Does This Look Like You?

posture cartoon

Does this image look like you or your kids?  Rounded shoulders, forward head and slouching?  Think about all of the time that you are sitting in this position playing with your chosen electronic device (video games, ipad, smart phones, computers), watching TV, sitting at the office or at school.  Today’s lifestyle for both kids and adults is an increasingly sedentary lifestyle that is creating long term effects of poor posture.  Over time, poor posture can lead to serious health problems. As we all get back into our “regular” routine of more work and less vacation, it’s a good time to think about the status of your posture.

It’s all connected. 

Poor posture affects your health from your head to your toes because your body is interdependent.  It’s all connected.  Poor posture creates a domino effect with your health.  When your head is shifted off center (either forward or sideways), your body becomes imbalanced because it’s center of gravity has been shifted. For every inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds.  Imagine trying to carry a bowling ball and your head on your neck!

The rest of your body will compensate to keep itself balanced over the feet with the eyes level to the horizon. This is accomplished by the head, shoulders and hips tilting or twisting which distorts the spine.  As this progression occurs, the body must compensate elsewhere to alleviate the stress/tension created from the imbalance.  This improper body alignment develops unstable environments structurally and decreases the function of the nervous system.

The nervous system controls everything in your body. When there is interference to the nervous system’s function, it can cause or contribute to all kinds of symptoms and illnesses.  This means that a misalignment in the spine can disrupt the body’s function leading to symptoms of pain, organ dysfunction, decreased range of motion, arthritis and just an overall loss of health.  90 percent of the brain’s energy output is used in relating the physical body to gravity.  Only 10 percent has to do with thinking, metabolism, and healing.  Consequently, poor posture and being out of balance will cause the brain to rob energy from thinking, metabolism, and immune function to deal with abnormal gravity/posture relationships and processing.  Published research studies indicate that when body balance is restored, the body enters a healing cycle that alleviates pain and symptoms, elevates the immune system, increases blood and oxygen circulation, normalizes nervous system communication and creates more optimum body performance.

What can you do at home and at work to improve your posture and body balance?

  1. Be mindful of your posture
    • Evaluate both work and play areas to make sure that your environment is ergonomically sound.
    • Post a note or set a reminder on your phone to check your posture regularly. Chin up, shoulders back, back straight, feet on the floor.  Imagine a string attached your chest and it is being pulled up from the ceiling.sweet little blonde schoolgirl asking for help carrying heavy backpack or school bag full causing stress and pain on back due to overweight isolated on white background
  2. Carry less.
    • Buying an extra set of books to keep at home.
    • Use remote login systems to work from home and avoid carrying your laptop back and forth.
    • Pack the heavier stuff closer to your body.
    • Raise the back pack on the back with the adjustable straps to keep the weight closer to your body.
    • Consider using a rolling backpack or briefcase.
  1. Take frequent breaks.
    • Taking a break doesn’t mean not working or studying. If you are on the phone or studying spelling words, stand up.  Moving around and changing positions doesn’t need to mean a decrease in productivity.
    • Limit game playing, personal computer work and tablet time to 30-60 minutes. If you are going to spend more time, take a break every 30-60 minutes and do something else for a few minutes.
  1. Stretch and Strengthen.
    • Stretches such as shoulder rolls or neck stretches can be incorporated into your daily routine. Stretch and strengthen both your front and back muscles for even balance.

It is important to understand that poor posture may not cause pain right away.  Do not wait until the symptoms arise.  Take control of the situation before it controls you.


Sperry, R. W. (1982) Some effects of disconnecting the cerebral hemispheres. Nobel Lecture.
Biosci. Reports 2(5), Reprinted from (221); reprinted (224)

J Manipulative Physiol Ther Nov-Dec; 18(9): 597-602 1995

Cailliet R, Gross L, Rejuvenation Strategy. New York, Doubleday and Co. 1987.


