Proper Ergonomics While Commuting

Sitting in cramped cars, trains or planes for long periods of time can be the recipe for muscle aches and pains. Taking a few simple precautions can make traveling fun and pain-free.

“Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “Even if you travel in the most comfortable car or opt to fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow and pain.” The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) offers the following health and wellness advice:

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles. Fight the pains and strains of travel before they’ve got you saying “I need Dr. Kotzan!”.
In the car:
· Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible (yet allowing proper airbag clearance). Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips.
· Consider a back support.
· Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort.
· Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
In an airplane:
· Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat.
· While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps.
· Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
Safe travel for children:
· Make sure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child.
· Car seats for infants should always face the rear.
· Car seats should always be placed in the back seat of the car-ideally in the center.

If you do experience pain and stress on your back from traveling, call Dr. Kotzan to naturally help alleviate stress, tension, and the aches and pains that often accompany them and offer you advice on exercise and nutrition.

To The Best Of Travels,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Get Quality Sleep–Here’s How…

Many health problems are simply due to fatigue. Getting enough rest recharges and renews our bodies for the next day’s challenges.
With all of the stress of normal day life, rest often takes the backseat. But sleep is critical to good health and functioning. As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleep problems-without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) offers the following health and wellness advice:
General Sleeping Tips
· Exercise regularly. Working out in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime.
· Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea. Try to avoid them altogether late in the day and near bedtime.
· If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).
· Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you’ve eaten.
· Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. The routine will help your body know when it is time to rest.
· Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature and try to make it as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed.
Useful Mattress Tips
· A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps between your body and your mattress (such as at the waist), you’re not getting the full support that you need.
· Every few months, turn your mattress clockwise, or upside down, so that body indentations are kept to a minimum.
· Be aware that changes in your life (weight loss or gain, a new spouse, etc.) can signal the need for a new mattress.
Useful Pillow Tips
After investing in a quality mattress, don’t forget to choose an equally supportive pillow. A good pillow will keep the cervical (neck) section of the spine aligned with the thoracic and lumbar (chest and lower back) sections. The sections move together and should be supported together.
· Be wary of pillows that are made out of mushy foam materials. Choose firmer foam and materials that press back and support the head.
· There is no such thing as a universal fit when it comes to pillows. Find one that is consistent with the shape and size of your body. Your doctor of chiropractic can help alleviate stress, tension, and the aches and pains that often accompany them naturally, and offer you advice on exercise and nutrition, so you can enjoy a quality night’s sleep.

Here’s To Better Sleep,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Be Smart With Winter Sports

Enjoy winter fun? Then follow these tips to help you fight back the winter weather injuries:

Derek Parra (Olympic speedskater gold and silver medalist) and the American Chiropractic Association suggest that you start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. And then:
Skiing – do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
Skating – do lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
Sledding/tobogganing – do knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.

Don’t forget cool-down stretching for all of these sports – At the bottom of the sledding hill, for instance, before trudging back up, do some more
knees-to-chest stretches, or repetitive squatting movements to restore flexibility.

See you on the slopes,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Health Savings Accounts

Happy 2010! As you create your health goals for this year, don’t forget about your health savings accounts:

Many people have Flexible Spending Accounts and don’t know the details of the program. This program allows employees and employers to contribute money, tax-free, into an account for health care expenses for the designated year. Chiropractic treatments and supplies purchased in the office may be paid with money from these accounts. At the end of the designated year, the unused portion of the money from these accounts is lost. Therefore, it should be carefully considered how much money should be allocated into these accounts…and even more importantly, to actually spend all the money that was allocated. Most companies allow a three-month extension beyond December 31st for their employees to spend money from their 2009 designated amounts. Come use it or lose it!

Wishing you a new year filled with bountiful health,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Holiday Gift Certificates For Better Health

There is absolutely no better way to ensure that your friends and family get a wholesome holiday gift this year than to give the gift of better health (and who needs another coffee mug or fruit cake quite honestly???). Gift Certificates are available for multiple forms of health care at Kotzan Chiropractic, including any of the following services you choose: an initial exam for a first-time patient, chiropractic treatments, Active Release Technique treatments, and massage therapy sessions. Certificates are available in any denomination and are good for a year after purchase.

