Tag Archives: posture

The best postural exercise is a simple one - the Chin Tuck.

The chin tuck can be done anywhere, but it is best to do when others aren't watching as it can be embarrassing. I often do this postural exercise while driving.

To do the chin tuck, pull your head backwards so that your head is on top of your shoulders. You should feel the muscles in the front of your neck working and you also may feel stretching along the back of your skull/upper neck.

Enjoy the pictures of me demonstrating this postural exercise - the chin tuck:

Examples of how not to do this exercise

Where is the best place to do these postural exercises?

The best time to do these exercises is when in a car. While in the car you can hold the head against the headrest. This allows you to use a guide to where vertical is and it allows you to work against something while building some endurance in the neck muscles. Also, your friends can't see you and count your chins!

Are there harder ways to exercise these postural muscles?

A harder way to exercise these small postural muscles in your neck is a similar motion, except you are lying down.

Lie down on your back and hover your head just off the floor/bed. Hold this position as long as you can without shaking - start slowly and build up your times.

Often times patients comment on how they didn't realize that their head was so heavy!

Do not lead with your chin, and do not look down towards your feet.

Chin Tuck while lying down can make the exercise more difficult

How do these postural exercises help?

These postural exercises help you build the coordination and endurance of the small postural muscles along the neck. These small postural muscles assist in keeping our head on top of your spine.

When your head is on top of your spine you are able to balance the pressure of gravity evenly along your spine. This makes it much easier to live and move around in our world. Unfortunately, if your head is in front of your spine and you begin to have forward head carriage, gravity can be very challenging for your spine and body.

You can start this exercise any time as it is very simple, however - the Benjamin Franklin Axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is very applicable to posture and the spine.

Check out our blog on Why does posture matter anyway? .

Are there other exercises that you Mississauga clinic suggests for posture?

Another postural exercise that our Mississauga patients often do is called a snow angel. You lay on the ground on your back and let gravity do work in your favour. Then you move your arms as if you were making a snow angel.

snow angel posture exercise
  1. First lie on the floor (carpeted floor is better) or a yoga mat will do. Your knees should be bent with your feet on the floor.
  2. Your arms should be along the side of your body, with your hands in contact with your thighs.
  3. From this starting position slide your arms along the floor as high as you can without experiencing pain (like making a snow angel). In this arm position relax your arms, upper back, and neck muscles and count to 20.
  4. After this, return your arms to the starting position by sliding them down on the floor the whole way.
  5. Repeat this 6 times. This exercise will be more effective if you can do it once or twice a day.
  6. a. Starting position b. Sliding arms upwards
  7. Important: Remember to do them slowly, don’t rush the movement and make sure your arms are in contact with the floor the whole time.

What about the core muscles?

The core muscles are an important part of the spine and posture.

I discuss the best ways to work on your core here.

Interestingly, the position of the skull with respect to the rest of the spine is the main factor relating to posture. Focus your attention there and the body will begin to naturally find a better posture.

How do these exercises help with a person's Chiropractic care?

By improving and working on your posture you will greatly help your body to function better and heal. Often times I teach these postural exercises to patients having difficulty with neck pain, upper back pain, and headaches. I often teach these exercises to people who sit at a computer desk all day - from students to people working in an office.

Check out more on posture from Dr. Peever

The worst sleeping posture?

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Dr. Peever demonstrating the best postural exercise in a motion gif - the chin tuck

The Best Posture Exercise

The best postural exercise is a simple one – the Chin Tuck.

The chin tuck can be done anywhere, but it is best to do when others aren’t watching as it can be embarrassing. I often do this postural exercise while driving.

To do the chin tuck, pull your head backwards so that your head is on top of your shoulders. You should feel the muscles in the front of your neck working and you also may feel stretching along the back of your skull/upper neck.

Enjoy the pictures of me demonstrating this postural exercise – the chin tuck:

Examples of how not to do this exercise

Where is the best place to do these postural exercises?

The best time to do these exercises is when in a car. While in the car you can hold the head against the headrest. This allows you to use a guide to where vertical is and it allows you to work against something while building some endurance in the neck muscles. Also, your friends can’t see you and count your chins!

Are there harder ways to exercise these postural muscles?

A harder way to exercise these small postural muscles in your neck is a similar motion, except you are lying down.

Lie down on your back and hover your head just off the floor/bed. Hold this position as long as you can without shaking – start slowly and build up your times.

Often times patients comment on how they didn’t realize that their head was so heavy!

Do not lead with your chin, and do not look down towards your feet.

Chin Tuck while lying down can make the exercise more difficult

How do these postural exercises help?

These postural exercises help you build the coordination and endurance of the small postural muscles along the neck. These small postural muscles assist in keeping our head on top of your spine.

