Mountains, waterfalls, stunning overlooks, secluded trails – it’s all right here in Greenville at the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There are hundreds of miles of trails within an hour or two driving distance just waiting to be explored. Many of my patients love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, whether it’s a tough trail or an easy stroll through the woods. Getting out in nature can do wonders for both mental and physical health.
Hiking has many benefits, including:
- Improved stability
- Increase in bone density
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Lessening the symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Increasing strength in your legs, hips, and glutes
- Lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar levels
While the great outdoors is certainly incredible, as a chiropractor I see common injuries that could otherwise be prevented by following some simple steps to protect your spine while enjoying that fresh mountain air. Being mindful of these tips can help you not lose any time experiencing the beauty of nature that surrounds us here in Greenville, SC.
Chiropractic Hiking tips
Follow these seven tips to have a fantastic hike while protecting your spine and staying in great condition outdoors. Many of these suggestions involve getting the right gear. You don’t need to spend a small fortune on high end gear – just make sure it fits you correctly.
Finding the right shoes is crucial
Let’s start from the bottom up. Finding the right shoes to support your feet is crucial to avoiding injury and protecting the rest of your body as you trek along trails and over exposed roots and slippery rocks. There are a huge variety of hiking boots and trail running shoes available and it is best to go to an outfitter (locally, go to REI, Sunrift Adventures, or Half Moon Outfitters) and try on shoes before you purchase them. Typically, you need to go up a half size since your feet will swell with heat. Make sure the tread has good grip and that the shoe is stable. Most outfitters will have a rock you can test the shoes out on. Having a good hiking shoe is critical to maintaining good posture, protecting your knees and back, and avoiding twisted ankles or falls.
Trekking poles can be a lifesaver
Trekking poles, lightweight ski-like poles usually with a grip handle at top and point or rubber stopper at the bottom, can be a lifesaver in the woods because they can often stop you from falling. These can really help you to stabilize on wet, muddy, or slippery trails and prevent injuries. You can lean on them to help you as you move uphill or use them to stabilize yourself while coming down the trail, especially if your legs are already a little wobbly from an uphill climb. Most poles will fold up so if you don’t need them, just put them in your backpack. They are great tools to use for hiking and preventing injury.
Having a backpack that fits correctly
Speaking of backpacks, having a backpack fit you correctly will take the strain off your neck, shoulders, and upper back. REI and other outfitters will fit you for a backpack right in their stores and help you make sure the straps are secured properly around your hips and the shoulder straps are where they need to be to avoid strain. The distribution of weight in your backpack, especially if you are carrying a child in a hiking backpack or going on a long backpacking trip, can make a world of difference. By having the correct fit for your backpack, you can avoid injuries not only to your neck and shoulders but also to your knees, hips, and ankles.
Stretch before you hit the trails
It may seem like a silly thing to do in the middle of a parking lot or at the trailhead, but doing simple stretches for your legs, arms, and shoulders can help loosen the muscles and joints that are about to be used for your outdoor enjoyment. Stretching for a few minutes before you start hiking can prevent back pain as well by alleviating tension. Stretch your shoulders, your quads and hamstrings, your calves, and your neck before trekking off into the woods. Also take a few minutes to do those same stretches after your hike. It’s always a good idea to cool down your muscles before you head home.
Drink enough water
Hydration is necessary while on the trail. Your muscles need water to work properly and prevent injury. Spinal discs are comprised of mostly water and receive nutrients through a process called imbibition, which requires ideal motion in the joints that are above and below the disc. Subluxations (a point where joints are not aligned correctly) can inhibit water getting to the discs, which can lead to degeneration. This is an important reason why chiropractic care is so critical to anyone who likes to move around, participate in sports, and of course, go hiking. While you are being treated to remove subluxations, hydration is so important, no matter what you may be doing or where you may be hiking. Always carry enough water while hiking and don’t forget to drink it.
Know your limits
While it would be amazing to hike the hardest trail to the highest mountain your first time out, you may be setting yourself for a negative outcome and injuries. Work up to the harder trails by hiking easier ones first. Plus, you’ll need to break in your hiking boots and backpack anyway. Knowing your body and how much you are able to push yourself without injury is important in any athletic activity but especially with hiking, being prepared and knowing when to push yourself and when to hold back can go a long way in preventing injuries.
