Palmetto Spinal Center, L.L.C.
Dr. Erik Younginer  |  drerik@drerikyounginer.com  |  (803) 799 - 7101

In the chiropractic profession, we analyze true health utilizing a scale composed of five pillars: 
Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, Mental State, and Nervous System Function.

Exercise:  The benefits of routine exercise are countless.  Some include increased immune function, weight control, stress relief, bone loss regeneration, elevated organ function, etc.  Your regime ideally should include a balance between cardiovascular work and resistance training.  

Nutrition:
  The old adage “you are what you eat” is true.  The fuel you choose for your body determines how well it can perform.  There are more published diets than you can imagine, but only those that teach moderation and promote ingesting large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables and high protein/low fat foods are worthy.

Sleep:  You hear eight hours a night as a guideline for necessary sleep.  This generally works for most people.  However, what is more important is whether you reach the deep stages of sleep for uninterrupted periods.  Some people also find that a brief midday nap works wonders for them.  When you sleep, your brain takes stock and goes through an inventory process while the rest of the body takes advantage of the time by replenishing itself.

Mental State: A positive frame of mind will not only help with encountering everyday life, but it serves to combat health issues as well and keep others at bay.  Plus, how much more others appreciate us when we are upbeat and positive should be incentive enough.

Nervous System:  The previous four pillars can usually be maintained on by ourselves.  This final one requires the aid of another, your chiropractor.  You must understand how your body works first to appreciate this.  There are eleven systems of the body (digestive, respiratory, endocrine, etc.).  Of these, the nervous system is the master controller since it contains the brain and  network of nerves to link to every organ, muscle, and gland.  The body can not reach its full potential without the nervous system functioning at an optimal level.  When there are points of irritation to the spinal nerve roots, anywhere those nerves reach can be compromised.  Your chiropractor analyzes your spine and its adjacent nerves to ensure these areas of irritation are removed.


                     
Pointers for Better Sleep

1.       Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. 
Why? This helps your body establish a sleep rhythm and makes it easier to fall asleep and awaken.

2.       Sleep in complete darkness or as close to complete darkness as is possible. Don't fall asleep with the TV on!
Why? When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of a small gland within the brain called the pineal gland. It also interrupts the production of melatonin and serotonin, which disrupts the quality of sleep.  If light shines into your room from outside, use blackout blinds, shades or draperies over the bedroom windows, or simply use a sleep mask to cover your eyes.

3.       Avoid eating right before bedtime. 
Why? The digestive process can impair sleep, and eating grains and sugars can cause a low blood sugar state which can cause hunger and sleep disturbance.

4.       Wear socks to bed.
Why? Since feet have the poorest circulation of any area of our bodies, they tend to feel cold before the rest of the body which can also disrupt sleep.

5.       If you lie in bed with your mind racing, keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bedtime. 
Why? Journaling helps you download thoughts to paper, clearing your mind so you can sleep.

6.       Eat a high protein snack several hours before bed. 
Why? This can provide the L-Tryptophan needed to produce melatonin and serotonin.  Eat a small piece of fruit or a small handful of berries around the same time.  This helps the L-Tryptophan to cross the blood brain barrier.

7.       Keep your drug use to only what is absolutely necessary. 
Why? Both prescription and over the counter drugs may have negative effects on sleep.

8.       Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.
Why? Caffeine and other stimulants can have long-lasting effects on the nervous system.  Watch out for hidden sources of caffeine, such as some over-the-counter pain relievers and diet pills.

9.       Avoid alcohol.
Why? Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back to sleep.  Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of REM sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

10.   If you tend to wake up at night to urinate, don't drink any fluids within 2 hours of going to bed.

11.   Take a hot bath, shower or sauna for about 30 to 60 minutes before bed. 
Why? Heat has a relaxing effect on the body.

12.   Sleep in a comfortable bed.
Why? If your mattress is sagging, making creaking noises, or if you wake up with stiffness or back pain, it may be time for a new mattress.  Waterbeds do not properly support the spine.  We can help you determine the type of mattress best suited for your spine.

 
Backpack Buying and Wearing Tips

Young students are carrying such disproportionately heavy backpacks to and from school that they suffer with back pain much earlier than previous generations. The following guidelines helping to prevent this rapidly growing problem are recommended both by this practice and the American Chiropractic Association.

Buying a pack
-Choose a pack that is appropriate to your child’s size and age. Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more the child will carry – and the heavier the pack will be.
-It should have well-padded and adjustable shoulder straps. The shoulders and neck are rich in blood vessels and nerves that when constricted by non-padded straps can cause pain and tingling sensations in the neck, arms, and hands.
-It is a good idea to buy more than one pack to take home, pack each with your child’s books, and test for comfort levels. Once you have judged how each pack varies when fully loaded, return the ones you have decided against.

Loading a pack
-Pack items neatly and organized to prevent shifting of books and materials which represents unequal weight distribution on the child’s back.
-Load the heaviest items closest to the child’s back.
-Never allow your child to carry more than 15% of his or her body weight in the pack. For example, a child weighing 100 pounds should not carry a backpack that weighs more than 15 pounds.

Wearing a pack
-Always wear both shoulder straps as wide on the shoulders as possible to distribute weight evenly throughout the spine. Wearing the pack slung over one shoulder can cause a person to lean to one side adding harmful curvature to the spine.
-Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly against the child’s back. A pack that hangs loosely from the back can pull the child backwards, alter his or her walk, and keep the muscles of the upper and middle back in constant strain.