South Orange Chiropractic Center

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60 1st St  |  South Orange, NJ 07079  |  973-761-0022

Articles in Category: Exercise

Building Your Core Strength - Why & How

Building Your Core Strength - Why & How
Published Tuesday, 04 June 2019

When you think about core strength, you envision a flat stomach or six-pack abs. However, core strength goes far beyond looking good in a swimsuit and focuses on more than the abdominal muscles. Our core consists of multiple layers of muscles and not just the abdominals.

What Is the “Core?”

When you hear “core strength,” your mind likely goes straight to that image of a bikini-clad woman in an ad for the latest ab gadget infomercial. While she may, in fact, have a strong core, there are many more components to core strength beyond having washboard abdominals.

The core muscles are found in multiple layers and include muscles in the hips, lower back, chest, and of course, abdominals. These muscles act as stabilizers, allowing you to move and balance properly.

Benefits of Developing and Maintaining a Strong Core

There are many life-improving benefits to having a strong core, from preventing falls to reducing back pain and many points between. Some of the more important benefits are:

Balance and Stability: Your core’s primary function is to stabilize your trunk and offer a strong functional base for your arms and legs, which do a more dynamic movement. A strong core at its most basic function allows you to walk, sit, get up from sitting, lay down flat, and get up with ease.

Injury Prevention: Research has shown that people with increased core stability have a lower risk of injury. The increased strength in the core muscles provides protection against injury to the spine in everyday situations.

Pain Reduction: A body that is held in proper alignment by strong core muscles will be less prone to back and neck pain. A weak core forces other muscles that aren’t suited for the job to jump in and compensate, which can cause further instability, muscle strains, and pain – most commonly the lower back.

Better Posture - Better Breathing: A strong core helps you hold your body in good alignment, which over time lessens the wear and tear on other muscles. Good posture also allows for better, deeper breathing.

Strength and Speed in Sports and Other Exercises: Beyond the basics of helping you easily move throughout your day without fear of injury, having a strong core can help you perform better in sports and other exercises. A strong core can help you run faster, move better overall, and even lift heavier weight - helping you be more efficient in the sport overall.

Basic Moves to Improve Core Strength

As we’ve established, core strength goes beyond the abdominals alone, so to develop core strength, you’ll need to go beyond the standard “ab exercises” of crunches or sit-ups. Here are a few basic full core exercises that you can do at home:

Plank Holds: Place your forearms on the ground, with elbows in line with the shoulders, and arms parallel to your body, shoulder with apart. Push toes into the floor, squeeze your glutes, and stabilize yourself with your head, back, and legs in line. Hold for 20-30-60 seconds as you become more comfortable.

Hollow Body Hold: Lying down on your back with your arms overhead, contract your abdominals, pushing your belly button to your spine. Slowly raise your shoulders and legs up from the ground.

Refer to this video for a detailed demonstration:

Side Planks: Beginning in the plank position, rotate your body so that you are resting on one arm and foot, the body now perpendicular to the floor. Keep your middle tight as you hold your body straight in this position. Repeat with the other side.

Bird Dog: From the plank position, reach one arm straight out in front of you and the opposite leg straight out behind you, stretching and stabilizing, keeping your trunk still and straight.

Refer to this video for reference on these three exercises:

Single Leg Glute Bridge: Lying on your back with both heels close to your bottom, knees up. Extend one leg, and squeezing the glutes, raise your hips to parallel with your knees, keeping both hips even.

Refer to this video for reference:

Superman Hold: Lying face down with arms stretched out overhead (as if you are flying like Superman), squeeze your glutes and back to raise your chest and legs off the floor. Keep your head neutral, looking down. Release and repeat.

Refer to this video for reference:

Of course, if you have any questions about if any of these exercises are appropriate for you, would like to discuss modifications or alternatives to these exercises, or you’re wondering how core strength can benefit you specifically, connect with us at South Orange Chiropractic Center.

