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Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture Blog

How to Strengthen Your Knees

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, February 08, 2020
Here at North Bergen’s Life Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we celebrate the ability to educate both our patients and the general public on ways to enjoy a happy and pain-free life. In today’s video, Dr. Hernandez tackles the subject of weak and painful knees. He provides an excellent tutorial on simple things you can do to both strengthen and eliminate pain within your knees. We trust you’ll find this video very informative.


Good Morning everyone Dr. Alex Hernandez, Chiropractor, from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture. I'm here with Maria today and we're going to show you how to get your knees stronger.

I get this question asked a lot at the office. My knees feel weak you know when I go up the stairs. I don't feel so strong when I go down the stairs. I have some difficulty or actually have to go one step at a time when I have to go down the stairs. So there are some quick ways, some good things you could do at home or at the gym that we're going to show you.

I’m here with Maria. So, one of the things that we tell people to do is what we call “air squats”. I'm going to demonstrate an air squat and then I'll show you with Maria. So basically, an air squat is you're going to do a squat in the air and this is what it looks like. Now as simple as that may seem, many people get it wrong. So today I want to make sure you're clear, so you don't hurt your knees and you actually get them stronger.

The proper technique of doing a squat is what I’m going to demonstrate with Maria. Maria is pretending that she’s going to sit. Put your butt back against the wall and pretend that you're going to sit. You travel all the way down making sure that the knees are right in front of your toes. You don't want to go forward.

Let's do a regular squat. So, when I look at Maria that's a perfect squat. You can come on up. So the first step that you want to do is you want to push your butt back. Then bring yourself down. You could go a little further and you want to make sure that the knees are not past your toes. This is the common error that people make. This can cause a lot of stress on the cartilage and on the tendon. So don't do that. You can start practicing one set of 30 squats per day. Or, you can do two sets of 15 and then work your way up until you get to one set of 30.

Squats are not a cure all. Some of you out there should strongly consider chiropractic care for your knee pain. Call us anytime! Click here to learn more about our North Bergen Chiropractic Care Clinic


Condition Of The Month: Plantar Fasciitis

Joseph Coupal - Saturday, February 08, 2020
Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture - North Bergen, NJ

Regular readers of Life Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic blog know that we invest time and energy educating both our patients and the general public through this blog. Today we’re going to educate you on a very common (and very painful) condition that we treat on a daily basis here at our North Bergan chiropractic care clinic: Plantar Fasciitis. What follows below is a narrative that address the frequently asked questions about plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a very common causes of heel and foot pain that is caused by inflammation of a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot from your heel to your toes (The plantar fascia). People with plantar fasciitis will complain of stabbing pain in the heel that occurs after periods of inactivity and starts to get better after moving around for a bit. The pain of plantar fasciitis is often at its worst in the morning with your first steps and can also get worse after standing for long periods of time. Additionally, the pain is often worse after exercise but not during it.

Runners are the most common population group to get this but can happen to anyone. Others that are at a higher risk are overweight, and people who wear poor choices of footwear with inadequate support. There are many other risk factors that can increase your risk of plantar fasciitis discussed below.

Age itself is a risk factor and people between the ages of 40-60 are most commonly affected. Certain types of exercise can also cause this problem such as any activity the stresses the heel of your foot like long distance running, ballet, or aerobics. Foot mechanics are also a big culprit as flat feet, high arches, or abnormal gait can cause uneven weight distribution when standing or walking which puts additional stress on the plantar fascia. If you work in a profession that requires you to be on your feet all day such as teachers, factory workers, cashiers, etc.… and you spend most of your day standing or walking on hard surfaces you may also be at risk for damaging the plantar fascia. Lastly, obesity is an obvious risk factor since the excess pound places unneeded stress on your plantar fascia.

Ignoring plantar fasciitis may result in chronic heel pain that hinders your regular activities. Changing the way you walk as a way to relieve plantar fasciitis pain might lead to foot, knee, hip or back problems.

The good news is that we can help via a wide variety of chiropractic treatment services here at our North Bergen clinic. We consistently deliver great results and can deliver for you as well. We will not only relieve your pain but more importantly, find the problem and correct it so that your condition does not return. If this sounds like you, stop suffering and make an appointment today so we can get you out of pain and back to doing the things you love.


How an MRI Can Diagnose a Herniated Disc?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 23, 2020

Dr. Alex Hernandez from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture would like to talk a little bit about how an MRI can diagnose a herniated disc. In the video, we have some discs models, and the reason for discussing this topic is that many people injure their discs and have what we call "disc herniations". So we’re going to talk about what that is, how we can help you, and how MRI fits into all of this.

So discs are like a rubbery cartilage structure that alternate with the bones in the spine: disc, bone, disc, bone, etc. We’re going to take this model apart and look at what happens when we injure our discs. If we look at this structure, this is the disc, and this is the spinal cord, these are the nerves, and you can tell this material has squeezed out to the back, this is herniating and touching the spinal cord. This is where a lot of people get pain. We have another example of a disc, and this one is herniating to the side. This is touching the nerve root, and this also creates a lot of pain. This is what we typically see creating sciatic pain traveling down the leg.