Get adjusted before your hike
Pounding the trails for miles puts pressure on your joints and forces your muscles to work hard for balance and stabilization. Your back, hips, and knees are all working together to get you where you need to go but taking a beating in order to get there. By getting properly adjusted before your hike, you will be starting off on a good foot. No pun intended. If you’re new to hiking, seeing a chiropractor before you get on the trails is an excellent idea. You’ll know where the weaknesses in your body lie and take steps to prevent injury and be more mindful of actions that could lead to injury. If you’re a seasoned hiker, you likely know where your weaknesses and a good chiropractor can help relieve pain and get you back on the trails.
Ready to hit the trails? If you need suggestions of where to go, see this great list.
On behalf of my incredible staff, my supportive family, and my amazing patients, I am so grateful that the Greenville Spine Institute has been named the 2021 Best of the Upstate Best Chiropractor.
As some of you know, I founded the Greenville Spine Institute in 2010 after a career in the office of the Greenville County Sheriff. Knowing firsthand the power of a good chiropractor when handling stress and injuries, I devoted my second career to helping people be from pain and truly live their best lives.
I was thrilled that the Greenville Spine Institute was nominated for the annual Best of the Upstate contest earlier this spring. The contest has been in existence at least since 2013 and is recognized as the premier “best of” contest in our area as it highlights the very best local businesses and resources in the Upstate of South Carolina. Once nominations are set, then the public has two weeks to vote on their favorite nominee in dozens of categories. Then we all have to wait for the annual event that announces the winners. Just a little stressful.
Even though we were up against solid competition, I trusted that the services we have provided our patients for the last 11 years would stand the test. But Greenville Spine is so much more than winning this contest or the hundreds of five-star Google reviews we have. Every single one of us at Greenville Spine cares deeply for our patients and their families. We operate with the very best in mind for every single person who walks through our doors and we honor their trust in us by providing the utmost top care possible.
We only have one chance at life. If there are options to help you heal without surgery or medications, why not give it a shot? Our practice at GCS has a 98 percent success rate. There are few things in life that have those kinds of odds.
It’s not uncommon for a mom to be treated at Greenville Spine and then ask us to evaluate her child for issues she is noticing like turned in feet or pain from an old sports injury. And then for her to turn around and recommend her own parents see us for treatment as well. We have entire families that we treat for a variety of issues and word of mouth is often our best form of advertising. I see it all as a testament to our core values of personalized treatment and the ability to always listen and respond to what our patients are telling us.
All of us at Greenville Spine are honored to win this prestigious award but it’s not just myself or our amazing staff that make up our operation. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my wonderful and supportive wife, Erin, for the sacrifices she has made so I could pursue my dream of owning and operating my own chiropractic practice. She has taken extraordinary measures to care for our children and run our household while I work late hours going over x-rays, writing up treatment plans, and calling patients. Erin and my children are my absolute joy and without them, this practice would not exist.
My office staff – Miranda, Sarah, and Dr. Aronson – are the backbone to Greenville Spine and make sure the office runs as smoothly as possible. The reason your appointments are always on time and that you rarely wait to be seen are a testament to their hard work and dedication. They are a huge reason why you walk out of Greenville Spine happier than when you came in and I’m incredibly grateful for them.
If this is the first time you are reading something on our website or the first time you have heard of myself or the Greenville Spine Institute, welcome. Know that you deserve to be happy, healthy, and free from pain and it is our goal to get you there. Take a second to browse our blog and see if anything interests you. Or take a look at the different services we offer here.
So how can we help you? If you are suffering from any of the following conditions, please come in to see us for an evaluation.
- Neck, back, or shoulder pain
- Hip pain
- Past injuries
- Digestive problems
- Constant stress
- Breastfeeding issues
You don’t need to live with constant pain or in fear of not being able to keep up with your kids. There are better options. We would love to have the chance to earn your trust and help you achieve your goals.
And thank you again to everyone who voted for us for the Best Chiropractor in the 2021 Best of the Upstate contest. We are beyond thankful.