Make an appointment today!

How Athletes Excel with Chiropractic Care

How Athletes Excel with Chiropractic Care
Published Monday, 29 October 2018

Athletes spend their lives training— for competitions, games, races, and events. The term athlete does not just cover those in high school, college, or professional sports; it also refers to people who work out on a regular basis, play on recreation league teams, and compete in organized events like 5Ks and Marathons.

If you find yourself in one of the categories above, you may find that regular chiropractic care will not only benefit you, but help you to excel at your chosen sport. Here are some ways chiropractors take care of athletes and help them to perform better.

Keeping Both Sides Of The Body Strong

Something often seen in athletes is one side of the body becoming stronger than the other. Typically we have a dominant side; it’s the side that’s stronger and steadier than the other side.

When one side works harder than the other it has more stress put on it, enhancing the risk of injury. The chiropractor can help to keep your sides symmetrical by ensuring that both sides are as flexible and limber as possible. This will keep you more balanced and allows both sides of your body to work equally.

Injury Avoidance

Chiropractic care can be preventative, not just healing. When your spine is not compressed and your joints and limbs are loose, you can help them work at their full potential.

Athletes specifically can have small adjustments done that will prevent future injuries that could take them out of the game. Chiropractic care goes far beyond just adjustments, and your chiropractor will use a variety of techniques that will also allow you to recover more quickly from soreness related to physical activity.

Injury Recovery

No matter what the injury, chiropractic care can truly help to get you back in the game! When you are injured, your muscles seize up to protect your skeleton. When you take the time off that’s necessary for recovery, you’ll probably find that your joints, ligaments, and spine will tighten up, too.

Chiropractors can help to realign your spine and loosen your joints, ligaments, and tendons, getting you back in action faster than ever.

Your Chiropractic Visit

When you go to the chiropractor, it is important you choose someone with good credentials and reputation. Your chiropractor will ask for a detailed health history as well ask many questions about what brings you to the office, whether it’s to treat an injury or to engage in preventative treatment.

Make sure you’re honest with your chiropractor about your level of activity as well as your training regime. Don’t expect all the work to be done during your visit. Your chiropractor will give you homework in the form of stretches and exercises to do in between treatments.

No matter the stage in their career or the stage of life they are in, athletes are always looking for a way to get ahead of the competition— even if that competition is themselves. Chiropractic care can help you to excel in your sport of choice. If you’re looking to enhance your athletic capability, come talk to the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Care today. Our doctors have a wealth of information and services to share to keep your overall health, wellness, and competitive spirit at optimal levels.

Common Types of Knee Pain and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Address the Root Cause of the Pain & Discomfort

Common Types of Knee Pain and How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Published Monday, 15 October 2018

Knee pain is, unfortunately, all too common and often ignored. Everyone from professional athletes to the weekend warrior tells themselves to just “power through the pain.” Some people think when it comes to knee pain it is just something you have to deal with as you get older. Knee pain can exist for a wide variety of reasons, and identifying the root cause instead of just masking the discomfort can lead to better outcomes and improved function.

You don’t have to just live with the pain, and it isn’t a natural consequence of getting older. If you are having knee pain, one way to rehabilitate is to see a chiropractor. Here’s why...

What Causes of Knee Pain?

If you are athletic, whether you enjoy playing sports or you exercise on a regular basis, knee injuries are commonplace. Your knee carries a great deal of body weight and absorbs the force of our movements. Since the knee joint is flexible, they can become hyperextended if you happen to make a wrong move.

Direct injury to the knee in a fall or accident could also be the cause of chronic knee pain. Other reasons for knee pain are diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis.

What are the Symptoms of Knee Pain?