We’re going to take a look here at an MRI, and we’re going to look at the structures. We’re going to look at the bone, we’re going to look at the alternating discs and bones and right off the bat we can tell that these discs are wider, brighter - that means that their healthy. But when we get to this last one, you can see that it’s darker, this means that this disc has gotten injured. You can also see how it’s squeezing out. This is produces big pain and the MRI is wonderful at telling us what area got herniated and how bad it’s pressing the nerves. When we look at it from the bird’s eye view, we can tell what is going on with the bird’s eye view. This tells us what happened to this disc, we’re looking to see where that nerve is being pinched, and as we scroll through the bottom we can see the space is a lot smaller, which tells me that this is where the herniation is, where it’s putting pressure on the nerve.

So at a glimpse, we can really see what’s going on with your disc through an MRI. Here at this office, we have special protocols to help you with disc herniations. Most disc herniations heal well.

For more information, contact us.


Low Back Pain Causes and Treatment

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Today we’re going to talk about low back pain. With this type of pain we look at x-rays and MRIs, depending on the presentation of the patient. Why are they feeling low back pain, how did they get the low back pain? There’s a whole rationale and we do that through our initial examination.

So let’s fast forward, I decided to take x-rays on this patient to determine what is it that’s causing her back pain. So we can see here on this x-ray of her low back, looking at it from the front. We put lines over the spine and hips to see exactly how bad this misalignment is. So this spine is really crooked, the green line is where you’re supposed to be and she is shifted to the left side. The red line is the indication of how badly the bones are out of place. Then, looking at the side view, we get to see what’s happening. The low back is supposed to have a curve, but one of the things that jumped out at me is, what is going on with one of the discs. The disc is deteriorating, these are supposed to be nice and spacious, that last disc is not looking very good. We’re going to see that when we look at the MRI.

So toggling to the MRI, we can see the low back from the side, and we see the disc spaces here, they’re nice and big. If you look at that last one, it’s pretty small. Let’s zoom in on that and we can see what’s happening with this person. There’s a lot of deterioration on the disc, this is also one of the things that’s causing her pain. In her case, this problem that she’s experiencing is pain from her disc and also because of the misalignment of her spine. This is a more complicated case, we will take care of these types of cases here at the office.

And again, we’re able to order MRIs if we feel that you need a MRI. So, if you’re having complicated low back pain, come see me, we’ll do a consultation, an examination, we’ll see which of the diagnostics you need, the x-ray or an MRI, or both.

Contact us for an appointment going for you, and we’ll see how we can help your problem out. Thank you.


Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to You and Yours this Season

Joseph Coupal - Monday, December 23, 2019
Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture - North Bergen, NJ

Christmas and Chanukah share a similar spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope into the world. These two holidays occur together this year, which makes this an even more special holiday season.

This is a season to reflect upon how fortunate we are to have you as our customers: our friends and neighbors. During these holidays, we wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, joy-filled, and relaxing season.

Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a most Happy New Year! With peace, joy, and love this holiday season and beyond!


Which is Better, X-Ray or MRI?

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, December 12, 2019

This is Dr. Alex Hernandez again, from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture. Today I’m going to answer a very common question: Which is better, an X-ray or an MRI? I’m going to tell you what the differences are, there’s advantages and disadvantages, but they are both really good diagnostic tools.

Let’s start off with the x-ray. Here is an x-ray of a patient that came in, and this is basically the, what we call the frontal view of the neck. We see the person’s head, the teeth, and the spine. And, one of the reasons that we take x-rays is to look at how the spine is out of line. In this case, this gentleman was experiencing a lot of neck pain, and when we took the x-ray, the green line is the normal position and the red line shows how off the spine is. So this is very easy to see what’s truly creating the neck pain.

After some therapy we can then see the red line and the green line are pretty close. So we did a good job here, and this is what allows us to do our job as chiropractors. What we want to do is align the spine, put it back to the center. So with x-rays we get to see alignment, we also get to see if there’s any kind of fracture.

Now, what the x-ray does not show is what’s going on with the discs, we’re not going to see what’s happening with the spinal cord, so that is the advantage of the MRI.

Let’s have a look at the MRI. This is looking at the neck from the side, just like this. And when we look at the MRI, here we can see the discs, here we can see the spinal cord, we can see the brains down the cerebellum, we can really see what’s going on inside. We can see what’s happening with the bones if there’s any kind of contusion. We can see if the discs are herniated, if they’re touching the spinal cord. So this really produces, this gives us a lot more insight as to what is creating your problem.

There is another view, the “bird’s eye view” and it gives us one more dimension on how and what is happening with the spinal cord and the discs.

So the big question here is when do you need what. When do you need an x-ray? When do you need an MRI? If we suspect that you have some kind of disc problem, we will send you out for an MRI. If we suspect something is happening with your spinal cord, we will send you out for an MRI. Now if your problem is a bit simpler, and we think that there’s just misalignments, then an x-ray is appropriate for you, you won’t need an MRI.

