3755 E. Main St., Suite 185, St. Charles
Why They Matter for the Rest of Your Body
Did you know that fully a quarter of your body's bones are in your feet? These complex marvels of engineering by Mother Nature provide your body with a firm foundation, and are constantly in demand to help move the body from one place to another. With 19 muscles and 26 bones each, your feet are important for the balance and health of the entire body.
By age 20, an estimated 80 percent of people develop some type of foot imbalance. By age 40, foot imbalances plague virtually everyone. If the foundation is out of balance, then the rest of the structure (the body) is thrown out of balance. Invariably, this means the ankles, knees, hips and spine are adversely affected. A misaligned spine can cause chronic pain and can increase the risk of other musculoskeletal problems.
One key way the feet can cause spinal problems is by causing an imbalance in your gait-the way you walk. If your stride is off a little, it can eventually cause the supporting structures of your spine to be subject to stress in the wrong places, eventually pulling your spine out of alignment. Collapsed arches ("over-pronation") are the most common source of problems with the feet, causing them to roll inward as an individual walks. Excessive supination (under-pronation -- the foot rolling to the outside) is the opposite problem.
Both over- and under-pronation often leave telltale signs in the uneven way a person's shoes wear over time. Typically, a shoe's heel or sole will become noticeably more worn on either the inside or outside edge. Some pronation is normal, but when both feet pronate too much and for too long a period, then your musculoskeletal health is at risk.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of two other health problems involving the feet -- obesity and diabetes. Carrying a lot of extra weight increases wear and tear on your joints and is particularly hard on the feet. Diabetes can affect circulation as well as the peripheral nervous system, especially in the extremities, making it more difficult to walk and more difficult to heal after injuries. Both of these conditions start a vicious cycle where pain and dysfunction often lead to reduced mobility, which in turn often leads to additional weight gain and diabetic symptoms.
Depending on your situation, Dr. Hertz can assist you in finding the proper orthotics for your feet to help correct these kinds of mechanical issues and increase the amount of healthy cushion for absorbing the shock of walking. And remember -- the condition of each foot can change over time, so schedule check-ups regularly.
Most Effective Low-Impact Cardio Exercises
Here are some good low-impact cardio exercises that can help you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system without causing damage to your musculoskeletal system.
This simple exercise places far less stress on the knees than jogging, running or pounding
the stairs. If this sounds too boring, try changing your route. Explore different streets or roads. Also, you might take this to the next level and include hiking on trails or through the woods. Be sure to follow experts' recommendations about hiking dos and don'ts. Add extra energy to your routine by swinging or rotating your arms to the sides. Involving your upper body as you walk can get your heart beating more vigorously.
It's impossible to do speed walking without involving the upper body. This is low-impact movement on rocket thrusters. The most efficient position is to keep your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and be sure they remain close to your body. Be sure to stick to flat, smooth surfaces to reduce the chances of injury.
For even less impact, take your bicycle out for a spin. If your bicycle is properly adjusted to your size, there should be no strain on your knees. You can cover far more territory, do more sightseeing and get lots of cardiovascular benefit.
Walking up stairs is a powerful way to work your body. Don't become impatient, though. You don't want the walking to become jogging. That would turn your low impact routine into high impact. Make certain you softly plant each foot in turn on the next step and use the strength in your legs to push you upward.
If you're just starting an exercise program or returning after years of relative inactivity, swimming is an excellent low-impact exercise option. Taking to the pool can build up vast reservoirs of cardiovascular health because swimming can work the entire body, depending on the strokes you use.
Take a dance class! Whether you're into ballroom, tap, ballet or modern dance, you can get a low impact workout while having fun with others.
If you already suffer from thin cartilage, don't let that stop you from exercising. One study did MRIs on healthy 50-80-year-old men. The results showed that more exercise led to thicker knee cartilage which helped repair cartilage deficiencies. The body is amazing in its ability to repair itself, and these low-impact exercises can work wonders for your long-term cardiovascular health.
Is Stress a Part of Your
Stress has become a fact of life, and for some, the daily norm. Although occasional stress can help improve our focus and performance, living with chronic stress can backfire by causing anxiety, depression, and serious health problems. Understanding who we are, knowing our major struggles, putting them in perspective, and taking action can help us deal with stress. The following strategies can also improve stress tolerance and help lessen the effects of stress on our health.