If you notice the following symptoms in your knee or knees,, they could be signs that you need to seek medical treatment for an injury or illness:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Weakness and instability
  • Popping noises during movement
  • Inability to fully straighten your knee

Many times our first inclination is to go to a family medicine doctor for something that will reduce the pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, these approaches often just mask an underlying condition that, unless it is addressed, will continue to cause pain, swelling and discomfort. Chiropractors are trained to assess the overall function of the knee and can use chiropractic adjustments and exercises to address the underlying condition and reduce pain without resorting to potentially harmful medications.  

What Can A Chiropractor Do For Knee Pain?

All Chiropractors will take a detailed health history, and if you are being seen for knee pain, they will want to know when the pain started, as well as possible causes. It’s likely that your chiropractor will ask you to walk a few lengths of the office or hallway to establish the kind of stress and pressure you put on your knee when you walk. This will help them to determine a plan of treatment.

Next, through joint manipulation and massage, they will get your knee back into alignment. This may take several visits, but it will definitely take work from you at home as well. The chiropractor will likely go over stretching you can do a few times a day to help get your knee healthy.

There may also be footwear recommendations to help keep your knee in the correct position to walk well. Lastly, different exercises might need to be performed each day to increase the strength in your knee.

Your knees are very important, and a chiropractor can help with this and other joint pain. Sometimes being overweight can cause undue stress on your knees as well. Often losing weight can help significantly with knee pain. When you lose weight there is less stress on the knees when walking and through exercise, stretching, and treatment, you can substantially improve the well-being of your knees.

South Orange Chiropractic Center doctors can help you with knee pain, spine and neck misalignment, and your overall health. Call our offices today to schedule your appointment to talk about your knee pain or any other pain or discomfort you may have.

4 Natural Ways to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Choices That You Can Control

4 Natural Ways to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Published Monday, 01 October 2018

Modern medicine has taught us that it is not just the unlucky few who get cancer, and not only those who have a genetic predisposition to it. It has been made clear that our lifestyle choices that can also significantly enhance our chances of getting cancer. And only lifestyle choices are within our control.

While making different, healthier lifestyle choices cannot guarantee that a cancer diagnosis isn’t in your future, informed choices now can impact the overall lifetime risk. The following are five healthy lifestyle decisions you can make today that may help reduce your risk of breast cancer tomorrow.

Reducing The Risk of Breast Cancer Tip #1: Keep A Healthy Weight

Both men and women can be diagnosed with breast cancer, but it is more commonly diagnosed in women than men. As a general rule, keeping your weight at a healthy level will improve your overall health and wellness, but it will also reduce the extra fat tissue that increases estrogen levels. A higher lifetime exposure to estrogen has been shown to increase the risk of breast and other types of cancer. Body-fat, especially fat around the mid-section is biologically active and actually produces estrogen in both men and women! Luckily this type of belly-fat responds well to even small increases in physical activity, but aim for 30 or more minutes of exercise on most days of the week.

Reducing The Risk of Breast Cancer Tip #2: Quit Smoking and Drink Less

For premenopausal women, there is increasing evidence that shows the risk of breast cancer goes up if you are a smoker. Quitting altogether is recommended for everyone, but particularly those who are at increased risk of cancer. Studies are suggesting that limiting your intake of alcohol to one per day, or one any time you drink, poses less risk than consuming multiple alcoholic beverages at a time.

Reducing The Risk of Breast Cancer Tip #3: Move More & Limit Chair Time

Getting regular exercise can be difficult, especially for anyone who sits at a desk all day, and for those who have kids and other commitments after work. As we age, it can become increasingly difficult to get up out of bed early and exercise before work as well. Getting at least 300 minutes of exercise each week is the recommendation to reduce your risks of cancer, but there are other things you can do to make sure sitting all day isn’t unnecessarily harming your health.

If your situation would allow for it, try a standing desk instead of a sitting one. Standing desks are much better for your overall health and will keep your body a little more active during the day by engaging the core muscles. You could also try sitting on a yoga ball instead of a chair. This also keeps your core engaged and your muscles engaged and can even increase your concentration.

