By Tahjaneé Singleton
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs with the changing seasons and happens around the same time each year. Reduced daylight, changes in weather, and limited access to our favorite activities all contribute to what we refer to as “Winter Blues”. Symptoms could start as early as late summer and can last into late winter until signs of springtime start to show. These feelings can start off mild and become more intense into the colder months. Symptoms include low energy, changes in weight and appetite, and lost interest in things that usually make us happy. Some severe symptoms like agitation and anxiety, feelings of depression as well as guilt and hopelessness could also happen. It is no wonder why we have lethargic feelings when we receive less sunlight during the winter. The changes in season affect our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm. Hormones responsible for regulating body functions like hunger, metabolism and appetite are thrown off. The shifts in serotonin, cortisol, and melatonin production directly affect our sleep patterns and moods. During the holidays, we’re no longer as rested in the mornings and routines may be disturbed. People find less time for exercise and tend to indulge in foods that inflame and disrupt our bodies. This makes our immunity vulnerable to viruses and disorders which all affects our quality of life.
Treatment for Winter Blues could be an all around effort. Changes to our lifestyle as well as mindfulness in our daily routines may alleviate the stress on our nervous system. We look to nature for guidance as all of our support can be found by simply being in tune with Earth’s natural cycles.
Rise and Set with the Sun: In the cold seasons, it can be difficult to peel ourselves from bed in the morning. We may allow ourselves an extra few minutes to scroll our newsfeed before we find that we’ve missed breakfast and now we’re late to work. Rising with the sun allows our body to produce necessary hormones and nutrients that keep us active throughout the day. As the sun hits its peak in the sky, so does the energy levels in our body. When the sun’s light becomes weak in the evening, so do our bodies. Try to save those moments after waking up for a light morning stretch to activate your organs. Plan out your day so that the most energetic tasks are completed during daylight. The sun tends to set earlier in the afternoon this time around, so beginning our night routines early in
the evening will allow more time for our bodies’ to process the day, wind down and prepare for rest.
Eat in Season: Nature gives us a variety of fruits and vegetables rich with nutrients at the times our bodies’ need it most. Produce available in the colder seasons provide us with everything necessary to keep our bodies warm and protected during the winter. Think about the natural essence of each fruit, vegetable, and herb available to us in the colder seasons. Starchy, root vegetables that grow close to the Earth, like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and ginger, offer a grounding element to our bodies that keep us warm and stable. Cinnamon, ginger and clove each contain a heating element that adds to our digestive fire, keeping us warm from the inside out. Our bodies crave hearty stews, soups, broths and teas in the winter for its nourishment and soothing abilities. Stewed fruits, porridges and oatmeals are great additions for breakfast. Try to avoid raw foods, cold juices/smoothies and salads in the winter months as it adds too much cooling element to our digestive system. Take a moment to reflect on the natural element of each food you consume. Always reach for organic, non-GMO produce whenever possible.
Stay in Tune: Now that our bodies’ natural functions are aligned with the cycles of the sun, and our warm bellies are full of organic and grounding foods, symptoms of SAD are alleviated. Ways to maintain health during the chilly seasons can include treatments, supplements, quiet time in nature and light activities. Chiropractic treatment effectively improves the signals our brain receives from our spine. This brings balance to our emotional state and realigns our spine. Therapeutic massage is deeply relaxing, and not only targets sore muscles but improves blood circulation and elevates our mood. Acupuncture and craniosacral treatments are powerful therapies that also deal directly with the nervous system. To support the nervous system, supplements such as Magnesium Glycinate, Ashwagandha and 5-HTP include medicinary components that work to relieve anxiety and increase serotonin levels. Lastly, recent studies show that excessive screen time increases anxiety and inflammation in our bodies. Quiet time spent in the solace of nature helps to calm our nervous system as well as reducing time spent in front of electronic devices. Bundle up and take a brisk walk near the water or in the woods or share a hot meal with a loved one. All of these things we
can use to stay in tune with the changes of nature. We owe it to ourselves to maintain our health throughout all seasons. Wishing you health and wellness.
Head shoulders knees and toes knees and toes……..
The next in our Isometric exercise series is the shoulder.
