Archive for Back care tips

New World Health Organisation guidelines recommend 150 minutes of exercise each week

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is now recommending that adults have at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, and children average one hour of exercise each day.

The WHO guidelines outline the health risks of lack of exercise, and the need for adults and children to limit recreational screen time and get their bodies moving for both physical and mental wellbeing. Any physical activity is better than none, and more is better. Aerobic activity no longer needs to last 10 minutes or more to be beneficial but instead our health depends on us moving more as part of everyday life.

Current physical activity levels in Australia show that 85% of adults do not reach the recommended levels of physical activity and muscle strengthening exercise, while only one in five children meet the guidelines for physical activity of at least 60 minutes per day.

The WHO guidelines recommend:

  • Children aged 5-17 years should do at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity. Activity that strengthens muscle and bone should be incorporated at least three days a week.
  • Adults aged 18-64 years should do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity, or at least 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity throughout the week. Adults should also do muscle strengthening activities on two or more days a week.
  • Adults 65 years and older should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity, or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity throughout the week. Mature adults should also do muscle strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity on two or more days a week. As part of their weekly physical activity, mature adults should do varied multicomponent physical activity that emphasises functional balance and strength training on three or more days a week, to enhance functional capacity and prevent falls.
  • Pregnant and postpartum mothers once cleared by their doctor should undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity throughout the week, and incorporate muscle strengthening and gentle stretching exercises.

For adults in particular, it’s important to keep moving to reduce the risk of joint and back pain from excessive time spent on the couch or at the computer.

To learn more about appropriate exercises for your body, and how to reduce your risk of joint and back pain, contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Three key causes of back pain

Most people suffer from back pain at some time in their lives. Considering the back is a complex system of nerves, muscles, ligaments, discs, bones and of course the spinal cord, it can be tricky to pinpoint the exact cause of pain.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” cure for back pain and definitely no miracle cure. However, with the right treatment you can reduce the severity and impact of back pain on your life.

1.    Back injury

Injury is a highly common reason for back pain. Either as a result of direct impact from a fall, back strain from heavy lifting, or due to repetitive activities such as sitting for hours typing at a computer with incorrect posture.

Back injury can also occur as a result of bulging, ruptured or herniated discs, and osteoporosis that can lead to compression fractures.

2.    Inflammation

Inflammatory pain is caused by spinal disc inflammation.  This can be related to back injury but is more commonly the result of a medical condition, such as ankylosing spondylitis, that causes the immune system to attack the spine. Other causes of inflammation include arthritis and wear and tear caused by age, infection such as a kidney infection or shingles, and cancer.

3.    Chronic pain

With chronic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia, the nervous system registers pain but there are no obvious health risks associated with the pain. This can be quite complex for medical professionals to diagnose, and frustrating for patients who have to live with the pain.

Chronic pain can also be the result of genetic factors such as curvature of the spine, or a short leg.

Symptoms of back pain

The symptoms of back pain can vary such as:

·      a dull aching pain

·      sharp pain that can be made worse by movement such as sitting, standing, bending or lifting

·      tingling pain or numbness down the legs or arms

·      loss of range of motion

·      leg or arm weakness

·      stiffness

·      muscle and joint tenderness

·      shooting pain

How high is your risk of back pain?

The following factors are linked to a  higher risk of developing back pain:

  • pregnancy
  • a sedentary lifestyle
  • poor physical fitness
  • older age
  • obesity and excess weight
  • smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • strenuous physical exercise or work, especially if done incorrectly
  • long-term repetitive activity, such as computer-based work
  • genetic factors
  • medical conditions, such as arthritis and cancer

Lower back pain is generally more prevalent in women than in men, possibly due to hormonal factors. Stress, anxiety and mood disorders can exacerbate back pain.

When to seek medical help

Short-term back pain can often resolve itself without treatment. However, if any of the following occurs seek medical help:

  • persistent back, joint or limb pain
  • sudden, unexplained weight loss
  • fever
  • inflammation or swelling on the back
  • pain down the legs
  • pain that reaches below the knees
  • a recent injury, blow or trauma to the back
  • urinary incontinence
  • difficulty urinating
  • loss of control over bowel movements
  • numbness around the genitals or buttocks

How to prevent back pain

There are ten key ways to prevent back pain.