Reducing The Risk of Breast Cancer Tip #4: More Plants, Less Meat

A good rule of thumb when adjusting your diet is to incorporate a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits. These color pigments are actually called flavonoids. They contain anticancer properties. So the more colorful your plate is at each meal, the better you are doing to reduce your risk of breast cancer naturally.

Limiting your overall consumption of meat, especially grilled red meat or processed meat, is highly recommended. Both grilled red meat and processed meat products have been shown to contain carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties. Here are some more helpful suggestions for risk-reducing dietary changes:

Eat These Foods More:

  • Variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Foods rich in fiber such as whole grains, legumes, and beans
  • Low-fat dairy, or nut-based milk
  • Vitamin D rich foods (fish, eggs)
  • Spices with anti-inflammatory properties (turmeric, etc.)
  • omega-3 fatty acids (reduce Omega-6)

Eat Less of These Foods/Drinks:

  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Bad Fats (hydrogenated oils, trans fats)
  • Red meat (especially grilled)
  • Soybean-based products (contain estrogen properties)

For more information on natural ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer, call the doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center. They will be happy to help you find ways to improve your overall health and wellness.

Weekend Warrior Pain: When Should You See A Professional

Photo by Niv Rozenberg on Unsplash
Published Thursday, 05 July 2018

You work hard Monday through Friday with little time to spare, so you use the weekends to get in that all-important physical activity. Whether it be a workout class, running, hiking, water sports, biking, home renovations, yard work, or anything else you exert yourself doing on the weekends, you make sure to use those 48 hours to the fullest.

You are a weekend warrior.

Here’s the good news-- according to researchers at Loughborough University in England, packing in all the activity you get in a week into Saturday and Sunday decreases your risk of death almost the same amount as people who exercise regularly throughout the week.

Here’s the not so good news-- according to Dr. Hepinstall, an orthopedic surgeon in New York City, “From an orthopaedic perspective, it should be noted that ‘weekend warriors’ who participate in high impact sport may be vulnerable to injuries if they participate in activities for which they are not adequately conditioned. A balanced approach to exercise and fitness is always wise.”

Weekend warrior, are you in pain?

Packing a lot of physical activity into one or two days each week can leave your muscles and joints sore. But what kind of aches and pains are normal and what kind should you seek professional help for?

Normal Pain

When exerting your body, you should expect some pain. Especially if it is during a workout, or a hike, or any activity where you are pushing your physical limits. Pain should be short-lived and cease when you are done doing the activity causing it.

Soreness is expected after stressing your muscles in anything they are not used to doing. If you were doing yard work all day Saturday, you can expect to be sore on Sunday. If you were hammering above your head doing a remodel on your home for hours on Sunday, your arms and hands will be sore on Monday.

Soreness starts a couple hours after you’ve stopped doing the activity that causes it. It likely will peak within 1-2 days of the activity and then start to ease. If it does not, then it is likely not soreness you are experiencing but bad pain.

Abnormal Pain

Sore muscles, joints, or areas of your body that do not get better when you have not done the exercise or activity for a few days may be pain, not soreness. It could mean a hurt muscle, joint, or bone.

If an area is swelling, like your knee, this can indicate you’ve hurt a tendon. Take this very seriously and make sure you rest and ice the area. You can put ice on an area (under a cloth so you do not cold burn the skin) for 20 minutes on 20 minutes off.

Limping or pain at night might be caused by bone issues. If you have a stress fracture, a hairline fracture or even a break from activity you might not be able to use the finger, wrist, leg, hand, etc. normally, resulting in a limp or non-use.

If you have any of these issues, make sure you do not participate in the exercise or activity that caused the issue again until it is fully resolved. Stretching, icing, or massage may all help. If the pain still does not cease, it is wise to contact your healthcare provider.

