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Myths and Facts about Back Pain

Most of us will experience back pain at some stage in our lives. Some people are more lucky than others and don’t have too much back trouble, while others suffer it almost every day. I found this interesting article that talks about the myths, facts and treatment for back pain.

If you need help with managing your back pain contact us on 6676 2270.

Are your biomechanics holding you back?

Want to improve your surfing? Then it’s a good idea to get your biomechanics checked.

Biomechanics examines movement of the body, in particular, how muscles, bones and ligaments work together to produce movement. Biomechanics not only includes the structure of bones and muscles and the movement they can produce but also the mechanics of blood circulation and other body functions.

In surfing, biomechanics is critical to maintaining balance and stability on the waves.
Balance is a combination of the centre of mass and base of support. With surfing, the centre of mass is the mid-point of your body and the base of support is the area of contact underneath the surfboard. Usually, the bigger or wider your base of support is, the more stable you become and this makes it easier to balance. Therefore, bigger boards are easier to ride. Also, you want the centre of mass and base of support to be close to achieve a sturdy position. Having more control of your body and the board can help you better manoeuver on the waves.

Factors that affect stability are body mass, friction between the body and the surface or surfaces contacted, the base of support and position of the centre of gravity.

In many other sports, balance is also a key factor in biomechanics, as well as the position and movement of the body. If you jerk too quickly, for example, it could mean the difference between a goal and a sprained ankle!

To minimise injury in surfing, footy, the gym or any of your favourite sports it’s a good idea to ensure you gently stretch before beginning the activity. It’s also a good idea to get the biomechanics of your body checked in case there may be an underlying factor that could make you more susceptible to injury.

Bruce Lane is a certified chiropractic sports practitioner and can help you identify any potential weakness in your biomechanics, as well as provide advice and treatment to correct any problems. If you’d like a biomechanical assessment contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Is Your Body Summer Ready?

Spring starts this weekend! It’s time to get our winter weary bodies moving and ready for summer. The easiest and best way to start exercising is by walking. We live in a beautiful part of the world so it’s easy to find a great location. And of course, walking is free!

Last weekend, we took our children for a rainforest walk at Mount Warning. It is taking me a bit to recover but we had a great time. Our bush walk has inspired me to share some tips with you about how to fit walking exercise into our daily routines:

Commute
While it may be too far to walk the whole way to work or school, it is possible to make walking part of the journey. For example, you could just park your car further from your destination.

Lunch time
Make sure to take a lunch break and go for a walk. It’s good to get some time out from the work day and we have plenty of great places to walk around the Tweed. You could even invite a friend or colleague to join you. A lunchtime walk is a great way to reenergise for the afternoon and may stop you from reaching for sweets or caffeinated drinks.

Socialising
While we often catch up with friends and family over a meal or drink, why not over a walk? Walking is a great activity for socialising and you can even reward yourself afterwards by walking to a desired destination such as a shop or cafe.

Not only is walking a great way to get active and improve both your mental and physical wellbeing, it is also a simple way that you can look after your spinal health. Walking just 30 minutes a day can help you to maintain and improve your health.

Relieving Winter Aches and Pains

If you are struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of winter aches and pains then you’re not alone. Many of us suffer from body aches when the temperature drops and the older you get, the worse it seems to be. The good news is there are things you can do to help get your body through winter pain free.

Why does my body hurt more in winter?

In colder weather we tend to exercise less, eat more and our muscles naturally tense up to keep our bodies warm. It is the combination of these factors that exacerbates any injuries or stresses that the body may have. Therefore, it’s just as important during winter to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes moderate exercise, healthy eating and consciously relaxing muscles to avoid tension on the body.

Here are some key tips to help you out.

Tips to relieve winter aches and pains

• Wear warm clothing and dress in layers. A few thin layers of clothes can keep you warmer than a single thick layer.
• Keep your lower back warm. Tuck your shirt into your pants to make sure your back doesn’t get a cold draft.
• At night, a couple of blankets or an electric blanket on your bed can help keep your muscles from tightening.
• Keep your home as warm as you can.
• Run your car for a few minutes to preheat it before you drive.
• Your winter footwear should have treads to help prevent slips and falls.
• Make sure you are wearing shoes that keep your feet warm. If you keep your feet, hands and head warm it enables your body to retain heat much better.
• Do some light daily stretching in a warm room to relieve muscle tension. You can even stretch while watching television to keep your body warm and active.
• Make sure you sleep on your back or side and never on your stomach to avoid neck pain.
• Winter is the time when you want to stay on the couch, but keeping in shape is the best way to help your body. Try not to gain weight during the colder months and try to keep up with your exercise program.