When your head is on top of your spine you are able to balance the pressure of gravity evenly along your spine. This makes it much easier to live and move around in our world. Unfortunately, if your head is in front of your spine and you begin to have forward head carriage, gravity can be very challenging for your spine and body.

You can start this exercise any time as it is very simple, however – the Benjamin Franklin Axiom “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very applicable to posture and the spine.

Check out our blog on Why does posture matter anyway? .

Are there other exercises that you Mississauga clinic suggests for posture?

Another postural exercise that our Mississauga patients often do is called a snow angel. You lay on the ground on your back and let gravity do work in your favour. Then you move your arms as if you were making a snow angel.

snow angel posture exercise
  1. First lie on the floor (carpeted floor is better) or a yoga mat will do. Your knees should be bent with your feet on the floor.
  2. Your arms should be along the side of your body, with your hands in contact with your thighs.
  3. From this starting position slide your arms along the floor as high as you can without experiencing pain (like making a snow angel). In this arm position relax your arms, upper back, and neck muscles and count to 20.
  4. After this, return your arms to the starting position by sliding them down on the floor the whole way.
  5. Repeat this 6 times. This exercise will be more effective if you can do it once or twice a day.
  6. a. Starting position b. Sliding arms upwards
  7. Important: Remember to do them slowly, don’t rush the movement and make sure your arms are in contact with the floor the whole time.

What about the core muscles?

The core muscles are an important part of the spine and posture.

I discuss the best ways to work on your core here.

Interestingly, the position of the skull with respect to the rest of the spine is the main factor relating to posture. Focus your attention there and the body will begin to naturally find a better posture.

How do these exercises help with a person’s Chiropractic care?

By improving and working on your posture you will greatly help your body to function better and heal. Often times I teach these postural exercises to patients having difficulty with neck pain, upper back pain, and headaches. I often teach these exercises to people who sit at a computer desk all day – from students to people working in an office.

Check out more on posture from Dr. Peever

The worst sleeping posture?

spinal fluid flow MRI

Spinal Fluid Flow

MRI Videos of Spinal Fluid Flow that is impacted with Neck Postures

 

When learning about the spine and how the body functions at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto I didn’t understand from the text books how quickly the fluid in the spinal cord (Cerebral Spinal Fluid – CSF) moves.

I understood that the CSF was important for supplying nutrients/removing toxins from the brain and spinal cord and for protecting the cord from mechanical as well as chemical forces.  But I was missing a visual to understand its full functional impact on the health of the brain.

What I was missing was a visual:

Visual: The following two videos show standing functional MRI studies of a normal neck and a neck with a “blockage” created by poor postural strain on the neck and spinal cord.

(The front of the face is on the left. The back of the head is on the right. The brain is in the center with the spinal cord going down. The CSF is the black on the screen that is moving. The static is just background noise. )

Normal Neck with good flow of CSFNormal Neck with good flow of CSF. The fluid moves up and down smoothly in this case.
Blockage in neck with poor CSF flowBlockage in neck with poor CSF flow. The CSF fluid doesn’t make it past the mechanical blockage in the neck highlighted with the black arrow and “pounds” in the back of the head.

 


What did I learn as a Chiropractor from these MRI videos of the spinal cord, brain, and neck?

When I saw these functional MRI “videos”, a lot of clinical experiences made so much more sense to me. The experience that comes to mind is a pounding headache or migraine. Most people don’t make the connection of their headache or migraine pain to their neck and postures. But take one look at these videos and you can see the impact that a blockage in the neck has on the brain.  Constant physical pressure on the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid will greatly impact the health of the brain!

Through Chiropractic care, adjustments can be specifically given to the spine in order to unblock the neck. In doing so the pressure comes off the spinal cord and allows the CSF fluid to flow fluidly!

An analogy to show how the flow of fluid impacts the function of the brain and spinal cord

 

An early way to describe how Chiropractic treatment was helping a body was to use a garden hose as an analogy. When the hose is pinched, the water coming through it is slowed. The same goes for the spine with respect to the flow of CSF.

Also realize that I mention postural blockage in my description of the second video. These postural blockages, which in Chiropractic are called vertebral subluxations, can be induced by injuries, bad habits, sitting postures, and more.

A complete Chiropractic exam will help you identify any postural blockages that may be occurring in your spine. If any blockages are found, it is a good idea to correct them and keep them from returning!

Will I have pain in my neck if I have a postural blockage like the one seen in the video?

Sometimes, but not always.

Pain in the neck or pain in the back CAN be a warning sign that a blockage is occurring. Many people try to ignore or numb the pain associated with the spinal cord pressure by taking pain killers. The drug may make it hurt less, but it won’t move the bones.

