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Dr. Clay's Health Blog


How to Stretch with Your Spine in Mind

Optimal Health & Wellness Center takes the time to educate our patients in ways that they can take care of their back and spine. A big part of providing comprehensive chiropractic care is providing preventive medicine, which means educating the public about ways they can practice self-care that might help them avoid injury in the future.

Stretching is a good way to keep your body flexible and limber. It's also a fantastic activity for stress relief, and, under the right circumstances, can also help build strength and balance.

Read on for a few ways you can stretch for your spine health.

The Spine is Complicated

It's no secret that the spine is a vastly complex entity. Your spine is comprised of ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons -- all of which working together to move side to side, and front to back. Your spine is forced to carry the largest portion of your body weight -- which is a big reason why stretching your spine is crucial to keeping your body functioning at optimum capacity.

Stretching is a great way to keep your back muscles and ligaments flexible while reducing stress on the joints.  Stretching also improves blood flow and drives proper nutrient distribution throughout the entire body.

Best Stretching Techniques

Like anything else, there's a right way and a wrong way to stretch. You don't want to try to stretch too hard when you just start out. You also don't want to bounce your stretches -- it's better to slowly reach your desired position, then gently hold yourself there.

It's a good idea to start at the neck, then work your way downward, incorporating each muscle group. This helps ensure that you're utilizing stretch muscles for each part of your routine. Doing slow and controlled movements are best for your body. Pro tip: make sure that you practice conscious breathing, which will help deepen your stretch and increase mental wellness and relaxation.

What if Stretching Doesn't Solve My Back Pain?

If you experience an injury prior to or during your stretch routine, contact Optimal Health & Wellness Center today. We can help you treat lingering back pain and get to the root of the problem, instead of just treating the symptoms. We have a long track record of getting our patients back to peak wellness.


How to Handle Backpacks

Whether you're a child, a teen, a college student, or a person exploring academia at a later age, it's important to put a little bit of thought into what you're going to use to tote around your laptop and books.

Setting yourself up for success in the classroom involves studying the right material, making notecards for memorization, eating a healthy diet, staying active, but also taking care of your body by not putting undue stress on it, undue stress that can come about from carrying a cumbersome book bag (or, backpacks, as they are commonly called). 

Read on for a few things to keep in mind to make the right choice when it comes to backpacks.

Limit the Amount of Weight You Carry Around

Make sure that you only carry that which is essential in your book bag. Try to spring for a lightweight laptop -- as long as you don't sacrifice quality as a result. Choose paperback editions over hardcover. Try to only carry around about 10% of your weight.

Make Sure it Fits Snug

There's nothing worse for your spine than a loose, heavy book bag bouncing around as you walk to and fro throughout campus. Make sure that your backpack rests close to your body and that the weight doesn't pull you backward.

No More One-Straps

Maybe it's still the "cool" thing to do, but when you use a single strap bag or only decide to utilize one strap in order to carry your backpack, you end up putting a great deal of pressure on your back and spine. The smarter, better move is to more evenly distribute the weight of your backpack across both shoulders.

A few additional aspects to keep in mind is to use roller packs, if your school permits, as well as spring for a backpack with useful features, like waist straps, padded shoulder straps, and additional compartments.

If you're still unsure about which backpack to choose, consult your local chiropractor. Optimal Health & Wellness Center has a fantastic track record of keeping patients, happy, healthy, and well. Your health is always our primary concern!


How to Have a Keto Thanksgiving

As October has come to a close, many of us are trying to make our Thanksgiving Day plans. This might mean making a trek out of town, or it might mean having family members over to your neck of the woods. No matter which way you slice it, if you're on a ketogenic diet, it can be a real challenge to stick to it. Optimal Health & Wellness Center would like to go over a few foods you can have without sabotaging your results.

Read on for a few items that are still categorized as ketogenic, even though many of these appear commonly on the Thanksgiving dinner table, or are variations of popular classics.

