Through a Daughters Eyes: Wellness Tips for My Family

Like many Alaskans, I grew up with a big family in a small town. When you, your parents, and your many siblings all live in a small town in Alaska, their problems are always your problems. You take each other’s personal wellbeing very seriously; if mom is unhappy, everyone is unhappy and if grandma is sick, everyone is pitching in to make sure she has what she needs.

Alaska is one big playground beckoning to residents of all ages to come out and play year round. However, with every bit of fun and games come the risk and the need to make serious, confident decisions to assure my family’s wellness. Being raised by a tough Alaskan family, and as the youngest in the family, I have observed, aided and been the subject of many family wellness decisions. Along the way, I have gained a few tips and ideas of family wellness that I am going to share over the next few weeks.

My Grandmothers Hip

Does your Grandmother have burning pain in her back, hip and leg?
It could be sciatica and it is easily treatable!

For years, my grandmother worked on her feet as a cook in our family restaurant and for years she has complained about pain in her leg, hip and back. Now retired and living a much more sedentary lifestyle, the pain in her leg, hip and back has remained a constant problem. Finally, my mother insisted that she go to our family chiropractor in Eagle River to get a professional assessment of her pain. As it turns out, my grandmother is suffering from sciatic nerve pain, also known as sciatica. The nerve becomes inflamed and painful for many different reasons ranging from a herniated disc to a muscle strain. Sciatica causes sharp tingling and burning pain in the low back and down the leg making it hard to sit, stand or walk. Fortunately, it is easily treatable.

Trying to avoid pain medications or invasive procedures, my Grandmother asked her Chiropractor for alternative treatment options. Since my Grandmother lives in a rural town, in addition to the few treatment options offered at the clinic, the doctor gave her some options to get pain relief at home.

  • Chiropractic care- when the spine is misaligned it can cause some serious back pain and sciatica pain. Manipulation and adjustments to the spine will increase spine health and help my grandmother get some pain relief.
  • Massage therapy – many forms of massage ranging from hot stone to deep tissue can help relax tight and sore muscles and increase blood circulation. This is something my grandmother took full advantage of at our Chiropractor in Eagle River while she was visiting us.
  • Heat/Ice – the doctor suggested that my grandmother use heat and ice packs on her back and hip where the pain is greatest. The heat relaxes tight muscles and the ice reduces inflammation in hot spots.
  • Physical Therapy/ Stretching – before she flew home, the doctor taught my grandmother a few easy stretches she can do on her own.
    • Deep Thigh Stretch: Lay down on your back; bend knees with feet flat on the floor. Lift right leg and cross it over your left leg so that your right ankle is over your left knee. Pull your left thigh towards your chest and hold for 20-30 seconds and alternate sides.
    • Seated Hip Stretch: Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out flat and straight. Cross your right leg over your straightened left leg. Keeping your back straight, brace your left elbow against your right knee pushing against each other. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds and alternate sides.
    • Knee to Chest stretch: Laydown on your back with legs flat on the floor. Lift one knee up and hug it towards your chest. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds and alternate sides.
    • Lower Back stretch: Laydown on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lower one leg to one side as far as comfortable. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds and alternate sides.

Check back next week to get some tips on how to get a busy hard working Alaskan man to take care of his sore body from years of manual labor.

by Chugach Chiropractic & Massage Center