Baby Neck & Back Pain

Congratulations on welcoming the newest addition to your family! There is nothing quite like holding those little bundles of joy and stealing as many snuggles as possible. With those snuggles comes some hidden posture problems. Have you noticed while holding your baby, that your neck or back has started to feel tired and tight like you were spending too much time on your cell phone? This is due to poor posture! When we cradle babies in the crook of our arm. we have a tendency to bend our heads down to allow us to stare and absorb every second of our bundles of joy. We want to help you make snuggle time more enjoyable, so consider these helpful tips:

  1. Alternate the arm you are cradling the baby in. Not only will this help you “unwind” your poor posture, but it is good for babies to work on their full range of motion.
  2. Consider using different holding positions. Common holds are cradling in the crook of the arm, over the shoulder and supporting their neck and head while having them face you.
  3. Remember when you put them down to practice unwinding. Roll your shoulders and neck to help reduce the tension and help relieve any stress. 

Are you experiencing discomfort or have questions? Dr. Donkin. would be happy to help! Contact us today.

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!

August 2020 Newsletter: WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A CAR ACCIDENT

You were just in a car accident. What do you do? First, stay calm. It may not seem like much but, experiencing some sense of shock is common. Second, you don’t want to be the second accident that day so make sure, if it is possible, to get off of the road and onto the shoulder of the road. Next, follow these steps to ensure you and your passengers are safe and recover correctly.  

  1. Assess passengers for injury.
  2. Call 911 to get the help you need.
  3. Exchange information with everyone involved in the accident. This includes driver’s licenses, registration and insurance information. 
  4. Get witness information.
  5. Take photos of your car from all angles to submit for your insurance claim.

Most injuries are not obvious to the naked eye. Better safe than sorry! Go to the ER or Urgent Care. Report the incident right away before you forget details of the incident. When they ask how you are, do not say, “I‘m fine.” Tell them that you will be seeing your doctor of chiropractic who will send a report. Call Your Insurance. Most motor vehicle injuries respond well to chiropractic care. State Farm estimated that 87.5% see a doctor of chiropractic. Call Your Doctor of Chiropractic to follow through on care. If your chiropractor orders tests it will be because they found reasons to do so. If a test comes back negative, then that problem is ruled out. If a test comes back positive, it will help with your care and the possible need for referral to a specialist who may be able to help you further. 

READ MORE

July 2020 Newsletter: Are your kids wearing their backpacks correctly?

ARE YOUR KIDS WEARING THEIR BACKPACK CORRECTLY?

A recent survey by Land’s End Direct Merchants found that more than 96 percent of children ages 8 to 12 will carry a backpack to school this year. Nearly 1/3 of those children will wear their bags improperly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Commission, in 2013, approximately 22,200 strains, sprains, dislocations, and fractures from backpacks were treated in hospital emergency rooms, physicians’ offices, and clinics. There are four steps for safer backpack use; first, choose the right pack, pack their bag correctly, lift the bag correctly, and wear it properly. 

The most crucial step to helping protect your child’s spine is choosing the right backpack. We all want our kids to like the things we purchase them but make sure their backpack decision is not only focused on looks. The pack should have padded straps, a lumbar strap, and an angled design to keep it above their waist. Correctly packing the bag is critical for their backs; their packs should never weigh more than ten percent of their body weight. Remember no matter the weight we should be lifting with our legs never our back, and never sling the pack onto one shoulder. Wearing the pack correctly is vital. Encourage your children to use both straps when carrying the pack and to make sure that it is high and tight to their back.

BEFORE: In the first picture, notice the chin tuck and forward shoulder roll. AFTER: The second picture shows the backpack adjusted to a better position. His arms are down by his side and his shoulders are not rolled forward as far.

Are You Avoiding “Pack Back”?

Conditions arising from prolonged and/or repetitious use of backpacks or other devices made for carrying material belongings Include but are not limited to:

  • Low Back pain and stiffness
  • Hip and/or pain and/or numbness
  • Sciatica
  • Neck and upper back pain and stiffness
  • Shoulder and/or arm pain and/or numbness
  • Headaches
  • Recurring muscles tension
  • Fatigue

Need to be fitted for your backpack? Call us today to schedule your fitting with Dr. Donkin!

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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.