For more information, contact my office. We'll be glad to help you out.


Now is the Time for Us to Say "Thanks" to YOU!

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 25, 2019
Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture - North Bergen, NJ

Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to remind one another of the many reasons there are to be grateful. We gather on this day to be thankful for what we have, for the family we love, the friends we cherish, the success we have had, and for the blessings that will come.

Thanksgiving is more than the festivities, it gives us time to ponder the lessons that we have learned and how we can spread happiness around, to look back at all the great memories and good people who came into our lives. We appreciate you, our customers and clients, so much.

At this time of year our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation. Our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.


Shoulder Injury and How to Treat It

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 22, 2019

Good afternoon,my name is Dr. Alex Hernandez from Life Chiropractic and Acupuncture, and today we’re going to talk about shoulder injuries. The shoulder is a very complex joint, and we frequently treat shoulder injuries in this office. I’m going to start out with anatomy so we get an idea what are we dealing with. There are nerves that come out from the neck and feed the shoulder, so plenty of nerves in this area along with muscles including the biceps; there are also tendon connections as well as the ligaments that connect bone to bone.

So, why do shoulders get injured so much? The shoulder has a lot of range of motion which means there’s a lot of flexibility: we can move it up and down, we can move it towards the back, the inside, and we can rotate it. So there’s a lot of motion which is a good thing, but there’s also a lot of chance for getting hurt. One of the common things that we see is people getting hurt in the gym, from throwing a ball, or from anything that requires a lot of motion and a lot of hyperextension as well as from weightlifting.

I want to give you a real life example. I have a patient who recently came in. As he was bench pressing, during the last couple repetitions, his arm just started to drift down. In order to avoid the weight hitting him, he pushed really hard with his left side to bring the weight up, and he injured the tendons and the muscles in the shoulder area.

What we do here is we identify exactly what is wrong with your shoulder: tendon, muscle, or fascia around the whole area. We also use laser therapy to correct these issues. But the first step is a proper evaluation of the shoulder. We check your range of motion, your strength, we find what is deficient and dysfunctional in your shoulder. Once we do that, then we can attack the problem.

If you are experiencing shoulder injury, please contact us.


What are the Proper Sleeping Positions?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 08, 2019

Good morning everyone. This is Dr. Alex Hernandez, Chiropractor in North Bergen. Today I have Maria here with me, and what we’re going to do today is we’re going to answer a question that gets asked every week here at my office. And that is “Doc, what is the best way to sleep?” We’re going to show you the proper way to sleep and why.

The right way to sleep is laying on your back. And as basic as this might sound, most people don’t practice this way of sleeping. Now, why sleep face up? When you’re lying face up, you’re in a rested, comfortable position; the neck is in a good form, the muscles are relaxed. The main reason why we want to sleep face up is that the muscles of the neck, on the left and right side, are in a relaxed position, your upper back is in a relaxed position. This is the number one way to sleep.

Now the second way that is okay to sleep properly is you can lay on your side. Now, this way of sleeping is okay. What you want to keep in mind is that you don’t want to have a pillow that’s too big that’s going to kink the neck this way. Because if that happens, then you can end up getting neck pain the next morning. You also don’t want a pillow that’s too small, because then the neck starts to go the opposite way.


The Wrong Way to Sleep - The Worst Sleeping Positions

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 25, 2019

This video is going to be about How Not To Sleep. I’m going to show you a few of the common things that most people do that creates pain particularly in their neck, but that can also create problems like numbness and tingling down the hands.

So let’s demonstrate. One of the worst things that people do when they sleep is that they sleep with too many pillows. In the video you can see she has two pillows and while that might look comfortable, her neck is actually going forward. Some people sleep with three pillows, and so they sleep propped up. Now, you may be very tired at the end of the day and you might be able to sleep like this, but you will end up with neck pain. It might not happen immediately, but this adds up. Maybe six months down the line, a year down the line, you’ll start getting neck pain from sleeping in this position.

Now another wrong way of sleeping is face down. People tell me “Oh, I sleep face down, Doc. Is that good for me?” Absolutely not. The reason why this is not good for you is that when you’re sleeping face down you are kinking the neck, so it’s like you’re wringing a towel but with the neck and spine. You don’t want to sleep face down, because you will wake up with pain. It doesn’t matter whether your head is facing to the left or right side, you will end up with pain because of kinking of the nerves and the muscles.

Some people sleep face down with their hand under their head. Some people have gotten used to this from a very early age. And doing this puts a lot of pressure on the neck and on the shoulder. I treat a young lady who got hurt from doing this for many, many years. She ended up with frozen shoulder because of this sleeping position.

And the last position is sleeping with the wrists curled in. Now when you sleep like this you are kinking your neck and the wrist. This can cause you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

So these are the top three ways that people get hurt when they’re sleeping. And this is something that you can easily avoid. How? You have to you lay on your back. Like any other habit, you've got to practice a good habit, practice sleeping on your back with one pillow. This is the proper way of sleeping. You can overcome many habits in a period of 5-7 weeks. I hope you got value out of this segment. Thank you for watching.