The ABC’s of Chiropractic

Chiropractic is one of the most misunderstood professions in all of healthcare. That's partly our fault as chiropractors for not educating the public. I'm going to make it my mission to educate you guys on what exactly chiropractors are, what we treat, and what exactly we do as chiropractors.

I'm going to do this by putting out the ABCs of Chiropractic over the course of the next year, so, 26 videos for each letter of the alphabet, starting at A all the way through to the letter Z, of different conditions that chiropractors treat, different things we see in our office, and all different things that are related to chiropractic.

Keep your eyes peeled on our instagram (https://www.instagram.com/suesschiropractic/) and facebook(https://www.facebook.com/suesschiropractic/) pages over the course of the next year for the ABCs of Chiropractic. Make sure you like our pages, send it to your friends, and, most importantly, stop into the office.

A for Arthritis

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There are 2 types of arthritic conditions, degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) and inflammatory arthritis which are blood borne arthritides (Rheumatoid, Psoriatic, AS, etc.). 

We treat degenerative arthritis on a daily basis in our office, and this is one of the most misunderstood diagnoses that we come across! In fact, osteoarthritis is a natural part of the aging process. It is estimated that nearly 80% of people over the age of 40 have some degree of arthritis in their spine, and it tends to hit the areas of our body that we have beat up the most over the years. 

Joints are designed to move, and when they stop moving for a long period of time they tend to wear down. The cartilage tends to break down first, and when that happens the body reacts by lying down bone to protect the joint. This is where bone spurs are born, a very common presentation with degenerative arthritis!.

The bad news is that there is no cure for arthritis. The good news is that you can stop it from progressing! Think of a hard boiled egg, you can’t unboil a hard boil egg but you can take it out of the water and stop if from boiling further. So how do we stop your arthritis from boiling any further? Mobility! As chiropractors our job is to restore mobility to each and every segment of the spine. This increases the physiological function of the joints slowing the degenerative process. Motion is lotion!

B for Babies!

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Let me let you in on a little industry secret, Babies have spines too!.
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We all know how traumatic the birthing process is for Mom, but a lot of people don’t realize the level of trauma invoked on the baby during a vaginal delivery. Think of where the doctors are grasping to help deliver the baby. At the base of the skull! Then add vacuums and forceps to the mix . VERY commonly we see tension in the upper portion of the babies necks due to delivery related forces. This tension on the spine can place unwanted stress on the nervous system, cause torticollis in infants, and even place tension on Eustachian tube which shares fibers with the upper cervical spine! These types of conditions often lead to breastfeeding issues (latching), ear infections, and abnormal head shape (because they are favoring one side of their neck). 

You’re probably thinking, “You shouldn’t be cracking a baby!”. Rest assured, there is absolutely no “cracking” involved in an infant’s adjustment. Because of the elasticity of the supportive structures of the spine at birth, we are able to use a very low-force adjustment technique that requires about as much force as you would use to apply to a bleeding paper cut! 

In fact, when the proper contact is achieved the baby usually enters a visibly relaxed state. It’s quite amazing to watch! .

C for Coordination

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Coordination is defined as “the ability to use different parts of the body together smoothly and efficiently.”. Let’s take a look at how this occurs; the body communicates its environment to the brain and deploys an accurate action response in an efficient manner that begins a complex cascade of mechanical movements. All of this information is transferred from nerve endings at the specific body part, through the spinal cord, up to the brain, and finally back down the same path it came. This is neurology in a nut shell!


Not many people realize that the primary job of the spine is to protect the spinal cord, which is an integral part of the nervous system. When there is tension or trauma in the spine it adds tension to that area of the nervous system. Think of your spine as an interstate highway. Each exit on the highway are like nerve roots heading out to different body parts. What happens when there is traffic on your exit of the highway? You’re still getting to where you need to go, but you’re getting there a heck of a lot less efficiently!


Let’s take a deeper look at track athletes to see how coordination works. His eyes see the height of the hurdle, the sensors in the feet are registering information on the running surface, the hamstrings are gauging how much more tension they can take and all of this information is sent back to the brain where it decides the perfect amount of force required to propel the plant foot in the air, the perfect position to place his opposite arm to counterbalance his weight and finally how much laxity to leave in his land leg to avoid excess tension on his ligaments. All of this occurs in just milliseconds, that is what coordination looks like!


But what happens if there’s tension on the spine that feeds the lower body, and the brain never receives the message from the plant foot that’s saying “Hey dude, be careful this track is pretty slippery!”. Do you see how minor changes in efficiency can have such a disastrous outcome? Freeing tension from the spine allows the body to Communicate a heck of a lot more efficiently, which in turn, improves Coordiantion!

