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Arizona Pain & Posture
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Healthy Living Blog by Dr. Marc Bonacci Childhood Tech Neck Leads to Chronic Pain in Adulthood

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Childhood Tech Neck Leads to Chronic Pain in Adulthood
By Marc Bonacci, DC, PMMTP
No one likes seeing a child in pain. Most of us are disillusioned into thinking that children are so pliable that they can’t break bones, they can’t pull muscles, and they never run out of energy no matter what their diet. False, false and false.
I am the proud parent of three healthy, active boys, one who is 9 and twins who are 12. They love sports, and they don’t stretch enough. As a result, like many athletes, they have very tight hamstrings. The body is connected. If the hammies are tight, they pull on the low back, causing low back pain and tightness. My kids also like to play games on their devices, which puts abnormal strain on the back of the neck, creating what’s known as “tech neck.” This combination is the perfect storm that results in chronic pain as an adult.
Tech neck is the most common problem I see in teens and pre-teens. Kids are spending too much time in poor posture, seated with the shoulders hunched, ribcage collapsed, neck bent forward. It’s the posture for studying, drawing, writing, reading, and you know it — using devices. Some schools are even switching to using iPads full-time — something that makes my own spine shiver.
50 Lbs of Pressure
The average adult human head weighs between 10-13 lbs. The human spine is designed to handle this as long as the head is balanced nicely. If the head is leaning forward, it translates to more like 50 lbs of pressure on the neck. Most of us probably spend several hours each day in this head-bent-forward posture. This creates what’s called “upper crossed syndrome” or “forward head posture,” resulting in upper back and neck pain.
In many cases, these issues eventually cause a “straight neck,” which in turn causes headaches, backaches and shoulder pain. The neck should have a natural curve, and the head should be balanced on top, not tilted forward. People with straight necks tend to be permanently tilted forward. Imagine someone grabbing your head and pulling it directly up toward the ceiling. That is the first step to improved posture with the head balanced properly. Once a person has a straight neck, it’s difficult to put the curve back into it — it can be done, but requires lots of manual therapy, stretches and exercises.
If these forward-leaning head issues persist throughout childhood, in the future, the child becomes an adult with chronic neck problems. Tech neck causes poor posture in general which leads to all kinds of musculoskeletal problems like aches and pains, pinched nerves, breathing issues, digestion problems, lack of energy, anterior collapse of the torso and weight-bearing issues.
The big problem with tech neck in adults is the neck remains fixed for long periods of time in poor position. That causes the joints in the soft tissue structures to actually change and deform over time to fix the body in that position. We grow bone spurs, joints calcify, and muscles become rigid, some of which is irreversible. It’s called early degeneration, and it’s best to stop it before it starts.
Three Steps for Your Child
The solution to tech neck is three-fold. First, make your child aware of proper posture in the first place. If seated, sit up straight in an ergonomically correct chair with low-back support and hold the book or device up to eye level to read, resting the head against the high back of the chair or simply holding it up straight. You can put a pillow under the elbows to help hold the book or device up to eye level.
Second, have some tummy time. That’s right, just like a newborn. Flip over and lie on the bed or the ground, putting an arch in the low back and restoring the correct curve to the upper back and neck. While the child is in this position, have her do some Superman exercises, which strengthen the back and neck. Belly stays on the ground, while straight arms and legs lift for ten seconds. Repeat three times. Changing position is critical to keeping the spine happy. Switch back and forth frequently from seated to belly while reading, studying or texting.
Third, stretch! Teach your children some simple yoga stretches, like up-dog/down-dog, cat/cow, child’s pose/cobra. Find them online. These bend-and-flex spinal and hamstring stretches will align your child’s spine naturally and take pressure off nerves. Taking a break from studying or texting to run though a couple of yoga poses can prevent the headaches from settling in. A kid’s yoga mat only costs about $15 and they can unroll it anywhere to find relief.
Before Bed, Hang the Head
At bedtime, have your child lay down on the bed on her back with her head hanging off the edge. The weight of the head allows traction to pull the spinal column apart, allowing nerves to flow freely and restoring that important curve. It should feel very good. If it hurts, start slower with a small rolled towel under the neck while lying on the bed for about 15 minutes. After a few nights doing it that way, try hanging the head off the bed again.
