3 Breathing Exercises to Master Your Sleep

 

3 Breathing Exercises To Master Your Sleep

After a long day of work, house chores, and playing with our children, we long for a good night’s sleep. But when this is not possible many problems arise:

  • Lack of alertness
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Inability to think, remember and process information
  • Relationship stress
  • Low-quality life
  • More chance to have an accident

Not to mention that lack of sleep can lead to poor health. It can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke, depression, impairment in immunity, and lower sex drive.

Now, finding a solution for sleeping can be quite challenging. Most people tend to medicate, drink herbal teas, even drink alcohol to solve their sleep deficiency. But have you thought of practicing breathing exercises? Conscious breathing has countless benefits, and accomplishing a good night’s sleep is one of them.

Breathing Exercises That Will Have You Sleeping Like A Baby

Practicing breathing exercises before going to bed will improve your sleep, reduce stress, and boost overall health. Breathing consciously will help you control your mind and body, releasing it from any external distraction or unwanted thoughts. Let’s go over some breathing techniques that’ll seduce you to a sweet slumber.

Counting While Breathing

Counting is very effective in helping you fall asleep. Lie down on your bed, finding a position that will contribute to your conscious breathing. Feel relaxed and start counting; it can be from one to ten and then backward from ten to one. Sync up every count with your exhales. Repeat until you fall asleep.

Focus in Your Breathing

While lying on your bed, feel relaxed with every exhalation. You can center your attention on your nose, and feel the cold air as you inhale and warm air as you exhale. You can start noticing other sensations as you sink into the bed, feeling things slow down, and feeling your body heavy. You won’t even notice how much time it took you until falling deeply asleep.

Breathing Through Each Nostril

You can do this breathing exercise while sitting or lying on your bed. Use your thumb to cover up your right nostril, breathe deeply through your left nostril, counting to six. Pause for a count of two. Use your index finger to cover your left nostril and release your thumb from the right nostril, exhaling entirely for a count of six. Repeat from ten to fifteen times.

Breathing Center In Eugene

Learning the magic of breathing consciously can be challenging for some people, and that’s fine. Breathing takes quite a lot of concentration. If you find yourself struggling with breathing techniques, at Cascade Health Center, in Eugene, we can guide you through countless breathing exercises to help you sleep better and improve your overall health.

REACH OUT TO US AND START BREATHING

Move it or Lose it!

Joint Health: Move it or Lose It

As a chiropractor, I commonly see people with complaints of neck and back pain. Usually I’ll take a set of x-rays to assess what their spine looks like, and sadly, I often have to tell them that they have some degree of spinal degeneration. Spinal degeneration presents as thinning of the cartilaginous disc between the vertebrae (called “degenerative disc disease”) as well as the formation of osteophytes, or bone spurs, along the edges of the bones. This process can occur at any joint but is particularly troublesome in the spine, due to all of the neurological structures it can interfere with. While we don’t want degeneration anywhere in our bodies, joints like hips, knees, and shoulders can be replaced, if necessary. However, we only get one spine and we haven’t figured out a good replacement for it yet, so we must take extra care of it throughout our lives.

 

The spine consists of 24 vertebral bones (plus the sacrum and coccyx) connected by 48 separate “facet” joints. These are the joints where Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is most commonly found. DJD is a gradual process that involves the wearing down of structures that make up a joint. This can happen anywhere in the skeletal system that has suffered a trauma or undergone too much “wear and tear.” This is why it is frequently found on one side of the body or at only 1 spinal level. For instance, if someone tends to put more weight on their right leg, the right hip and knee will likely degenerate faster. This is unlike an inflammatory joint disease, like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), that will occur on both sides of the body to multiple joints.

 

While conditions like RA tend to be genetically inherited, structural degeneration can happen to anyone, which is why it’s the leading cause of joint pain in adults. Since DJD tends to get worse as people age, it is generally thought that this is just a normal aging process. However, after learning about joint structure and function through school, research, and clinical experiences, I believe that aging is more correlated than causative, and that to an extent, degeneration is common but not normal.

