Hot Summer Days and Yard Work

Ideally, you will get your outside work done in the early morning or in the early evening – when the thermometer isn’t over 80 degrees. Sometimes, though, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do things when you want to do them, you just do them because you need to.

For example, I like to mow my lawn before it gets too tall so that when I mow I don’t have piles of mulched grass in a long line that I then need to rake up. If I mow in time the grass that gets tossed from the side of my mower doesn’t mound up. I do not have the grass collecting attachment. So I try to mow before the grass is too tall. I have kids, and they have swim or whatever all the time. I work until 6pm, and while I want to mow in the evening sometimes I have other things I need to do then. So I mow while I can, even if that is 1pm and it is 95 degrees!

When I mow in the heat I sweat my brains out. I get dehydrated. I come in and take a cool shower and have about a gallon of water. If I didn’t cool off and hydrate then I would get light-headed and weak later in my day.

When we are over-extended, thirsty, tired, and burning the candle at both ends we are more likely to screw something up or injure ourselves carelessly. So, do yourself a favor and try to work in your yard when the temperature isn’t too high. It’s a hot summer and the heat enough will wear you down.

Even if it’s not hot out on the day you are working in the yard, it is still the season for yard work of all types. Mowing, trimming, cleaning out the pool, power-washing the deck, and all sorts of other physical endeavors end up occurring in the summer. We typically have an influx of new patients in the summer months, and it’s a lot of yard work-related injuries – pulled back muscles, pinched nerves, and jacked-up necks.

Please do yourself a favor and only work up to your limits but not past them. If it’s too hot, grab a cold drink. If you’re too tired, take a break. If you haven’t worked hard much lately, then start slowly and make sure you are careful. Getting back into activity after a period of rest – such as a busy summer after a quiet winter – is a recipe for sprains and strains of all kinds. We always welcome new patients, no matter how they ended up feeling all bent out of shape – but we prefer you just stay out of pain and not hurt yourself in the first place.

Have You Ever Heard of Facet Syndrome?

Facet Syndrome is a disorder of the spine that is INCREDIBLY common and it can be INCREDIBLY painful. If you have ever been adjusted by a chiropractor – or if you’ve ever just self-adjusted your own neck or back – the popping you feel and hear is actually from your facet joints. Since chiropractors are uniquely qualified to adjust facet joints, that means facet syndrome is something that we see a lot of.

First, let’s go with some terminology. A facet is a type of joint in the spine. There are two facet joints for every level of the spine. There are 24 individual vertebrae in the spinal column, of which 12 are thoracic (middle back), 7 are cervical (neck), and 5 are lumbar (lower back).

The facet joints stack up on each other, bridging their way from the sacrum to the skull.

Chiropractors adjust facet joints.
Pen is pointing at the facet joint. That is the joint that POPS! when you get adjusted by a chiropractor.

These joints can become inflamed or irritated, or can become locked in place and painful, due to a variety of conditions. Bad posture can stretch and weaken facet joints, causing them to become chronically painful. Injuries or repetitive movements can jam them together and inflame them. Sudden falls or impacts can strain the muscles that help them move, or strain and cause micro-tears in the ligaments that help protect the facet joints.

Pain from facet syndrome can feel like a localized soreness or tenderness that is worse with bending forward or backwards. Ice may bring relief. Being still usually brings relief, though that isn’t recommended as a solution! Quite often the person suffering from facet pain will say that their back “feels like it needs to pop” when we ask them what it feels like.

The good news about facet pain is that, unless it is a chronic condition, it will typically feel better with a minimal number of adjustments. Assuming you aren’t screwing it up right after we adjust you, the joint should begin moving normally again and that will help the inflammation clear up. In short order the spine will move freely again and the pain will subside. Once you’re out of the painful phase, we will talk about stretching and exercising to keep the pain away and prevent recurrence.

If it recurs, as yourself what you are doing that may be causing it. We have literally thousands of patients here in beautiful Frederick, and we always ask how people hurt themselves, so if you aren’t sure what went wrong sometimes we can tease the answer out of you with some good questions.We have heard it all! People hurt themselves in some very interesting ways, although most of the time it’s not that exciting.

If you think you are feeling some facet joint pain then please give us a call or just drop in one day and say “hi”. Our contact information is here.

