Back Health While Traveling

car driving posture

Back pain is the most common complaint we hear patients talk about.  

Below are a few tips you can follow that can help to prevent and relieve back pain while in a vehicle or airplane.

Posture Tips

  • Use your headrest.  This will help to keep your neck in the proper curve.
  • Use a slight lumbar support.  If your vehicle does not have a lumbar support, use a towel or small pillow.
  • Keep your knees level with each other.

Move it or Lose it

  • Pump your ankles.  Keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels up and down. This pumping motion will help with circulation.
  • Squeeze your knees together.  Squeeze your knees together and hold for 3-5 seconds.  
  • Neck rolls.


  • Bring plenty of fresh water to keep you hydrated.  

Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

(423) 265-2225

Relieve Severe Muscle Spasms & Trigger Points

muscle spasm

Muscles spasms and trigger points are very common and are often caused by:

  • Overuse
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte abnormalities
  • Poor posture

The spasm/trigger point can occur abruptly or over a period of time.

Mild muscle spasms can be treated with gentle stretching.  

Severe muscles spasms & trigger points however,  are painful and do not resolve easily.  In these cases, we use the below combination of treatments to relieve severe muscles spasms & trigger points.  

1:   Warm the area (either heat or gentle massage)

2:   Chiropractic adjustment to associated area

3: Dry needling to the specific muscle(s) & associated area

4: Cold pack to the treatment site

This 4 step combination has proven to have the greatest results in our office for relieving severe muscles spasms.  

Kathryn Haynes, D.C.
Total Health Chiropractic & Effective Medical Center
(423) 265-2225

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  The menu is amazing and the focus is on spending time with the people you care about.  Typically we eat dinner earlier in the day, sometime between 3-4pm.  Then, following the Thanksgiving dinner typically comes a second helping a few hours later, then, left overs again the next day.  It is truly a holiday meal that goes beyond just one meal.  With that said, below is a simple stuffing recipe that is healthy and delicious… for the multiple Thanksgiving meals you might have this year.


  • 1lb ground pork sausage
  • 5 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 5 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 yellow sweet potato (is that a yam? or a sweet potato? whatever.)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 container of mushrooms, diced
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, throw diced sweet potatoes/yams on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, then set aside.

2. While those cook, pull out a large skillet, place it under medium-high heat and place chopped bacon in it to begin to cook down. When some of the fat has seeped out and bacon has begun to cook, add your chopped apples, celery, and onions.

3. When onions begin to become translucent, add ground pork and mushrooms and your white wine vinegar. Let that cook down until pork is almost completely cooked through. You will be placing it in the oven so you want it pretty close to done. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Once the sausage is all done, add mixture to a bowl to cool. Now beat your eggs, add to your sausage mixture, and add your chicken broth, along with your sweet potatoes, pecans, and dried cranberries. Mix well.

5. You can now either use a 9×13 baking dish to place your stuffing in OR place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Either way will work.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until everything is a bit browned.

7. Enjoy

Happy Thanksgiving!

From, Dr. Kathryn Haynes

Should I Wear a Back Brace?

By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.


Back braces are often used during the healing process of common back disorders like the ones below:

– Back pain

– Sprain/strain injuries

– Disc issues

– Degeneration

– Fracture

– Sciatica

Back braces are used to support the muscles and/or the spine itself.  The back disorder, the health of the person, and the type of activity that person is trying to perform will determine if and which back brace is appropriate.

There are typically 2 types of back braces.  

Type 1: Back braces that support the spine and still allow motion of the spine.  This is the most commonly used back brace.

Type 2: Back braces that support the spine completely and do not allow for movement of the spine.  This type of brace is used less often and typically for severe fractures or after certain back surgeries.

When should someone use a back brace?

I believe that a back brace should be used when someone is recovering from an injury or is preparing to lift more than usual.

Back braces offer support to your back from injuries, disc issues, degeneration, etc…  The goal is to get your back to be strong enough to move your body throughout your activities of daily living, to include exercise and work without a back brace.

