain associated with looking down at a screen. New studies have shown that young people are at increased risk of back and neck pain due to overuse of these devices. Now, a new condition, dubbed “text neck,” is being associated with smartphone- resulting in serious stiffness, strain, and pain in the neck muscles and cervical spine.

The condition is relatively new, and as recent Forbes article reports- “It takes time…for a new condition to spread throughout the medical community. Some doctors who have never heard of text neck don’t think to ask patients with neck pain about their phone or computer habits.”

However, investigators of worker’s compensation claims are at the point that they look into the phone records of claimants with neck pain, and can sometimes use their history of text messaging to get their compensation cases dismissed, attributing the neck pain to personal screen time rather than work.

There is no denying that a great number of people consider smartphones to be indispensable. And this overuse is causing what could be an epidemic of health problems into the future. A recent study published found that an overwhelming majority of participants reported some hand and neck pain during texting. Researchers in this study also found that people sending texts displayed other classic signs of tension, such as increased heart rates and holding their breath. Even when they said they were relaxed, they had signs of tension.

If you text or play games on your smartphone, you know that it is easy to get into the habit of holding your head forward-and-down while typing on it. Another study conducted at the Center for Musculoskeletal Research found that 90% of people flexed their necks while texting, defined as bending the neck forward over 10 degrees past neutral alignment. In this study, it was discovered that the more texting that participants did, the worse their risk of neck or shoulder pain.

Especially susceptible to text neck are those of us who not only spend some of our leisure time on smartphones, but also spend much of our working time sitting at computers. All these hours spent in a flexed posture can add up to 30 pounds of extra weight on the upper vertebrae, straining the trapezius muscles and pulling the spine out of alignment over time.

Researchers are also finding that people over age 50 are more at risk of developing text neck because people in this age group have less tissue tolerance. Overuse injuries (like text neck) don’t heal as quickly.”

However, the study went on to say that young people are also at risk of permanent problems from text neck. It suggested that the stooped posture while typing on phones may freeze the position of the spine’s alignment, and years down the road, we may see people who are permanently stooped because of it.

So- If you suspect you have text neck, here are some tips, summarized from the Forbes article, that may help you avoid the risks of text neck:

1.            Hold your phone at a proper reading angle, rather than looking down. Your phone should be held directly in front of your mouth, a few inches across from your chin. Your eyes should look down rather than having to bend your neck down. Your shoulders should feel relaxed while you’re typing.

2.            Use a text-dictation program if you have one. Hold the phone in front of your mouth.

3.            Set a timer and take breaks. Avoid prolonged phone use by taking regular breaks where you put your phone down and do something else.

4.            Build strength and range of motion. In your workout routine, include exercises and stretches that strengthen your neck, back extensors, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi muscles. Drink water and maintain hydration.

5.            Use other forms of communication. Try calling your family and friends or seeing them in person to chat.

6.            For other ideas, call our office for more information. 

Get Comfortable: Be an Ergomaniac

Dr. Cocilovo interviewed on Making your workspace respect your body.

Reprinted from Success Magazine- June 2013 issue

If you crane your neck to see your monitor, bend your elbows to type or scrunch a shoulder to use the phone, you’re a victim of bad ergonomics. Potential consequences include back, neck, shoulder, wrist, elbow and foot pain, headaches and repetitive-stress injuries. New York chiropractor, Dr.  Michael Cocilovo estimates half his patients see him because of poorly designed workstations.

Poor ergonomics can also undermine your ability to deliver your best work. “People will be more productive and do a better job when they’re comfortable,” says Mark E. Benden, Ph.D., co-director of the Ergonomics Center at the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health. “In the traditional office, people had to adjust to their equipment. Then we realized it was better if we made everything in the office adjust to them.” The result is office equipment, furniture and peripherals so well-designed that people can work comfortably at their desks for 12 or more hours a day.

