Bone Chilling Headache

Bone Chilling Headache - Donkin Chiropractic

We have been living through freezing temperatures for a much longer time than usual this season and it’s going to last awhile. This type of frigid, cold weather is a big headache in many ways, and there has been a significant increase in patients coming in with headaches – even those that don’t usually have headaches.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Extremely cold temperatures can actually make the facial and skull bones ache because, there is very little insulation between the skin and the face and skull bones.
  • Cold temperatures can also make the muscles in the temples very stiff and achy and can also cause an increase in jaw clenching.
  • Breathing in extremely cold air through the nose and mouth can be irritating to the sinuses and throat and lead to headaches, as well.
  • Frigid temperatures can stiffen neck and shoulders that are already sore from shoveling snow or driving in these extreme temperatures.
  • A problem that we have noticed is that extremely low temperatures can trigger a headache pattern that continues even after temperatures begin to increase.

The good news is that there are methods and treatments for all of these situations and the issues that may arise from them. Give us a call today and let us help you get through these chilling seasonal woes!

September 2020 Newsletter: Are Benzos the new opioids?

As I was checking my LinkedIn page I found an interesting article recently that I would like to share with all of you. It is titled Are Benzos the New Opioids? COVID-19 may be contributing to a troubling new trend. by Sherry McAllister. Here is a quick excerpt from her article. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is the most stressful time in nearly seven out of 10 employees’ professional careers. Every demographic rated the pandemic more stressful than the September 11 terrorist attacks, the 2008 economic recession and other events.

This unyielding stress has prompted a 34% increase in anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, from mid-February 2020 to mid-March 2020, according to an analysis from Express Scripts, a subsidiary of health insurer Cigna. The increase in anti-anxiety prescriptions due to pandemic stress could exacerbate another trend associated with benzodiazepines, also known as ‘benzos,’ which have increasingly been prescribed to help manage pain.”

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Make Your Home Workstation Work

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are finding themselves working from home–with very little notice to prepare. Some without a dedicated home office are using coffee tables, recliners, kitchen tables and counters, and any number of other surfaces and locations as makeshift workspaces. All can potentially lead to aches and pain, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).  

Scott Donkin, DC, DACBOH, and Scott Bautch, DC, DACBOH, CCSP, CCST, of the ACA Council on Occupational Health, are accustomed to making recommendations for their patient’s traditional workspaces, but they also understand that in times of unexpected change you must find ways to adapt quickly. Many of the workers forced to go remote are working on laptops, according to the doctors. Here are their top three suggestions for making a home workstation work with your laptop:

Pick a Spot

If you do not have a regular desk at home, working at a kitchen table is generally much better than sitting on a couch with your laptop on your lap.

Adjust Your Seat 

For those without an ergonomic chair, use a seat wedge to help maintain better posture. Sitting on the wedge makes you tilt your thighs forward and down, which causes you to arch your back and sit up straighter. You can purchase seat wedges online, or you can make your own by folding a bed pillow in half to form a wedge.

Adjust Your Monitor

The kitchen table is often too low for the laptop screen, so place large coffee table books or reams of copy paper underneath to raise the laptop in a stable way so that you do not have to raise your hands uncomfortably up, or bend your head uncomfortably down. Consider getting a wireless keyboard, which enables you to raise the laptop screen higher—to eye level—and place the keyboard on the table top, which will encourage better posture.

Create a DIY Sit/Stand Station

The popularity of standing desks has increased significantly over the past several years. You can create your own standing desk at home by simply working at a raised kitchen counter, for example, but be sure that the height of the counter does not cause you to bend your elbows too much. You should be able to comfortably reach your keyboard with elbows bent at about a 90-degree angle. While you’re at it, consider using a wireless keyboard and boosting the height of your laptop screen to eye level with books, reams of paper, or a stand, which in turn will prevent neck strain caused by looking too far down at the screen (see photo).