A back brace should be used more often during acute back disorders.  Then, as your body heals, the back brace could be worn less often.  Eventually, when your back is strong enough, the back brace is only used when your back gets tired or when you are going to be lifting more than usual.

Which back brace should you get?

Ideally an adjustable brace that allows you to adjust the amount of pressure would be most beneficial.  An adjustable back brace will allow you to use it for multiple back disorders.  The more severe, the more you would adjust the support and tension of the back brace.

Remember to always listen to your body.  If it feels too tight then it probably is.  The brace should offer relief and support to your back.  Adjust the brace as needed to fulfill these needs.

A great person to ask about back disorders and back braces is your chiropractor.  Your chiropractor should be able to let you know what back disorder you have, which brace is best for you and if your insurance will cover the cost.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”

Lifestyle Game Changers one can Make Toward Overall Health


By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

For most of us there are many changes we can make in our lifestyles to be healthier… but what are the biggest game changers?  What dietary changes make the most significant difference between being fit and fat; healthy and unhealthy, “regular” and constipated, pain free and in-pain, just an overall feeling of wellness and not well.

Below are what I believe to be some of the greatest lifestyle changes one can make toward overall health:

1.  DRINK HEALTHY LIQUIDS: clean water, organic teas, and pure coconut water

INGREDIENTS should be crystal clear, from mother earth and say something like:

Ingredients: water

Ingredients: pure coconut water

Ingredients: organic black tea

AVOID the below beverages and ingredients:


-“diet” anything

-sweet tea

-”naturally flavored “anything

-“sugar free” anything

-“flavored” anything

You get the idea.

2.  EAT ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS:  Organic Vegetables, Organic Fruits, Grass Fed Meats, Wild Caught Fish, Organic Nuts and Seeds.

The above food groups from healthy sources (organic, grass fed, wild caught) are great anti-inflammatory sources.  Foods that fall outside of the above food groups OR the above sources are more likely to be inflammatory.

INFLAMMATION CAUSES: sluggish systems, pain, slower/poor digestion, bloating, slower healing, and promotes weight gain.

3.  MOVE

Although “moving” is not necessarily a “dietary” change, it is still incredibly important to our overall health and therefore included in my top 3 lifestyle changes one can make for overall health.  


-burns the sugar that’s in our bloodstream

-reduces stress

-builds and/or maintains muscle

-helps to prevent swelling in ankles and feet

-improves body functions like digestion and blood flow

-and much, much more.

At minimum, move (walk, stretch, etc…) for at least 60 seconds every hour, every day, for as many years as you possibly can.  Ideally, add a 20+ minute workout 3+ days per week.

For overall Health:

1.  Drink Healthy Liquids

2.  Eat Anti-inflammatory foods

3.  Move often throughout the day

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”

A Healthy Brain is a Focused Brain


By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

Fatigue is a major reason for not being able to focus.  Fatigue often gets in the way of thinking clearly.  You can avoid this problem by eating the right foods, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, keeping yourself fit and using your energy efficiently.

DIET : Eating the Right Foods

Your brain works constantly (even when you aren’t paying attention) and uses about 20% of your energy each day.  Eating foods which include the right fats, minerals and vitamins will feed your brain the healthiest foods and keep you focused.  See list below.

  • Omega – 3 fatty acids.  Foods with “good fat.”

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. They are necessary for human health.  The body can’t make them so you have to get them through food.

Sample sources: wild caught fish, seaweed, walnuts, flaxseed, kale, spinach, parsley.

  • Chromium

Chromium helps with focus by helping to control blood sugar, curbs carb cravings and fight body fat.  

Sample sources: Grass fed meats, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, wild yams, egg yolk, romaine lettuce and black pepper.

  • Selenium

Selenium is an extremely vital mineral for the human body as it increases immunity, defends against inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.

Sample sources that are high in selenium include wild caught shrimp, sardines, cod, Brazil nuts, eggs, liver, and sunflower seeds.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.

