Are you Lacking in Happiness?

According to research, happiness is, to a large degree, determined by your genes.  Psychology professor David T. Lykken, says that “trying to be happier is like trying to be taller.” We each have a “happiness set point,” he argues, and move away from it only slightly.

If you notice that your genes are lacking in happiness, try the following strategies to help you foster positive emotions!

  1. Make a choice to become happy.  Happiness is an achievement that takes effort!  Decide to choose attitudes and behaviors that will lead to happiness.
  2. Cultivate gratitude.  University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman suggests performing a daily “gratitude exercise.”  Everyday, try listing a few things that make you happy!
  3. Foster forgiveness.  According to research, holding grudges can affect physical as well as mental health.  Let go of bitterness and resentment in order to embrace happiness.
  4. Counteract negative thoughts and feelings by making a commitment to think positive thoughts.  If you find this challenging, try practicing mediation, rhythmic breathing yoga, or relaxation techniques.
  5. Money cannot buy happiness.  Research shows that once income climbs above the poverty level, more money brings very little extra happiness.

Need help getting motivated? The Lavanga Group is here to help! Call (215) 364 3231 to schedule an appointment today!

Exercise With Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can take a toll on your body.  Patients who often suffer from lower back pain believe that resting will help them heal.  However, regular exercise may help reduce and prevent lower back pain.

WebMD suggest the following exercises to help strengthen your back: pilates, aerobic exercise, lifting weights, bridging, pelvic tilts, knee to chest, bird dog, press-up back extensions, wall sits, and hamstring stretches.  Research shows that these exercises strengthen your back.  Staying active helps to support your spine and relieve back pain.  WebMD states, “Some exercises can aggravate back pain and should be avoided when you have acute low back pain. Partial crunches can help strengthen your back and stomach muscles. ”  If you’re experience lower back pain, avoid the following exercises: toe touches, sit-ups, and leg lifts.  Because some exercises may contribute to your lower back pain, make sure to consult with your healthcare professional about which exercises to try and which to avoid.

If you are suffering from lower back pain, contact Lavanga Chiropractic to schedule an appointment today!

4 ways to turn good posture into less back pain

Most of us get back pain at some point in our lives. It may be due to a sports-related injury, an accident, or a congenital condition such as scoliosis. But most of the time, upper or lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache.

Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to prevent this sort of problem. General physical fitness and a healthy weight are important. But one surprisingly simple strategy can go a long way: Paying attention to your posture.

The basics of posture

Posture is the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, pulling, or reaching. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine — the vertebrae — are correctly aligned.


4 steps toward good posture

You can improve your posture—and head off back pain—by practicing some imagery and a few easy exercises.  Read more about them here.

Can Working Hard Be Harmful?

Can Working Hard Be Harmful?

Late nights, early mornings, 24/7 GO, GO, GO!

That is the life you are living. You feel that if you don’t pull those all nighters you won’t make that sale, or won’t get that project done to get you to that VP position. You need to be working hard to get you to where you need to be.

But what if you burning yourself out to work yourself up to the top is hurting you more than helping?

In Ron Friedman article about working too hard, he explains how working hard to get to the top can burn you out and in return hurt you. So ask yourself are you working too hard? Are you pulling the late night runs? Find out by reading Friedman’s article HERE

For more information on avoiding burnout contact Lavanga Group today!

Why Vacations are Good for Your Health

With Summer right around the corner, it’s about that time to start looking forward to beach trips and getaways.  Vacations give you an opportunity to escape from your day-to-day responsibilities and get some much needed R&R.  Most of us come home from vacations feeling relaxed, happy, and ready to get back to work!  Vacations are great for getting a tan, spending time with family, and catching up on some reading.  What most people don’t realize is that vacations are also good for your health!  Check out the following ways a vacation can make you healthier and happier:

  • Helps you to reduce stress.  Whether you take a week long beach trip or just a day to play golf, vacations are one of the best ways to reduce stress levels!
  • Give your heart a break.  According to the Framingham Heart Study, “Women who take at least two vacations a year are eight times less likely to have coronary heart disease.”  Another study done with men who had an elevated risk for coronary disease, showed that those who didn’t take an annual vacation were 32% more likely to die from a heart attack than the vacationers.
  • Help you get closer to your family.  Vacations help you to create memories and share experiences with your families.
  • Make you smarter at work.  According to the National Institutes of Health, research shows that stress can have an impact on decision making.  By taking a few vacation days, you’ll feel refreshed and and focused.

For more information about your health, contact Lavanga Chiropractic today!


Back Pain Facts & Statistics

Although chiropractors care for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.  In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.1

A few interesting facts about back pain:

  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
  • One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
  • Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
  • Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.3
  • Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.4

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Sciatica Stretches to Ease Your Discomfort

Did you know that daily sciatica stretches can alleviate some of your symptoms?  Piriformis syndrome, or sciatica pain, is very common in athletes such as runners, cyclers and rowers.  It also affects a range of others due to being overweight, improper posture and especially pregnant women!  The piriformis muscle runs right on top of the sciatic nerve and when it is not properly stretched, it will tap the nerve and cause pain.  Those who over/underuse this muscle are likely to feel the negative effects of its placement.

Physical therapists and chiropractors provide home routines for their patients to perform that are meant to supplement the time spent with them.  When followed, sciatica stretches, among other stretches, will ease your discomfort as well as help you regain your mobility!  Patients who do not follow their home sciatica stretches routine are doing themselves a disservice by delaying their treatment until their next visit.