Additional information about facet syndrome can be found here.

Here Comes 2023!

Ready or not, another year is upon us. There are a lot of people who make New Years Resolutions – essentially promises to themselves about things they will do better.

For a lot of people the goals center around diet and exercise. If that’s you, then we wish you all the luck in the world.

Whatever you choose to work on this year, make sure you set your goals in ways that you can make mini-achievements along the way. Don’t put some lofty goal in front of you and then not give yourself any roadmap towards success. Do not make your goal so huge that you cannot reach it. And, of course, congratulate yourself on every win. Let each mini victory feed your self-esteem and fuel your next step forward.

Even if you fall off and don’t find as much success as you’d like, don’t give up! Pick yourself back up and treat every morning like January 1st. You can start fresh every single day. So, if today isn’t the day that you meet all your personal goals for your meals or your exercising, then that’s OK. Tomorrow you start again and you’ll get better each day.

That’s all from us today, just a little pep talk. Enjoy your year.

Holiday Season is Here!

As we get into this festive time of year we want to remind all the Park Bench family that we will have some days coming up that we will not be open. Obvious major holidays like Christmas and New Years Day come to mind, and we just were closed for Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

So, please plan accordingly. Everyone is a bit more stressed and we all lack enough self-care at these times. We start slipping on our exercising and stretching and we eat too much, drink too much, and fail to get enough recuperative sleep. Basically, we run ourselves ragged.

This holiday season please do yourself the favor of staying on top of your self-care routine, even if that just means taking some time to enjoy a few deep breaths. Better yet, schedule your appointment now because December is a busy month and we have our appointments filling up rapidly. If we don’t see you soon, then we will see you next year.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

As Summer fades into the background and the colder days of Autumn set in, things get cold in Frederick. This morning is a great example. Car doors were a little tougher to open, lawns were frosted over and crispy, and you could see your breath in the air. And it’s still October. I’ve had a few patients pop in this morning and the first thing everyone said was something like “D@%*, it’s cold outside!”

Something I have noticed in practice is that as the temperature drops lower there is a sudden rise of neck pain cases coming through the doors at Park Bench. While I can’t say exactly why that is, and everybody has a different case, I suspect it has something to do with people needing to tighten up and try to hold themselves together tighter to retain heat. Shoulders get closer to ears when it’s cold outside – just look around and you’ll see! People really pull the covers tighter in bed, too, and they cuddle up closer to loved ones (or animals) as they sleep.

If the Shoulders are going UP, make them go DOWN

Whatever the reason is, neck pain is a real thing. Now, obviously we all need to put our phones down and do some neck stretches, but instead focusing just on that today I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about “UNSHRUGGING”.

Unshrugging is the intentional act of using your shoulder muscles to actively bring your shoulders down as low as you can pull them. If shrugging is the act of raising your shoulders, then unshrugging is the opposite. Use the muscles at the bottom of your shoulder blades to pull those shoulders blades downward and inwards towards each other.

It may be cold outside, but for this purpose I want you to drop it like it’s hot (outside). See what I did there? Clever, I know.

Check out this handy infographic I have created.

Pull your shoulders down and relax your neck.
Pull those shoulders down, down, down!

Now, just like all changes to posture, this is going to take some repetition. We all get set into patterns, and to break a pattern we need to actively and very conscientiously focus on doing things a different way.

One of the better ways to do this is to tie your new habit to an existing habit, preferably a good habit. So, every time you go grab a glass of water or take a min-break from your computer desk, or every time you take a nice, deep breath from your belly…when you do something like that also be sure to UNshrug.

Getting your shoulders to stop being UP is a great goal. Making sure to purposefully get your shoulders DOWN is a great way to get there. And if you can relax your shoulders and keep them down then I bet you’ll start experiencing much less neck pain, especially the kind of stiff pain associated with cold weather hitting an already tight and dysfunctional neck.

Make it happen

Hey now, if you enjoyed reading this then don’t like it and don’t subscribe. We don’t do that, this isn’t Youtube. Instead, just implement this for yourself and enjoy the postural benefit and reduced neck pain. Better yet, come in to our office and see if Park Bench Chiropractic can help you reach some health goals. If you’re not so sure about chiropractic, that’s OK, just do lots of stretches and some rehab exercises and pay attention to your posture. But if you need a hand, or maybe a gratifying crunch, then give us a call.