Anytime you have serious pain that you cannot walk, you pull a muscle and get a bruise, or experience any head injury, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Weekend Warriors can often benefit from regular treatment by a chiropractor. Massages and adjustments can help keep your body functioning to its full potential each week. The doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center are here to help. Call our offices for more information about how we can keep your weekend warrior status a positive one!

Pain Relief for People on Their Feet All Day

Pain Relief for People on Their Feet All Day
Published Thursday, 15 March 2018

There are so many jobs and careers which require employees to stand for 8+ hours in a row. Even those with jobs requiring standing in shorter shifts know how difficult it can be on the body to stand for so long.

Servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff are constantly on their feet moving around. Retail associates almost never have a chance to sit down. Factory workers and other people who work in manufacturing jobs can stand in the same spot for hours on end with only minutes to take a break.

These kinds of physical, manual labor can wreak havoc on people’s backs, knees, hips, ankles, and feet. Here are some ways people who work on their feet all day can combat the physical aches, pains, and injuries associated with high amounts of standing.

Tip to Reduce Pain #1: Exercise

Exercise for Back Pain Relief

As with so many other ailments, exercise is the first step in making your body feel better. Exercising to strengthen the back muscles and core muscles will help keep you standing stronger for longer without pain. Use yoga poses to ease the aches and pains associated with standing on your feet all day.

End of Day Poses:

  • Legs up the wall - Lie down on the floor next to a wall, put your feet up the wall, and straighten your legs. Start with just a few minutes, eventually working up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Knee to chest - Lie down on your back and pull one knee at a time up to your chest. Hold here for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Figure Four - Lie down on your back, pull your right foot over your left knee, then raise your left leg toward your chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

During the Day Poses:

  • Standing Half Moon Pose - Reach your arms to the ceiling and interlace your fingers. Lean to the right for 10-15 seconds, then lean to the left for 10-15 seconds
  • Tree Pose - While standing, place your left foot onto your right leg at about thigh level, and balance there. Then do the same thing with your right foot on your left leg.
  • Standing Forward Fold - Standing, bend at the waist and reach toward the floor, then roll up one vertebrae at a time, until standing straight again.

Tip to Reduce Pain #2: What to Wear

A good pair of shoes can help reduce back and leg pain

A good pair of shoes is a life saver for anyone who is on their feet all day. Everyone has had the experience of wearing an uncomfortable shoes at a party or event where you are on your feet a lot, and how much that hurts at the end of the day. If you have the kind of job where standing for hours on end happens every day, you cannot afford to have an uncomfortable pair of shoes. Make sure to check with the recommendations of the shoes you buy as to how often they need to be replaced for maximum comfort and support.

Compression socks or compression hose can be very beneficial for those on their feet all day as well. These socks or hose prevent blood from pooling in the legs or feet, which can cause discomfort. They also reduce your risk of blood clots.

Tip to Reduce Pain #3: What to Stand On

An anti-fatigue mat can be helpful for those who stand on their feet all day.

Some jobs requiring standing all day also have people walking and moving, so there is not constant pressure on your back, legs, and feet. However, if you work in a factory, teach classes, or even cook on a kitchen line, you may stand in a very small space for long periods of time. In this case, it might be worth looking into getting an anti-fatigue mat or mats. These mats add cushion to concrete and other unforgiving floors. Less pressure on your back, knees, and feet will allow you to stand for longer without feeling pain and fatigue.

If you stand on your feet all day long to make a living, call our team of doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center for more ideas on how to reduce the pain, and see how chiropractic care can benefit you.

6 Easy Exercises to Help Relieve Sciatica Pain

6 Easy Exercises to Help Relieve Sciatica Pain
Published Thursday, 01 February 2018

If you’ve ever experienced Sciatica Pain, you know it, though you may not have known what to call it at the time. Researchers estimate that 43 percent of the population will experience this pain at some point during their lives. Sciatica pain comes from the lower back, and travels down through the buttock into one or both legs. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and therefore can produce serious pain down your entire body, even into your toes. You may experience pain in the form of tingling, numbness or weakness in your lower back, buttock, legs, and toes.