Keeping a healthy spine and supporting the natural curves of the spine before smartphones and iPads was difficult, and now it’s much more challenging. If technology is going to be part of our lives, we need to learn to counter the negative effects. The majority of this can be accomplished on your own through the basic simple stretches and exercises I mentioned previously. However, if those stretches and exercises do not work, preventive therapy as early as possible can be successful.
Exercise to Heal Pain
A lot of adults try to address their pain and posture problems by working out major muscle groups, which is good. However, it is the small intricate muscles close to the spine that activate certain end-range muscle fibers and massage joint surfaces, increasing circulation and structural integrity at the skeletal level. Working the major muscle groups too much can actually inhibit the function of the smaller muscles. Optimally there should be a balance of focusing on major muscle groups as well as the smaller, more intricate muscles. Any kind of exercise is always extremely beneficial, however, regenerating cells and repairing the body in a way that can’t be denied.
The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment
The Bonacci Method is a great tool for correcting posture in both children and adults, as well as in treating severe chronic and complicated pain patients. The same technique that Dr. Bonacci uses to get non-responsive injury and pain patients to respond to therapy, he uses to correct posture and prevent breakdown in the joints and muscles of the spine. If the body continues to break down, it puts pressure on nerves causing greater problems. This is degeneration, and it can be prevented.
Hit All Three Targets
If small corrective changes can be made to the nerves, soft tissue and joints, the body can experience relief of strain and pain, and restore motion and function.
If only one of these three elements is corrected, but the other two are not, it can shortly begin to disrupt the other two elements. In other words, if you adjust the joints of the spine, but the soft tissue and the nerve structures providing support and intelligence to the soft tissue remain problematic, the release will be short-lived. Discovering and applying this approach has led to the development of the Bonacci Method.
My traditional chiropractic training in combination with my certification in physical medicine modalities and therapeutic procedures is the foundation that allowed me to develop a manual therapy technique that effectively relieves pain, restores motion and strength, and promotes healing to injured areas. I am able to get patients that were previously non-responsive to chiropractic or physical therapy to respond by applying my method and restoring both global posture and the posture in the local area of concern.
Editor’s Note: Dr. Marc Bonacci is a chiropractic physician certified in physical medicine modalities and therapeutic procedures. For 18 years, his compassionate and creative approach to solving chronic pain issues has led him to develop a system in which he manually aligns nerves, muscles, connective tissue and joints to re-train the posture and allow healing. Learn more about The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment. http://ow.ly/rhxq308JAQQ
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Opioids for Teens = Heroin Addiction
By Dr. Marc Bonacci, DC, PMMTP
On December 5, the Today Show documented three teen athletes who had suffered injuries and were prescribed opioids for pain. In one instance, a 15-year-old was prescribed three refills of Vicodin. It only takes a week for the body to become physically dependent on opioids.
In every case with these three athletes, by the time they finished their prescriptions, they were hooked. They all said that their doctors didn't warn them about the highly addictive nature of the drugs. According to federal statistics, four out of five cases of heroin addiction start with prescription medications.
Teen athletes hooked on opioids often graduate to heroin because they are molecularly very similar. A dealer might charge you up to $30 for one pill, but heroin is only $5 for a bag and it gives a stronger high. It’s not a hard leap.
Teen sports have become increasingly violent and stressful. Young athletes feel great pressure to play through pain and injuries, and many are chronically injured. The purpose of pain is to signal that the body needs to rest and heal; the natural instinct is to protect the injured area. On opioids, an athlete is fooled into playing, continually abusing the injured area, causing greater damage. The area is not allowed to heal properly, and the result is chronic pain as an adult.
Teen athletes are accustomed to taking great risks with their bodies on the field, so they may take a risk with drugs if it means they can keep playing. All they can think of is getting back on the field. As a result, there are an increasingly large number of teen athletes in all sports becoming addicted to heroin. Many die of overdose.
Teens who are prescribed opiates are at a strong disadvantage, because the developing teen brain, which is reward-driven with low impulse-control, is more easily addicted to drugs. Opioids give a high along with lessening pain, dopamine is released, and the developing brain becomes seduced.