As it turns out, every seated workstation, even a makeshift one, can be a sit/stand station, according to Drs. Donkin and Bautch. All you need to do is simply stand up every 20 minutes or so and take a break that includes some stretching and movement. Here is an example: 

  1. Stand up and move your legs up and down like you are walking in place.
  2. Look at an object that is more than 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  3. Gently shake your hands wrists and elbows for a few seconds while you are also gently rolling your shoulders up, back, and down.
  4. Take a slow, deep breath in to improve your posture and smile, then slowly exhale.
  5. Sit down, refreshed, in a good posture. You are ready to get back to work!

For more information on musculoskeletal health and injury prevention tips, visit the ACA’s consumer website, HandsDownBetter.org.

Making Your Home Work Station Work Well for You!

by Scott Donkin, DC, DACBOH

Scores of my patients as well as millions more are now working from home.  

Teachers, students, attorneys those in the financial services and many others are trying their best to remain productive in make-shift home work stations.

Even though an entire book could be written about setting up home work stations, here are three recommendations that many of my ‘work from home’ patients have found helpful.  I would make much different recommendations in the traditional workplace setting but we are in a novel time right now and we must successfully adapt to new circumstances at this time.

The majority of the people I know are using a laptop at home so with this in mind consider the following:

Pick your best spot at home

If you do not have a regular desk at home, working at a kitchen table is generally much better than sitting on a couch with your laptop on your lap.

Adjust your home work station for better seated posture

  • Use or make a seat wedge to help you maintain a better posture.  My favorite by far is the Kabooti. Some of my patients also like the Bamboo seat wedge.  You can partially fold a sleeping pillow to form a wedge too.
  • The kitchen table is often too low for the laptop screen so place large books like coffee table books or reams of copy paper under the laptop to raise it up in a stable way so that you do not have to raise your hands uncomfortably up or bend your head uncomfortably down.  If you have a wireless keyboard then you can raise the screen up higher and place the keyboard on the table top for better posture.

Make your home work place a sit/stand station

Actually, every seated work station, even this make-shift one is a form of a sit/stand station.  All you need to do is simply stand up every 20 minutes or so and do a simple routine like this:

  • Stand up and move your legs up and down like you are walking in place.
  • Look at an object that is more than 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  • Gently shake your hands wrists and elbows while you are gently rolling your shoulders up, back and down for a few seconds.
  • Take a slow deep breath in to improve your posture and smile then slowly exhale.
  • Sit down refreshed, in a good posture and you are ready to get back to work.

Consider structuring the timing of your home work day to be similar to your typical work day.  Remember individual circumstances vary so apply these suggestions to your own situation. This is not a replacement for treatment or consultation.  If you have specific questions contact your health care provider.  Don’t hesitate to contact me as well if you would like some additional information.

Sincerely,

Scott Donkin, DC, DACBOH

sdonkin@donkinchiropractic.com

Healthy Living – StressBusters

It is unfortunate that the joy and wonder of the holiday season is frequently overshadowed by anxiety and the physical and emotional effects of negative stress. As we investigate stress in this series, you will learn that the paradoxical nature of the Holidays, as we currently celebrate them, is predictable. This being the case, the best gift we can offer is the information you need to prepare yourself and your family for true enjoyment and fulfillment this holiday season. Since Stress if your body’s emotional, mental, and physical reaction to change, the greatest opportunity for work and lifestyle change occurs during the holidays. Virtually every aspect of your life is affected, and while some aspects of your life are affected more than others, their cumulative effect can sabotage the memories you are creating.

Understanding Stress

Stress, in the simplest terms, is your physical and emotional reaction to change. It sounds almost too simple, but that’s what stress is: your body’s reaction to change. If you perceive the change to be threatening or if you don’t understand it, it can cause physical effects on your body.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a deadline to meet on the task you are performing. You say to yourself, “I have to get this done by four o’clock.” Your body tenses. You know you must meet the deadline, and you focus your attention and concentrate on the task at hand, and you finish the task by four o’clock.

Physical Reactions to Stress

During the above mentioned stress cycle, certain things probably happened in your body of which you may or may not have been consciously aware. Your body geared up to accommodate the stress of the job at hand. Your muscles tensed, your jaw clenched, your pulse rate increased, and your blood pressure went up. These are the physical reactions to stress.