While many women don’t think of chiropractic care until perhaps they need to turn a breech baby close to their due date (chiropractic care can certainly help with this), both studies and anecdotes are plentiful that support the use of chiropractic treatment even before pregnancy. Seeing a chiropractor can help properly align the body for optimal fertility, assist during pregnancy to keep the pelvis, back, and spine where they need to be for a healthy delivery, and aid in a faster recovery postpartum. Reproductive health can be vastly improved with the help of chiropractic care.
Getting Pregnant & Your Greenville Chiropractor
Starting a family is thrilling and exciting and truth be told, can be scary. The vast majority of couples – about 85% – will achieve pregnancy within a year of actively trying. But for those couples who don’t get pregnant within a year of trying, or six months if they are in their 30s, it can be excruciating. Often they are asking themselves and their doctors what could be wrong, why aren’t they able to conceive, what can be done.
As easy as it may seem to achieve pregnancy for some people, there is a lot that needs to happen within the bodies of the woman and man to make a baby. Timing is crucial, as are healthy eggs and sperm, properly balanced hormones, and correct positioning of reproductive organs. The endocrine system controls hormones, which could be interrupted by problems within the central nervous system. The uterus may not be in an ideal position due to a misalignment in the pelvis, which could also affect the position of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The body is incredibly designed with each part having a specific job – yet all parts need the others to work correctly or else it affects their own job. And perhaps the most crucial aspect of the body working together is the communication system from the brain through the spine to other parts of the body. So if there is a subluxation (inflammation and misalignment) in the spine, the messages the brain needs to send to say, the ovaries or uterus, won’t make it there. This is a simple way to explain complex systems but the overall message is that it is of utmost importance that the body is in proper alignment so all systems work the best they possibly can.
Chiropractic care can often help couples who have experienced infertility. Several years ago, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research published research on the benefits of chiropractic care and fertility. They looked at more than a dozen studies and research articles and found that chiropractic care helped women to achieve pregnancy no matter their medical history and age.One of the studies was about a 32-year-old woman who had not menstruated for 12 years and was trying to get pregnant. It’s essential for women to have a regular cycle to become pregnant so it was not surprising she could achieve pregnancy. The research article said: “The woman had undergone a number of medical infertility treatments, but still could not conceive. After two months of chiropractic care, with attention on adjustments in the lumbar region, her menses started and after regular cycles for four months, she became pregnant.”Dr. Madeline Behrendt compiled this research for the Journal and said that the many women who received chiropractic care to address infertility had a wide variety of stress related to their inability to conceive such as car accidents, blocked fallopian tubes, scoliosis, and work stress. Once their subluxations were detected and corrected, they were able to conceive. While chiropractic care is not a miracle cure, it is vastly less expensive than in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other medical procedures. There are no drugs and adjustments are painless. If couples are experiencing infertility and have tried seemingly everything else, it may be beneficial to seek chiropractic care to achieve a pregnancy.
Benefits during pregnancy of Greenville Chiropractic care
Once a woman achieves pregnancy, her body immediately starts changing and adjusting to grow and support the baby and prepare for delivery. About 80% of women report some kind of pelvic pain during pregnancy. This can include things like pressure in the lower back, pressure on the pubic bone, pain that shoots down the legs, and cramping. When a woman is pregnant, there is significant increased pressure on her lumbar spine, which can cause pain throughout the lower body, a shift in gait, and stress on the hips. There are several studies that suggest spinal correction can alleviate much of this pain during (and after) pregnancy.
I see a number of pregnant women at the Greenville Spine Institute who present themselves with many of these same issues. After an extensive screening progress and with regular appointments for spinal adjustments, which we meticulously track throughout the pregnancy, my patients report minimal, if any, pain and significant relief of symptoms. The distribution of weight changes throughout pregnancy as the baby develops, which puts pressure on the musculoskeletal symptom in the body, affects the expansion of the hips, and changes the tilt of the uterus. By working together throughout the pregnancy, I’m able to see when these changes happen and alter treatment to adjust the areas most affected by the bodily changes, easing her pain and making her pregnancy more enjoyable.
Labor and Delivery are aided by chiropractic care
When it comes to labor and delivery, the benefits of chiropractic care continue. Several studies that date back many years have found:
- That first time pregnant women who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy report a 25% less labor time than those who don’t;
- That multiparous mothers who receive chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy report a 31% less time in labor than those moms who don’t;
- A direct relationship between pregnant mothers who receive chiropractic care to a lesser chance of having a C-section, of preterm delivery, of the use of forceps, and of meconium-stained amniotic fluid.