Only one hitch: “We’ve done such a great job of making workstations adjustable,” Benden says, “that we’re seeing that sedentary behavior contribute to overall health problems like increased obesity and high blood pressure.” To enhance workplace well-being, combine ergonomically smart design with regular breaks and movement. So turn your inner ergomaniac loose (and keep healthy!) by following these guidelines in your office:

• Adjust your chair so your spine is slightly reclined, the backrest supporting your upper and lower back, your thighs parallel to the floor, your feet flat on the floor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends a chair having a five-leg base and casters for easy movement. The armrests should support your forearms while your shoulders are relaxed and your wrists at or below elbow height.

• Choose a keyboard that supports your wrists while your arms, wrists and hands stay straight (parallel to the floor). Position the mouse close to the keyboard and, to reduce the risk of repetitive-stress injuries, consider a so-called “handshake” mouse that allows you to keep your hand in a vertical position—literally a handshake orientation when operating the mouse with thumb and fingers.

• Place your monitor at least an arm’s-length away with the top of your screen at or just below eye level. “What you want to prevent is having your neck in a flexed posture,” Dr. Cocilovo says. Tilt the monitor 10 to 20 degrees away from you to prevent glare.

• Focus light only where you need it—on documents and other work materials—and not on your computer monitor. OSHA’s ergonomic guidelines note that bright light shining on the display screen will wash out images, leading you to strain your eyes trying to make them out clearly. Task lamps provide the direct lighting you need, and options can be well under $50. To avoid eye fatigue, follow the Vision Council’s “20-20-20” rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away from your monitor.

• Use a headset. If you’re still squeezing a phone between your shoulder and ear, the ’60s are calling; they want you to return their head and neck pain. You should invest in a high-quality headset; it’s comfortable, delivers stellar sound and responds to voice commands.

• Take regular breaks. “Movement is like WD-40 for your joints,” Dr. Cocilovo says. Try to get up from your desk for 10 minutes every hour or so. This doesn’t have to mean abandoning your work. Simply standing “is the single healthiest change most desk jockeys can make,” Benden says. It’s a good idea to have a second workstation in your home that’s about 40 inches high so you can work while standing. It can be a kitchen island, a breakfast bar, a living-room console. Or if you have the room and budget, consider a “stand-biased” desk with taller seating and work surface to encourage standing.

Benden works at a sit-stand lectern that adjusts for sitting or standing. When he stands to work, “People don’t sit when they come into my office. That’s great for them since they’ve likely been sitting all day. And it keeps meetings shorter and
more efficient.” 

 

How to Reduce Your Stress at Work

Reprinted from the Westchester Business Journal

Work can be a stressful place, wherever you earn your living, whether in an office, a factory, or a school. Some stress is good. It motivates us and makes us stronger. Too much stress however, can be bad and reduce our health as well as our productivity.  Fortunately, there are specific things we can do that will help us reduce our stress at work and better cope with it.

1.Make sure your Workplace is Cheery and Well Lit-

Too often we tend to work in small, cramped areas which are dreary, dark and just plain depressing. One of the most important aspects of reducing stress is making sure we are happy and motivated to be at our workstation. So first, brighten up your space by painting your area a bright and cheery color if possible. Try to make sure you have access to bright, indirect outside light and a window that you can open for fresh air. If this is not possible- then at least make sure that you have ample lighting to illuminate your workstation. Improper lighting in a work environment can cause health-related issues such as eye strain, fatigue, physical stress and headaches. 

2- Address the Ergonomics of your Workstation- 

Poor posture, lack of proper equipment and incorrect positioning of your computer and chair are all contributing factors to neck and back pain. Working at a computer can cause a lot of distress in a number of different parts of the body, including not only neck and back, but shoulders, wrists and hands too.  With that in mind, there are some simple things we can do to minimize these problems:

  • Seat height should be such that our thighs are horizontal, lower legs vertical, and feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. The seat height should also allow a 90 degree angle at the elbows for typing and the backrest should offer firm support, especially in the lumbar (lower back) region.
  • The computer monitor should be clear and easy to see without leaning forward or looking up or to one side. The height where the top of the screen is should be level or within 15 degrees below eye level, and less than an arm\'s length away from you.
  • The computer keyboard and keyboard tray should allow for comfortable typing or keying. Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your elbows to be bent about 90 degrees and close to your sides. The computer mouse should be situated so that it does not require a lot of forearm movement or force.
  • If your job requires long periods on the telephone, then a telephone headset or speaker phone should be invested in so you avoid awkward neck and shoulder positions while talking and doing other tasks, such as typing.