Serving Your Holiday Health Needs,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

New Shelving Offers Plenty Of Health Products!

New Shelving

New Shelving

We recently installed new shelving in the office that now allows us to carry many of the products for which you have been wanting and asking. The shelving looks great and the products look even better. The following products we carry make fantastic Holiday Gift Ideas for family and friends in need of ways to restore better health:

–Foam Rollers (Helps Stretch Tight Muscles)
–Vitamins/Omega3 Fatty Acids/Joint Relief Formula
–TheraCane (For Stretching Muscle Knots)
–Foam Balance Pads (Strengthens the Ankle/Improves Balance)
–Cryoderm (Cold Spray for Pain/Inflammation)
–Therapy Balls (For Stretching or Strengthening)
–Antifungal Solution (For Nail Fungal Problems)
–Gift Certificates For Chiropractic Care
–Gift Certificates For Massages

Come See The Products,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

In Thanksgiving For Great Health!

Thank you for an absolutely fantastic year. Just as I have touched your life in some way, I thank you for the role you play in mine. I’m an extremely lucky person to have gotten to work with you, to share many laughs with you, and to continuously learn from you. This Thanksgiving season, as always, I thank you for your patronage and friendship.

In Thanks To Providing Your Service,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Cramps–Causes and Prevention

What is a Cramp?
A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle, part of a muscle, or several muscles that usually act together. If the spasm is forceful and sustained, it becomes a cramp. Most people describe a muscle cramp as a feeling of tightness in the muscle; it’s not unusual to feel a lump of hard muscle tissue underneath the skin in the vicinity of the cramp. During a spasm or cramp, it may be painful, or even difficult, to use the affected muscle or muscle group. Cramps and spasms can affect any muscle, even those affiliated with the body’s various organs; however, they are most common in the calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, and lower back occur frequently, as well.
Many Possible Cramp Causes
Common as they are and painful as they can be, a shroud of mystery surrounds the cause of muscle spasms and cramps. Some researchers believe that inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue lead to cramps. According to the University of Michigan, other possible factors include a low level of fitness, overexertion (especially in intense heat), stress, and depletion of electrolytes through excess sweating or dehydration. Certain diuretic medications can also cause cramping due to a loss of sodium, potassium and magnesium.
Prevention
As with any health condition, it is always best to prevent muscle cramps or spasms-especially if you tend to develop them. Consider altering your diet and lifestyle by incorporating the following suggestions:
1. Take steps to improve your diet. Eliminate sugar and caffeine from the diet, and increase consumption of fiber and protein. In addition, increase consumption of calcium- and magnesium-rich foods, such as green leafy vegetables, yogurt, legumes, whole grains, tofu, and Brazil nuts. High-potassium foods may also be helpful, including bananas, avocados, lima beans, and fish.
2. Before and after you exercise, stretch muscle groups that tend to cramp.
3. Incorporate strengthening exercises into your fitness routine.
4. Avoid dehydration. To prevent dehydration, consume plenty of fluids and foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables.
5. Avoid excess sodium and soda (high in phosphoric acid), as they can leach calcium.
6. Avoid chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol, which can interfere with magnesium absorption.
7. Improve your posture. For example, you may have mid-back spasms after sitting at a computer desk for too long in an awkward position.
Written by American Chiropractic Association writer Angela Kargus

In Prevention of Cramps,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Happy Halloween!

One of people’s favorite fall-time activities happens right up to your door on Halloween. Every year I get asked for healthy snack ideas to distribute to eager youngsters instead of sugar-ridden candy. Here are a few ideas I thought about:

–Individually wrapped granola bars
–String cheese
–Sugar-free gum packets
–Colored pencils
–Individually wrapped packets of raisins
–Packets of hot chocolate
–Individually wrapped packets of peanuts
–100% fruit juice boxes
–Individual sugar-free fruit cups.

–Happy Hauntings!–
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC