Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a very common mental health condition in the Midwest. It’s not necessarily permanent and can be prevented. Keep reading to find out ways to catch if you’re starting to dip into S.A.D and how you can self-treat to beat the winter blues!
Remember how last winter drove just about everyone crazy? The amount of snow that fell and the record-breaking cold had a lot of us cooped up in our homes. We all were going more stir crazy than we’d probably want to admit, or even want to remember! It was one of the coldest and snowiest of winters since 1998 and really brought up a big component of mental health for many people, S.A.D.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
This time of year is when S.A.D really makes its presence known. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of seasonal or winter depression that is one of the most common mental illness. This can affect about 25% of Americans and happens when there is less sunlight and usually does improve when spring comes.
You may notice feelings like:
- Feeling sad/depressed
- Loss of interest
- Change in appetite
- Change in sleep
- Loss of energy
- Increased restless activity
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating
- May even have suicidal thoughts
This affects any age but oftentimes is more common between the ages of 18 and 30.
How to Treat S.A.D.
- Light therapy (i.e. happy lamps)
- Exercise – 30 minutes of cardio every day
- Antidepressant medication
- Talk therapy
We’d like to mention at this time – if you do have depression severe enough to entertain suicidal thoughts, consult a doctor immediately, consult the closest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-TALK (8255) or use their online chat.
This may help ease depression and anxiety by:
- Releasing feel-good endorphins
- Taking your mind off worries
- Boosting self-confidence
Chiropractic’s Affect on S.A.D.
Chiropractic adjustments release endorphins and an all-natural feel-good hormone called dopamine. This release of dopamine has a positive effect on the brain and can help alter your mindset on the world around you.
Not only can chiropractic care help you feel good, but it’s good for you – mentally AND physically.
So many people believe headaches are normal. We’re sorry to inform you, but headaches, of any kind, are not normal and you don’t have to “put up with them” or “cover them” with pain pills. Even though there are many types of headaches, this article will focus on how to catch and stop a tension headache.
You really aren’t feeling it today – work seems to just be multiplying by the minute. Your boss is asking questions that you’re just not 100% sure the answers to. And don’t even get me started on the commute this morning! Does it surprise you at all that you’re in the middle of a headache?
Types of Headaches
When focusing on how to catch and stop tension headaches, it’s important to know how they typically feel.
When looking at the chart below, you’ll see clearly several types of headaches separated into different categories. It’s important to know that headaches are not all created equally. So knowing the signs and symptoms of common headaches in comparison to what you’re currently experiencing can help with getting proper treatment with stopping them.
Common headaches include headaches stemming from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), basically where the jaw connects with the skull, sinus, cluster, tension, migraine and then headaches related to the muscles, bones, and ligamentous structures in the neck (cervicogenic headaches).
Since we’re spending a bit of time talking about how to catch and stop tension headaches, we should talk about the fact that tension headaches are common. They typically are known to feel like a tight band wrapped around your head, from the front all around to the base of the skull, the occipital area. This band seems to be putting pressure on the head and feels like it’s squeezing the head from the outside in.
Just think of how it feels to wear a baseball hat that is too small for your head. This hat keeps squeezing too tightly and if you don’t take it off, eventually, you’re going to feel tension, stress, basically really uncomfortable!
Underlying Cause of Tension Headaches
Tension is just a nice way to say stress. And we’re fortunate to have bodies that utilize a stress response as a way to protect itself. Even if we have a high-stress tolerance, our bodies do a great job taking the responsibility of dealing with our stress.
Causes of Stress
The best way to stop tension headaches is to analyze your behavior. If you deal with stress in an unhealthy way, it can transition to tension headaches. Here are some common causes that may be triggering your tension headaches.
- Tension in the muscles of the face, jaw, and neck (clenching the muscles)
- Spinal misalignments, primarily of the neck and upper back
- TMJ disorder – you’ll notice your jaw clicking or popping
- Arthritis of the neck
- Depression and anxiety
- Lack of sleep
- Stress itself
- Text neck
- Bad posture – desk work, sitting in the car or on our couch
Why Does Seeing My Chiropractor Help?
We commonly see tension headaches are a reason for people to seek chiropractic care. But how do people get tension headaches from their spine, when tension headaches are related to stress?
Stress doesn’t mean just emotional, mental or environmental. Stress can be related to the postures we’re in every day. Our bodies take on gravity 100% of our lives, so it makes sense that gravity impacts the spine as well.
What are the Bones Doing?
A misaligned vertebrae (spinal bone) irritates the spinal nerve that exits from that area. These nerves send “warning signals” to the muscles of the neck that are irritated.
Once these muscles receive this warning signal, they tighten up. The muscles may even spasm in order to protect the misaligned bone.
The irritated nerves also send signals to the muscles of the scalp and head – which again, respond this time by tightening up.
The reaction here is basically creating a chain reaction of a muscle spasm around the head.
The pesky tension headache!
How Can I Stop My Headache?