- Additionally, using chiropractic care during pregnancy can also aid the baby in getting into the optimal position for birth. If the body is aligned and the systems are communicating properly, the baby has a higher chance of following the natural path towards birth. A study from the early 2000s showed that 92% of pregnant moms with a breech baby who saw a chiropractor had their babies repositioned for optimal birth.
Postpartum benefits of chiropractic
After birth, a woman’s body continues to change and adjust. These changes can be overt or subtle and can occur in the lower back when picking up her infant or the car seat, or in the pelvic region which causes discomfort walking and sleeping, or in the thoracic region as moms are nursing, bottle feeding, or rocking the baby. Studies indicate that about 77% of postpartum mothers face pain following delivery, which makes complete sense given that she has grown and birthed a new human being.
All of these new changes can cause subluxations in the spine and neck, which can lead to pain, discomfort, trouble sleeping, nursing, or walking, and even a decrease in emotional well-being. Research has shown that postpartum patients receiving chiropractic care, including tailored adjustments made for each patients, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises, show significant improvement in physiological and neurologic areas.
Babies need chiropractic care, too
Sometimes babies have a hard time during delivery, which can affect their spinal alignment. Or they may have challenges with breastfeeding or are colicky. Any of these issues can make for a difficult first few weeks (or longer) for parents and their baby.
I have six children of my own and it was issues they faced as newborns that caused me to focus my practice on this particular area of interest. I saw how small and gentle manipulations made immense positive differences in those early weeks of life to help correct things that needed to be realigned after birth.
Chiropractic care is focused on eliminating subluxations and aligning the body correctly to make sure all the systems are communicating correctly. Like in adults, if these systems are not properly aligned, communication within the body will be challenging and parts will not work as intended. For babies, that means digestion problems, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), constantly being uncomfortable (and not able to tell anyone), constipation, and sleep issues. The nervous system and digestive system are often affected in infants and with proper (and gentle) spinal manipulation, chiropractic treatment can work effectively for babies.
One study highlights a little nine-day-old girl who was not gaining weight post-birth. Her mother was having an extraordinarily difficult time with breastfeeding the baby and lactation consultants were not solving the problems so she sought the help of a chiropractor. The baby was adjusted several times on her spine and neck within a two-week period and ended up gaining weight because she was able to successfully nurse.
Manipulations done on babies are very gentle. It’s wonderful to see how well babies will do even after two or three appointments. The relief on mom’s face is palpable. And the benefits of chiropractic care for infants goes even beyond initial issues they face. It can help boost their immune system and aid in keeping dreaded ear infections at bay. When the spinal cord is properly aligned and the bodily systems all communicate correctly, studies suggest this can help keep harmful pathogens from gaining hold in the body. And giving an infant that initial immunity boost can be quite helpful so early in life.
If you or a loved one is experiencing infertility, pregnant or post-partum, schedule a FREE consultation online or by phone at 1 (864) 631-1420
If you’ve ever sat on the sidelines watching your child play soccer, baseball, gymnastics, basketball or any number of other sports, and winced if they grabbed their knee or shoulder or ankle in pain, you’re not alone. The Aspen Institute reports that pre-COVID, nearly a third of kids ages 6-18 played their primary sport three days a week and all kids playing sports dedicated about 13.6 hours weekly to their chosen sport. That’s a lot of time running, jumping, throwing, sliding, tackling, swinging, stretching, and kicking – and lots of opportunities for injuries.
While youth sports injuries are common, this knowledge doesn’t make it easier to handle when your child is sidelined. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that the most common types of sports injuries are Achilles tendon injuries, broken bones, dislocations, knee injuries, Little League elbow, which affects the growth plates in kids, runner’s knee, and sprains.
The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented if imbalances in the body are caught soon enough and properly adjusted. And if your star athlete is already facing an injury, excellent Greenville chiropractic care can help lead him or her on a faster and more efficient road to recovery.
Why see a chiropractor if your kid doesn’t have any injuries?
The best time for Greenville chiropractic care is before an injury happens. The body is designed so all its parts work in harmony with one another, communicating quickly and efficiently through the nervous and skeletal systems. If something isn’t where it’s supposed to be, then that system is going to be hindered.
