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Before we get too far into this post, I want to point out that I am not talking about drinking alcohol to numb your back pain.  That might help in the short term, but it’s not a long term solution and not part of a healthy lifestyle.  In fact, regular alcohol consumption may dehydrate your body, which brings me to our topic…

Hydration!  

In practice I discovered that some patients did everything right, but still experienced pain in their muscles and joints.  In these cases the missing component for pain relief was hydration.

It’s amazing how something as simple as drinking more water could be the key to feeling better.

Keeping your body fully hydrated is an important part of health.  If you find that you’re doing everything right, but still experience muscle and joint pain, the missing ingredient may be hydration.

Your body needs water to work properly and if it doesn’t get enough you may have some issues.

Every day your body uses water to…

  • carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
  • flush bacteria from your bladder
  • aid digestion
  • prevent constipation
  • regulate body temperature
  • protect organs and tissues
  • lubricate and cushion joints

If you’re not consuming enough water your body will not be able to function optimally.  When it comes to your muscles and joints; that could mean less cushion, more friction and more pain.

The discs in  the spine separate each vertebrae (bone) and act as shock absorbers protecting your spine from wear and tear.

This activity causes a daily loss of water from within the disc.  When things are working properly, your discs will absorb more water to replace what has been lost.

If your body is dehydrated the discs will shrink in size and lose their ability to protect your spine.  This makes the disc less effective as a cushion and can lead to degenerative disc disease or degenerative joint disease.

For healthy movement, your skin, nerves, muscles, and connective tissue all need to stretch and slide.  Being dehydrated can create stiffness in the tissues of your body and lead to decreased range of motion.

Being dehydrated will reduce your range of motion, stiffen your connective tissue, decrease flexibility, and can be an underlying cause of your pain.

Proper hydration is important for pain relief and overall health.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration can include:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tight and stiff muscles

Here are a couple tips to keep your body hydrated.

  • First, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is not necessarily correct.  Each of us has unique water requirements based on weight, activity level, use of medications, overall health, diet, breast feeding, and living environment such as temperature, humidity, and altitude.A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.If you weigh 160 lbs divide by 2 = 80 ounces of water or ten 8 ounce glasses.  Be aware there is no standard size drinking glass and most are 12 – 16 ounces.  At 16 ounces you would only need 5 glasses to reach 80 ounces.  This is just a starting point, depending on your lifestyle and activity level, you may require more or less water.
  • Another source of water is through the food you eat.  Your body will absorb water from fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables have a high water content and will help to keep you hydrated.
  • Other beverages such as juice, milk, and herbal teas can also help to meet your daily intake of water.  Choose carefully because these drinks may have extra calories, sugar, and caffeine.

For best results drink water and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Remember keeping your body fully hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

It’s also an essential component to keeping your muscles and joints healthy and flexible.  If you’ve already taken the necessary steps to heal your back or muscle and joint injuries, but you’re still having pain, you may need to drink more water.

Questions: What would you like to learn specifically about health, wellness, back pain, mobility, or musculoskeletal aches and pains?  Please let me know in the comments.



Join me for the Sitting Survival Guide.

This is a 3 part series of videos. I usually teach this information during corporate wellness presentations.  Check out the whole series to learn valuable tips and techniques to help reduce and reverse the damage from prolonged sitting.

Please excuse the poor lighting this was shot on location.

Click Here To Check Out The Back Restoration System

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, Dr. Joe Tichio here, today I am onsite working with a local business helping to improve the quality of health and wellness for their employees.  I spent the day sharing what I call the Sitting Survival Guide.

If you sit for a living whether that’s at a desk, in front of a computer, or driving, the hours will add up quickly.

Especially when you take into consideration the hours you spend…

  • commuting- whether driving or biking
  • eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • playing video games
  • watching tv
  • surfing the web

The hours add up quickly and can easily reach up to 8 or 9 hours a day.

Prolonged sitting takes a toll on your body, it can cause a lot of damage to your spine, create joint degeneration, lead to postural stress, tight muscles, aches and pains, and even lead to headaches, and fatigue.  Prolonged sitting has also been linked to a higher risk for diabetes, obesity, and a shorter life span.

So I put a series of videos together titled: The Sitting Survival Guide.  This is part 1 and today I’m going to share with you the 3 most important stretches to protect your spine from the damaging effects of sitting.

When you sit, muscles tighten and pull your spine into a hunched position at both the top and bottom.