There are many different treatments for sciatica pain:

  • Pain medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Massage therapy

However, taking pain medication or having injections can disrupt your day to day life as well as your overall health. Thankfully, there are some easy exercises you can do regularly to help manage your pain.

Knees to Chest

For this exercise, lay down flat on your back, and slowly hug your knees to your chest for 30 seconds. Try repeating this three times in a row a couple of times a day.

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Modified Cobra Stretch

To do a cobra stretch, lie on your stomach with your legs together and extended, toes pointing. Rest your forearms and palms on the floor close to your body. Then push up from your palms to partially straighten your elbows, bringing your chest and stomach up off the floor. Hold this pose for five seconds before laying back down on the floor. Repeat this up to ten times.

Royalty Free Cobra Pose Pictures Images and Stock Photos iStock

Seated Spinal Twist

Sit up with your legs out in front of you on the floor. Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the outside of your left knee. Twist your body toward the right. Hold this for 15-30 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side.

13 Twister slide edit

Low Lunge

Step your right leg out in front of you and bend your knee to a 90 degree angle. Place your left knee on the ground. The top of your left foot should be flat against the ground. Lift your torso and put your hands on your right thigh. Make sure to keep your right knee from going over your toes, lifting your torso to feel the stretch in your hips. Keep this position for thirty seconds. Then switch to do the same thing with your left leg forward and bent with knee over ankle, and right leg behind you on the ground. To feel an extra stretch, raise your arms straight above your body, with your elbows close to your ears.


Pigeon Pose

This yoga pose is especially helpful for sciatica pain. Bring your right leg out in front of you, and left leg flat on the ground, like you would for a low lunge. Then take your right foot, calf, and knee to the ground. Your right foot should be next to your left arm. Slowly lay yourself down on your forearms, feeling the stretch in your right thigh. Hold here for 30 seconds and repeat with the left leg in front and on the floor, and your right leg behind you.


Foam Roller- Hip Rotator

If you are feeling pain in your hips and buttock, implementing the use of a foam roller is a great way to relieve the sciatic pain. Sit on the foam roller with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Put your right hand on the floor behind you, leaning back slightly. Next, cross your right leg over your left thigh. Roll back and forth, supporting yourself with your right hand and left foot. Do this for 30-60 seconds, and then repeat crossing your left leg over your right thigh.


The doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center can help you manage and relieve your sciatic nerve pain with regular chiropractic adjustments. Contact us today to get natural pain relief and start living a life of improved health and wellness.

[VIDEO] Chiropractic for Sports Performance

Published Thursday, 16 November 2017

Click here to watch this video on YouTube!

Video Transcript

Dr. Stephen Levine:

So, part of my background as a certified chiropractic sports physician, I spent years working with athletes. I worked up at Seton Hall University back in the '90's. We saw a lot of track and field people. Not just track and field, but most athletes would come in with a complaint saying that, "Doc, I'm getting these hamstring pulls, or a groin pull. But it's always on the same side. Why is that?" You can treat it at the training room, but if we're not getting to the cause of the problem, which might be maybe one hip's higher than the other, and if the hip's higher than the other, maybe it's compressing the nerve from the spine.

So, the nerve, which exits out of the lower back, will affect the function of the muscles. So, when we take an x-ray, we take an x-ray standing up, not lying down, because I want to see posturally what's going on, and if one hip comes up higher, it's compressing the nerves on one side. And these are the nerves that go into the quads, the hamstrings, the calves and that's why regardless of your sport. We're all that weekend athlete or competing, or just training on our own. Why is one side getting tighter? It might be this, or it might be the pelvis is rotated, and we can see that on film. We can measure the nerve function, and as a result we can come up with a solution.


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