If you are in any pain or need any personalised advice Lane Chiropractic can help.

And remember, the warmer weather is only a few short months away!

Seven Reasons to Exercise When it’s Cold

The cooler weather is here and even though many of us would love to hibernate, it’s really important to keep up physical activity when the temperature drops. Here are the top 7 reasons why we need to keep exercising during the cooler months.

1. THE SUN IS MORE OF A FRIEND THAN YOUR HEATER

There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight.

During summer a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is plenty, but in winter, sunshine can be harder to come by, especially if you are snuggled up indoors. So that’s why it’s important to get outside, get moving and smile at the sun!

Sunshine makes strong bones, and keeps your immune system strong. It can also boost positivity and help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

2. KEEP WARM

Save electricity and an expanding waistline by heating your body up naturally with a workout. The rise in your body temperature during a workout has a soothing, calming effect on your body, not unlike a long soak in a warm bath or lying in front of the heater.

Yes, it’s cold when you first step outside but if you layer up (daggy doesn’t matter) and get moving you will be hot within no time at all.

3. STAY HEALTHY

Research has shown that regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu rear their ugly heads.

When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.

4. BEAT THE WINTER BLUES

A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and helps ease depression. If you combine exercise with the great outdoors you can cheer yourself up even more.

We know that after exercise the brain releases the “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting wellbeing.

5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter. Generally, the air outside is healthier than air inside so going for a walk or run outside gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs at home or from the office.

6. AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN

In the colder months it is so easy to turn to comfort food because it’s so satisfying and it makes us feel good. It’s so easy to become a hibernating bear! No wonder it’s known as the ‘winter weight gain’ period. The average person puts on up to 4 kg! The only way to make up for those added treats is to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. Try and balance your energy in and energy out then the shredding of clothes in spring won’t be such a shock.

7. ENABLE GREATER SPINAL MOVEMENT FOR LESS ACHES AND PAINS

When we exercise we mobilise our spine and help reduce restrictions that can cause headaches, backaches, neck pain and other aches and pains. Having greater spinal mobility is important to a healthy and happy life.

Back Your Inner Athlete

The Commonwealth Games is a great reminder to enjoy spectator sports but don’t forget to focus on your own inner athlete. Our sedentary lifestyles are catching up with us and it’s time to make a change. Here are some tips on how each of us can perform and live better by backing our own inner athlete through good spinal function, reducing pain, improving posture and taking care of our health.

o REDUCE PAIN by helping de-stress your spine
o IMPROVE POSTURE by being aware of correct posture
o ACTIVATE PERFORMANCE by placing importance on good spinal health and function, alleviating pain, improving posture and mobility, and living a healthy lifestyle, to assist with improving performance in life.

REDUCE PAIN
Back pain can result from injury, spinal abnormalities, degenerative conditions and even poor posture.

DID YOU KNOW?
o Back pain is the third most common reason for taking time off work.
o Work-related activities including heavy lifting, bending and twisting, and even working in the same position for
extended periods of time can contribute to lower back problems.
o Parents are at risk of back problems due to lifting and twisting while carrying young children.
o Children are not immune to back problems.
o DIY and gardening can have an impact by placing stress on the back.
o In older people, postural issues can impact everyday activities.
o Chronic back pain can lead to a range of health issues that reduce mobility, quality of life and longevity, which in turn may cause depression.
o Neck pain is the second most common reason patients seek chiropractic care. Neck pain can be caused by degenerative
conditions, poor posture, stress, poor hydration and bad sleeping conditions.

Due to the nature of the pain and its causes, a holistic approach is needed in most cases to re-educate and adjust the body to reignite their inner athlete. Chiropractors are trained and knowledgeable professionals who conduct adjustments that address the causes of pain rather than simply treating a symptom. Chiropractic care is individually based so discuss your specific needs with your chiropractor.

IMPROVE POSTURE
Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. Your posture directly affects your health.

Correcting bad posture does take discipline, but there’s no doubt the benefits are well worth the effort.
The first step is understanding the bad posture habits our lifestyle may expose us to and then taking steps to address them.
Poor posture may cause headaches, neck stiffness, back pain, fatigue, respiratory issues, poor digestion and tension by putting pressure on your spine. In many cases, this can be prevented with the correct education, adjustment and awareness of the issue. While it may take some diligence to undo bad habits, it’s worth persevering.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
o Have an ergonomic assessment. If you have a desk job, this is essential in helping to maintain your spinal health.
o Be mindful of how you perform everyday tasks – from picking up the kids to gardening, don’t put undue stress on the neck
and back.
o Bend your knees when lifting, not your back and try to avoid lifting heavy loads.
o Move regularly. Walking is a great start.
o Try to maintain an upright posture with shoulders back and head in a neutral position. If you maintain an upright posture at all times you will put less stress on your spine.

