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Meditation and Me

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Chiropractic Care and Meditation

When you begin a meditation practice, it's very possible that your focus and concentration will be affected by various bodily aches and pains. After all, when is the last time you attempted to sit quietly for five minutes at a time? Many of us unconsciously hold tension in large muscle groups such as those surrounding the neck and shoulders. We may feel pain in these areas once we've eliminated our usual distractions and are attempting to sit quietly.

Chiropractic care can help address these aches and pains, regardless of location. By addressing the likely source of these problems, that is, mechanical stresses and strains in the spinal column, regular chiropractic care enables large muscle groups to relax and do the job they were designed to do. Regular chiropractic care helps muscle tightness and muscle tension to resolve, removing an uncomfortable source of distraction from your valuable meditation time and helping make your meditation practice fruitful and enjoyable.

For many of us, the practice of meditation seems like a totally foreign notion. In an era of full-time, morning-to-night distractions and distractibility, the concept of quietly sitting with nothing else to do seems impossibly ridiculous. Why would anyone do that, we ask, as we text message with one hand and channel surf with the other. 

Of course, this lack of ability to pay attention and focus for more than 15 seconds at a time is at the core of many of our health issues. Learning how to meditate directly addresses this problem, providing training in developing concentration skills. But meditation offers an abundance of additional benefits, many of great significance to our overall health and well-being.

Years of research have documented the profound benefits of meditation, including reductions in elevated blood pressure levels, stress reduction, pain management,1 and even rewiring of neurologic connections in the brain.2,3 Thus, there are many reasons to begin meditation practice. The key question is how to get started.

Learning how to meditate is actually straightforward. There are many types of meditation practice. Some utilize a mantra, a silently repeated short, meaningless phrase. Others involve specific breathing methods. Others focus on the breath itself without utilizing specific instructions on how to breathe.

This latter method is that employed in Zen meditation. You sit comfortably in a quiet space, ideally facing a blank wall, situated approximately two feet from the wall. (Your specific situation may vary. The important point is to be in a quiet space without distractions of people or technology.) You focus on your breath, seeing your breath go up your spine in the back and then down your spine in the front. After observing one cycle of breathing, you silently count "one." Continue to observe your breathing cycle, adding to your count with each completed cycle. "Two." "Three." When you've completed ten cycles, go back to the numerical beginning and count "one" on the next cycle.

But if your mind wanders (as it inevitably will) and begins to think about whatever, when you eventually notice that you've lost your focus, go back to the beginning and count "one" again.

The "practice" part of meditation relates to practicing paying attention, paying attention to the breath. Your mind wanders, eventually you notice this, and you return to the breath. That's all there is. There is no requirement that you need to stay focused. A person is not a "bad meditator" when they find they are continually thinking of other things. The power is in the practice itself. By actually sitting down to meditate, by actually setting aside that time to be "still", you will derive unexpected benefits. And the more you practice, the more your practice becomes a habit, the more you will gain.

What is a recommended length for meditation sessions? There are no rules. The key is to begin, and then to continue. Starting with a five-minute session, twice a day, is a very good beginning. If you wish, you could build up to two 30-minute sessions per day. Again, your meditation practice is not a contest. What works for you will work for you.

1Marchand WR: Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. J Psychiatr Pract 18(4):233-252, 2012

2Hasenkamp W, Barsalou LW: Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks. Front Hum Neurosci 6:38, 2012 [Epub 2012 Mar 1]

3Brewer JA, et al: Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(50):20254-20259, 2011

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We value our patients' experience at Stamford Sports & Spine. If you are currently a patient, please feel free to complete the following Client Experience Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is in Adobe Acrobat format, and requires the free Acrobat Reader to view.

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Dr. Andrew Zomick & Dr. David Avallon

I have been coming to Stamford Sports and Spine for almost 10 years. I am active and have unfortunately been in a few car accidents. The care and treatment offered at Stamford Sports and Spine is world class and without them I would be living with an inordinate amount of pain and discomfort. Going to Stamford Sports and Spine has made my injuries manageable.

--James


Very good team of therapists. Flexible and available schedule. They helped get my teenage athletes back on the field in half the time.

--Shawn


I was experiencing some pain in my right shoulder and numbness down my arm to my hand. The range of motion in my shoulder was limited and I could not participate in volleyball. Dr. Z came to our office offering a free chair massage and a chance to come in for an evaluation. I did this and we worked out a treatment plan that included therapy and adjustments. I noticed in the first few weeks the pain subsided greatly in my shoulder. The numbness in the arm and hand were present but noticeably better. After three weeks, the range of motion in my shoulder was back to normal and the pain was gone. Now after one month of therapy the numbness in the arm is extremely better and I do not notice the symptoms as often as I used to. Coming into the office has helped tremendously. I can now play volleyball pain-free.