 

3- Take Breaks and Remember to Stretch- 
 

No matter how well a workstation is designed, problems may arise if attention is not paid to the way the work is done. Working at a computer often involves very few changes in body position and this lack of movement can lead to muscle sprain and strain. The best way to avoid this is by taking a break for 5-10 minutes for every hour spent at a workstation. In addition, simple stretches to the neck, shoulders, arms and wrists and low back are an important way of reducing the tightness and stiffness that often comes from sitting in one position for long hours.

  The ability to work in a comfortable and happy environment is a benefit not only to your health and mental attitude, but to the bottom line. Less stress at work leads to increased productivity and improved quality of work life for employees and management alike. So- spend some time making sure your office is a de-stressed place to be- and I promise you that you and your boss will thank you.

 

Promises, Promises,Promises...

Posted on January 1, 2013

If you do a Google search for top 10 New Years Resolutions, appropriately enough a top search result is by Time Magazine titled, “Top 10 Commonly Broken New Years Resolutions”, which they have sarcastically sub-titled, “Promises, Promises”. Just for grins, here are…

The Top 10 Commonly Broken New Years Resolutions

  1. Lose weight and get fit
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Learn something new
  4. Eat healthier and diet
  5. Get out of debt and save money
  6. Spend more time with the family
  7. Travel to places
  8. Be less stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink less

The question is then, why is it that New Years Resolutions are such a farce? In reality it is because they are merely a wish.

So this year, instead of “wishing” for your resolutions to stick, try these 6 sure fire ways of making sure that your Goals last past January:

  1. Start with your WHY. Why do you want to lose weight/make more money/spend time with your family? Make it clear and become passionate about it!
  2. Get a clear mental picture, in Technicolor, of your desired outcome. What would it look like? How would it feel? The mind cannot tell the difference between something that is real and something vividly imagined.
  3. Create a story board. Find pictures that depict your desired outcome. Post them conspicuously and look at them frequently throughout your day.
  4. Create a reasonable time-frame: Goals without a time frame are still just dreams. Establish 3 month, 12 month, 5 year goals.
  5. Write your goals down. Write them in the first person and as if you already achieved them. Rather than stating, “I want to stop smoking” or “I am a nonsmoker”, say I like the extra energy and the extra money in my pocket as a result of breathing fresh unpolluted air”. Other examples, “I enjoy the freedom of making a monthly residual income of $25,000.” I weight 190 pounds and I like the way I look in my new clothes.”
  6. Read your goals at least twice daily; once just before falling asleep and again first thing upon rising. These are times where your subconscious is most open for suggestion.

So what’s the difference between a New Years Resolution and a Goal for the New Year? A goal is something that we actually want to happen, while a resolution, especially one set for the new year, is just pipe-dreams. Historically, it is scoffed as something actually meant to be broken. So I encourage you… Do Not set ANY New Years Resolutions this year- but commit to setting Goals that will last!

Obamacare Got You Worried??

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 7:55 am
 

As I watched the Presidential Debates last week, and as I listen to the fears of many of my patients, I realize that one of the primary concerns in this political season is the uncertainty of a national healthcare system. Whether you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal- we all can agree that a change in the way we are able to access our healthcare is inevitable.