There are plenty of steps you can take in order to combat tension headaches. The below recommendations are home remedies that are recommended by Mayo Clinic.
- Eat healthy foods (+ don’t skip breakfast)
- Drink enough water!
- Exercise regularly (at least a bit of daily activity 10-20 minutes of aerobic walking can have a major impact on your day)
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid excess caffeine (400mg+/day aka 4 cups of regular coffee, 2 of the 2oz 5 hour energy drinks, or 2 energy drinks in general, can trigger headaches and irritability)
- Quit smoking – nicotine reduces blood flow to the brain and can trigger the reaction of nerves at the back of the throat leading to a headache
- Monitor stress
- Heat or ice shoulder and neck muscles
- Massage temples, scalp, neck and shoulders with fingertips
- Unclench your jaw
- This one is ours… but schedule your next chiropractic appointment!
We are a reflection of all of our beliefs, habits, decisions and experiences that we’ve had in our lives. As we age, we may reminisce about our childhood and might even think, what advice would I have given myself? This article talks about how to communicate the child that is still in your heart, your younger self.
Stop Worrying So Much
Every day we are surrounded by potential stressors. We over analyze and over criticize ourselves to the point of anxiety and tension. With all of that mind chatter, we forget how to relax.
Stress is such an overlooked component of our health – from driving to and from work, to the daily work tasks, the stress from our coworkers, financial responsibilities or even how we show up for our families.
When we become stressed, our bodies take the toll. We might end up extremely anxious, having a hard time sleeping at night, or even tension and stress-related headaches.
Try New Things
Do you have a “Bucket List”? What’s on it? Have you done anything on your list? If not, get started! You have one life.. start checking off those boxes and making more!
Show Up Curious
Do you ever ask why? Are you curious about the world around you?
Start looking at the world around you with stars in your eyes. Explore life. Show up curious!
We had a great habit of forgiving and forgetting as children. We just wanted to have a good time and spend it happily. As we get older we tend to hold grudges. What’s worse than holding them against those who have hurt us, we hold them against ourselves.
So begin forgiving! Start living your life a bit more like the child inside of your heart would and watch how much more of life you start to enjoy.
Take Care of Yourself
Most people don’t think twice about the tires they have on their vehicle or the newest phone technology. They splurge in the strangest items, yet push their health off to the side. Start now!
We are not our body – but the condition that it’s in dramatically shapes how we experience our life.
It all boils down to self-confidence and self-esteem and what you deserve to feel at the end of the day. Just remember that the person you see in the mirror is really just a child in grown-up clothes.
“You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”Samuel Ullman
Exercise is Good!
Running is regularly great for your health and has so many benefits.
In fact, over 60 million people participated in running in the United States last year! With even more people reporting as active walkers.
Benefits of Running
- Reduces stress
- Boosts your metabolism
- Improves cardiovascular health
- They can even alleviate symptoms of depression!
We are naturally born to learn how to walk, run, skip and jump.
But … Why the Common Running Injuries?
Why is it, then, that we often see runners in pain or having issues?
If it were so good for you or you’re “naturally” made to run.. then why do people end up with runner’s knee? With Achilles tendonitis? With IT band syndrome? Shin splints? Hamstring strains? Plantar fasciitis? Stress fractures?
Problems stem from not having proper form when running.
When the muscles may be overcompensating, or our framework (skeletal system) isn’t properly aligned.
Running ends up not being efficient or balanced. When a pain comes up, most people continue to run and fight through symptoms.
No Pain, No Gain?
Often, the answer is no.
Many of these common running injuries can actually stem from a lack of motion in your spine and pelvis.
So – we’ve got our pelvis, vertebrae (bones in the neck and back) and tehn the skull.
When there are areas where the vertebrae are no longer moving like they should, they are in dysfunction, distortion, misalignment, or what we call subluxation. Now the surrounding tissues and joints have to pick up the slack!
This means certain muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia are overstressed while others are under-utilized.
When We Lack Balance
When we have this lack of balance, there is an asymmetrical distribution of forces in the body. Each step puts excess strain and mechanical load on certain tissues that can no longer adapt as efficiently as they’re meant to.
In the case of runners, who average 85 steps per minute per foot, these imbalances and strains can add up, and if not addressed can lead to chronic injury over time.
Does This Have to be My Future?
No! You have a choice! If you want to keep running, you need to make sure not only are you using proper running form, shoes and strides, but you’re also being proactive.
As chiropractors, we approach the body looking to restore and maintain balance and health, not just in a local sense, but in a global sense.
Correcting these spinal problems and restoring proper function at the core, and allowing the body to restore it’s normal patterns and function at its best.
Whether you’re a competitive athlete, a weekend warrior, or you just want to run around the block with your dog, chiropractic can help guide you back toward resilience!
It can help to optimize your level of health and function, and get you back up to doing what you love, pain free!
Your sleep habits are an indicator of your overall health and well-being.
“45% of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days.”The National Sleep Foundation’s Inaugural Sleep Health Index
Americans report sleeping an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes.