But with today’s life we are so busy and focused that we usually don’t realize a health problem building up before it is too late.  A good example is a person who has a heart attack.  They usually feel okay before the heart attack – but they were in bad shape leading up to it.  The same goes for these postural blockages in your neck and spine.

That’s why it is imperative to have a complete Chiropractic checkup.

Where are these neck and spine videos from?

The videos are from a website that also discusses further implications of the long term consequences of a decrease in CSF flow and mechanical pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. Just imagine what would happen if the garden hose you were trusting to water your garden was pinched / twisted… your garden would not flourish without the proper water supply regardless of how often you fertilized the plants with chemicals. Now realize that a similar problem can be happening to your body and brain with the mechanical pressure occurring in your spine.

I hope this has helped you visualize the flow and blockage of the cerebral spinal fluid throughout the spine and how it can impact headaches and your health.  Read more about this topic just below!

If you want to stop having headaches and to grow your brain by positively impacting your spinal fluid flow – connect with a chiropractor and read more about postures here.

Sincerely,

Dr. Callum Peever – Mississauga Chiropractor at Erin Mills Optimum Health

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Natural Trees

Bad Balance Associated With Brain Damage And Decline

Bad Balance is Associated With Brain Damage And Decline

I recently came across this study from Japan that found an association between postural instability (bad balance) and early pathological changes in the brain and functional decline, even in apparently healthy subjects.  Check out the article, read my insights, and also read the case of a young boy with a traumatic brain injury leading to balance and coordination problems who was able to improve with the help of Chiropractic! – Dr. Callum Peever

Association of Postural Instability With Asymptomatic Cerebrovascular Damage and Cognitive Decline
The Japan Shimanami Health Promoting Program Study

The postural instability was identified and assessed with a one-leg standing time test and posturography findings.  I am uncertain what specifically posturography entails, but can deduce that it is a measure of a person’s posture.  I do understand one-leg standing times and tests and use it frequently in my chiropractic office in Mississauga.

One Leg standing tests in my Chiropractic Offices in Mississauga

One-leg standing is an important function of a functioning body.

If you cannot stand on one leg, you cannot confidently walk or go up stairs, and it is also difficult to walk and down stairs.

This greatly impedes a person’s ability to maintain there independence and I will usually say that if you cannot stand on one leg for over 5 seconds – you need a cane or support.

The coordination of balancing on two legs against gravity is challenging for the body, but we do get good at it through our neurodevelopment as a child.

Standing on one leg is much more difficult, but once again our bodies do get impressively good at coordinating all of the neurological reflexes and mechanical motions required to stand on one leg well.

How do you use one leg standing time in your Mississauga Chiropractic office?

I will typically have patients stand on one leg or balance with their eyes closed when undergoing a chiropractic exam to determine how well their brain is able to connect/communicate/coordinate their body against gravity.

I notice that people with a health history of hitting their heads will be more unstable when attempting to balance.

It is interesting is to see that these researchers in Japan found an association between postural instability and cognitive decline and brain damage.

Improving one leg standing tests in an elderly chiropractor patient – 

In my chiropractic offices I have seen patients improve their one leg standing times, postures, and balance while undergoing regular chiropractic care.

John is a chiropractic patient in his 90’s who was very unstable when I first started working with him.  He was also very rude and could not handle the other social interactions throughout the waiting room at my chiropractic clinic.  Through weekly chiropractic adjustments it has been amazing to see the improvements in John’s balance over the year.  His confidence has also noticeably improved and his demeanor with other people.

Even though this study from Japan did not discuss improvements in posture and spinal mechanics impacting the health of the brain, we do see the impact in our chiropractic offices, such as in John.  There are studies regarding neuroplasticity that highlight the amazing ability of the brain to continue to change, grow, and improve even at any age.

If you are noticing that your balance is decreasing, start making an impact to improve it now as it can be associated with cognitive decline and brain damage.

Recognize that Chiropractic care is aimed at helping keep your nervous system clear of interference so that the brain can communicate well with the body, which can help you improve your balance in life and help you live well.

Here is a 2018 research study from the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research that highlights the improvement in stability of 9 separate patients when measured by posturography.

Are there other studies I could read if I am curious to learn more?

Here’s another recent study “…showed statistically significant differences in static balance parameters between patients with spinal canal stenosis compared with the asymptomatic group.” -A comparative analysis of static balance between patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis and asymptomatic participants.

Here is a 2015 study showing excellent results of patients being helped by chiropractic care when experiencing dizziness or balance disorders :

The Role of Chiropractic Care in the Treatment of Dizziness or Balance Disorders: Analysis of National Health Interview Survey Data.