The human brain is not fully developed until age 25. The brain enters a massive growth spurt from age 11-19, and development comes in leaps. There are an overabundance of neuronal connections, and the adolescent’s experiences shape the brain’s growth. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it scenario.
Teen brains use more of the limbic system (emotional) to make decisions, while adults brains use the prefrontal cortex (rational). Drug abuse does irreparable damage to brain cells during this sensitive time, disrupting normal brain growth and resulting in abnormal: brain volume, quality of white matter, cognitive function and brain activation.
This translates into problems with memory, high emotions, inability to set aside current pleasure for future gain, and inability to plan for the future at all. Additionally, the major long-term problem is that the brain freezes at this primitive growth stage of being emotion- and fear-driven. As these teens grow into adults, they are immature, defensive, irritable and illogical.
Last year, the FDA approved OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old. The younger a child is when they take opioids, the faster they become addicted. Unless it is an end-of-life or unusual extreme-case scenario, prescribing opioids for a child is inappropriate. There are alternatives for handling pain, both chronic and acute. Tracy Harrison, a pediatric anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, discussed on livescience.com that Oxycontin can be debilitating; keeping teens knocked out in bed rather than going to school and socializing.
Chronic pain is complex, particularly for children, with a psycho-social component as well as the physical aspect, which is why many doctors believe that pain meds are not the best way to handle chronic pain. Many factors play a part in pain: quality of sleep, activity levels, anxiety and stress.
In fact, the CDC released guidelines in March that recommended primary care providers avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for patients with chronic pain, according to USA Today. The CDC says that the risks greatly outweigh the benefits. CDC Director Tom Friedman, MD, MPH, says that more than 40 Americans die every day from prescription opioid overdoses, and opioids are as addictive as heroin. He believes opioids poorly control chronic pain, and other therapies should be sought out prior to resorting to opioids.
Andrew Colony, executive director for Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said the new guidelines are a “game changer” and “for the first time, the federal government is communicating clearly that the widespread practice of treating common pain conditions with long-term opioids is inappropriate.”
One parent who lost a son to heroin was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying, “You know what really breaks my heart? My son knew he was meant to be an athlete. Sports was his first addiction. He just ran into another addiction that was so much more powerful.”
Editor’s Note: Dr. Marc Bonacci is a sports-focused chiropractic physician certified in physical medicine modalities and therapeutic procedures. He frequently helps patients reduce their intake of opioids by determining alternative courses of integrative treatment. For 18 years, his compassionate and creative approach to solving chronic pain issues has led him to develop a system in which he manually aligns nerves, muscles, connective tissue and joints to re-train the posture and allow healing. Learn more about the Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment at www.arizonapainandposture.com.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/injuries-can-put-teen-athletes-path-addiction-n672741
http://www.drugfree.org/news-service/cdc-releases-guidelines-doctors-designed-reduce-opioid-prescribing/
http://www.si.com/more-sports/2015/06/18/special-report-painkillers-young-athletes-heroin-addicts
http://www.livescience.com/52395-oxycontin-approved-docs-worried.html
http://www.muirwoodteen.com/teen-substance-abuse/effects-brain/
http://www.wcvb.com/article/receptionist-accidentally-orders-live-reindeer-for-holiday-party/8466530

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Healthy Living Blog by Dr. Marc Bonacci RegenAlign and Ergonomics: Why It Works

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RegenAlign™ and Ergonomics: Why It Works
By Marc Bonacci, D.C, P.M.M.T.P.

In order for ergonomics to be successful, an individual must have proper postural alignment of nerves, soft tissue structures and joints while performing in the workplace. The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment, or RegenAlign™, is a multidisciplinary therapy that accomplishes this efficiently. This technique has been developed through many years of healing chronic and complicated pain patients, and research has shown that the single most important aspect of preventing pain is improving posture. There is a symbiotic relationship of a multidisciplinary treatment approach with the principles and practices of a sound ergonomics program. The Bonacci Method utilizes assessment and treatment techniques found in a variety of overlapping disciplines. The result is increased capacity to function in the workplace, decreased on-the-job injuries, and prevention of pain.