Eat All the Turkey

Eating clean protein is a priority on the ketogenic diet, but so is eating foods high in good fats. That's why you'll want to focus on eating the dark meat, which is higher in fat. Try to get a turkey leg or two for good measure. If you remind everyone that you're on a special diet, you may get a few eye rolls, but, usually, people will give you a break. If you're going to lather that turkey with gravy, make sure that the gravy is sugar free.

Cauliflower Mash

Opt out of mashed potatoes, which are high in starch and carbs. Instead, opt for cauliflower mash and load it up with organic, grass-fed butter. It's delicious!

Low-Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake

You can make some pretty amazing creations with almond flour crust -- and pumpkin cheesecake (complete with cream cheese filling), will be very close to the original and still delicious on its own terms. You also won't have that heavy, carb-overload feeling after your meal.

Try some of these ideas and let us know what you end up creating in the comments! Contact Optimal Health & Wellness Center for more wellness and diet consultation.


3 Health Problems that Arise from Dehydration

Optimal Health & Wellness Center specializes in keeping our patients healthy and active. Sometimes that means providing chiropractic care that keeps our patients in the game of life and enjoying a higher quality of life. Sometimes it's helping provide health and wellness advice that aims to reach the same ends.

A big part of our job is making sure our patients are living healthy and active lifestyles. A big part of living a healthy lifestyle is staying hydrated.

Here's a staggering fact: about 75% of the population is not properly hydrated. Read on for a few reasons to stay on top of getting the requisite amount of water each day, which is 1/2 your body weight in ounces, by the way.

1.) Dehydration Causes Joint Pain

Since around 80% of the body's cartilage is made up of water, staying hydrated helps your joints stay lubricated and pliable. Your joints become compromised if you're not drinking plenty of water.

2.) Dehydration Kills Your Energy Levels

Dehydration causes all sorts of disruption in the body, even compromising the ability of your heart to pump blood and spread oxygen to your body's cells. Lack of hydration makes it impossible for your body to reach peak wellness.

3.) Dehydration is Bad for Your Back!

Dehydration has some serious negative effects that can even reach the discs of your spinal column, causing herniated discs.

So, next time you're thirsty, why don't you make it a water? And if you experience neck or back pain that persists, even in the face of living an active, healthy, hydrated life, we're always here to help you get back to 100% or better. Contact Optimal Health & Wellness Center today to schedule your consultation.


3 Reasons You Should Take Up Paddleboarding

Optimal Health & Wellness Center loves hearing about our patients getting after it and living active lives. One outdoor activity we heavily encourage (should the weather permit) is paddleboarding.

If you don't believe us, we'll discuss a few reasons you should get into paddleboarding below.

Optimal Health & Wellness Center is all about providing preventive medicine that will help patients steer clear of injury, which can really throw a spoke in your routine, even your career.

Because You'll Be Outdoors

Just the act of being outside (as long as you don't get overexposed to the sun) can brighten your day, your disposition, and give you crucial health benefits. It's true, studies have shown that outdoor activities like walking in the woods help improve your blood pressure, can boost your mental health, and even decrease your risk of getting cancer.

It's Good for Your Back!

Of course, our chiropractic adjustments often play a huge role in helping maintain your body, but so does exercising. Your back muscles need to stay active -- which will help you avoid injury. Paddleboarding in particular has been shown to activate core stabilizer muscles while engaging the back simultaneously.

Paddleboarding is Fun for the Entire Family

Paddleboarding is one of those all-inclusive activities that you can take the entire family out to enjoy -- well, everyone except the baby. Actually, we're sure there's a way for that, too -- just make sure it's safe. 

If you'd like to know any additional activities that come Optimal Health & Wellness approved, give us a call today. And, if you're experiencing any discomfort in your back, neck, leg, or any sort of headache, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We have an awesome track record of getting our patients back to 100%.



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