Helpful Tips For Sleeping Posture

Are you tired of waking up in the morning with tight lower back muscles or a headache? Today I want to discuss proper sleeping posture. When you sleep on your stomach, you typically need to turn your head to one side which strains the small muscles and ligaments in your neck. Stomach sleeping should be avoided if possible. When you sleep on your back, it’s impossible to maintain your lower back curve, that puts unwanted pressure on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back.  If you are going to sleep on your back, try using a rolled up towel or pillow under your knees, that will help take the pressure off your lower back. Side sleeping is one of the best ways to maintain optimal alignment of your spine. While sleeping on your side remains the best ergonomic position for your spine, there are still 3 steps you should follow to get your spine into perfect alignment before you start counting your sheep!

  1. Head and Neck

Make sure you don’t tuck your chin down towards your chest, especially in the wintertime when your body is cold. This is the most natural time to want to get into the “fetal position.” Try to keep your chin level instead of tucked down. Tucking your chin can cause you to wake up with a headache at the base of your skull. Sleeping on a contoured pillow can also help keep your neck in the proper ergonomic position while you sleep which also helps you hold proper alignment in between adjustments and can result in waking up pain free. Also, it is important to note you shoulder only use 1 pillow while side sleeping so that your neck bent too far toward your ear.

2. Hips

When lying on your side, it’s normal to want to turn your top hip toward the mattress in front of you. This will rotate your hips OUT of alignment and lead you to waking up with tension and tightness in the low back. Be sure to keep your hips stacked directly one on top of each other with a pillow between your knees if you feel strain in either hip muscle. If you sleep with a partner or even furry friends it is important that they do not impede the alignment of your hips while you are side sleeping.

3. Shoulder

Make sure your bottom shoulder is underneath you, not out in front of you. Again, it is natural for us to want to push our shoulder out in front. That’s how you wake up with pain in your shoulder or in your upper back inside of your shoulder blade. Instead, don’t reach your arm too far out in front of your body, try keeping it DIRECTLY underneath your other shoulder.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. Feel free to share with friends or family members that might benefit from reading this blog post, and as always you can call the office at 515-278-9678 to schedule an appointment for a checkup.

Insomnia and your health

What is Insomnia?

The best explanation of insomnia is, struggling to get to sleep leading to insufficient rest. Some people fall asleep quickly, then suddenly awaken during the night and cannot fall asleep again, while others struggle to fall asleep at all. There are a few different types of insomnia. Transient insomnia is when you have stress or travels a lot and upsets the body’s regular wake-sleep pattern. However, if it continues for up to three weeks, it is short-term insomnia. Typical causes include higher levels of the stress hormone Cortisol in the body. Lastly, there is long-term insomnia, which lasts longer than three weeks caused by chronic pain, noise, psychological issues, drugs, and more.

Treating the ailment depends on the nature of the problem. There are different ways to help induce sleep using a Western Medicine approach such as psychotherapy for emotional stress and barbiturates such as benzodiazepines to help you sleep. The problem is using medication is dangerous and can become addictive. Another important note is that it can lead to depression, anxiety, and even cause weight gain. Your body repairs itself during sleep, but if you are not sleeping then your body is not repairing properly. Acupuncture is an Eastern approach to curing sleep disturbances that doesn’t add in outside chemicals to help, but rather balances the body from the inside out using meridians located on your body.

How Does Insomnia Affect Your Health?

No matter what the cause is, it can affect your health. Sleep deprivation will make you feel as if you are made of glass as everything in the body hurts. You will see everything through a haze from mental distortions to minor hallucinations. First comes the delusions and eventually it makes you sick. Some sicknesses caused are poor fitness, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Furthermore, your mood changes and a fact is that the cause could only be a bad habit.

What can we do about insomnia?

Acupuncture is an amazing tool used for treating insomnia all over the world. There are various points found along meridians in the body that can directly help with sleep disturbances. Here at YFC we tend to treat points in the ear as well as the head, arms and legs for insomnia. Our patients typically report sleeping better than they have in weeks after 2-5 acupuncture sessions that focus on stress relief and insomnia. Chiropractic is also helpful in overcoming insomnia by removing the interference on the nervous system which allows the body to re-enter its normal sleep-wake cycle. Often patients report sleeping better after around 12 visits however everybody responds differently and at their own pace. Once we do a consultation and full examination, we can give you our best recommendations at that time. If you or your loved ones are suffering from insomnia please reach out to us at 515-278-9678. We would love to help you get back to enjoying your sleep each night!

What is Bells Palsy and how can acupuncture help?

Bells palsy is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralyzed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side, often the eye is affected as well. It’s caused by some form of trauma (physical,chemical, or emotional stress) to the seventh cranial nerve which is also called the facial nerve.

Some signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:

  • drooling
  • difficulty eating and drinking
  • an inability to make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning
  • facial weakness
  • muscle twitches in the face
  • dry eye and mouth
  • headache
  • sensitivity to sound
  • irritation of the eye on the involved side

Call a doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms because you should never self-diagnose Bell’s palsy. The symptoms can be similar to those of other serious conditions, such as a stroke.

With treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, returning to normal function within 3 to 6 months. For some however, the symptoms may last longer. Rarely, the symptoms never fully disappear. The trend we keep running into, is that medical doctors are unsure of the exact mechanism that cures Bells and therefore treat the condition with a “Wait and See” protocol. Acupuncture has emerged as an alternative therapy for Bell’s palsy in both adults and children. Several studies have been done on the relationship between acupuncture and Bells Palsy. Acupuncture has been found to reverse facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. One treatment protocol achieved a 98% total effective rate and the other acupuncture protocol achieved a 90.7% total effective rate. Based on the data of those studies, acupuncture is recommended for the treatment of facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. Chiropractic also has good results with both helping rid the symptoms as well as the prevention of Bells Palsy returning by making sure the nervous system and cranial nerves are functioning to their best ability. If you or someone you know has Bells Palsy call today to book an appointment with us at 515-278-9678

Acupuncture Facial Points

2 supplements to boost your mood

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that boosts the immune system and helps regulate the absorption of calcium in the blood. Vitamin D is naturally produced by our body when exposed to sunlight daily, however it can also be found in certain seafood, vegetables and fortified foods like milk and cereal. Most Americans today are vitamin D deficient, so supplementation is key! Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing fats and oils or even a fish oil supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an important nutrient and have been shown to promote heart health and protect against heart disease. The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats; meaning the body can not make them from on its own, but instead must get them from an outside source. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, and leafy vegetables. Most Americans eating the standard american diet could benefit from taking a fish oil supplement. Omega’s are also great for boosting brain power and improving joint pain by decreasing inflammation in the body. When vitamin D is combined with Omega’s, research has shown a boost of the body’s natural antidepressants such as serotonin. While Vitamin D helps you make serotonin, fish oils help your serotonin work better. The serotonin pathway is essential for many of your core processes including brain development, cognition, mood, appetite, and sleep. Taking these supplements together can help fight off both anxiety and depression. If you were interested in talking with our doctors more about the effects of supplementation and how it could help you, please give us a call today at 515-278-9678 and we would be happy to get you scheduled for a free consultation.