--Mary


After moving from London to the USA, two weeks into living in Stamford and having carried and unpacked a lot of heavy boxes my shoulder froze and I was in a great deal of constant pain. After finding Stamford Sports & Spine on the internet I made an appointment and the corrective programme S.S.S. put together for me meant that I immediately had some pain relief, and over the next few weeks the pain left completely. The programme is also ensuring that I am not only pain free but fully corrected so as this problem should not occur again. Very friendly staff and very detailed assessment programme that has ensured my full recovery.

--Laura


From my first visit to Stamford Sports & Spine I was extremely impressed and pleased with their service. Everyone including staff and doctors were very knowledgeable with their chiropractic services. I learned a great deal about my symptoms and overall care more than I expected. I have visited a few other chiropractors but none were as thorough as Stamford Sports & Spine. I was experiencing severe pain in my shoulder and arm and after a few visits my pain decreased substantially. I really appreciate all the services from the adjustments, rollers and even exercise room. I would highly recommend this facility to everyone. The entire staff are friendly, professional and just simply great!

--Sherri


Everyone was incredibly professional and helpful.  The staff is friendly and goes beyond what was expected to meet my needs and education me about my condition.

--Jon


Came in with severe and constant numbness and tingling in my legs and feet. The treatment worked quickly and resolved all of my symptoms. Thanks!

--Erik


My arms were falling asleep every night and had numbness and tingling during the day. I no longer have any of those symptoms during the day and have very rare episodes of pain at night due to my treatment here at Stamford Sports & Spine

--Eric


I came in for hip pain and stiff neck that also affected my right arm and hand. Using the relaxing rolling / traction bed and electrical muscle stimulation along with stretching and the adjustments my hip pain is gone. I can walk without sharp pains running up and down my legs. My neck range of motion has improved and my muscles are more flexible and less spastic.

--Karen


I had severe neck pain which was aggravated by a recent move. I have been coming to be adjusted for a few weeks now and not only has it helped with the neck pain I had been experiencing, but it has also made me feel better overall. I feel like I am able to sit up straighter, and my muscles are looser and less tense. I no longer have the intense pain I had once been experiencing

--Kim


When I came in my pain was a 10 out of 10. After just one week of care my pain went down to a 4 and has been improving ever since. The staff are very friendly and great educators. I learned a lot about my body and how to take better care of myself.

--Heidi


After a car accident,  I had to seek help for my upper back and neck pain. Slowly but surely I started to feel better, not immediately, but by keeping up with my visits with Dr. Q & Dr. Z. Now I can tell you that I feel leaps and bounds better, and am now looking forward to a pain-free summer.

--Rudy


I have been with Stamford Sports & Spine for more than a year now. I still remember how much pain I was in during my first session. I can now walk in and out without any aches or pains.

--Rick


When I first started going to Stamford Sports & Spine, my back had been seizing up with alarming regularity. After just a few months of working with Dr. Z and Dr. Q, I feel much more confident in my daily activities and have even been able to return to the gym.

--Dan


Thank you to Dr. Z, Dr. Q and the whole Stamford Sports & Spine team! For many years, I have been suffering from severe back pain that would sometimes keep me from going to work. The recurring pain would come and go and I couldn't figure out what I was doing to cause it. When I came to the office, Dr. Z took x-rays, did a complete examination and educated me as to what was happening and why. I began treatment and was given exercises to prevent these injuries from happening in the future. Since starting the treatment, I have seen a great improvement in my back. The pain is gone and I have an increased range of motion. Thanks again to the entire staff who are very friendly and always willing to accommodate my hectic schedule when I make appointments.

--Ron


The strabismus in my eyes caused a vertical deviation in my eye placement.  This resulted in my head naturally tilting to the right and throwing my muscular structure in my neck and shoulders off.  I had accepted the tilt and tightness as a way of life and a natural dis-figuration of my spine.  I almost didn't sign on for initial treatment.  After 3 visits I have already noticed a difference in the position of my head, my posture and regular comfort levels.  There is still a ways to go to rid that area of  a lifetime of dysfunction, but what a relief to know it's treatable and already improving.

-Jenn


I found Dr. Z and Dr. Q earlier in the week after experiencing some back pain and sciatica. After the consultation and x-rays I began therapy. After just 2 treatments I felt much better and had a significant reduction in discomfort in the area of concern. I am looking forward to continuing my treatment in an effort for long term recovery and a return to my heavy exercise routine.

--Tom


FANTASTIC. When I leave I feel like a whole new woman. I have been going there for my neck pain and headaches for about 1 year now; off and on and ever since I started treatment there my headaches have been reduced to one every few months instead of a few every month. The intensity of of my pain has also been reduced to almost nothing. The doctors seem to have a very friendly relationship with all of the patients and I feel very welcomed by the staff as well. Not to mention I love how they incorporate therapeutic massages into my treatment. I have since sent over many of my colleagues and family, who also share the same feelings. Thank you.

--Bri


I had a great experience. My low back pain is completely gone. I found the staff extremely knowledgeable, accommodating and friendly. I would highly recommend them.

--Jay F.

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