Your head, neck, and shoulders round forward.

Your hips and pelvis tuck under.

This compresses your spine into a C-shape which is a weak and unstable position for your spine. So the first thing we are going to do is work on your hip flexors, hamstrings, and chest muscles.  Relaxing these muscles is the first step to helping your spine recover from prolonged sitting.

I’m going to show you 3 stretches you can do just about anywhere without any special equipment.

Let’s get right to it.

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Stand facing a chair.  Right foot flat on the ground. Place your left foot on chair. Gently tighten your abdominal muscles and right gluteal muscles to protect your lower back. Bend the left knee and move your hips forward to stretch the right hip flexor.  Hold 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

Stand with your right foot flat on the ground and place your left foot on a stable surface (top of desk).  make sure your chest is facing front with no twist in your spine. Hinge from your right hip with your head and chest moving forward.  Make sure to avoid bringing your chest and face toward your knee. Hold 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Chest Stretch

Interlock the fingers of both hands and place them behind your head. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears.  Separate your elbows bringing them inline with your ears, as if you wanted your elbows to touch behind your head.  Be careful not to push your head forward.  Hold 20 seconds.

Take action and put these 3 stretches to work right away. I recommend performing these every day, preferably in the afternoon (lunch break) and again in the evening.  This will help counteract the damage that sitting is creating in your body.  Keep an eye out for part 2 of the sitting survival guide.

For an amazing guide to getting rid of lower back pain check out The Back Restoration System, it has helped thousands of people to get out of pain and back to life.

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic, please leave a comment below and I’ll either answer your question here or work it into a new video.

See you soon.



Today I’d like to share with you the importance of posture, how to stand in great posture and most important- why everything you’ve been told about good posture is wrong.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, Dr. Joe Tichio here.  Today I’d like to share with you the importance of posture, how to stand in great posture and most important- why everything you’ve been told about good posture is wrong.

Stand up straight, look up, stick your chest out, put your shoulders back, and suck in your stomach.

Those are the basic instructions you hear repeated again and again regarding standing in good posture.  Go ahead and give them a try.

Look up: doing this will make you feel taller as you look down your nose at the world, but it’s a bad position for your neck.

Stick your chest out and pull shoulders back: this will create strain in our mid and upper back muscles.

Suck in your stomach: this is unsustainable as you can’t breathe or relax with a sucked in stomach.

Following these instruction will make you stiff and uncomfortable.  It’s not natural and not sustainable.

Good Posture is a ready position for life. You should feel strong and natural when standing, not stiff like a mannequin.

Plus the above instructions don’t take into consideration any underlying injuries such as anterior pelvic tilt or forward head posture, which we’ll discuss in a minute.

Before we jump into how you can actually stand with good posture… is good posture important? Is it worth your time?

The short answer is yes and here’s why…

When properly aligned, your spine is strong, flexible, and stable.  Great posture is not about standing still, it’s a ready position for life and anything that comes at you.

But when your body is out of alignment, postural stress places strain on your muscles and ligaments.

Here are some common problems associated with poor posture.

Poor posture is a chronic stress to your musculoskeletal system.

It can lead to back pain, muscle weakness, stiffness, loss of motion, and nerve compression such as numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.

But did you know bad posture is also associated with – headaches, fatigue, and difficulty breathing?

Learning to support your back with good posture is essential to pain relief and good health.

We had some fun earlier looking at the bad advice out there regarding posture, let’s spend a couple of minutes and put your body in great posture right now.

Proper Posture Setup

  • Stand up, feet flat on the ground.
  • Feet point forward or slightly out – about 10 degrees, go with what feels natural.
  • Squeeze your buttocks muscles very strong.
  • This will set your pelvis, which is the foundation for your spine.
  • Next we will set your shoulders and chest with a simple move.
    • Bend your elbows with palms up.
    • Rotate your arms outward from the shoulders.
    • This widens your chest and sets your shoulders.
  • Slightly retract your chin until you feel resistance, then relax.
    • This should not make your neck stiff or tight, if so, back off.
  • Slightly tighten your ab muscles to hold your lower back and pelvis in place.
  • Then relax buttocks, arms and face.
  • Keep abs slightly tight- about 5-10% of maximum.
    • Maximum would be if someone was about to punch you in the stomach.  Dial it down to about 5%.