To start, grab a small ball or pillow to use for these following exercises. Focus on shoulder movement and keep the neck muscles relaxed. In each exercise, we are isolating one main muscle to work on. The shoulder has a group of smaller stabilizer muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles that direct certain movements listed below. The rotator cuff muscles are Supraspinatus(abduction), Infraspinatus(external rotation), Teres minor(adduction and external rotation), and Subscapularis (internal rotation). To help you remember this muscle group, think SITS. Warming up these muscles before a shoulder and/or arms workout can help prevent any future injuries. We will also work flexion and extension of the shoulder in these exercises. See the picture below for exercises.
Let’s start with isometric exercises for the neck. The neck, also called the cervical spine, is possibly the most important region of the body. The brain stem connects to the spinal cord stem as it exits the skull in the upper neck. Almost every nerve passes either from the brain through the neck to the body or from the body through the neck into the brain. The brain and body connection is crucial for function. Therefore, we want to ensure that the anatomy around the neck is maintained and healthy for proper function. In addition to getting checked and adjusted by your chiropractor in the office here, isometric exercises can help increase recovery time for an injury related to muscle or joint malfunction, and build stability and maintain strength.
Neck isometric exercises can be performed by pressing your palm on your forehead and resisting the pressure by activating your neck muscles.There is no joint movement or muscle shortening/lengthening occurring, the muscle remains the same. Isometric exercises help re-activate and maintain muscle strength. They are gentle exercises for the joints in the body and highly recommended for individuals who are recovering from acute muscle injury.
Isometric exercises are static contractions of a particular muscle or group of muscles. These exercises are a form of exercise involving contraction of the muscles WITHOUT any visible movement in the angle of the joint.
We often hear from patients that they have pain with movement especially when there has been an injury to a joint. Sometimes exercises feel too difficult or too advanced.
Isometric exercises help to begin to engage the muscles of movement without actually doing the movement.
These exercises are excellent in the first phase of recovery, and while they are not effective in increasing strength they are effective in maintaining it. They are safe and important because they allow us to maintain strength and engage the muscles of movement while reducing the risk of further injury. Once you can do your isometric exercises without pain you can move on to muscle contractions with motion involving the joint - termed eccentric(lengthening contraction) and concentric(shortening contraction) movements.
Dear Mayor Libby Schaaf,
We are an Oakland-based business with 4 employees located in Rockridge.
The use of force during protests is often justified by saying small businesses need protection. On June 1st, when tear gas (which experts say increases viral risk) was used against protesters before curfew even began, this use of force was traumatizing, putting everyone at risk and not an effort in deescalation. On June 2nd, you stood behind the deputy police chief at your press conference, as he claimed (in contradiction to eyewitness reports) that no children or elderly were in the crowd. When the people of our community are threatened, the emotional weight of our tax dollars being spent on violence affects our morale and productivity.
We believe the only way to achieve racial reconciliation is to heed the voices of Black-led organizations. Countless Black-led organizations are calling on you to reduce police funding instead of spending yet more money on ineffective reform. Oakland has attempted police reform many times, including after the death of Oscar Grant eleven years ago and after the sexual abuse of teenager Jasmin Abuslin four years ago.
Your OPD negotiated and accepted restrictions on crowd management after abuses by OPD during the 2005 and 2011 demonstrations. However, Mercury News reports that dangerous weapons such as flashbangs, specialty impact munitions, and of course tear gas, were “carelessly employed,” violating earlier court orders and agreements.
Please listen to the Black leaders who ask you to invest in housing, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, and mental health workers. Be transparent about police violence, instead of holding press conferences to make excuses for police brutality. The mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles are diverting police funds towards healthcare and jobs: we implore you to follow their example. Please join them in doing what will make cities safer for businesses and the people who work there.
Life Chiropractic Oakland Staff
The terms TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint is referring to the relationship between the Jaw bone (mandible) and temporal bone of the skull. It is a joint similar to those found throughout our bodies made up of bone, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and cartilage. Similarly to the spine, there is an intra-articular disc that acts a cushion for biting and chewing forces.