Why You Should Be Getting Adjusted! - Intro to Wellness Chiropractic

Understanding the basics of Chiropractic neurology, and how the spine relates to the nervous system, is key to understanding why it is important to add preventative Chiropractic care to your wellness routine. We’re going to talk about the nervous system, which is my favorite topic to talk about. We're going to use traffic as an analogy to help you understand exactly how the nervous system impacts your overall health, and how Chiropractic care improves the function of your nervous system.


The spinal cord, which is protected by the spine, is a like a big highway within your body. Much like a highway that you're accustomed to driving on, there's exits along the spinal cord. Each nerve root heading up the spinal cord is like an exit on that highway.

So let's say you get in your car in the morning, you start driving to work, you hit your exit, and all of a sudden there's traffic. We've all been there, and it sucks! You're still going to get to work even though there's traffic, but you're going to get to work so a lot less efficiently. So that's the keyword here, efficiently.

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The same thing occurs in the spine. The primary job of the spine is to protect that nervous system. So each vertebrae has two little holes in it where the nerve roots exit, turn into nerves, and head off to their final destination; much like the exit ramps on the highway. So if there's restriction or dysfunction in the spine, there's going to be tension on that area of the nervous system. This causes “traffic” at that particular area of the nervous system, and in turn, everything that is being fed by that nerve root functions less efficiently.

As chiropractors, we remove restriction from the spine. We restore proper function to the spine, which in turn relieves tension from the nervous system and frees up that traffic. This way your body can function as efficiently as it's designed to function!

Aren't you a lot happier if you get in your car, you drive to work, you get to your exit, no traffic, you get there right on time, even 10 minutes early? Well let me tell you something, your nervous system is going to be just as happy if it is traffic free and functioning at its most efficient capabilities.

As always, thank you guys so much for watching. I hope this helped you understand why you should be getting adjusted, whether you're in pain or not. That's because there's most likely traffic within your nervous system!

Yours in Good Health,

Dr. Jesse J. Suess, D.C.
Suess Family Chiropractic, LLC
22 Wyckoff Ave., Suite 1
Waldwick, NJ 07463
(201)972-6121
www.suesschiropractic.com
DrJesse@SuessChiropractic.com

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Understanding Chronic Pain

Understanding Chronic Pain

Chronic pain has become one of the most debilitating medical conditions that our country deals with in today’s day in age. Every year there are millions of dollars that are sunk into researching and treating Chronic pain, and this is not counting the millions of dollars that are lost in workman’s compensation claims and sick days throughout the year. Our treatment methods have been less than successful, and the “pain-masking approaches” have even began to cause deeper problems of their own such as drug-dependency and addiction. Research compiled by TheGoodBody.com shows that 100 million Americans suffer from Chronic pain, and 1 in every 10 people have experienced pain every day for three months or more. Because chronic pain can have so many different causes like previous injury or repetitive stress, it can be a very tough condition to understand.

Is Your Child's Back-Pack Causing Harm?

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Each morning millions of students across the nation are racing to the school bus or scurrying to their classrooms with an overstuffed back-pack slung over one shoulder. While carrying a back-pack to school each morning might seem harmless, it can cause painful back and neck problems for your children who do not pack or carry their back packs properly.

Here are a few tips to help prevent the children in your household from the aches and pains of an injured spine caused by an overstuffed back-pack.

Weight Distribution

  • Make sure your child’s back-pack weighs no more than 5-10% of his or her body weight. Any heavier than that, the heavy back-pack will cause your child to begin to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back rather than carrying the weight on the shoulder straps as designed. Not only does this cause stress on the neck and shoulders, but the flexing motion causes stress in the low back as well.
  • A back-pack with individualized compartments will help you distribute the weight throughout the backpack more evenly. And as a bonus, it will help to prevent your child’s sandwich from being flattened by that heavy science book.
  • When packing the back-pack make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back. An uneven surface rubbing against your child’s back can cause painful blisters and cause your child to walk with an awkward posture.
  • If the back-pack is still too heavy talk to your child’s teacher. It might be possible for your child to leave the heaviest books at school and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.

Utilizing the Shoulder Straps Effectively

  • Tell your child to use both shoulder straps, not just one. A back-pack slung over one shoulder disproportionately shifts all of the weight to one side and can cause not only neck and muscle spasms, but also low back pain.
  • Padded shoulder straps are very important. Not only will they be more comfortable than non-padded straps, they will also help prevent the straps from digging into your child’s shoulders.
  • Shoulder straps should be adjustable so the back-pack can be fitted to your child’s body. Shoulder straps that are too loose can cause the back-pack to dangle, which causes the spine to go into extension. This can lead to misalignment of the spine as well as pain.

As adults, we seem to think that back pain is not something that our young children deal with, this is not the case. Longstanding ergonomic stress to our children's spines will cause chronic issues that will bother them down the road. Talk to your child about the proper use of back-packs and help him or her understand why this and other ergonomic issues are important. A child who is educated early in life on ergonomic issues can apply this knowledge later in life at home or in the office and will be happier and healthier as a result.