Try this posture advice out for a few days, your body should feel stronger and your back should have less pain.  If after following these instructions you’re still having difficulty with your posture or your back continues to be in pain, Check Out The Movement Revolution.  It will show you exactly how to check yourself for underlying postural issues like forward head posture and anterior pelvic tilt, and how to correct them, so you can get back to a pain free life.

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic, please leave a comment below and I’ll either answer your question here or work it into a new video.

Have a great day.



You may have heard about the importance of core strength to help prevent back pain and make you less prone to injury.

It’s true, a strong core is essential to prevent many types of musculoskeletal pain and injury including lower back pain.

But the most common abdominal exercises can make your back pain worse. Learn which exercises to avoid and a couple of safer alternatives.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, Dr. Joe Tichio here.

You may have heard about the importance of core strength to help prevent back pain and make you less prone to injury.  It’s true, a strong core is essential to prevent many types of musculoskeletal pain and injury including lower back pain.

But the most common abdominal exercises can make your back pain worse.

If you suffer with chronic lower back pain or you have a lower back injury, this is really important.

Stop doing sit-ups, crunches and leg lifts.  These exercises do more harm than good.

Let me explain why and then I’ll show you a couple of alternatives to strengthen your core safely.

Sit-ups and crunches curl your upper body forward into spinal flexion, which is the most damaging movement for your lower back.

It reinforces and may even amplify the slumped sitting posture.

These movements compress your spine and place pressure on your discs.  This can lead to an increased risk of back disorders including bulging discs.

When it comes to bilateral, both legs at the same time, leg raises or lifts, research has shown that it causes even higher levels of spine compression than sit-ups.

So those moves are out, but now we need a safe and effective approach to training your abs.

Here are 2 safe options.

Bent Knee Leg Raise

Lie on your back keeping your head in line with your spine.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and slowly lift your foot off the ground.  Keep your knee bent and bring it toward your chest.   Hold for 5 seconds.  Slowly lower your leg back down.  Be careful not to drop the leg, rather lower it under control.  Perform 5 times for one leg, then switch and perform on the other side.  Take a 30 second break and repeat 5 additional times per leg.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Point Plank – Modified Plank
In a regular plank, your body weight is supported by your hands and feet.   In this modified version, your hands, elbows, knees, and feet will support your body weight.   This will protect your lower back, while challenging your abdominal muscles.

Hold for 5-10 seconds, relax, repeat 5 times.
If you need more of a challenge, take a 30 second break and add an additional 5 times.

 

 

 

If you have back pain, it’s important to go slow and don’t train until failure.  That’s why we are performing each movement for a 5-10 second hold, then giving it a break.  As your back heals and you feel better you can move on to more intense training.

Remember if you’re not working with an expert be careful.

There is a lot of bad advice out there regarding exercise and back pain.  If you’re not cautious you could end up making your problem worse.

I see this all the time.  Sit-ups and crunches are just one example of many unsafe exercises that are often recommended to back pain sufferers.

What other exercises are you doing that may be making your back pain worse?

That’s why I created The Back Restoration System, it has helped thousands of people to get out of pain and back to life.

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic, please leave a comment below and I’ll either answer your question here or work it into a new video.

Have a great day.


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How important is it to get a good night of sleep?

Quality sleep is vital to improving your health, healing, and happiness.

The quality of your sleep impacts every aspect of life, including health, physical performance, cognitive ability, and mood?

A lack of restful sleep can lead to poor health by slowing your body’s ability to repair and regenerate, decreasing the release of growth hormone, aging your skin, and lowering sex drive. There are even studies showing a link between lack of sleep and weight gain.

If you’ve been through college, started a business, or have a young child, you know what it feels like to get by on a lack of sleep. I have done all 3 and can confirm that lack of sleep or poor quality sleep will lead to decreased performance in all areas of life, including health.

There’s no amount of coffee or energy drinks that can make up for poor sleep.

If you wake up each morning feeling tired and groggy, then you’re probably not getting high quality sleep. Another issue could be difficulty falling asleep, which will keep you up later and cause you to have less hours of sleep each night.

Before we get into tips and tricks for better sleep, the first thing to do is make sleep a priority. It takes maturity and self-awareness to understand the importance of sleep and then take action to make it happen.

Instead of viewing sleep as something that just happens, look at it as an essential component to healthy living. Improving the quality of your sleep is like taking the time to lay a strong foundation for success in all that you do.

MAKE SURE TO SCHEDULE 7-9 HOURS OF SLEEP EACH NIGHT

You may be thinking to yourself, I do fine on 6 hours of sleep, but studies of mental alertness and performance have shown that this is not true.

Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication.”- Williamson & Feyer

The easiest way to make sure you get enough sleep is to schedule a sleep time. We are all familiar with setting an alarm to wake us in the morning. I am asking you to give yourself a sleep time, to ensure you get the best quality and quantity of sleep.

If you need to be up at 7:00 am, then count back 8 hours and set your sleep time for 11:00 pm. This doesn’t mean that you get ready for bed at 11:00 pm. You should have your entire night time routine done, lights out, and falling asleep by 11:00 pm. This isn’t easy to do and you may encounter some emotional resistance to being an adult and having a bedtime.

Remind yourself of the importance of your day and that quality sleep will help you attain a healthy and successful life.

SHUT OFF ELECTRONIC DEVICES 2 HOURS BEFORE BED

If you spend time at night on your phone, computer or fall asleep watching television, it can interfere with your body’s normal production of hormones.

Electronic devices including the television, smartphone, iPad, and computers, emit blue light that interferes with your body’s normal hormone production. The blue light from electronic devices tricks your body into producing more daytime hormones and interferes with the release of the nighttime hormone, melatonin. A decrease in melatonin production has been shown to make you feel less sleepy at night and feel tired the next day.

To improve your quality of sleep, reduce your exposure to blue light at night. Start by shutting down all electronic devices a minimum of 1 hour before bed. Plan a night time activity so you have something to do other than looking at your phone or television. You can try reading a book, stretching, having a conversation…

If you need to be on the computer in the evening, try using a blue light reducer/blocker. For years I have been using justgetflux.com, it’s a free download for your computer and it will reduce the blue light exposure from your computer.

iPhones have a Night Shift setting – turn that on to reduce the amount of blue light you get while using your phone.

Try blue light blocking sunglasses. I have these, but have a hard time wearing sunglasses in the house. This option doesn’t work for me, but I have several patients who have had great success with these.

Cutting yourself off from the TV or computer/phone at night can be even more difficult than setting a sleep time, but it will be a huge help in improving the quality of your sleep.

STOP OR REDUCE ALL CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION

Coffee and caffeine products can lead to a vicious cycle. If you go to sleep with caffeine in your system it can reduce your quality of sleep. Over time this will make you feel more tired during the day which will lead you to drink more coffee.

It takes an average of 5 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off, but it could take longer. Plus, the caffeine is still in your system and still affects your body, even if you no longer feel the caffeine buzz.

If you drink caffeine it’s best to stop drinking early in the afternoon, 2:00 pm or earlier. This will give the caffeine time to wear off and give your body time to remove most of it from your system.

GET MORE SUNLIGHT

Your circadian rhythm is like an internal clock running all day affecting your sleep and wake cycles. Your body releases certain hormones at specific times of the day which control the various systems of your body (digestion, immune, cardiovascular…)

Getting enough light at the right time of day will ensure your circadian rhythm is functioning properly. If you spend most of your hours indoors with artificial light, this could be throwing off your rhythm.

Spend 15 – 30 minutes outside each day. If you have a dog go for a long walk in the morning. If not, go outside and walk for at least 15 minutes at lunch.

BLACK OUT YOUR BEDROOM

Light exposure during sleep can disrupt your sleeping patterns and suppress melatonin levels. Melatonin is essential for a great night of sleep. A simple fix for this is to buy blackout curtains to cover your windows. Check for other sources of light including power cords, cable box, night light, and alarm clock. Turn them off or cover them up.

There are more ways to improve the quality of your sleep, but the above list is a great way to get started. Build a strong foundation for a healthy life by making great sleep a priority.


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Today I’d like to share you with you the most important exercise to do if you’re suffering with lower back pain from sitting.

Whether you sit at a desk, answer phones, work on a computer, or drive a car…sitting for prolonged periods of time is damaging to your spine.

So in today’s video, I want to show you the most important exercise to do to help reverse that damage…

Enjoy!
Dr. Joe Tichio, DC

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

Hi, Dr. Joe Tichio, here, today I’d like to share you with you the most important exercise to do if you’re suffering with lower back pain from sitting.

Whether you sit at a desk, answer phones, work on a computer, or drive a car…sitting for prolonged periods of time is damaging to your spine.

So in today’s video, I want to show you the most important exercise to do to help reverse that damage.

But first, let’s discuss what’s actually happening to your spine while you’re sitting. Let’s take a look at the spine model.