 

When told “getting old” or “it’s due to aging” is to blame, people are lead to believe they have no control. After all, we can’t do anything about aging. As a practitioner who mainly works with joints, hearing that joints degenerate because of aging is like telling a dentist that people get cavities due to old age. Of course there are some genetic conditions that cause people to have weaker joint structures. Certain things truly are out of our control, such as the fact that the more years we live, the more likely our joints will be subjected to stressors, traumatic forces and wear. Yet there are some things we can do to keep our joints healthier. My next blog post will address step 1 of 5 things you can do to defy aging and keep your joints young!

Concussion and Kids in Sports

Concussions discussion has becoming increasingly common, especially with the discussion about football, particularly among school-age athletes. It has been estimated that there are up to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year. Concussions are a problem. By definition, a concussion is trauma to the brain. A concussion injury literally jolts the brain, either by a direct or indirect blow, causing one’s brain to bounce against the bony inside walls of the skull. The force of the blow directly determines the degree and extent of brain cell damage. Importantly, any person can experience a concussion from having sustained a blow to the head, even a blow to the head that doesn’t seem to cause concussion symptoms.

Recent research has shown that children playing tackle football, for every one year younger the individual started playing tackle football, it predicted the early onset of behavioral and mood problems by 2.5 years and cognitive problems by 2.4 years. This means they experienced earlier problems with memory and planning and organizing skills, they had emotional problems, and they struggled with depression and aggression much earlier in life than those players that started tackle football later.

In 2013, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) issued its latest update on the Evaluation and Management of Concussion in Sports. The update, representing a summary of evidence-based guidelines, referenced several standardized symptom checklists including the Standardized Assessment of Concussion and the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale/Graded Symptom Checklist, both of which had moderate to high sensitivity and specificity in identifying sports-related concussions when administered soon after a suspected concussion. In 2013, the AAN also published Concussion During Sports Activities, a summary of evidence-based guidelines for patients and their families. The AAN documents note that concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, double vision, confusion, sensitivity to light or sound, and nausea and vomiting. Signs of a concussion that others can observe include slurred speech, changes in balance and coordination, a blank stare, and behavior and personality changes.

Concussion resolution may be evaluated by use of standardized checklists and return to age-matched normative values regarding cognitive performance and physiological function, as well as neurocognitive testing. An athlete who has sustained a concussion should not return to play/practice until her or his physician has assessed that the athlete is asymptomatic, the concussion has resolved, and the athlete is off medication.

Even before one’s concussion has resolved, chiropractic care can provide substantial assistance. A blow to the head involves trauma to the neck vertebras (cervical spine) and regional muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As well, an injury significant enough to cause a concussion can also cause damage to the spinal nerves in the neck. Such trauma can cause nerve irritation and interfere with the normal motion of the cervical spine. Spinal dysfunction and nerve irritation/interference can then cause a range of pain symptoms and altered physiological function, not only in the neck and shoulder region but also in other locations and other systems such as the gastrointestinal, immune, and endocrine systems.

By beginning or continuing regular chiropractic care once concussion symptoms have resolved, a post-concussion patient can obtain treatment that will help ensure that her or his spinal column and nerve system are functioning at peak capacity. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps post-concussion patients achieve and maintain optimal levels of health and well-being. Call us today for your appointment at 541-343-4343 with Eugene Chiropractor Dr. Garreth MacDonald.