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Dr. Jesse J. Suess, DC
22 Wyckoff Ave., Suite 1
Waldwick, NJ 07463
(201)972-6121
drjesse@drjessesuess.com

HOW TO SIT BETTER - 3 EASY STEPS!

One of the most common questions that I receive from my patients is how to attain proper posture. First we must understand what exactly posture is. In simple terms, posture is the relationship with the skeleton to the earth’s gravitational forces. The skeleton is designed to disperse forces from the top of the head, through the feet and eventually to the floor. With a totally “neutral” posture, the body is designed to disperse these forces with minimal impact on the surrounding tissues of the body. But when the posture is altered in any way that alters how the body perceives these forces. This leads to joints of the body taking on more force than they are designed to hold. This is the type of stress that can lead to chronic disease such as disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, chronic low back pain, sciatica, upper back and neck pain, and cervicogenic headaches to name a few. I have written a series of articles with the intent to inform you of how to maintain proper posture throughout your day so you have the knowledge to reduce the load placed on your body and live a healthier lifestyle.

As we dive further into Postural Awareness Month, we turn our attention to seated posture. Considering the majority of our culture spends more than 40 hours per week in seated position, seated ergonomics can be one of most important topics that we will discuss over the course of this month. Sitting in general is not a natural position, so there is no “perfect” position to sit. With that in mind, I understand that for some people sitting for pro-longed periods of time is unavoidable. Way back in the cave man days there were no chairs. We humans would squat in the catcher’s position much like apes when resting. This would utilize the full range of motion in the hips and keep the hip joints mobile. When sitting in a chair we are only utilizing about half of the hip joints range of motion, which leads to tight hip capsules and hip problems. I have put together a few reference points for you to remember while you're sitting. These reference points are aimed to reduce the amount of stress on your body while in a seated position.

1. Use Your Pelvis Properly

The Problem:
The most important adjustment you can make in a seated position is to make sure that you are sitting correctly on your pelvis. Many people slouch in their chairs and roll forward onto the sacrum. When we scoot up towards the front of our chair, that transfers the weight from our upper body onto the front of the sacrum, this places a tremendous amount of pressure on the lower lumbar discs and the sacroiliac joint.

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The fix:
Simply sit back in the chair and sit up on the “sit bones” (ischial tuberosity) that are located underneath the pelvis. This will promote a more neutral orientation of the pelvis which in turn promote the normal curvature (lordosis) of the lumbar spine and take pressure off of the lumbar discs. There are products such as lumbar support cushions that help you promote this posture. Or you can take a small pillow and place it behind your chair to remind yourself not to slouch.

2. The Knee Angle

The Problem:
Very often I see people sitting with their feet folded under their chair (with the knees in an acute angle) or spread out in front of them (with an obtuse angle of the knee joint). Either of these positions places our pelvis and our hips in a position that make it harder to gain the proper posture that we mentioned above.

The Fix:
We want our feet directly under our knees at all times, which puts our knees at a nice 90 degree angle. Another thing you can do is keep your knees bent at 90 degrees and place a small stool underneath your feet in order to gain more flexion in the hip joint. Ideally we want the knees higher than the hips; whenever this is accomplished it takes a lot of pressure off of the low back.

3. Shoulder & Head Positioning

Incorrect Seated Posture!

Incorrect Seated Posture!

The Problem:
Often people have to lean forward or look downward in order to see whatever they are working on, whether it is a book or a computer screen. This causes flexion of the neck and forward weight head posture.

 

The Fix:
Remember what I told you in my first article about forward head posture and shoulder positioning, those rules still apply to a seated position. We want to make sure that our shoulders are rolled back into a neutral position and our chin remains parallel to the floor. In order to accomplish the proper chin positioning you may need to raise the computer screen about a half of a foot off of the desk. The optimal positioning of the computer monitor is to have the top of the monitor at eye level. 

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY KEEP MOVING! Remember what I said earlier, there is nothing natural about a seated posture. Avoid sitting for more than 45 minutes at a time. When we sit for more than this we place excess stress and pressure on the low back and allow blood to pool within the veins of our lower extremity. Get up, stand, and walk around for 10-15 minutes every hour to keep your blood flowing and allowing all of the blood that is pooling in the veins in your legs to get recycled back into your heart. This will help you avoid developing blood clots throughout your legs as well as keeping your joints moving properly. Motion is Lotion! 

If you feel as if you are experiencing pain related to poor posture find a Doctor of Chiropractic near you that can remove the restriction and restore mobility, as well as help educate you on proper posture. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. 

Dr. Jesse J. Suess, DC
Suess Family Chiropractic, L.L.C
22 Wyckoff Ave., Suite 1
Waldwick, NJ 07463

(201)972-6121
drjesse@suesschiropractic.com