Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Posture Is How You Balance Your Body

Posture Principle #2

Your posture is how you balance your body, how all the parts of your body are stacked up one on top of another.  Your pelvis is stacked over your legs, your torso over your pelvis and your head over your torso.  If you are standing up, you are balanced. The question is how are you balanced?

Imagine a set of blocks like you played with as a child.  In order to stack the blocks one on top of the other, it works best when you place them directly on top of one another.  If the first block is off kilter, then all the blocks after that will need to be off set in order for the block tower to stay upright.

The same is true for the regions of your body.  If your hips are uneven, your torso will have to move in the opposite direction to maintain the center of gravity, and your head will move opposite to your torso.

When balance is maintained this way, what we call often call “bad” posture, it creates strain on the ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints of your body. Some of these structures become overworked while some are not worked at all, leaving you vulnerable to further injury as well since falls are more likely to happen.

The posture exercises taught at our clinic gently help correct and maintain strong posture, which promotes balanced motion.  For more information about these exercises, go to or call our office at 850-875-1747.

So why do our bodies acquire posture problems over time?  In the next entry, we’ll talk about Posture Principle #3, “Patterns”.

Information for this article is from Stand Taller, Live Longer, by Steven Weineger D.C.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Posture Principles

This is the first of a series to present the five Posture Principles from the book, Stand Taller, Live Longer, by Steven Weineger D.C.

Posture Principle #1
The Human Body is Designed to Move

Our bodies are inherently designed to move.
Function follows form in this case, and each part has a particular purpose.  The skeletal structure holds us upright in space and is made of bones connected together by ligaments, which also limit the bone’s motion.  Tendons connect muscles to the bones. Muscles contract and stretch to move the bones.  The joints between two bones are protected by cartilage and synovial fluid, which lubricate the joints.  Fascia, a sheet of connective tissue, surrounds all the structures and holds them together. The brain and nervous system control and coordinate the functioning of the whole system, but it can only “work with what it’s got”.

Each part of the system is interdependent, and when these structures are damaged, smooth, well-coordinated movement suffers.  For example, we have all experienced how a sprained or strained muscle can limit our normal ability to walk.  In the same way, if the ligaments and tendons that hold the bones in the spine (called vertebrae) are sprained or strained, they won’t be able to hold the spine in the right place, making movement much more difficult and painful.  If a ligament holding two bones together becomes inflamed due to lack of movement, or say, a diet high in fats and refined sugar, it can fail in its job to restrict joint motion. Painful or jerky movement, and losing balance are big red flags that structures in the skeletal system and/or the nervous system are struggling to function. 

Many people attribute these symptoms to “old age”, but what most people don’t realize is that there is something they can do about it, before the structure of their body is so compromised that their only option is surgery or medicine.  Even then, if circumstances have required those measures, there are things people can do to support and maintain their musculoskeletal system so that it will regain a stronger ability to function.

Chiropractic and posture exercise work together to help your body heal damaged areas and strengthen your ability to move well as you age.  Chiropractic helps your body remove fixations/misalignments and restore the normal function of the joints.  Posture exercise helps strengthen and coordinate the muscles, ligaments and tendons that surround the joints, particularly targeting the ones that aren’t “with the program”.  As a result, balance, alignment and smooth coordinated motion improve and become part of every daily activity.

Our bodies are designed to move, but how they move and balance over time determines the health of those structures.

Next post we’ll talk about the 2nd posture principle:
Posture is how you balance your body.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dr. Burkhead Passes the Advanced Proficiency Activator Rating Exam

She did it the first time!   This past weekend Dr. Burkhead and I attended the Activator Seminar in Atlanta.   While there Dr. Burkhead took the written and practical examination to become Advanced Rated.  She passed both her first attempt.   This is quite an achievement   The day I took mine, only 10% of the doctors taking the test passed.  It is a difficult test and if you don't pass you have to wait months before you can take it again.  I'm very proud of her as she achieved this goal her first attempt.   World wide there are just over 3000 doctors who are Basic Proficiency rated, and then approx. 1000 who are Advanced.  Congratulations Dr. Burkhead!

Did you know that there are now more Chiropractic Colleges outside the US than there are in?  Chiropractic began here in the US in 1895 and has now spread across the world.   There are colleges in Australia, Japan, Spain, and many other countries.   The newest was just chartered in Israel.

I've taken over the blog now.   Dr. Burkhead and I switch back and forth.  So check back to see what I'm up to and what tidbits of information I have for you.
Don M.Cross, D.C.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Good Habits Are Hard to Break

        Straighten Up America has been going well. We have introduced this program to several schools now, and they are in the process of integrating it into their day. After I’ve taught these exercises to people, the most frequent comment I hear is, “ Wow, I feel better!”

        One of our patients said to me the other day, “ It’s as hard to break a good habit as it is to break a bad one.” He is so right! I’m not sure many of us think about the good habits we have, but if you think about it, you probably have many good health habits that you don’t even think about because they are just normal for you.

