National Chiropractic Health Month in October is the perfect time to reflect on how chiropractic care improves your life. The event helps to raises public awareness of the importance of musculoskeletal health and the benefits of chiropractic care as well as its natural, whole-person, patient-centered and drug-free approach to health and wellness. Not sure how to observe this important month? Try a few of these suggestions.

Keep Moving

Stiff joints and tight muscles are more likely to be a problem if you don’t get enough exercise or spend too much time sitting. Fortunately, increasing your activity level is a simple way to avoid pain and stiffness. In fact, movement is so important that the American Chiropractic Association has made “Keep Moving” its theme for this year’s National Chiropractic Health Month.

Synovial fluid surrounding your joints decreases friction when you move helping joints move easily. The more you move, the more fluid circulates around your joints. Movement also helps nutrients reach your joints and muscles, reduces muscle stiffness and spasms, and makes it easier for your body to remove old, damaged cells from your joints.

Regular exercise keeps your bones strong and strengthens the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support your joints. Although exercising in the gym is an excellent way to increase your activity level, you don’t need to participate in a formal workout program to enjoy the benefits of moving more. Walking, riding your bike, dancing, and gardening will keep your joints limber and strong.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques

According to the National Safety Council, the way you lift boxes and other heavy objects may increase your risk of a back injury, which is the second most common workplace injury. Poor lifting techniques stress the joints and muscles in your back, causing mild to severe pain.

Prevent injuries by following these steps when lifting:

  • Tighten your core to brace and prepare for the movement; maintain this bracing throughout the entire movement.
  • Hinge at your hips and bend your legs to keep your back straight when you lower your body to lift an object.
  • Keep the object close to your body when lifting.
  • Don’t twist your spine while carrying something heavy.
  • Bend your knees and slowly lower the object when you’re ready to put it down.

Even if you follow safe lifting techniques, you can still hurt your back if you lift something too heavy. Pick up a corner of the box or object first if you’re unsure of the weight. If the object feels very heavy, ask for help.

Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating healthy foods lowers your risk of developing serious conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes and also helps you avoid joint issues. Making smart food choices ensures that your joints receive the nutrients needed to function efficiently and may help you heal faster if you do experience an injury.

Limit the number of processed foods you eat and add whole grains, fresh meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as nuts to your diet. Not sure what to buy at the grocery store? Try shopping around the outside aisles of the store because that tends to be where most grocery stores keep the fresh and unprocessed foods.  Also, giving up smoking or heavy drinking will also help you protect your joints. 

See A Chiropractor

Visiting the chiropractor when you first notice pain, muscle spasms, or reduced range of motion can help you feel better faster. At Active Health Chiropractic, Dr. Jones offers many treatments designed to ease pain and mobility, including:

  • Spinal Manipulation (adjustments)
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Cupping
  • Heat Therapies
  • Soft Tissue Manipulation and Mobilization
  • Ultrasound Therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or Electrical Stimulation
  • Functional Movement Assessments

Chiropractic care in conjunction with your healthy lifestyle is a great recipe to keep you healthy and moving. If you are currently experiencing pain that is keeping you from doing the things that you love, scheduling an appointment for an exam can play a vital role in keeping moving. You can schedule an appointment by calling 417-365-3215 or online at

Austin R. Jones, DC
Active Health Chiropractic

Going hungry is detrimental to anyone’s well-being, but this is especially true for students as food insecurity can create a ripple effect that impacts their education, and therefore, their future.  

Food insecurity is the inability to buy healthy, nutritious meals or the inability to buy food altogether. In Joplin Schools, an estimated 400 elementary students and 400 middle and high school students are considered food insecure.  

“They can’t be certain they’ll have access to adequate nutrition outside of a school building,” says Sarah Coyne, coordinator of Bright Futures Joplin. “While more than 60% of Joplin students qualify for free and reduced lunches, these students are living in more than just economic deprivation. Their hunger impacts every area of their lives.”  

Studies from Feeding America, the Food Research & Action Center, and Hunger in the Ozarks have shown that food-insecure students are more likely to:  

  • Have trouble concentrating in school 
  • Frequently miss class, repeat a grade, or drop out of school 
  • Exhibit behavioral issues 
  • Suffer from impaired development and motor skills 
  • Lag behind their peers in reading and math 
  • Face illness or chronic health conditions  

“We know that hungry students focus less on learning and more on their empty bellies,” explains Coyne.  

This knowledge fuels a major part of Bright Futures’ mission. In 2010, the nonprofit began leveraging community resources to aid students in need. Today, they have over 70 affiliates nationwide who provide students with basic essentials, including school supplies, hygiene products, beds, clothing, and especially meals.  

This need for food created the Bright Futures Joplin Snack Pack program, which distributes take-home bags each Friday. The program ensures that students have enough to eat over weekends and holiday breaks.  

“Many local families struggle through seasons of economic insecurity,” says Coyne. “Knowing how prevalent these troubles are, it’s vital that we invest in our younger generations so they can grow into the future leaders, workers, and parents of Joplin.”  

This necessary investment, and the impacts of hunger, are not limited to younger students. The College & University Food Bank Alliance estimates that one in five college students face some form of food insecurity, but this issue is often overlooked or forgotten.  

“The focus is often on food insecurity in K-12 students,” says Dr. Andrea Cullers, Director of the Lion Co-Op at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU).  

Cullers knows that the concerns for a food-insecure K-12 student’s well-being are essentially the same for a food-insecure college student.  

“The same issues of focus, chronic stress, and decreased ability to learn also occur in college students who are food insecure,” she explains.  

Around 23% of MSSU students have been food insecure at some point within the last year. These students cannot function properly without adequate nutrition, and Cullers says their academics suffer. This is where the Lion Co-Op aims to help.  

Since 2018, the Lion Co-Op has served as the on-campus food pantry for students, employees, and Lion Cub Academy families. They offer pre-packaged dry goods, microwavable meals, and fresh groceries like milk, eggs, and yogurt. There is even a selection of toiletries and hygiene products.  

Before COVID-19, Cullers says that they saw around 50 students each week. In 2020, when they had to switch to an online ordering system, that number dropped by half. At the start of this school year, they returned to their previous in-store model and are seeing more and more students.  

“This semester, we are excited to reopen as a ‘grocery store,’ and our numbers are already rebounding,” she explains. “[We are] seeing around 30 students a week.”  

As they continue to grow, the Co-Op is looking forward to expanding their outreach. Cullers says they’ve already added food scholarships to local farmers markets, SNAP benefits assistance, and a snack bag program for Lion Cub Academy. They hope to do even more in the future.  

Similarly, Bright Futures is excited to see what this school year brings as they continue to support students in the community.  

“We are continually impressed by and proud of Joplin’s generosity and care for students in need of a helping hand,” concludes Coyne.  

Want to be that helping hand? Learn more about how you can help Bright Futures Joplin here and how you can assist the Lion Co-Op here