Dr. Gray graduated Magna Cum Laude from Life Chiropractic College West. Early in her studies, Dr. Gray decided to focus as a specialist in Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care.   Dr. Gray completed an internship at the Institute for Advanced Care in Chiropractic. Additionally, she completed an advanced, post-doctorate training program making her a part of a select group of Chiropractors providing Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care.

Dr. Gray believes that your capacity to heal is far greater than what others have led you to believe.  She has a passion for serving others in the same way that she was helped through Chiropractic Care.  Dr. Gray’s purpose is to help others achieve their optimum potential and the place to start is with your health.  Your health affects everything you do and everyone you know.  With a healthy functioning nervous system, the body is capable of self healing and self regulating and frees the individual to live to his or her optimum potential.

It Takes Time…A Patient’s Perspective

If you looked at Michelle, you wouldn’t know that something was wrong. On the outside, she appeared to be a fit, young mother of two who loved playing with her children at the park, running with them in their backyard and taking long walks together as a family. Yet, on the inside, Michelle was living with chronic pain that at best was uncomfortable and at worst, unbearable.

It all began a little over a year ago with an odd tingling sensation and numbness in her left leg and arm and a general sense of being “off”. Over time the feelings intensified and became incredibly painful. As the pain increased, her ability to live an active lifestyle decreased exponentially.
Michelle sought treatment from a wide variety of sources: her family doctor, a neurologist, a rheumatologist and three (non-upper cervical) chiropractors. Her body was subjected to a battery of tests including: extensive blood work, MRIs and x-rays. After reviewing her results, her family physician not-so-delicately suggested that it might be her “nerves.” But, Michelle knew something was wrong.

Luckily, Michelle is a member of a group that invited Dr. Danielle Gray to share her experience as an upper cervical chiropractor. During her presentation, Dr. Gray shared that her path to her profession started first with her as a patient. Intrigued by Danielle’s story, Michelle booked an appointment. “At this point I felt like I had nothing to lose,” she shared.

Dr. Gray was not the first chiropractor who Michelle had seen, but she was the first upper cervical specialist. At her first appointment her expectations were low. She expected the usual awkward routine of putting on a gown in a sterile environment. Right off the bat, Michelle’s experience was different. “The entire experience was very relaxed. Dr. Gray has an incredible bedside manner. She explained everything very well, in terms that made sense and helped me understand what might be the cause of my pain. It was a relief to feel understood and that there was a solution.”

It was the science behind upper cervical chiropractic care that really resonated with Michelle. “Focusing on the neck made sense to me – it blew my mind – basically, the other doctors were just confusing my body by treating the symptoms and not the cause of the pain!”

Michelle started seeing Dr. Gray in late November and approximately a month later, she was symptom free for several days. Her elation quickly turned to disappointment when her symptoms returned. “They came back and were even worse! Dr. Gray had warned me that this would happen, but it was still distressing.” What Michelle was experiencing was actually her body’s healing process and the reactivation of her nervous system. Michelle was skeptical, but trusted Dr. Gray and waited patiently. And, after approximately three weeks the pain slowly abated and Michelle began to reclaim her life.

The healing process can be slow – it can take anywhere from three months to a year for a patient to be symptom free, but the results are miraculous. Just ask Michelle, who now has her life back.

When asked ‘what is the most important thing you would share with a new patient’, Michelle replied, “make sure you give this process time. Personally, I was really skeptical. I had already spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what was wrong with me and was incredibly scared that I wouldn’t find an answer. Dr. Gray’s honest and genuine demeanor (backed by the science of upper cervical care) gave me the courage to embark on yet another course of treatment. It scares me to think where I’d be without her – I am incredibly grateful.”happy lady

How Can You Maintain Good Posture When You Are Sleeping?

I’m sure that most of you are aware of the profound effect that sleep (or lack thereof) has on your health. But why do you still not get enough of it? And, when you do actually rest you head, are you paying attention to your sleep posture? Posture and your health are tightly connected. Published research studies indicate that when your body is properly aligned and balanced, the body is able to enter a healing cycle that can alleviate pain and symptoms, improve the strength of the immune system, and normalize nervous system communication to create more optimum body performance. It is just as important to pay attention to your posture while you sleep as it is while you are awake.