ACTIVATE PERFORMANCE
Building core muscles is critical to helping support your spine, which provides stability and protection. A good place to start is by simply walking regularly to boost mood, alertness and energy levels. It’s easy, accessible and free!
You can integrate walking into your lifestyle by planning ahead, setting goals, using a pedometer, tracking ‘everyday’ activity, engaging your friends and rewarding yourself when you reach your goals.

An active spine is a healthy spine, and a healthy spine leads to a healthier life.

Watch Your Back in the Garden

With the cooler autumn weather upon us it’s a great time to get back into gardening but don’t forget to protect your back and avoid injury by maintaining correct posture.

It’s amazing how quickly the hours can slip by when you are bending over seeding, weeding and watering the garden. Not to mention digging, carrying buckets, pushing wheelbarrows and lifting. Done the wrong way, these activities can place strain on our backs, particularly when our bodies are held in unsound positions over a sustained period of time to perform these tasks.

Common Posture Problems related to gardening

Round Shoulders
Round Shoulders is a condition that is often caused by hunching over, for example when weeding a garden. It is distinguished by the hunched over appearance it produces.

Uneven or rotated hips
Twisting to shift dirt from a wheelbarrow to a garden, or to pull out and pile up weeds can lead to issues with uneven or rotated hips. In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.

Gardening Tips to Maintain Good Posture

The good news is that postural issues can be corrected and, in some instances, reversed.
In the first instance, give your posture a sporting chance. By preparing before you enter the garden and having a few simple rules in mind, you can minimise your chance of experiencing some of these common gardening afflictions.

A few key tips are:
– Do some light stretching before you begin gardening to warm up your muscles and minimise the risk of injury. Even though gardening isn’t an extreme sport, injuries can still easily occur when muscles are too tight.
– Try to maintain a good posture as much as possible with a straight back and remember to pull your shoulders back and hold your head upright as much as possible. It is important to avoid rounding your shoulders or hunching over.
– Be careful not to twist your spine when transferring soil or other material from a wheelbarrow/stockpile to your garden and vice versa. Try to remember to keep your spine aligned in all of your movements and avoid jerky movements.
– Only take on loads that you can easily handle to reduce the risk of strain on your back. If a load it too heavy, either lighten the load or ask someone to help you.
– It is important to take frequent breaks, walk around and stretch, as staying in the same position for too long can contribute to a sore back later that night or the next morning.
– Make sure you also do some light stretching once you have finished gardening to cool down those muscles,
– Drink plenty of water to keep you and your muscles well hydrated!

If you do end up with a gardening injury, Lane Chiropractic can help.
Contact us on 6676 2270 for an appointment.

Happy Gardening everyone!

Need headache or migraine relief?

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Most Australians suffer from headaches.
For many people this can happen on occasion but, for some, headaches can really impact their daily life. Headaches may range from a dull throbbing pain through to debilitating pain and nausea. While taking a pain relief tablet may alleviate symptoms for a short period of time, there is a better alternative to long-term headache relief.

Headache Triggers

Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include dehydration by not drinking enough water, food intolerance, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviours (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About five percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems. The remaining 95 percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease; the headache itself is the primary concern.

Most primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck. Australians now engage in more sedentary activities than in the past, and more hours are spent in one fixed position or posture (such as sitting in front of a computer or smart device). This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache.

What Can You Do?

If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a smart device, or reading, take a break and stretch every 20 minutes. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion. While it is good to get up and move around, you can easily do this with some simple stretches in your office chair.

Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobic activities.

Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lower teeth, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headache.

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.

How Chiropractic Care can help

A 2014 report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) found that chiropractic care improved outcomes for the treatment of acute and chronic neck pain. A previous study also found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improved migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

Chiropractors treat headaches through firstly identifying where the source of your headaches arises. They will conduct any/all of the following to treat patients:

• Perform spinal manipulation or gentle chiropractic adjustments to improve
spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system
• Provide some nutritional advice if your headaches are related to poor
eating habits
• Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and
relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring
joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.

Chiropractors undergo extensive training to help relieve patients from pain.
They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to address those problems.