Irritation of the joint can create clicking, popping or pain in the jaw. There are many potential causes for irritation of the TMJ. More often than not, it is the result of microtrauma like clenching of the jaw or grinding one's teeth as a result of stress. Other times it is the result of a macrotrauma like being the unfortunate recipient of a ‘knuckle sandwich’. Either one of these can cause damage to the cartilaginous disc within the joint as well as muscle tension.
Some signs that you may be experiencing some TMJ irritation are; pain in the jaw, which may radiate to the head or neck, ringing in the ears, clicking, grinding or popping at the joint, lock jaw, restricted movement, and tightness in the jaw muscles. All of these signs are related to irritation or injury of the cartilaginous disc. When the mandible glides and rotates as it opens and closes, it is having to glide over the swollen disc. This creates the popping motion, clicking sound and pain.
The obvious question is, ‘how do I fix my jaw so I can continue to eat?’ The first thing is to decrease the amount of swelling in the joint- this requires avoiding anything that will aggravate it. So avoid opening your mouth to the point that it pops or clicks. Apply heat to the joint to increase blood flow and loosen the muscles. Incorporate softer foods into your diet or cut your food into bite-sized chunks. Increase your Omegs-3 consumption to aid with the inflammation. Manage your stresslevels by creating an evening routine to relax into a deep sleep- This can include journaling about the day, massaging your jaw muscles, and general stretching. Any teeth grinders may want to try sleeping with a mouth guard. Last but definitely not least, get adjusted by an Uper Cervical Chiropractor in Oakland! It’s great for bringing ease to the body and decreasing stress, a well as decreasing neck tension, which is in direct correlation to temporomandibular joint function. Doing all or any one of these things will help your body along the healing process.
How is poor posture affecting my gut heath??
When you’re at your desk sending off those last couple of emails or applying the finishing touches to your powerpoint presentation, posture is probably the last thing on your mind. At least until your neck and back start to ache. I’m sure you’ve heard that poor posture contributes to a variety of health issues like low energy, increased stress and depression, headaches along with neck and back pain to name a few.
Have you ever thought about the quality of your digestion or intestinal health being related to the way we sit or stand? Well it is! For centuries we have known that the nerve supply to the gastrointestinal system stems from the lumbosacral and upper cervical region (more on this later). Furthermore, recent research supports the notion that posture plays a major role in overall G.I. function.
First and foremost, a slouched position puts added pressure on the digestive organs themselves. Thus restricting the space required for expansion after a meal, forcing the body to adapt. Motility (the rate at which digested food moves through the intestines) and absorption of nutrients is hindered, and this most commonly results in the form of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux (heartburn), diarrhea, and constipation.
Circling back to the statement about the G.I. systems nerve supply and its relation to posture is a matter of understanding anatomy and physiology. When we slouch or consistently look down at our phones, we are putting constant pressure on our nervous system, which controls and communicates with every system of the body via the nerves. The nerves run down the spine together as the spinal cord and branch at every level of the spine to reach their destination in the body. Just as pressure on the organs will dampen their function, pressure on the nervous system will not allow a clear connection from the brain to the body. The brain, spinal cord and nerves act as our computer system in order to interpret the state of the body. On the extreme, without a functioning nervous system we are left ‘brain-dead’.
That is where chiropractic can help! By correcting misalignments the body begin to function at a higher level. Posture starts to correct itself by increasing the body’s awareness of reestablishing proper biomechanics of the spine. It’s no wonder that patients often report positive results for “non-chiropractic” related issues, like indigestion, after the have sought care for neck and back pain.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”? This phrase was coined primarily in response to lack of movement with extended periods of sitting and the negative effects on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Heart disease and diabetes aside, poor posture has a major influence on the feelings you experience and moods you find yourself in throughout the day. How does something as miniscuel as my sitting position have an effect on my mood and reflect on my health- you might be asking.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of that question, let’s look at some truths: 1) Humans as a species are becoming ‘forward-learners’. We get in our cars and drive to work in a forward-leaning, seated position. Sit all day at a desk. Drive home, and proceed to sit on the couch for the remainder of the evening while scrolling through netflix. If we’re lucky and feeling motivated enough we’re able to squeeze in a morning or afternoon workout. 2) Anatomically, the flexor muscles (cervical flexors, pectorals, hip flexors) of the body dominate over the extensors (Rhomboids, Lower Trapezius, Hamstrings) creating a slouched and guarded position. Finally, 3) The brain (our computer system) communicates with the body via the spinal cord and the nerves that innervate every muscle, joint, tissue and cell in the body. The brain is also the center of all our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
What body postures do you think of when you think about; sadness, shame, guilt, stress? What about the feeling you get when you say something you regret? What is your posture like right this moment just after reading these words? What about; excitement, joy, proud and enthusiastic? Our feelings, thoughts and emotions often dictate how we appear in the world. For example, when you look at someone and know instantly that there is something wrong. This is how we read body language. Furthermore, more and more studies are being conducted around the brain and its relationship to our mental and overall health. These studies have shown that the brain and body connection is not a one way street. While it may be true that you are sitting with poor posture because of low energy, you may have low energy because you’re sitting with poor posture. Body language plays a huge role in how we communicate with the world as well as ourselves.