         That’s what I would like these exercises to become for kids, a normal part of their day. Adults benefit from this program as well, and I would be happy to teach them to anyone who would like to learn. Just call first to make sure I’m in the office (850-875-1747), and not too booked up, then come by and I will teach you these free of charge. It takes only a few minutes to learn and a few minutes to do each day. The benefits will stay with you for a lifetime. Once you start it’s a hard habit to break!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Straighten Up America!

Teachers at a local elementary school, working on their Straighten Up America moves!
I’m happy to announce that Cross Chiropractic Clinic is about to launch a new health initiative in our county called “Straighten Up America”. The purpose of this free public service program is to empower the American people to achieve better spinal health and improved quality of life.

Billions of dollars are spent every year related to disability due to low back pain alone. Clearly there is a need here that needs to be addressed. Straighten Up America is a simple, fun, three-minute exercise program that will improve a person’s posture and spinal health. It’s designed for people of all ages and includes a few healthy lifestyle recommendations. The hope is that people will begin to take care of their spinal health each day the way they take care of their teeth. A little preventative maintenance can go a long way!

We are introducing this in schools so that children can begin to create good spinal habits and hopefully stay out of pain and disability. Some children ( as young as grade school age!) already have back problems due to sedentary lifestyles and/or overloaded school backpacks. In just a few minutes a day, they can save themselves pain and heartache later on down the road.

You can't help but smile!  It's fun!

Eventually, we would like to present this to adults in the community as well. This program has been shown to significantly improve participants posture, core muscle groups and back comfort levels. This quick set of exercises can be used as a warm up, a cool down or a break from sitting at the computer too long.

If you would like to learn more about this free public service, feel free to call our office at 850-875-1747.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Start From Where You Are

  Today I saw an elderly gentleman at the gym doing his work out. He was walking on the treadmill, and he was moving very slowly, both hands gripping the sides for balance. It was striking how slow his pace was, but his form was good. Standing straight and tall, his hips were square, his feet straight. He looked good. I started wondering what it had taken for him to get himself to the gym that day. Did he wake up with painful joints? Had he gotten enough sleep last night? So many elderly have a hard time getting to sleep. He was slow, but he was there by golly! He inspired me.

  I pretty much operate from the “use it or lose it” school of thought. For the most part( I know some cases where this is not true) I think its better to stay active and use whatever functionality you have even if it’s limited, because to stop doing an activity can often mean losing that ability. One of the most prevalent examples of this that I see everyday is people who lose the ability to walk any kind of distance. For one reason or another they have stopped walking and over the years have come to a place where they can barely walk across the room. Coming back from that kind of situation is nearly insurmountable for some people. It’s not that it can’t be done, but it’s hard. And there’s often more than one factor contributing to the problem, such as obesity, inflammation, or back pain.

  So, like the elderly man at the gym, one simple strategy is to make sure you keep doing the things you can do. Start from where you are. If you are only able to walk at a snail’s pace, then walk at a snail’s pace. If walking to the mailbox is all you can do, then keep doing that. Try to walk to the mailbox everyday, and then a little bit more until you can double the distance. You get the picture. Whatever function or activity you think may be jeopardized, try to maintain doing it. Then you can work on a strategy to improve on that.

  I try to remember “ …a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” Improving and maintaining your functional ability may be as simple as that. Not always easy, but simple.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Life Without Interference

Right now
Your heart is beating
Your lungs are taking in air
Filtering it through capillaries
To your bloodstream
Swapping it for carbon dioxide, and expelling it out

You are healing wounds,
Growing hair
Laughing with your friends
Telling bad jokes
Converting food into chemicals your cells can use for fuel
Millions of actions and reactions
Happening simultaneously

Your central nervous system coordinates it all!
The order
The timing
The synergy
This happens within you
Whether you are conscious of it or not.
Do you have to tell your heart to beat
Or your lungs to breathe?

Your nervous system
The master controlling, ever-coordinating system in your body is protected by
Your bones.
The skull surrounds and protects your brain
The spine surrounds and protects your spinal cord
Your spinal cord relays information from your brain
To every cell in your body

And back again
Keeping them all in synch with each other.
What happens if coordinating information that travels along the nerves is stopped
Or meets interference?
Can all the parts work together? Or do they go off and do their own thing?

When the bones of your spine are out of place and create pressure
The muscles around them spasm and create pressure
Chemicals get released and
Irritate your nerves
What happens to the messages that run up and down?
Are they garbled?
Are they silent?

The joints of the spine must be working properly and be in the right relationship to your central nervous system so that all of who you are can be coordinated properly, can heal and function as you were meant to. When you come and get adjusted you are helping your body heal the structures and remove the interference to your body’s communication system that’s getting in the way of your best health. 
Live life without interference!