Here are my tips for good sleep “posture” habits to ensure that even if you aren’t getting the quantity, you are improving your sleep quality and giving your body a chance to rest and restore.

Sleep On Your Back

Do you spend most of your day hunched over a computer, tablet, smart phone or video game? Sleeping on your back with a pillow to support a neutral position gives your body time to rest with proper alignment to give your “posture muscles” a break.

My rule is that sleep trumps all. Start out on your back every night and work on retraining your body to be more comfortable in this position. You may want to put a small pillow under your knees for support. If you can only remain comfortable for 15 minutes, great. The next night you might make it for 20. This retraining is going to take time, so don’t be discouraged. Over time you will become more comfortable sleeping on your back. If you tend to be a side sleeper, just make sure that you have a supportive pillow so that your neck isn’t being strained while you sleep. If you are a stomach sleeper, consider purchasing a body pillow to prevent movement on to your stomach in the middle of the night.

Use A Supportive Pillow.

My recommendation is to use a “dog bone” pillow or a foam cervical pillow. The dog bone pillow is going to encourage the best cervical support, but a foam cervical pillow is also a great choice. Other pillows tend to strain the neck and create an unnatural alignment.


Take 5 minutes when you wake up and 5 minutes before you go to sleep at night to gently stretch your neck, chest muscles, and back. Keeping good range of motion and flexibility is important to prevent poor sleep posture habits trying to get comfortable and avoiding aches and pains. If you are sitting a lot, consider stretching and moving frequently throughout the day to prevent postural strain, stiffness and soreness. The key is to stretch the muscles that are working hard to try to support your body’s posture throughout the day.

Rest in the middle of the day for 10 minutes

Call it a siesta, closing your eyes, or a good old fashion nap. Call it what you want, but take at least 10 minutes every day, preferably in the middle of the day to just rest on your back in a neutral alignment. Why would I include resting in the middle of the day for 10 minutes to my list of good sleep posture habits? This 10 minute rest will do wonders for the function of your nervous system and for your posture. As with the other suggestions above, taking time to rest is going to help to stop the gradual hunching over throughout the day. You might even find yourself not wearing your shoulders as earrings. Resting for short periods will also give your brain a rest. A recent study published in Forbes indicated that as little as 10 minutes can improve cognitive function and energy. A brief rest mid day will also help you sleep more soundly at night.

By keeping your body properly aligned and giving it a chance to rest, you will have a healthy nervous system. Remember, posture and the state of your health are connected.

What tips do you have that have worked in your life?

Is It Time to Call In the Fire Department? 10 Tips to Combat Chronic Inflammation


Chronic inflammation is not necessarily concentrated; it may not even induce noticeable discomfort and pain on a persistent basis. But it is a serious and widespread long-term health risk, the root of a range of disorders and diseases. From rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes, from high blood pressure to depression, and even from cancer to Alzheimer’s, chronic inflammation can reek havoc on our bodies in countless ways. It’s like a smoldering fire that starts burning slowly, but if left unattended will eventually turn into a three alarm blaze!

Inflammation is not an inherently bad phenomenon: it is the body’s way of fighting infections and nurturing injuries. Swelling and pain is our immune system’s way of assembling the cells and chemicals necessary to heal.  

Inflammation can turn chronic for any number of reasons, but all of them relate back to an unhealthy and unaligned body. When systems in the body are not communicating properly, the stimulation of pro-inflammatory immune cells continues beyond the necessary amount. As a result, these “immune” cells actually prove harmful, inflicting damage on blood vessels, tissues, gut mucosa, and more.