References:

 

  1. Alosco ML, et. al. Age of first exposure to tackle football and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Ann Neurol. 2018 Apr 30. doi: 10.1002/ana.25245. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Broglio SP, et al: National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion. J Athletic Train 49(2):245-265, 2014
  3. American Academy of Neurology: Update: Evaluation and Management of Concussion in Sports, 2013 — https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/GetGuidelineCo…
  4. American Academy of Neurology: Concussion During Sports Activities: Summary of Evidence-based Guidelines to Patients and Their Families, 2013 — https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/GetGuidelineCo…

Motor Vehicle Accidents Part 1: Common Spine Injuries

Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs) are a common cause of spine injuries. You will often hear specific phrases such as whiplash, herniated discs, and vertebral fractures in relation to neck, midback, and low back pain. But what do these mean?

Whiplash

Whiplash is a general term associated with the motion of the neck during a car accident. The sudden impact force will cause a rapid back and forth motion of the neck, like a whip. Whiplash can cause several different types of injuries such as: -Sprained ligaments of the spine -Strained tendons and muscles of the muscles in and around your neck -Herniated discs -Vertebral fractures -Concussions

You can also experience a myriad of symptoms such as: -Dizziness -Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) -Blurred vision -Headaches -Neck pain and stiffness -Pain/Numbness/Tingling in the shoulders/arms/and or hands -Sleep disturbances and more

Whiplash may be a basic term, but it can absolutely be the the cause of much more serious injuries. It is important to ALWAYS get checked out after an MVA to determine the severity of injuries.

Herniated Discs

The vertebral discs lie between the vertebrae of your spine and act as shock absorbers between the bones. The impact of an MVA can likely cause one or more of these discs to tear or slip. When injury to the disc occurs, it can protrude into your vertebral canal, which can cause pressure on your spinal cord or nerves that run alongside your spine. This can result in any or any combination of the following symptoms: -Pain ranging from mild to severe in intensity -Muscle weakness -Decreased range of motion -Radiating pain into your arms or legs -Numbness -Tingling and more

Vertebral Fracture

At times, the force of a collision can be great enough to actually fracture one of more vertebrae in your spine. It is imperative to seek out treatment as immediate diagnosis and proper treatment can be all the difference in safely recovering from a vertebrae fracture.

If you have been in a car accident and are experiencing pain, your best chance at a full recovery is directly related to being properly diagnosed and treated according to the injuries sustained. I have years of experience in rehabilitative techniques for auto-injuries, and our very own Dr. Garreth MacDonald is “Eugene’s auto injury expert”™. We are well equipped to handle your needs! Call today, 541-343-4343!

Marianne Bryce

Kinesiologist

Cascade Health Center

Three Exercises to Relieve Mid Back Pain

Hello all!

I have recently had an influx of patients with one problem in common – Mid Back (thoracic spine) pain. I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few exercises to help alleviate some of these symptoms.

1. Seated Thoracic Extension: Being seated near the edge of a chair. Place your hands behind your ears and begin to arch your back as you open up your elbows and lift your rib cage. You want to get a good squeeze in your shoulder blades and hold this position for 2-5 seconds before relaxing back to a normal seated position. Repeat 5-10 times, as needed.

2. Pec Stretch: Standing next to a doorway, place your elbow parallel to the floor at a 90 degree angle (pictured). Step forward with the foot closest to the door jam. Make sure you are facing straight ahead and have your chest lifted. Hold for 10-15 seconds and step back to a normal position. Repeat this stretch 2 more times before flipping to the other side and repeating the move 3 times for 10-15 seconds each.

3. Shoulder Shrugs: These can be performed while seated or standing. Bring your shoulders up to your ears and hold for 2 seconds. Roll them backward and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 2-3 seconds before relaxing back to normal. You can add a third move in which you grasp your hands behind your back and pull them downward for 2-3 seconds (as pictured). Repeat shoulder shrugs up to 10 times.

Disclaimer: These exercises are not intended to diagnose any medical condition or replace a healthcare professional. If you feel pain while performing these exercises, PLEASE take the time to be seen by Dr. Garreth MacDonald and undergo a consult with me to best serve your needs.

Have a great week!

Marianne Bryce

Kinesiologist

Cascade Health Center