Sample sources:  Almonds, cashews, spinach, avocado, banana, and salmon.

  • Protein

Proteins used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions.

Sample sources: Grass fed meats, wild caught fish, artichokes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, asparagus and almonds.

  • Vitamin C

You need vitamin C for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body.

Sample sources:  Bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.

  • Vitamin B

These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day

Sample sources: Spinach, parsley, broccoli, beets, turnip greens, egg yolks, liver, wild caught fish and grass fed meats.

  • Vitamin D

Your body must have vitamin D for major body functions such as helping the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth.

Sample sources:  Sunlight (early morning and evening sunlight to prevent sunburn), wild caught salmon, liver, egg yolk, portabella mushrooms and maitake mushrooms.

SLEEP:  Getting the Appropriate Amount of Sleep

Research shows that adults who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep have more difficulty concentrating.

Sleeping 7-9 hours per day has been proven to improve focus, as well as many other major body functions.

EXERCISE : Keeping Yourself Fit

Aerobic exercise, like jogging or swimming, stimulates the creation of new mitochondria.  The mitochondria are the parts of the cell that create energy for our bodies to use.  The more mitochondria we have, the more energy we have.

Aerobic exercise creates new mitochondria which equals more energy.

POSTURE : Using Energy Effeciently

We use most of our brains energy for involuntary actions like breathing and posture control.  Holding your head in a “good posture” demands your muscles to hold about 8-12 pounds.  Looking down in a “poor posture” demands your muscles to hold 40-60 pounds!  

In summary:

Poor posture wastes energy.

Good posture saves energy.

Eating the right foods, sleeping 7-9 hours per day, exercising and using good posture to conserve energy will set the stage for a sharp mind and healthy body.

A healthy brain is more likely to be a focused brain.

“When it comes to your health, I’ve got your back!”

Pain Relief Smoothies

By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.


Joint and muscle pains are incredibly common and make up most of all doctor visits. We help people with neck pain, back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, arm pain, and leg pain every day.  While we help relieve and prevent these pains, there are also nutritional remedies that can help support and even speed up the recovery process.  

Below are a few foods that can help to reduce pain and/or inflammation:

  • Cherries

Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties similar to those in aspirin.

  • Cinnamon

Cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s actually one of the most powerful healing spices.

  • Cayenne

Capsaicin, the oily compound in cayenne, is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments, and patches for arthritis and muscle pain.

  • Pineapple

The pineapple enzyme bromelain is thought to alleviate swelling associated with osteoarthritis.

3 Pain Relief Smoothie Recipes to try

Cherry Cinnamon Pain Relief Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1-2 cups coconut water
  • 3 fresh mint leaves

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Blend till smooth.

Spicy Pain Relief Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups kale leaves
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 – 2 cups coconut water

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Blend till smooth.

Pineapple Pain Relief Smoothie

  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 cup cucumber
  • ½ pineapple
  • ½ lime wedge (peeled)
  • 1 cup coconut water

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Blend till smooth.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”


Foods that reduce inflammation “De-flaming” your Body


By  Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

Inflammation is often a cause of disease.  Without the actual inflammation itself, many diseases wouldn’t exist.  Colitis is the inflammation of the colon.  Arthritis is inflammation of a joint.  Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix.  Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder.  All of these diseases are the inflammation of the organ, tissue or joint.  

We often treat the disease with anti-inflammatories.  But what if we avoided inflammation to begin with?  What if we kept inflammation out of our colon, out of our joints and out of our bodies all together?  

Without inflammation, our bodies would work better and we could certainly feel better.

Below is a list of foods/categories to “de-flame” your body.  

– Vegetables (raw and organic)

– Fruits (raw and organic)

– Nuts (raw and organic)

– Meats (Grass fed, grass finished, hormone free, antibiotic free)

– Herbs and spices (organic)

– Coconut oil

– Water

Try this:  Write a list of everything you eat/drink in one day.  Which foods on your list fit into one of the categories above?  If a food does not fit into one of the above categories, chances are… it’s inflammatory.