My mother taught me that the best defense against uncertainty is always to be prepared- and that’s the same advice I give to our patients.  Therefore, if we can follow some simple rules of how to live healthier lives, we can take back control of our own health and not be so dependent on the assistance of any system.  Here are 3 easy ways we can start today:

1. Start Exercising- If the extent of your daily exercise is walking from your car to your desk during the day, and exercising your fingers on your television remote control at night- then you need a new exercise routine. Now- I am not talking about running in the New York City Marathon next month or swimming the English Channel- but how about walking outside in this beautiful autumn weather for 20 minutes 2-3 times per week? Or perhaps signing up for a yoga or Pilate’s class at your local fitness club?

Studies have consistently shown that just 20 minutes of exercise a day can reduce our visits to the doctor by 40%. What a great way of reducing our individual health costs!

2. Eat Healthier- Another tremendous drain on our healthcare system comes from the obesity epidemic which has infected our nation. Two-thirds of our population is overweight while 35% are defined as clinically obese. This results in over $190 billion dollars being spent on healthcare annually.

Want to reduce these statistics? Start by cutting out all “Whites” from your diet. That includes white sugars (especially soda and sugared soft drinks), white flours such as white breads, rice and pasta, and salt -especially high in processed foods.

3. Be Proactive with your Health-  We all know when to tune up our car to keep it running well, and how to tune up our PC’s by running anti-virus software. But how many of us “tune up” the most vital and important machine we own? Our human body!

If we as a nation started to focus more on “well care” instead of “sick care” we would literally save billions of dollars a year in healthcare costs.  So make sure you schedule your yearly medical checkup to catch small problems before they escalate.

Chiropractic care is an excellent way of keeping our spines and nervous systems functioning at peak performance. And visits to a nutritionist, massage therapist, or holistic practitioner can be great resources for minimizing our need for costly and dangerous medications or unnecessary surgeries.

We all need to take responsibility for our own health and to stop taxing the healthcare system. Once we put these simple yet effective plans in place- we will rest easier knowing that no government agency is in control of our health- we are!  For more information on any of these topics, please visit our website at www.newcitychiropractic.com or call our office to speak with one of our doctors.

 

Backpack Safety Tips... Just in Time for School....

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 5:04 am
 

Starting this week, children all over Rockland County will be sharpening their pencils and heading back to school. This also means kids will be packing their backpacks and slinging them onto their backs.  However, this “Rite of Autumn” has also heralded in a new and disturbing trend - back pain among youngsters.

Young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in 2001 alone.

This new back pain trend among youngsters isn\'t surprising when you consider the disproportionate amounts of weight kids carry in their backpacks - often slung over just one shoulder. According to a recent study conducted in Italy - the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man. Of those children carrying heavy backpacks to
school, 60 percent had experienced back pain as a result.  

So as a parent, here are some tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause our students:

1. Make sure your child\'s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent
     of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to
     bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back,
     rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.

2. The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the
     waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the
     shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.

3. A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning
     the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are
     packed away from the area that will rest on your child\'s back.

4.  Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.

5. Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack
     around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one
     side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.

6. Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are
     uncomfortable, and can dig into your child\'s shoulders.

7. The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be
     fitted to your child\'s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the
     backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.

8. If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child\'s teacher.
     Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home
     only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

Finally, if your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. In addition, doctors of chiropractic can also prescribe
exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, along with
instruction in good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits.

For more information on this topic, feel free to contact our office or email your questions to[email protected].

 

7 Steps to a Healthy Summer Barbecue

Posted on July 16, 2012 at 5:15 am
 

This time of year is synonymous with barbecuing for most of us, but unfortunately it’s often  a time when all that’s on our menus are some fat-laden hot dogs and greasy hamburgers.