  1. Regular exercise helps build strength and control body weight. Low impact aerobics can reduce the risk of straining the back or joints.  Core strengthening exercises strengthen muscles that support the back, while flexibility training helps improve flexibility in the muscles. Consult your health care professional before starting a new exercise program.
  2. A healthy diet with plenty of fresh, organic vegetables and a reduced sugar and fat intake can support bone health and control body weight.
  3. Eliminate smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. A significantly higher number of smokers and heavy drinkers experience pain compared to non-smokers and non-drinkers.
  4. Control body weight. The more weight people carry, the more stress it puts on the skeletal system, which results in pain. People who carry weight in the abdominal area are at greater risk of back pain.
  5. Practice good posture when sitting or standing. Make sure to sit or stand upright, lock your core muscles and keep your head in a neutral position. Avoid slouching as this puts pressure on the spine. When seated, ensure you have good back support and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  6. Use your legs to lift objects rather than your back. When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible. As you lift, carefully straighten your legs and try to maintain a straight back position.  Ensure to keep the object you are lifting close to your body. Also ensure to lock your core stomach muscles during lifting. Never lift and twist at the same time. If an object is too heavy to lift on your own, seek some help or use machinery to lift the object for you.
  7. When moving objects across the floor, use your leg strength to push the object rather than pulling it toward you.
  8. Wear flat, supportive and comfortable shoes to reduce strain on the back.
  9. When driving make sure your side mirrors are positioned so that you don’t need to twist. Take plenty of breaks during a long journey where you stop, get out of the car to stretch and walk around.
  10. Sleep on your back or side on a supportive mattress. Never sleep in a position where you have to twist your neck, such as on your stomach.

Chiropractors can diagnose and treat back pain with gentle manipulation techniques that are designed to strengthen and support the spine and joints. For more information and a spinal assessment contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

How to tell if you have carpal tunnel syndrome

If you have tingling or numbness in your fingers, nerve pain in your wrist or hand, weakness in your hand, or swollen fingers you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from your spinal cord down the arm through the carpal tunnel, is compressed. The carpel tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that has just enough room for tendons and nerves to pass through it. If any of your tendons become swollen, the median nerve can be compressed in the small passageway. This causes a significant problem because the median nerve controls movement for some hand muscles, and the sense of touch for the thumb and some fingers.

You may have carpal tunnel syndrome if:

  • you experience tingling or numbness, such as pins and needles, in your fingers or the palm of your hand
  • nerve pain in your wrist or hand that can spread up your arm or down to your fingers
  • weakness in the muscles in your hands, making it hard to grip things
  • swollen fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be caused by factors such as a wrist or arm sprain or fracture, repetitive use of the wrist and hand, rheumatoid arthritis, fluid retention, a cyst or tumour in the carpal tunnel, diabetes, thyroid issues, and kidney disease.

How to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

There are a number of ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome such as:

  • ensure your wrists are correctly positioned in a neutral, almost straight position when using a keyboard or mouse. Avoid flexing the wrists in either direction
  • if your job involves heavy use of power tools, take regular wrist breaks and gently rotate your wrists to keep them mobile
  • avoid repetitive movements as much as possible. If your job requires repetitive wrist movements, such as for typing or maintenance work, take regular wrist breaks
  • physical therapy exercises and yoga that strengthen wrist mobility
  • medical treatment for underlying conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes or arthritis.

Chiropractic treatments can be very effective at relieving carpal tunnel syndrome through light techniques and mobilisation to restore joint function in the wrist, and may help sufferers avoid surgery. For more information contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Three ways to ease a tension headache without medication

With so much going on in the world right now, it’s not surprising that many people are coming to chiropractors with tension headaches.

A tension headache is a mild to moderate dull, aching pain in the head. It often feels like a tight band or pressure across your forehead, or on the sides or back of your head.  You may also experience scalp tenderness and a dull ache in your neck or shoulder muscles.

Tension headaches can be caused by various factors such as stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and dietary imbalance. There are three key ways to ease a tension headache without medication.

  1. Try a cold compress

Pain is often caused by inflammation in tissues. A cold compress can help alleviate this pain. Try relaxing with a cold compress for 10 minutes on, and then 10 minutes off. If the cold compress doesn’t provide relief you can try a heat pack but ensure to drink plenty of water so that the heat pack doesn’t cause dehydration and make the headache worse.