Unmask Neck Pain

Unintended Consequences of Wearing Masks—

and What You Can Do to Ease the Discomfort

LINCOLN, NE. (April 30, 2020)—As if working from home or feeling the pressure revolving around mitigating the spread of COVID-19 isn’t enough, we now must deal with the pain of wearing masks. While admittedly protective, the wearing of these masks can become a real pain in the neck that can easily be prevented.

“Many of my patients who work in essential healthcare and personal services wear masks for a significant part of their day,” said Dr. Scott Donkin, a chiropractor in Lincoln, Nebraska. “They suffer from increased neck pain, headaches, shoulder/arm/hand pain as well as midback pain.”

Most patients now come into his office wearing masks and gloves while he and his staff wear them throughout their patient encounters. He saw a pattern that he himself experienced—neck and upper back pain with stiffness that increased through the workday. He initially directly attributed this discomfort to the increased stress associated with the COVID-19 phenomenon.

“But I realized there was another explanation—I was seeing a new and compromising health concern,” said Dr. Donkin.

When he saw a patient completing a required form in his office while masked and gloved and noticed how far she had to flex her neck forward in order to apply pen to paper and see the form properly, he then talked with other patients who wore protective masks for a significant part of the day to perform tasks like computing or writing in a workplace where others were present or examining patients in a healthcare setting. He asked them to simulate their body, neck, and head positions.

“Voila!” he said. “I found an additional culprit contributing to their pains.”

Protective masks—while necessary at this point in time—can add to the already heightened tension of the COVID-19 era because they can cause wearers to force their heads and necks farther forward or side-to-side to view their tasks.

Now that stores such as Walmart and other retailers are requiring their employees to wear masks all day while performing their duties, he is concerned that more people will suffer these unintended consequences from wearing masks.

“I have observed that people wearing protective masks tuck their chins in more than when they were not wearing masks. Extra chin tucking with additional forward head/neck flexion, tilting, or twisting are—in my opinion and observation—causing needless pain and suffering. They simply add fuel to an already raging inflammatory fire,” Dr. Donkin said.

He is an ergonomic consultant to the office furniture industry and for other consumer products such as standing desks and pillows.

Dr. Donkin offered these solutions for mask wearers:

Awareness wins half of this battle—

  • Wearing a protective mask often limits the lower field of vision as well as other visual fields causing a compensatory shift in body position/posture required to accomplish your tasks.
  • Be aware of your head, neck, shoulder, arm, and body positions while wearing your mask.

Action wins the other half of this battle—

  • Take a close look at the mask you are wearing to identify obstructions in your visual field that could be making you compensate by unnaturally shifting your head, neck, or body posture.
  • Position your mask for maximum protection while optimizing your posture and movements.
  • Fit your mask closely to the contour of the bridge of your nose as well as to your cheeks. This will minimize reduction in your visual field.
  • If you have identified that your mask increases head/neck flexion, tilting, or twisting, then take frequent “unwinding” breaks to lean back, move, and stretch in the opposite direction to relieve cumulative tension or pressure. Find out the rules and regulations for wearing masks in your workplace so you can use appropriate “unmasking time” safely and well.
  • Not all masks are created equal. Try different types that might make it easier for you to breathe because some people report difficulty (as long as they provide protection). And if the elastic on some masks is irritating, try a different mask configuration.

Awareness combined with action will maximize the purpose of wearing masks while minimizing their unintended side effects.

“Many of my patients who wear masks frequently comment about the difficulty they have breathing through it,” Dr. Donkin said. “I have noticed that restricted breathing can also be a source of anxiety especially with those who already have anxious tendencies. I have seen this subtle phenomenon add to the tension my patients express in their necks, shoulders, and midback.”

These patients are not alone. His recommendation is to take frequent breathers whenever you can remove the mask even if only for a few moments.

Then, before you put on your mask, take a few slow, deep breaths and do this when you take off the mask for the day.

“These simple practices have helped many of my patients get more benefit from their treatments as well as get through the COVID-19 era in a healthier way,” Dr. Donkin said. “I hope we can all unmask neck pain.”

This general information is not intended to replace appropriate treatment for any condition. Consult with your healthcare professional for help with your unique circumstances.

About: Scott Donkin, DC, DACBOH, has been in chiropractic practice for 38 years in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is the author of popular books (SittingSmarts and Sitting on the Job) and articles on health and related subjects. He is an ergonomic consultant to the office furniture industry and a go-to expert for local and national media

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!

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.

Aging

Of all the health problems facing society today, aging – especially premature aging of the physical body and its many related conditions – is the principal one that will confront each of us sooner or later.

Aging Well

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.

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