However, barbecuing doesn’t have to equal unhealthy food! So here are seven tips to help you enjoy the BBQ season while still eating healthy:

  1. Go for lean or extra lean meats- Try looking for healthier meat options than processed, fatty products such as chicken, turkey or even soy hot dogs. And when purchasing meat at the supermarket, look for those marked lean or extra lean and remember to trim the visible fat prior to grilling.
  2. Add flavor with marinades- marinating meats a few hours before you begin grilling can add delicious flavor without hiking up the calorie count too much. Worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons contain 30 calories), low sodium soy sauce (120 calories), lime juice and tomato paste (40 calories) work really well.
  3. Serve a vegetarian option- Why not take a break from the not so exciting veggie burger option and try something a little different? Try grilling extra firm tofu- it will work really well on a skewer with some vegetables.
  4. Go for barbecued veggies- barbecued veggies are delicious, and a great way to add more variation and color to your party food. Try wrapping different vegetables in foil and popping them straight on the grill- whole mushrooms, corn on the cob and asparagus spears work really well. Or, if you are making kebabs, try layering onion slices with bell peppers and zucchini for a healthy treat.
  5. Serve whole grain on the side- Rather than opting for the traditional white bread or rice with your burger, go for whole grain buns or seeded breads instead. You can also make your own whole meal pasta, brown rice or buckwheat salads with extra veggies, rather than serving creamy store bought cole slaw or potato salad.
  6. Control portion size- Choosing healthier portion sizes at your barbecues is the best way of keeping your calories at bay. Eating smaller portions- like choosing an extra lean ¼ pounder over a fatty ½ pound burger, or slicing larger cuts of meats thinly before serving will help significantly.
  7. Resist that ice cream for dessert- Finally, try finishing off your meal with a healthy treat, serve barbecued bananas- when the charcoals starts to die down, wrap bananas in foil in their skins and pop them on the grill, leave for 10 minutes, then unwrap and enjoy.

Healthy barbecuing doesn’t have to mean boring or bland eating. Simply by using a few of these tips, you can continue to enjoy a great barbecue while avoiding the guilt. Feel free to contact our office for any specific dietary questions you may have.

 

 

What the Heck is that Colored Tape on the Olympians?

Posted on August 1, 2012 at 5:10 am
 

If you were watching Beach Volleyball at the London Olympics this week, you  may have wondered what that colored tape was that you saw on Olympic Gold medalist Kerri Walsh’s shoulder. Well, it’s not a tattoo as some have speculated, and it’s not even a coveted fashion item by Stella McCartney or Adidas.  What it is in fact is a brightly colored injury strapping tape called Kinesio Tape - and as the Olympics kick off, it’s what just about every athlete in town is wearing. 

Kinesio Tape and Kinesio Taping is nothing new, but it is certainly catching on. It was developed more than 25 years ago by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor who trained in the US.  And although it was actually invented in the seventies, Kinesio tape was only noticed by the general public after US beach volleyball athlete Kerri Walsh competed in the 2008 Olypmpic Games in Beijing with lines of black tape on her shoulder.

Kinesio Tape is basically a thin, elastic, color-coded strip of tape applied by a practitioner to joints and muscles where support and stability is needed. It is a “non-restrictive” taping method – different than traditional taping methods which were much more rigid and inflexible. It is presently gaining popularity for use to reduce pain and inflammation, relax overused tired muscles and speed healing. It is also used by many athletes for preventative maintenance, edema and pain management.

When properly applied, you don’t even know the tape is there.  It is placed on top of the skin, strategically, often in “waves”, and is effective for 3 to 5 days before it needs to be replaced. You can shower or swim with it. It doesn’t contain latex, which is great for those with latex allergies.

Kinesio Taping is becoming all the rage - as evidenced by its widespread usage at the Olympic Summer games.  Reviews of Kinesio Tape mention its effectiveness in relieving carpal tunnel, arthritis, plantar fasciitis, shoulder pain, lower back strains, and even tennis elbow.

Kinesio Taping is not only being used by Olympians this summer, but also by other well known athletes like Lance Armstrong, Serena Williams, and David Beckam. 

So, keep an eye out for this bright \"Health Fashion Statement\" these next two weeks - and if you have any joint or back pain, Kinesio Taping might be worth a mention to your medical practitioner or chiropractor.  For more information,
feel free to contact Dr. Cocilovo at [email protected] or visit his website atwww.newcitychiropractic.com .

Not Exercising Yet? What Are You Waiting For?