When your body is healthy and the spine is in a neutral position, the weight of your upper body is distributed nice and evenly throughout your spine. With your muscles, joints, bones, everything working together.

When you sit for prolonged periods of time, the lower part of your spine, the pelvis, starts to tuck under. Instead of supporting your weight with the sit bones or ischial tuberosities, your pelvis tucks under and most of the weight goes onto your butt muscles.

 

 

 

 

 

The next thing to happen is the lower back or lumbar spine starts to flex forward. This creates a lot of damage for your lower back. The lower back muscles get very strained. That’s why when you try to stand up after sitting you’ll feel a lot of stiffness in the lower back. The muscles are under a lot of stress.

But even more important than those muscles are the discs. The spinal discs sit in between each of the bones of your lumbar spine. It’s that way throughout the spine. When the lower back is in flexion, the discs are pinching in the front, which creates pressure driving to the back of the disc. The back of the disc is the part most susceptible to herniation. If that happens, your back pain is going to get even worse.

Today, what I want to do is show you the best exercise to help your body overcome that forward sitting posture.

What we are going to do is something called an “active break”.

An active break, takes you from the position you are in, that’s creating all of the stress on your lower back and reverses it. So, instead of that forward flexed posture. We are going to move into a standing extension posture.

This will help your body to go into a better place of ease, relax your muscles and take some of that pressure off of your discs.

Alright, let’s get right into it.

First we are going to stand and spend about 10 – 20 seconds standing before we start going into extension.

Here’s why…

When you’re in that seated position and you’re crouched over you’re probably in that position for at least an hour, whether you’re driving or working on the computer and your body has adapted to that.

Standing allows your body the opportunity to reset itself. Most importantly, we’re talking about the discs which sit in between the bones. When they are in the flexion position, all that material is pushed towards the back, so we don’t want to throw ourselves
into extension right away. We want to wait and take 10 or 20 seconds to allow the
discs to rebalance themselves.

I know a lot of people skip this, but it’s a mistake.

Let’s stand up, feet facing forward, arms relaxed and just take a few deep breaths in and out. We’ll breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

Notice that my hands are palms facing forward, you can even make fists and point the thumbs out, this way we’re opening up the chest which has also been in a crouched position while you’re sitting.

 

 

 

 

 

We’re going to open the chest and take a few breaths.

Now we’re ready to move into the exercise.

The first thing you need to do when you’re going to go into standing extension is set your pelvis and hips. To do that you’re going to squeeze your butt muscles really strong while the feet are facing forward, this will set your hips in proper position.

Next we’re going to reach up for the ceiling. So you’re just going to reach straight up to the ceiling. This alone will get you your body out of that flexed position and start the extension.

The last part is to tilt your head back and look up at your fingers. Your head is going to look up towards the ceiling. Count to 3, then back down.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s the movement. I recommend you hold each extension for three seconds and
perform three in a row. This way you’ll help your lower back ease itself into position without causing any stress or strain. Also, I recommend performing this movement throughout the day. Spread it out, breakfast, lunch, and dinner breaks are great. If you can do it five times a day, that’s even better.

If you would like some more detailed instructions on what to do and how to avoid some common mistakes during this exercise, make sure to watch the video…

Be careful, this is a very helpful exercise when performed correctly, but I’ve seen it taught incorrectly in several places online. If done incorrectly, it could strain your lower back and make your pain worse.

Follow the step-by-step instruction in this video to help ease yourself into position slowly and gently. This way you can get the most out of this movement and keep your back safe.

Remember the damage that occurs to your lower back from sitting is cumulative. That means the negative effects build up over time and slowly deteriorate your whole body including your discs, muscles, ligaments, and even your health.

If you want to lead a healthy and pain-free life, it’s really important that you take care of your spine. If you’d like to learn how to heal the damage that’s already occurred to your lower back and prevent it from happening in the future, click the link below to check out my back restoration system. I’ll see you there.

Click Here To Check Out The Back Restoration System


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You’ve probably heard how important it is to stretch tight hip flexors when you have back pain, but did you know that your hip is a ball and socket joint? It’s one of the most mobile joints in your body and to keep it healthy requires a full range of motion. If it’s not moving well, your lower back will pay the price. Here's a short video that will help improve your hip mobility and decrease your back pain...


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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Joseph Tichio, DC, unless otherwise noted. This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Joseph Tichio, Doctor of Chiropractic and his community. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a licensed professional healthcare provider in your state.