And here is a pdf report about how Chiropractic adjustments can make you smarter! Can Chiropractic Adjustments Make you Smarter PDF

Here to help you improve your brain health through chiropractic care!

Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health

phdabis presentation on balance in the workplace by Dr. Tiffany and Dr. Callum
Peel Halton Dufferin Acquired Brain Injury Services presentation on balance in the workplace by Dr. Tiffany and Dr. Callum


Improvement in a young patient with a traumatic brain injury that led to balance problems

The following are excerpts from a 2016 research article from the journal of pediatric, maternal, and family health regarding the case of a boy who had a traumatic brain injury causing many coordination and balance problems.  Fortunately for this boy, his family sought chiropractic care and he was able to improve his coordinate and balance, leading to more confidence and improved quality of life. Amazing! – Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mill Optimum Health

Improvement Following Chiropractic Care in an 11-year-old Male with Traumatic Brain Injury: Case Report & review of Literature

“Clinical Features: An 11-year-old male presents for chiropractic care with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of a motor vehicle collision 5 years prior. The patient lacked proper motor control and use of his left hand and lacked balance and coordination of the lower extremities. The patient had difficulties with speech and was unable to find balance of a global wobble board and took 5 minutes to find balance on a uniplanar wobble board and held it for 5 seconds.”

“Intervention and Outcome: The patient received chiropractic adjustments characterized as high velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust type known as Diversified and Thompson Technique. In addition to adjustments, neuromuscular re-education was utilized to provide increased coordination for left upper extremities and proprioception for lower extremities. The patient received care over a period of eight months consisting of 28 visits. As a result of the care he received, the patient demonstrated improved coordination, is able to balance on a global wobble board, is better able to enunciate words and has an improved quality of life.”

“Conclusion: This case report provides supporting evidence on the effectiveness of chiropractic care in children with traumatic brain injury.”

“Case Narrative: An 11-year-old boy with a traumatic brain injury 5 years prior involving many fractures leading to decreased strength and coordination. The mother stated previous practitioners reported there was nothing more that could be done to improve her son’s coordination. On postural examination, the patient demonstrated an anterior head carriage with bilateral rounded shoulders.”

“The patient received care over a period of 8 months consisting of 28 visits. As a result of the care he received, the patient demonstrated improved coordination, is able to perform finger-to-nose without hitting himself, is able to balance on the global wobble board, and is better able to enunciate words. The patient’s mother stated “The other day he ran to me saying he was able to tie his shoes and had me watch him. He was not able to button his pants, dress himself, or tie his shoes before coming here to the clinic. Now he is able to button his pants, dress himself, and tie his shoes without any help. He is getting better grades in school and is now participating in sports and activities in his Physical Education class. He is so much happier and more independent.””

“Conclusion: The case study demonstrates that chiropractic combined with neuromuscular re-education and therapeutic exercises may be effective in improving coordination, strength and balance due to a Traumatic Brain Injury.”

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Important-Posture

Mississauga Chiropractor shares why Posture is so Important

Your Mississauga Chiropractor shares why posture is so important

 

Who cares about posture?

Look at your posture, others do.

Through posture you can see someone’s mood, energy, and confidence. Next time you are in a line up (like at a passport office), take a look to see who is happy, sad, depressed, angry, or frustrated.  Without even talking to them you can spot it.  You may even notice your postures when you are in different moods.

You can also see someone’s health (or lack of health) through their postures.   Postural shifts in the spine and body tell a story as to how your body is functioning, or how healthy it is at that moment.  You may feel okay. But your body is not moving or functioning at its best.

Poor Posture = Poor Health

Poor posture not only shows us poor health, but can also negatively affect the body mechanically, physiologically, and neurologically.

more

presence title page

Presence

Presence

I recently read the book Presence by Amy Cuddy and was very impressed at how congruent the information was with what I see in and discuss with my Chiropractic patients .  A Chiropractic advocate, Bill Esteb, had mentioned that this book was a great read so I picked it up.  In this book the author discusses her story through recovery and excelling after a brain injury, how she got into researching about presence and personal power, as well as the research relating to postures and presence.

My favourite aspect of this book is how the author discusses the research related to how the body can impact the brain.  By adopting powerful, happy, sad, or angry postures, you can create those feelings and experiences in yourself!  Once aware of this physiological phenomenon, you need to take advantage of it.

Your posture matters to not only your spine and nerve system, but also to your brain, moods, and feelings of power or powerlessness.

Posture matters and you can impact it.

Check out the book here:
http://amycuddy.com/presence/

Here is a video of the author Amy Cuddy presenting this information in a TED talk! Enjoy!