Text Neck A Real Pain in the Neck

Our smart technology-dependent lifestyles can be a real pain in the neck, often causing a condition known as Text Neck.

Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long. And it seems increasingly common.

Chiropractors are seeing more and more patients in practice complaining of severe upper back pain. Symptoms include severe, acute and upper back muscle strain.
Of course, this posture of bending your neck to look down does not occur only when texting. For years, we’ve all looked down to read. The problem with texting is that it adds one more activity that causes us to look down—and people tend to do it for much longer periods. It is especially concerning because young, growing children could possibly cause permanent damage to their cervical spines that could lead to lifelong neck pain.

What are the symptoms associated with text neck?

Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:

o Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
o Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
o If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.

Some studies suggest, text neck may possibly lead to chronic problems due to early onset of arthritis in the neck.

How common is text neck?

A recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their cell phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phone on hand.

How is text neck treated?

First, prevention is key. Here are several pieces of advice for preventing the development or advancement of text neck:
o Hold your cell phone at eye level as much as possible. The same holds true for all screens—laptops and tablets should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don’t have to bend your head forward or look down to view it.
o Take frequent breaks from your phone and laptop throughout the day. For example, set a timer or alarm that reminds you to get up and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.
o If you work in an office, make sure your screen is set up so that when you look at it you are looking forward, with your head positioned squarely in line with your shoulders and spine.

The bottom line is to avoid looking down with your head bent forward for extended periods throughout the day. Spend a whole day being mindful of your posture—is your head bent forward when you drive? When you watch TV? Any prolonged period when your head is looking down is a time when you are putting excessive strain on your neck.

Get the free Straighten Up app to help remind you when to take breaks and how to hold your posture to protect your spine https://chiropractors.asn.au/resources/apps/straighten-up-app2

Australia Day Survival Tips

Whether it’s the beach, a barbie or backyard cricket, Australia Day is all about relaxing and having fun with your mates. Whatever you plan to do to celebrate our special Aussie Day, make sure you take care of your back with these Australia Day Survival Tips from Bruce Lane of Lane Chiropractic.

Keep Active
While a day off is a great excuse for lying on the couch, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep your back and your whole system moving. It’s particularly important to keep moving and activating your core stabilising muscles to support your back.

Watch Your Payload
This time of year we can get a bit too excited about backyard games and beach fun. It’s during this time that I find people will often over extend muscles, especially when they haven’t been exercising much previously, and put their backs out. If you feel pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you to stop. Make sure that when you are having fun, listen to your body and its limits.

Be careful about how much you lift and watch your lifting technique. On a day when we often fill our eskies for parties, we can forget correct lifting techniques. Make sure you bend your knees and lift with a straight back. Use your legs to take the load, not your back. If the load feels too heavy, get someone to help you.

Watch for stress injuries. Our backs take a lot of strain a lot of the time. Most of the time they are pretty tough and don’t let us know that we are pushing things too far. Think about how your daily activities impact your back (even too much inactivity can impact your back). Be mindful of how your back feels and how you can relieve stress on it.

Travel Safely
If you are traveling this Australia Day, these handy travel tips will help you enjoy the best time away:
• Take regular stretch breaks at least every one to two hours
• Tuck in your chin and roll your shoulders back every hour to loosen tight muscles
• Use back support, such as a small, rolled towel. Alternate behind the back and then between the shoulders.
• Sit upright with your head back before setting the position of your mirrors. This will remind you not to slouch.
• Stay well hydrated, sip water often.
• Pillows are light, so take a supportive pillow with you.
• Put your seat upright and ensure your tailbone is as far back in the seat as it can be, with shoulders and head as supported as possible by the seat.

If you are travelling by plane, most of these tips apply. In addition, where possible sit in an aisle seat to make it easier to regularly stretch and walk during the flight. Be careful lifting suitcases. Bend with your knees, not your back. Also, regularly roll your ankles in circles and point then flex your feet to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed
If you are sleeping away from home this weekend here are some tips to protect your back and give you a good night’s sleep.
1. Sleep on your back or side as much as possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach!
2. If the bed is ‘saggy’, consider putting the mattress on the floor.
3. Use a ceiling fan instead of air-conditioning where possible to avoid cold blasts of air on your neck or back.
4. Compensate for dips in the mattress by placing a small, soft towel under your side.
5. Always stretch after sleeping.
6. Stay well hydrated, sip water often – but not too much before bed otherwise you will be up in the night!

Lane Chiropractic has you covered this Australia Day long weekend. We are open on Saturday, 27th and Sunday 28th if you find you need help to get your body back in alignment before the working week.