For example, what if your child walks with their toes pointed inwards? That means their hips are not in alignment and their knees are not where they are designed to be. This puts pressure on their lower legs and ankles where pressure should not be. If your child starts playing soccer in this scenario, their muscles and ligaments try to make up for that misalignment in their hips, which affects movement in their lower body. Muscles that should be directed to keeping knees and ankles strong aren’t doing so because they aren’t in the right place due to the imbalance of the hips. All it will take is one game where your child tears their meniscus in one of their knees and is out for the season. Physical therapy may help in recovery or your orthopedic may recommend surgery, but the unsung hero is often your Greenville chiropractor. You see, portions of the meniscus receive low blood flow and therefore take additional time to heal. Surgical repairs often cause more damage to the meniscus, potentially even to the portion receiving low blood flow, causing the patient to have almost the exact same healing journey without surgery.
That’s a nightmare scenario that many parents face in one form or another. Yet, it very well could have been prevented with chiropractic care. If your child would have been brought in for an exam, Greenville Spine Institute would have been able to see that your child’s feet were turned in and develop a treatment plan to fix it, giving your child a better chance at playing their chosen sport injury-free.
This holds true for so many different kinds of injuries. As kids grow and develop, their bones shift, as do their growth plates. Greenville chiropractic care can greatly benefit kids as they move through this development and become stronger, better athletes. And it’s all non-invasive, with no drugs.
Preventative chiropractic care is important
Taking steps to ensure your student athlete’s body is aligned and functioning correctly and efficiently to avoid injuries is crucial for success. But it’s not only about preventing injuries in an athlete – the benefits to continuous chiropractic care for athletes are numerous and include better performance, quicker recovery, reduced pain, greater range of motion, and whole body wellness.
Kids are starting sports young, like ages four or five, and sometimes will choose their favorite and pursue it competitively by middle school. By that time, their bodies have already taken a beating all while continuing to grow and develop. There are a lot of opportunities for mishaps. The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that teenagers who specialized (played it more often and at higher intensity levels) in a sport had a greater risk of injury, up to 50% more than their peers who competed at lower levels. Most common injuries were those to the ankles, knees, upper legs, and ligament strains, which line up to the most common sports injuries presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians mentioned above.
About 25% of Major League Baseball pitchers have had the Tommy John surgery to repair ligaments in their throwing arm. “The Arm”, a book about injuries to baseball players, found that 56.8% of the Tommy John surgeries between 2007-2011 took place on teenagers. The author surmised that this was because travel teams and competitive baseball are pushing kids way too hard at young ages. While chiropractic care won’t solve all injuries and problems of kids playing sports competitively at younger ages, it can help to avoid some of these more problematic injuries for athletes.
During my time with the Carolina Panthers, I saw a host of injuries to players, many of which were caused by not addressing the root issues of previous injuries. If a child begins treatment with a chiropractor when they start playing sports, there is a greater chance the chiropractor will pick up on changes to the body sooner and make the proper adjustments to ensure peak performance and continued wellness for the athlete, especially if they go on to specialize in one or more sports.
For athletes who have not had an injury, I’ll often recommend specialized strengthening exercises for those muscular and skeletal systems that will be under the most pressure. It’s one of the many ways we use preventative treatment, without drugs or invasive procedures, for our athletes.
If injury strikes
If injury does strike a child who is already seeing a chiropractor, treatment will help aid in a quicker recovery. At the Greenville Spine Institute, we do a thorough physical, orthopedic, and neurologic intake exam with motion x-rays and movement tests to assess the current condition of the body and if there are issues that need to be addressed. If an injury occurs, we can use these same methods and tests to quickly assess the injury and begin treatment to heal the patient.
We have a therapy bay on site with equipment needed for stretching and icing, which all help aid the body in a quicker recovery, no matter their age.
Of course, we prefer to see patients before an injury happens but if that is not possible, chiropractic care can still be extraordinarily effective in helping athletes heal quicker and get back on the field, court, or whatever arena their chosen sport is played.
Want to see what we can offer your star athlete? Come on in for a consultation and we’ll do an assessment, talk about your – and your kid’s goals, and figure out a plan to help your athlete the best they can be in their favorite sport.