Perhaps you don’t perceive the task as a challenge. Instead, you fear your ability to meet the deadline—or to perform the task at all. The same physical reactions would still occur, but instead of using the energy created within your body by the assignment (stressor) to focus your attention and concentrate on the task at hand, you were preoccupied with thoughts of your inability to perform the task properly or how hard the task is, to justify the possibility of not finishing the task properly or on time. With this attitude, you will probably still be tense or “stressed” even if you do meet the deadline. This drains your positive attitude and self-confidence, and robs you of the enjoyment and satisfaction you should receive from performing your job well.

On the other hand, if you see the tasks before you as a challenge to be conquered, and you decide to take on the challenge and perform your tasks with your unique abilities, you will not only focus your attention, concentrate, and thus do better work, but you will also feel better about yourself and experience a sense of accomplishment from having successfully performed your duties.

Family Stress

While family interaction is expected during the holidays, don’t deny it as a leading source of stress. You will probably be sharing your time with more people than you are accustomed to; therefore, many conversations will occur simultaneously. Scheduling and organizing family events can be extremely difficult with so many additional opinions. It is noble to strive for perfection with family – but realize – we are all human, and none of us are perfect. Leave room in your expectations for spontaneity and compromise.

Food Stress

Special cookies, cakes, candies and other treats are anticipated, but remember that your blood sugar levels fluctuate drastically with the rapid influx of these foods to your diet. Corresponding mood swings are a natural consequence of indulgence, so be sure to take this into consideration during periods of family interaction. Ingestion of unusually large portions of food during holiday dinners is followed by periods of low energy as your body shifts to digestion rather than physical activity. Your brother-in-law may not be bored with your conversation, he may just be digesting the holiday meal!

A Continual State of Well-Being Is Known As Wellness

We use the words well-being and the phrase health and well-being to mean the physical, mental and emotional state in which you are best able to express yourself and your unique talents and abilities in order to accomplish your personal goals.

Premature structural aging limits both the quantity and quality of life. It distracts your attention, and takes time and energy away from accomplishing your goals. It takes the fun, and often much of the meaning, out of life.

Source: Donkin, S., & Meyer, G. (2002). Peak Performance: Body & Mind. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

How Long Do You Want To Live?

How long do you want to live? The common answer is, “As long as I have a sharp mind and a healthy body.” If we’re lucky, we watch our grandparents and parents age gracefully. However, sometimes it’s not so graceful. Sometimes they battle chronic conditions that restrict their ability to walk, move around their own homes, or dress themselves. We witness daily activities becoming difficult, if not impossible, for many of our senior citizens.

You might turn to your children and say, “Don’t let me get like that.” But whose responsibility is it to keep your body in the best possible shape to last your lifetime? It’s your responsibility, of course. And, believe it or not, you do have a certain measure of control over how well you age.

How To Age Well

If we expect to live as long as we are designed to, and also live as healthy and satisfying a life as possible – particularly the second half – then we need to modify many of our actions and habits right now. It’s never too late.

The body’s natural tendency is towards health and it will naturally search out the best conditions for health and longevity when given the awareness and the proper opportunity to do so. You have to provide the right mindset to promote health, and then be sure to include a high enough intake of oxygen to ensure that all the body’s tissues become, and stay, refreshed. Next, it’s up to you to take in the appropriate quantities and varieties of nutrients to be the building blocks of the physical body. It’s also your job to make sure they are digested properly so they can reach the areas where they are needed.

Searching For Health

The body’s natural tendency is towards health and it will naturally search out the best conditions for health and longevity when given the awareness and the proper opportunity to do so. You have to provide the right mindset to promote health, and then be sure to include a high enough intake of oxygen to ensure that all the body’s tissues become, and stay, refreshed.

Next, it’s up to you to take in the appropriate quantities and varieties of nutrients to be the building blocks of the physical body. It’s also your job to make sure they are digested properly so they can reach the areas where they are needed.