So what’s the relationship between chiropractic and your mood? The answer is; Posture! Not only does getting adjusted have a direct affect on the structural posture of the body, but getting adjusted regularly stimulates the joint to reinforce good posture and reeducates the neurology- increasing your awareness and making it easier to be more cognisant of your daily body positions.
Thoughts, traumas and toxins are the three primary factors in our life when it comes to health and disease. The thoughts we carry about our body's ability to heal can make all the difference, whether you are battling cancer or an ankle sprain (most people BELIEVE they can heal from an ankle sprain). So do what your mother used to say and “sit up straight when you..” are alone with your thoughts or interacting with others. Because it can make a big difference in your health goals.
Do our thoughts affect our ability to heal?
More and more research is being conducted and showing the role of the mind when it comes to our health. It is showing that a great deal of the results we achieve depends heavily on our attitudes towards exercise, nutrition and health in general.
You could boil down the minds transition into reality by first understanding that our thoughts affect our actions/inactions, and those actions determine our results and outcomes in health.
HOW do you get more in-touch with your subconscious mind and change your perception? The answer is create awareness!
Take inventory and actively check in with yourself: What do I really want? Are my health goals ACTUALLY mine? Where am I now, and where would I like to be? Why do I feel the way I do? For what, or whom would I sacrifice my time, my energy, my health, my life? What excuses am I making for myself? What limiting beliefs do I have about myself, and when in my life have I been able to surprise go beyond
REMEMBER For every thought or belief we hold, there exists an equally powerful opposite truth. It boils down to how we perceive it in our life.
The things we see in the world are a direct representation of our mind.
STEPS Set small, actionable goals Although it seems counterintuitive, it is important that you not attempt to change everything at once.
Focus on the most important goals, aspects, and priorities in your life. Simple = sustainable- The simpler you can make these goals and milestone, the clearer they will appear and increase your chances of succeeding. Choose just one habit you’d like to change. This may take 7 days or up to 30. It is your journey to a fuller, healthier life and it will be unique. Sir Isaac Newton said; an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. The first step is usually the hardest but it gets easier with each step in the right direction. In order to change your action it can be helpful to attach it to an emotion to it. Recent research around neuro-plasticity of the brain provides data perspectives and feelings towards things like health and exercise are possible with concentration, focus and conscious effort.
Take action! Targeted action budgets success; success leads to improved self-confidence; confidence budgets more action. This is what is known as adopting a growth mindset. Rather than putting yourself through a sort of shame spiral like taking on too much at once, getting overwhelmed, falling off the wagon, feeling down on ourselves, and fear all future attempts. Understand that you may experience setbacks and they are a part of the human growth experience.
Lean on your community. Ask how you can slowly implement new habits into your lifestyle in order to reach your specific health goals. Chiropractic operates on the foundation that health is a result of three pillars; trauma, toxins and thoughts. Full health cannot be expressed if any one of the pillars is compromised.
When all else fails, practice self respect and kindness. How often do you find yourself beating yourself up about something you did or did not do? Would you say half the things you say to yourself to someone else you care about? If you’re a decent person, you probably don’t bash anyone for the harmless things they do, or at least you keep your opinions to yourself. It’s important to treat yourself with the same respect. We’re all on this adventure called life, and we all have struggles.