Chronic pain is America’s biggest health problem, and the number one reason people go to the doctor. According to USA Today, more than 100 million — more than 40% — of adult Americans suffer from it. It costs the nation more than $600 billion per year, which is more than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined. Chronic pain is the result of negative environmental factors such as improper ergonomics, which causes misaligned posture, degeneration and cell dysfunction.
When the body is out of alignment, the body feels weak. Consider the disabling positions imposed in martial arts that aim to weaken an opponent by placing the body in a misaligned position. This misalignment drains the body of energy and causes fatigue. When the body regains proper alignment — proper posture — strength returns. With increased strength comes increased productivity. The Bonacci Method focuses on improving posture and gaining strength by utilizing a complex sequence of maneuvers to realign the core structures of the entire body: the nerves, connective tissue, joints and muscles. The goal is to prevent pain, but if pain already exists, the goal is to release the pain and prevent its return. Living with pain means living with a constant distraction — the enemy of productivity. Pain leads to early fatigue, as does improper ergonomics.
We must first recognize that the body is not a collection of separate encapsulated elements, but a sophisticated entwinement of dynamic elements working together. Just as a properly functioning orchestra is made up not of instruments played in isolation, but each element playing together to make a harmonious sound. A multidisciplinary approach to preventing pain and injury embodies this idea.
As humans age, the body slowly deteriorates. The muscles atrophy, placing unusual stress on joints and nerves, and developing scar tissue and inflammation throughout the body’s fascia. This process inevitably causes pain, loss of strength, poor posture, decreased energy, and lower productivity at the workplace. Proper ergonomics will help, but if the body is in a debilitated state, it will remain a challenge to maintain or increase productivity. The Bonacci Method improves posture to allow for maximum efficiency of movement. Proper soft tissue, joint and nerve alignment results in less strain on the body, creating less irritation and inflammation. Specific exercise integrated with therapy can then help to maintain proper posture and strength. The resulting preservation of energy allows for greater endurance, higher morale and a healthier mood, all of which feed a positive work experience and hence, productivity.
The Bonacci Method of diagnosing the true origin of the pain is a focus and critical key to solving each complaint. Often the true source of pain evades traditional assessment techniques. The Bonacci Method of diagnosis helps identify well-hidden elements contributing to the pain, often with multiple sources. Assessing the pain is fluid, often overlapping into the therapy itself, from which the practitioner learns more as the rehabilitation progresses.
Every body is different, and every injury different, and therefore requires thinking outside the box to creatively find a sequence of therapeutic modalities that works. Over time the method has been honed to suit multiple situations, no matter the complaint. The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment is gentle, flexible, fluid, dynamic and holistic.
Bruce Lipton (2012 a,b), quantum physicist and cell biologist, explains that the human body is comprised of a harmonious community of 50 trillion cells, each of which functions primarily in reaction to our environment — the energy field that surrounds us. Electromagnetic fields control the movement and signals of proteins inside us, which control the various functions of our bodies. Disease is caused when the nervous system sends inappropriate signals, generated through trauma, toxins or thought. The energy flows from the environment to the brain, then to the spinal cord and finally to the peripheral organs. Improper ergonomics creates bad energy flow. The energy in the body reflects the surrounding energy, because the atoms in the body are not only giving off energy, they are absorbing it. We cannot separate ourselves from our environment; we are entangled within its energy. Albert Einstein said, “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.”
The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment offers a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to prevention, assessment and treatment of pain, which combined with proper ergonomics in the workplace, establishes muscle memory of natural alignment, resulting in a high-energy atmosphere in the body conducive to productivity.

Bio: Dr. Marc Bonacci is a chiropractic physician certified in physical medicine modalities and therapeutic procedures. For 18 years, his compassionate and creative approach to solving chronic pain issues has led him to develop a system in which he manually aligns nerves, muscles, connective tissue and joints to re-train the posture and allow healing. Learn more about The Bonacci Method of Regenerative Alignment. http://ow.ly/wbzW306hvY4

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Healthy Living Blog: A Chiropractor With a Disc Bulge
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