Anti-Inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen will help with the discomfort; however, it is best to discuss a plan with your doctor as soon as possible.  Triathlete magazine has a great article lining out what causes this pain and how to prevent and treat it with the use of a doctors care plan along with sciatica stretches.

As with all health concerns, it is best to contact your doctor immediately when something feels amiss.  You know your body better than anyone – don’t lie to it!  Schedule an appointment today at Lavanga Chiropractic to review your symptoms and work out a care plan!


What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is frequently the result of spinal conditions that lead to irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and runs from the lower back through the upper buttocks and down to the toes. Compression or irritation of the sciatica nerve can cause low-back pain with radiating pain in the back of the legs.

Sciatica is often a result of disc herniation. Spinal discs are soft cushions between the vertebra of the spine. Disc herniation is the process in which an injury or spinal degeneration causes the disc to move outside of its normal boundary. This bulging disc pinches the sciatica nerve triggering pain.

Although disc herniation is a common source sciatic pain, several other mechanisms can cause pain. In a recent study, researchers used new, state-of-the-art imaging techniques to illustrate sources of sciatic pain other than disc herniation.

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The Seven Areas

The Seven Areas

  1. Spiritual
  2. Mental
  3. Vocational
  4. Financial
  5. Familial
  6. Social
  7. Physical


Life is a balance. The microsystems and macrosystems of the planet on which we live, the body we inhabit, and the universe that encompasses and surrounds us, are in a constant state of expansion and contraction. The purpose of these microcosmic and macrocosmic machinations is to maintain order and balance. There is an enormous amount of energy created in this process. Your priorities in life (value system) determines the results you achieve. It is more effective to have your daily life reflect your values. The fun in life begins when you take on the appropriate level of responsibility, to balance the level of fulfillment you seek. Chapter I and the exercises that follow it will help bring greater focus and power to your day-to-day activities. It is a skill, and therefore it takes training and practice. It is worth the effort!

First, let us break life down into its component parts. We will call these the seven areas of life: spiritual, mental, vocational, financial, familial, social and physical. A thorough mastering of all seven areas is key to a fulfilling life. One of the most effective ways to help yourself is to become aware of the hierarchy of your value system as it relates to the seven areas of life.

To determine the hierarchy of your value system, simply catalogue where and how you spend your time, energy, and money. For example, if you spend a significant amount of time involved in your church with meetings or choir, etc., and the moral or ethical implications of daily life occupy your time, then spiritual development is high among your values. If you spend a significant amount of your time learning, studying, and researching information, or using and improving your mental skills, then the mental area of life is high among your values. If you are working and taking courses to further your career, your identity is linked to your work (you do carpentry work, versus “being a carpenter” is who you are), then vocation is high among your values. If you play the stock market, study the laws governing investments, spend a significant amount of time working on or thinking about finances, then the financial area of life is high among your values. If you spend a significant amount of time taking your kids to sporting events, coaching their team, or taking care of your parents, then family is high among your values. If your friends, parties, and social events take a significant amount of your time, then the social aspect is high among your values. If you are concerned about your health and take time to do regular exercise and massage, or take tennis lessons, then the physical aspect is high among your values. That’s simple, right? Now, if your highest priority is to advance your career through schooling, but you are spending a significant amount of time enjoying the social area of your life and ignoring school, then nothing is wrong, but you will eventually beat yourself up for not focusing enough attention on your career.

A key to self-mastery is understanding that your current circumstances are a result or reflection of your value system. Another key is to have congruence in your value system by linking your daily activities to your mission. Although all seven areas of life are interdependent and interrelated, it benefits us to break them down for purposes of finding where we are incongruent with our values and bringing life back into balance. Another cause of confusion and imbalance in life comes from the inability to effectively switch in and out of the roles we play: mother, father, wife, husband, educator, club member, breadwinner, etc. Developing the skill of balancing roles is most efficiently accomplished by starting with congruency in your hierarchy of values and the seven areas of life.

Hydration – Why We Need It

Hydration is key to the body’s peak performance.  It’s ironic that the one thing Debbie Scaling Kiley needed was the one thing that was all around her as far as the eye could see, but wasn’t for the taking: water. Setting sail from Annapolis, Md., and headed for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the boat Kiley and her crew of four were on sank off the coast of North Carolina leaving them with no survival equipment and not a drop of fresh water.

Stranded at sea in a small life raft, the five survivors slowly started to dehydrate, and after several hours, dehydration set in.

“We sank at about 2 p.m.,” says Kiley. “By the next morning, we were thirsty, but the cold was more important than the thirst. Later that day, though, the thirst started to drive us crazy. It’s a longing like nothing I’d ever felt before; it’s nothing like being hungry. It’s torturous because there was nothing we could do, but we’d have done anything for water.”

By the third day, they were semidelusional, and that night, two of the men on the raft drank seawater to quench their thirst. The next day, in a delusional state, both men jumped overboard.

“By the fifth day, we were so thirsty, we were overwhelmed by it,” says Kiley. “We were at the point of believing we were going to die of dehydration. I’ve been told the human body can last absolutely no longer than seven days, but in many cases, as I believe was the case with us if we had stayed out there longer, a person can only last five or six days.”

On the fifth day, Kiley and one other survivor were rescued. They were immediately given ice cubes to suck on and IV fluids to re-hydrate them. Her story, compelling in so many ways, illustrates to the extreme the importance of water and fluids in our lives.

Water: Why We Need It

“Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water, and the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles,” says Larry Kenney, PhD, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State.

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