  • Relaxation techniques

Try relaxing in a dimly lit room by lying down and focusing on deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Make sure to drink water before the relaxation session in case the headache is the result of dehydration.

  • Allied health care

Allied health care such as chiropractic, massage and acupuncture can provide relief for tension headaches through gentle techniques that work with the needs of your body.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent tension headaches such as:

  • drink plenty of water each day to avoid dehydration
  • try to use relaxation techniques, even if it’s just deep breathing, as part of your daily routine to reduce muscle tightness
  • ensure to maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • don’t smoke and limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • try to get eight hours of sleep each night
  • exercise at least three times each week, even if it’s just a 20 minute walk.

For more information about how to reduce your risk and frequency of tension headaches contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Three reasons to get a health check before starting a new exercise or sport

With spring already upon us, and summer just around the corner, it’s time to get our bodies beach ready, right?

But before starting a new exercise program, or re-starting exercise after the winter hiatus and COVID couch quarantine, there are three key reasons why it may be a good idea to consult your health care professional first.

1. Avoid injury

If you haven’t done exercise for a while, or are starting a new exercise program, you may increase your risk of muscular, joint or back injury. It’s advisable to get an assessment to determine any existing joint or muscular stiffness or weakness, so that your health care practitioner can advise you about steps to take so that you can avoid strain or injury when you exercise.

2. Identify the right exercise program that will deliver the best results for you

Sometimes we’d like to try a new sport or exercise, but it may not be the best fit for our body, particularly if you are susceptible to any musculoskeletal weakness. Your health care practitioner can look at your musculoskeletal system and your biomechanics to determine if the exercise or sport that you’d like to do puts you at greater risk of injury.  Then, they can either identify an alternative exercise program that may be better suited to your body type, or provide advice about measures that you can take to help reduce your risk of injury.

3. Check your heart health

With many of us confined during COVID quarantine measures, we have probably spent more time on the couch this winter than in previous years. Suddenly starting strenuous exercise could put strain on the heart and may result in cardiovascular issues. It’s a good idea to check your heart health, even with a quick visit to your GP, so that you maintain a healthy heart during exercise.

It’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to starting a new exercise program, so that you can avoid injury or too much strain on the body and be able to continue your exercise without the interruption of injury.

Lane Chiropractic in Pottsville is offering free 15 minute spinal and biomechanical health assessments during September. Get your free assessment before starting your new spring/summer exercise program to give your body the best chance of avoiding injury. To book your no obligation, free back and joint health check call 6676 2270.

Is your home office doing you harm?

Every week I see people with back and neck pain purely because they don’t have the right home office set up and are sitting still in one position for way too long.

When we are at a workplace, rather than home, we often tend to move around more to talk to colleagues, grab a cup of coffee, buy lunch, go to the printer etc. This activity tends to cease when working from home, and we can often forget to take those computer breaks that are critical to helping our minds and bodies reset.

To save you back, neck and joint pain – and reduce visits to your chiropractor, check out these simple tips on the attached Sunrise video for your home office set up.

There's been a big spike in back and neck aches as Aussies work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.Here are some simple and cheap ways to prevent the pain.More on this story: https://7news.link/3ejMwtz

Posted by Sunrise on Tuesday, 26 May 2020

For more information and advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270

Why do our joints crack?

Do you ever wonder why your joints crack? There are a few simple reasons.

Our bodies tend to creak and groan at the best of times, especially as we age.  This is often due to a condition called crepitus, which describes any grinding, creaking, grating, cracking, popping or crunching that occurs when your joints move.  Sometimes the sounds your body makes can be loud enough for other people to hear.

Often, crepitus is painless and doesn’t mean anything is seriously wrong.  However, if it occurs with symptoms such as pain or trauma, there may be a more serious underlying medical condition so it’s wise to consult with your health practitioner.

Here are some of the common reasons why your body may get a little noisy especially around the neck, back and joints:

Articular pressure changes

Facet joints are where the back of adjacent vertebrae join together. Inside each facet joint is synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.  Tiny gas bubbles can form and eventually collapse within synovial joints. As they are released, they can create a cracking, crunching or popping sound, which is harmless.