Even though this average is within the 7-9 hour recommended sleep range according to the Sleep Duration Recommendation chart below, 35% report sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair” with 20% reporting that they don’t wake up feeling refreshed.
This means that Americans report good sleep quantity, but not quality.
What about this sleep debt? As soon as we start cutting hours, supplementing our sleep with stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks and external lights, our circadian rhythm (natural sleep/wake cycle) becomes affected, and we start moving into this state of sleep debt.
Just like financial debt, our sleep debt can take its toll. When this debt adds up, our reaction time slows down leading to more mistakes in the workplace, and in turn making driving more dangerous.
There is no substitute for good sleep!
Cleaning Up Your Sleep Routine
To pay back this debt, start by cleaning up your sleep routine. Adding one or more of these habits to your routine can start to move you towards better reaction time, increased work productivity and overall more energy!
- Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
- Stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule
- Neglect that snooze, wake up when the alarm wakes you up
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Exercise daily
- Relax before bed with a hot bath or a good book instead of electronics (electronic use can interfere with sleep)
- A daytime nap can also help catch you back up, even if it is 15 minutes mid-day
- And most importantly, get adjusted!
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”Irish Proverb
Chiropractic comes from Greek words meaning “done by hand“.
Chiropractors operate on in the firm belief that the human body can heal itself when the skeletal system is correctly aligned, where the nervous system is functioning properly.
To be a qualified doctor of chiropractic, a chiropractor goes through an average of 3.5 years of additional doctorate schooling as well as several rounds of national boards in order to accurately, and most importantly safely, use his or her hands to find out what is going on in the spine. After a consultation and physical examination, and x-rays if the case presents, the doctor will use all of this information as well as their hands to get a feel for the spine. This will give the doctor information on which area of the spine is not correctly aligned, or articulated. What they are searching for is known as a subluxation.
What is a Subluxation
As we break this word down
Our bodies may not be shining off a light when at their healthiest, however – luxation, light can also mean energy or power.
What Does Energy Do?
Energy flows through your house, through your gadgets, etc. When something interferes with this flow it disrupts the output of energy. This is similar to how the nervous system works.
When there is a sub-luxation in the spine (less light), or when two vertebrae are not properly lined up, there is less of a proper nerve flow that is able to deliver the energy through the various portions of the body.
How Energy is Related to the Body
Our nerve system starts in our brain and travels down the spinal cord. Our brain and spinal cord are so extremely important that we have bones that form around them. These are the skull for our brain, and the spine for the spinal cord. These nerves come out from the spine and go all over our body. They control everything that we do.
For instance, the nerves that exit the spine around the neck go right to the head, face and arms just as much as the low back will travel down to power your lower body and legs.
When something irritates a nerve, such as a subluxation, the nerve doesn’t function 100%. Meaning that unlike electricity, which will just shut off your power, you might not notice your nerves not functioning at 100%. These nerves don’t deliver all of the power it should be. Your body may be having symptoms ranging from pain, numbness and tingling to even headaches, indigestion, carpal tunnel, insomnia and many more.
What a Chiropractor Does
Once a chiropractor knows where there is a subluxation, they provide a precisely calculated thrust into the area using their hands which is known as an adjustment. When this does happen a “pop” or “crack” noise may be heard. This is nothing to be alarmed at! This is the sound that our joints make when there is pressure that is released, it is just like when you crack your fingers or wake up in the morning with a good stretch. Even though this is similar to what you might experience at home, a chiropractor is able to provide an exact force that is precisely calculated for you.
How bright is your light? Schedule and come in to King Chiropractic today to see how chiropractic can help you get to feeling your best!
Isn’t technology amazing? With all of the advancements that we have in this day and age, we have evolved to use these devices. With the use of these cell phones, tablets and other wireless devices, we have made it a habit of neglecting the one thing that’s carried us so far in this world, our bodies.
Signs and Symptoms of Text Neck
- Chronic headache
- Soreness in the neck
- Numbness and tingling felt in the arms
- Tightness or stiffness across the shoulders
- Postural changes
- Pain in the
What Makes Text Neck Worse
The more the spine bends forward, the more stress is placed on the cervical spine, the top 7 bones of the neck.
This extra force puts more pressure on the discs of the spine which leads to them degenerating and chronic neck pain.
According to the Antarctic Journal, if left untreated serious, permanent damage may occur. Flattening of the spinal curve, onset of early arthritis, spinal degeneration, spinal misalignment, disc herniations and compressions, muscle and nerve damage, loss of lung volume capacity as well as gastrointestinal problems.
Strategies to Prevent Text Neck and to Reverse Symptoms
- Hold phone at eye level as much as possible
- Take breaks from the phone/laptop
- Set a timer – no more than 20 minutes on a device, walk every 30-45 minutes
Basically, treat your body well! It’s the only one you have. If you have to use technology for work, school, or even play, then take a break every 30-45 minutes and at least give those eyes a break by staring at something 10-20 feet away for at least 30 seconds, or go for that small walk! While you’re up, go fill up on some water!