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm
 

The summer is upon us and it is typically the time when we are most active with outdoor activities. But studies still show that less than 25% of the population exercise on a regular basis.

According to the U.S. Public Health Service, many of us still have misconceptions about exercising. Here are some of the most common myths followed by the real facts:

Myth 1- “Exercising will tire me out.” The FACT is that regular exercise will give you more energy.

Myth 2“Exercising will cause me to have a heart attack.” The FACT is that regular exercising will strengthen your heart muscle.

Myth 3- “Exercising will raise my blood pressure and make me lose my breath.” The FACT is that exercise has been shown time and again to lower blood pressure and actually strengthen your lungs so that they operate more efficiently.

Myth 4“Exercise will make my back pain worse and aggravate my arthritis.” The FACT is that exercise will improve your strength, posture, and range of motion in joints. It will also help to relieve stress that may cause back pain.

Myth 5- “I’m too old to start exercising.” The FACT is that you are NEVER too old to do some form of exercise. We have geriatric patients who perform simple chair stretches and arm exercises every day- so if they can do it, so can you.

Myth 6“I don’t have time to exercise.” This is by far the most common excuse for not exercising, but the FACT is that exercise can be done anywhere- in the car, on your coffee break, even while you’re waiting for your kids to get off the bus. Exercising for 5-10 minutes a day is better than doing nothing at all!

You may be wondering why you should start exercising now, especially when you have been relatively inactive for most of your life. The reasons are endless- like helping you to be more flexible, developing more muscle so that movements won’t require as much effort, and helping to build endurance so you won’t tire as easily.

It is important however, to start exercising gradually, especially if you have never exercised on a regular basis before.  All exercise routines should include a stretching session, as well as a strengthening and aerobic session, followed by a cool down period.  Make sure to call our office or speak to your doctor before starting any routine in order to get the help you need to exercise safely and effectively.

So don’t let another summer pass you by- get out there and get Active- your body will thank you for it!!

 
 

“Breathing your Way to a Stress–Free Day”

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 5:15 am
 

So you’re sitting behind your desk all day at work, staring at a computer screen without a chance to move, let alone stand and stretch. By the end of your shift, your back is tense, your neck is in more knots than a sailboat, and your head is pounding louder than a John Philip Sousa marching band!  Is there anything you can do to reduce your stress and ease your growing tension?

The answer is Yes- and it’s something as simple as Breathing!! Now- I know you are thinking, “I’m already breathing!!” But the point is that there is a more efficient and healthy way of going about this unconscious process that can make a dramatic difference in your day!

If you are looking for stress relief, practicing deep breathing is one of the best services that you could be doing to yourself. In normal circumstances, taking a deep breath, by itself, is deeply relaxing. But, most of us are used to ‘shallow breathing’ using only 20% of our lung capacities. Bad breathing habits lead to the imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Correct breathing purifies the blood, provides more energy, and calms the mind and the body.

It may sound simple, but there is actually something very complex at work while we breathe. Deep breathing has been shown in studies to change the chemical balance in our brains to help calm us down.

Breathing strongly influences physiology and thought processes, including moods. By simply focusing your attention on your breathing, and without doing anything to change it, you can move in the direction of relaxation. Too much attention on upsetting thoughts may cause anxiety, guilt and unhappiness. So, getting in the habit of shifting your awareness to your breath whenever you find yourself dwelling on stressful situations will actually result in reduced anxiety, agitation and stress, while promoting relaxation, calm and inner peace.

Here is an easy way of starting to do it:

  1. Sit in a comfortable upright position with your legs uncrossed, head straight, eyes closed, and arms and hands relaxed.
  2. Slowly count to four while you breathe in through your nose. Hold your breath for a second.
  3. Count to four again, this time while breathing out slowly through your mouth.
  4. Repeat a few times.

So the next time you’re stressed and can’t get a break- try this simple technique. I think that you will find that the breath is not something you should “blow off”. It’s a powerful tool for influencing better health and wellness- and the best part is that it is literally “right under your nose!!”



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