Sometimes You Just Need to Add Content

Subtitles help, too! Spine pain!

I’ll be honest here. We stay pretty busy. We do the “Golden Rule” business model at Park Bench. We just treat people the way that we would want to be treated. We are honest and upfront about your condition and about what we can accomplish. We don’t try to dazzle you with silly deals or offers or free stuff. We don’t wear white coats and try to be “Real Doctors”. We do these things because it is easy and it really does make for good business.

We are pretty darn good at diagnosing musculoskeletal conditions, particularly of the spine, and we have a broad skill set of manual techniques to help you find relief from pain.

This Sub-heading Was Suggested by the Internet

All that being said, every few months my website reminds me to add content so that the Google Gods put our site up near the top of the listings. If we add “fresh content” full of keywords then our site stays closer to the top and then perhaps magically we will see dollar bills float through our front door in the form of new clients. In the interest of keeping our Google listing up top without sending a bucket of cash every month to Google, we occasionally pump out some keyword-rich word salad that provides an educational or informational value.

Today, though, I have about 20 minutes between appointments and I am going to blatantly just type keywords. For example, neck pain is not fun. We treat neck pain. Lower back pain is also unpleasant, and we also treat lower back pain. You’ve got nerve pain down the leg? That’s a bummer! Come on in and let us try and fix it for you! Your dealing with chronic headaches that set in as your day progresses? Probably from the spine and we would love to help you with that!

See? I just used a ton of keywords. I want to personally thank you for reading all that. Rather than close with some sort of “call to action” such as I am supposed to do (“always be closin’!”), I will instead just wish you a wonderful day. If you ever need a friendly Frederick chiropractor ( <– keyword!) then try to remember about us.

Oh, and here’s a picture to help that Google listing…

A Fork in the Road

Back Pain Treatment Can be Productive or Destructive
Choose Wisely!

When you experience your first episode of EXCRUCIATING lower back pain – perhaps even with pain shooting into your leg or legs – then you come to understand how frightening it can be.

Basically, one day you are walking and moving around normally. You are, apparently, doing great with no physical health issues.

You’re getting in and out of seats with no problem.

You’re able to roll over in bed without waking up and grunting.

At no point does coughing or sneezing or clearing your throat make you feel like you are rolling the dice.

Life was proceeding as planned, things weren’t hurting. Everything was A-O-K.

And then BAM! You did something so simple that you are shocked you’ve been injured. Maybe you were just trying to put your socks on. Or maybe you were doing something inherently challenging such as a sport or picking up something heavy. Whatever it was, things went from good to bad in the blink of an eye.

Which Way to Go?

If you are like most people, you first go to Urgent Care or your Primary Care Provider. You have a few different options when it comes to what to do at this point.

If you are a physically active individual then you are probably already someone who respects their body. You probably try to eat right and get regular exercise of some type. That’s great, if that’s you. Your goal is probably going to be that you want to return to the FUNCTION you had prior to your setback. That is a great goal.

If you are currently not in good physical shape, for whatever reason, then perhaps you are not fixated on maintaining great physical health, or maybe you have health issues which prevent you from exercising. It’s OK to not be the picture of perfect health. But this means that you have already acclimated yourself to being physically impaired to some degree, and you may not be chasing a return to function but instead looking for the pain to disappear.

Pain going away and function coming back are two different goals.

Chiropractic can help with both.

Importantly, though, you should recognize that with the return of function comes the resolution of pain. They are causally related: dysfunction of a body part tends to devolve into pain after some time when the body can no longer adapt to compensate and avoid the pain.

Anyway, back to the fork in the road.

You can choose an ACTIVE method of treatment or a PASSIVE method of treatment. Active treatments involve your participation, and passive treatments involve you having something done to you.

Chiropractic, in it’s simplest form, is passive. You lay on the table and the chiropractor adjusts your spine. Typically, this relieves pain. It typically also returns function, and your spinal joints hurt less because they move normally.