A few foods (there are many) with specific anti-inflammatory benefits are:

– Cherries

– Ginger

– Salmon

– Turmeric

– Hot peppers

Inflammation is often the cause of many diseases and many diseases can be prevented by eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”

What kind of pillow should I be using to sleep on?

By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

If we sleep an average of 8 hours per day and you live to be 75 years old, we will have spent around 25 YEARS SLEEPING!  

If we are going to spend YEARS of our lives sleeping, it will serve us well to be sleeping in a healthy posture and on an appropriate pillow.  

Sleeping in the below postures and the appropriate pillow will help prevent back pain, neck pain, numbness and tingling in your arms/legs, and fatigue.

While looking for a pillow, there are 2 major functions the pillow should provide:

1) Provide support to the proper neck curve while on your back.

2) Keep your neck aligned with your spine while on your side.


There are a plethora of pillows to choose from, but not all will provide support while sleeping on your back and on your side.  While comparing pillows look at the pillow.  If possible, lay on the pillow.  Does it support your neck’s ideal curve while on your back?  Does the pillow keep your neck aligned while on your side?  If not, then move on to the next pillow.

I use a Therapeutica pillow.  I like this pillow because you get measured for it, so that it is the appropriate size to provide support while sleeping on your side and while on your back.  It looks different than other pillows, but it is designed for you to sleep in the middle of the pillow while on your back and on the sides of the pillow while on your side.  In my opinion, it is best pillow on the current market.


There may be other pillows that fit the criteria described above, if so, try it out and let me know how you like it.  I love having options and will pass the information on to my patients.

In summary, we sleep for about one third of our life.  Sleeping in a healthy postures means that your spine is supported in the ideal posture.  Your pillow should support the natural curve of your neck while on your back and keep your spine aligned while on your side.  There are many pillows to choose from, so base your decision on how well it supports your spine.

Sleep well!

Packing a Healthy Lunch for Kids

By Kathryn Haynes, D.C.

Packing a healthy lunch and keeping them hydrated is not only important, but can also be challenging sometimes. Having done a lot of research and having asked a million questions, there are a few things that make packing lunch a little easier for me. Keep it simple. Keep it healthy. Be reasonable with what you pack and stay strong in your purpose to offer your child healthy food options.

Start with a list of foods that you know your child will eat. Write the headings: Protein, Vegetable, Fruit, and Treat. Then, with the help of your child, fill in the list together. When packing the lunch, pick a food from each category. Even better, let your child pick the food from each category. A sample list and lunch might look like this:


Also, try adding a new food to the mix every now and again. It is recommended that we offer children the same new food on at least 10 different occasions before accepting that they “don’t like it”. It is said that we should offer a new food to them, if they say no, ask if they will at least try it, if they say no again, move on and try it another day. It is a lot less stressful… and seems to work. They eventually do try most of the foods. It just takes some patience and persistence.

Next, think about the packaging you are using to pack the lunch in. There are a lot of harmful chemicals found in plastic packaging. If you do choose to use plastic, pick one that is BPA free and never heat foods or freeze foods in the plastic container (including plastic wrap). Heating and cooling the plastic releases the chemicals that are in the plastic into to the foods, and then into the person eating it. A stainless steel Bento Box is a good alternative to plastic. You can also get them with separate compartments… which the kids seem to love. This is a picture of the one we use. Cupcake liners make it colorful and help keep food in place.


Remember hydration. Water is best. Try using a stainless steel water bottle. Again, if you are going to use a plastic bottle, choose one that is BPA free. If you have to use a disposable water bottle, it is recommended to only use it once. These are designed for one time use only, as the plastic slowly breaks down and the chemicals are released into the water. Re-usable bottles save money, are better for the environment, healthier to use, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns that kids like.

Packing a healthy lunch can be a challenge but you can do it. Prepare, be patient, and be persistent.

For more healthy tips each month, join our Total Health Minute newsletter. To get started, simply email us with your email address.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back!”