"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into positive," said Hans Selye, author of the groundbreaking work around stress theory. When optimism is hard to muster, cognitive-behavioral therapy, which trains people to recognize negative thinking patterns and replace them with more constructive ones, can also help reduce the risk of chronic stress and depression.
Get Out and Enjoy Nature
While modern civilization has made our lives more convenient, it has deprived us of an essential source of stress relief-connection with nature. Studies show that interacting with nature can help lessen the effects of stress on the nervous system, reduce attention deficits, decrease aggression, and enhance spiritual well-being.
"Smell the Roses" for Better Mood
Aromatherapy, or smelling essential plant oils, recognized worldwide as a complementary therapy for managing chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress-related disorders, can help you unwind. Orange and lavender scents, in particular, have been shown to enhance relaxation and reduce anxiety.
Relax with a Cup of Tea
During stressful times, coffee helps us keep going. To give yourself a break, however, consider drinking tea. Research shows that drinking tea for 6 weeks helps lower post-stress cortisol and increase relaxation. Habitual tea drinking may also reduce inflammation, potentially benefiting your heart health.
Laugh It Off
Humor relieves stress and anxiety and prevents depression, helping put our troubles in perspective. Laughter can help boost the immune system, increase pain tolerance, enhance mood and creativity, and lower blood pressure, potentially improving treatment outcomes for many health problems,
including cancer and HIV. Humor may also be related to happiness, which has been linked to high self-esteem, extroversion, and feeling in control.
Employ the Relaxing Power of Music
Music, especially classical, can also serve as a powerful stress-relief tool. Listening to Pachelbel's famous Canon in D major while preparing a public speech helps avoid anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which usually accompany public speaking. Singing and listening to music can also relieve pain and reduce anxiety and depression caused by low back pain. Group drumming also showed positive effects on stress relief and the immune system.
Calm Your Mind
In recent decades, many forms of meditation have gained popularity as relaxation and pain relief tools. Focusing on our breath, looking at a candle, or practicing a non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts and actions can help tune out distractions, reduce anxiety and depression, and accept our circumstances.
Enjoy the Warmth of Human Touch
Just as the mind can affect the body, the body can influence the mind. Virginia Satir, a famous American psychotherapist, once said that people need 4 hugs a day to help prevent depression, 8 for psychological stability, and 12 for growth. While asking for hugs may not work for some, massage can help us relieve stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Regular massage may also reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension and may lead to less pain, depression, and anxiety and better sleep in patients with chronic low-back pain.
Give Exercise a Shot
To get the best of both worlds, affecting the mind through the body while getting into good physical shape, try exercise. Exercise can also reduce depression and improve wound healing in the elderly. Tai chi, which works for people of all ages, may enhance heart and lung function, improve balance a
nd posture, and prevent falls, while reducing stress.
No matter what stress-relief methods you choose,
make it a habit to use them -- especially if you feeltoo stressed out to do it. As someone once said, the time to relax is when you don't have time for it. For more information on what stress is and how it affects us while on the job, call Dr. Jacob Hertz at St. Charles Pain & Wellness Center, 630-513-7770.
|Welcome Back Michele!|
Dr. Hertz is delighted to welcome receptionist Michele Hadley back to the St. Charles Pain & Wellness Center staff. Michelle will be scheduling your appointments, answering some of your questions, introducing you to our health and wellness products, and
greeting you with a smile whenever you walk in!
Dr. Jacob M. Hertz
is a Cum Laude graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Following graduation, Dr. Hertz practiced as an Associate Chiropractor in Peoria and for four years successfully treated over 5,000 patients and their families with many different health conditions. He moved to St. Charles in 2010 to open his own practice.
He has been involved with chiropractic almost since he was born -- he was adjusted as an infant by his uncle, a chiropractor in Wisconsin where Dr. Hertz grew up.
Dr. Hertz uses a number of gentle and safe chiropractic techniques for adjusting the spine including Diversified, Activator, and Drop Table. He is also Nationally Board Certified in Physiotherapy and uses exercise and rehabilitation to help patients heal faster and reach optimum health.
St. Charles Pain & Wellness Center also offers nutritional aids for those who seek to supplement their diet and improve their health, which have proved successful in preventing unnecessary surgeries for many patients.
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