But, and this is a big but (I cannot lie), once you are past the initial phases of care that involve the more passive aspects, what you should involve yourself with is the active component of recovery. The active component is a mix of things, such as:

  • Rehab stretches
  • Rehab exercises
  • Posture changes
  • Lifestyle modification

Now, if you are already “sporty”, then all those active components are things you are already working on. You probably don’t need your chiropractor coaching you through those changes. On the other hand, if you are more sedentary and sluggish and you’ve let your physical health problems take root, then you really should stick with treatment until you are not just pain-free but also at a level of function that you find respects your body sufficiently.

So, yeah, that’s the choice you need to internally make as you embark on your recovery from this pain in your back. It’s not just a choice you make once, it’s a choice you re-commit yourself to daily upon waking up.

Either way you go, we aren’t the people who will guilt-trip or condescend to you about it. We will support you in whatever your personal goal is. If you’re ready to try a local Frederick chiropractor, then we would be honored if you choose us. You can contact us here at this link.

Thanks for reading all this!

Walkersville Chiropractors at Park Bench

Technically, we are located in north Frederick, next to Dublin Roasters Coffee, which is not in Walkersville. But if you are like many people who live in Walkersville, myself included, then you travel to the north side of Frederick very regularly. After all, while SafeWay is just fine, there is a Wegmans and a Giant and a WalMart just a few more miles away.

So if you are looking for a chiropractor in Walkersville then please consider us! You can find us at 1780 N. Market Street. We are north of downtown, between Triangle Motors and the Banner School. In fact, we are right across the street from Monocacy Brewing and The Flying Barrel. So, maybe come in a grab a coffee and an adjustment and then head home after grabbing a beer.

Numbness in Your Fingers?

Numbness or tingling into the hands is actually a very common problem, and with the way we are all chained to our computers and phones these days the problem is only getting more common.

The illustration accompanying this post demonstrate some common locations of numbness or tingling that come from irritation to the nerves of the neck. C5/C6/C7/C8 are referring to the location in the neck which the nerve comes from which supplies sensation to the shaded area in the picture.

Numbness in Fingers
These Parts Might Not Be Feeling Normal

To be honest, there are a few different things that might cause you to lose feeling – or even lose strength – in the arm or hand.

Some of the other common problems include diabetes, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, trigger points or muscle shortening in the forearm, ulnar nerve disorder including at the “funny bone”, muscular dysfunction in the shoulder or upper chest, misalignment of the 1st rib, injury or postural disorder of the scalene muscles, as well as an assortment of spinal problems including disc bulges.

The first step should always be identifying the problem. In this case, if you already can tell that you are losing feeling or function of the hand then you’ve finished the first part of the first step. You need to identify the precise nature of the cause of the problem, and that requires a competent “differential diagnosis”, which means you need someone who can tell the difference between all the possible problems I described in the last paragraph. A decent Physical Therapist or Chiropractor can do that, and your Primary Physician or Family Doctor may be able to, as well.

The next step is doing something about it.

At Park Bench Chiropractic both Matt and Rob actually enjoy treating all those things listed above, even disc bulges. We have a pretty good track record of fixing those things, too. If we don’t think we can help you can bet we will refer you to someone more suited. If we think we need to take a closer look we will give you a prescription order for an x-ray or MRI and then we will go over your results with you.

So, if you think you may benefit from what we can offer then please give us a call or an email and get on our schedule. You’ll go through the 60-minute intake visit during which we will perform a physical exam, we will explain what we think the issue is and if we think we can do anything about it, and then we will get started right then and there trying to fix it.

Online Scheduling Now Available

We are delighted to share some news with our Park Bench family: we now allow existing patients to manage their appointments online. There is a link to the left that will take you to our scheduling portal.

Some basic information to get you ready to make your appointments:

  1. You need to already be a patient here in order to schedule Online – you can’t schedule your first appointment at our office without calling or emailing.
  2. If you require more than the usual 20 minutes with the chiropractor then you will also need to handle that on the phone or via email. We only allow the normal 20-minute appointments via Online.
  3. In order to get yourself started please just call our Front Desk @ (301) 378-0334 or send us an email. We will then verify your email address and send you a “Welcome Email” that will help you register for Online Scheduling.

That’s it! It’s that easy. If there are any questions just email or call and we will help you get started.