Often, there are no telltale indicators that a person is suffering from chronic inflammation, so here are 10 tips to fight the fire before it starts to rage out of control:  

1.  Nervous System Optimization

 As we discussed in my first blog post of the year, if your nervous system is not functioning at 100%, neither will your immune system – or you as a whole for that matter. Upper cervical chiropractic care can restore communication between the brain and body, eliminating interference and inflammation. Once the body is properly aligned, Tips 2-10 will succeed and sustain. 

2. Nutrition

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and choose plant based, high fiber, whole foods. Think like a Mediterranean and eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil.

 3. Eliminate Wheat

Bypass the bread aisle on your way to checkout and pay close attention to hidden sources of wheat in your diet. Whole Grains aren’t as healthy as you think.  As Dr. William Davis writes in his book Wheat Belly, you should decrease or altogether eliminate wheat from your diet. 

4. Go Alkaline 

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a glass of warm water with lemon will do a tremendous amount for your overall health. 

5. Become Friends with Bacteria

Specifically a good probiotic. This will promote healthy digestion, and healthy bacteria in your gut reduces inflammation. 

6. Balance your Omega 3’s with your Omega 6’s

The ratio is more important than the quantity. If you eat fish, dark leafy greens and snack foods like flax seeds or other sources high in Omega 3’s, you might not need a supplement.  It is the ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s that is important. 

7. Move…! 

You do not have to run a marathon to move enough to combat chronic inflammation. In fact, over-exercising can cause chronic inflammation on its own. Just go to the gym, play a sport, walk around the block, or even exercise at home on a daily basis. Anything to work up a sweat! 

8. …then Relax! 

Siesta may not be part of the American culture, but you should still take 10-15 minutes to rest in the middle of each day. This will help relax your muscles, calm your nervous system and reducing chronic inflammation risks.

9. Sleep

Aim to get at least 7-8 hours every night to give your body a chance to rest, repair, and restore. (Don’t forget to sleep on your back to hold your alignment!) 

10. Take care of your teeth

Brush several times a day – and don’t forget to floss while you are at it! Your mother was right!   Neglecting your teeth will result in bad bacteria and germs accumulating.  This can affect your systemic health.  

You don’t have to try to conquer Rome in a day.  Permanent changes take place slowly.  Take one tip a week and add it to your daily routine.  Remember, it is much easier to be proactive with your health rather than reactive. The way to start is with a healthy functioning nervous system! 

Wake up…it’s 2013!

path_to_healthIt’s that time of year again, when people start hitting the gym, making resolutions and vowing to do A, B or C and not X, Y or Z. I always like the start of the year, not necessarily to take some kind of drastic action, but from the sense that we’re starting with a clean slate. The New Year offers a fresh perspective and a cleanse from the previous one. 365 days are ahead of us to do whatever we desire, to make healthy choices for ourselves and our families and to continue evolving as members of this human race. Continue reading

What Exactly Is Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic Care?

You know thsmoke alarmat noise your smoke alarm makes when the battery is low? It’s loud, it’s piercing and it’s extremely annoying – especially if you don’t have a replacement battery on hand. In times of crisis however, it’s designed to be heard and alert you that there’s a problem in your home. What does any of this have to do with my specialty – Upper Cervical Specific Chiropractic? Allow me to explain… Continue reading

There Are No Accidents

Hi, my name is Danielle Gray and I am an Upper Cervical Chiropractor. 10 years ago, I never would have thought that would be an introduction that I would use. For many years I was happily employed as a software consultant living all over the world.  I’m an active outdoorsy person and eventually settled in San Diego, CA. Taking advantage of the climate, I spent a lot of time surfing, skiing and playing golf. That part of my lifestyle abruptly came to an end when I was surfing. I took a big wave and fell off my surf board.  The point of the board hit me in the small of my back and knocked the feeling out of my legs. I had trouble getting out of the water. While the sensation in my legs returned relatively quickly, within a few days I started to experience a disturbing numbness and tingling in my left pinky that rapidly progressed along the entire left side of my body. Intense neck pain and frequent headaches soon followed. Continue reading