Ligament or tendon moving around bone

Ligaments and tendons both attach to bones. A ligament or tendon may make a snapping sound as it moves around a bone and/or over each other. This occurs because our muscles and tissues are too tight, or when they become less elastic as we age.

Bone-on-bone grinding

Facet joints degenerate due to osteoarthritis or disc generation, which results in less cushioning between the vertebrae. This can cause adjacent vertebral bones to rub against each other, causing a grinding noise or sensation.

Chiropractors can relieve the symptoms of crepitus. If you need any help alleviating creaks, cracks, pops and groans in your body contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Article information courtesy of Veritas Health https://www.veritashealth.com/

Eight subtle signs your body needs help

We can all feel stiff, sore and tired from time to time but if the same pain keeps resurfacing, it may be your body trying to warn you that something is seriously wrong.

With our busy lives, it can be too easy to ignore the subtle signs that our bodies give us but by ignoring the warning signs you could be at risk of missing the early detection of a more serious issue.

There are eight common issues chiropractors see that, if left untreated, can lead to longer term issues that may require surgery or lifelong pain management.  Some of these issues may also signal potential life-threatening conditions:

Neck stiffness

While neck stiffness is quite common, particularly for people who spend long hours working on computers or using smartphones, it can also signal something more serious. Persistent neck stiffness may be the result of a degenerative cervical spine disorder which, if left untreated, can lead to permanent nerve damage, compression of the spinal cord, paralysis and in rare cases, death.

Joint pain

Joint pain is often considered a natural part of the aging process, and it can also emerge following strenuous exercise. However, persistent joint pain can severely limit your mobility and impact your overall health in the longer term. For example, limited mobility may lead to poor psychological health and obesity, which in turn can increase the risk of issues such as diabetes and heart disease.

Muscle weakness

We all get muscle weakness from time to time due to factors such as illness or an intense workout that causes muscle fatigue. However, ongoing weakness in the muscles can be a sign of issues such as nerve damage, muscular or skeletal degeneration, a herniated disc, neuromuscular disorder, or a tumour.

Numbness or tingling

While we can get numbness or tingling from sitting too long in a certain position, such as when your foot goes to sleep, having this symptom without cutting off blood circulation is an early warning sign of injury, nerve damage, a herniated disc, or even diabetes. If numbness or tingling related to nerve damage, injury or a herniated disc is left untreated, you may end up needing surgery.

Uneven posture

If you have uneven shoulders or hips, asymmetry of the back or your head rests off-centre you may have scoliosis, which is curvature of the spine. If left untreated, it can cause a reduced range of motion, pain, disc degeneration, and possibly cardiovascular and breathing problems caused by the rib cage constricting the heart and lungs.

Headaches

Headaches can be caused by factors such as stress, dehydration, low blood sugar, or misalignment of the neck or spine. Persistent headaches may be a sign of migraines, food allergies, nerve degeneration, or tumour.

Intermittent pain or stiffness

If you have pain or stiffness that comes and goes, it could be a sign of nerve damage, muscular or skeletal degeneration, or disc bulge.  Similar to other forms of pain, if it is left untreated intermittent pain or stiffness can become chronic pain, which then requires more intensive treatment and possibly surgery.

Sharp, Shooting Pain in Your Legs 

A sharp, shooting pain or tingling and weakness in your legs indicates a pinched nerve or slipped disc.  Without treatment, this can lead to longer term issues requiring long term pain medication or even surgery.

Chiropractors are trained to treat many of these conditions, or will refer you to another health specialist if they suspect a non-chiropractic issue. To find out more about the subtle warning signs your body gives you and how to treat them contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 02 6676 2270.

Six signs you have an inflamed facet joint

Almost everyone gets back pain at one time or another, right? You lifted that heavy bin the wrong way, your worn-out workstation chair is a nightmare, you were rear-ended, you carry chronic tension in your shoulders, you tried to return an impossible tennis serve and threw out your back…the list goes on and on. But what if you have occasional periods of acute pain and there’s no apparent cause? This might be a signal that your facet joints are in trouble.

The facet joints are small, cartilage-lined points of contact where each individual backbone (vertebra) meets the one above and below it. They both enable your spine to flex during movement and also limit its range of motion. However, if the cartilage wears thin, pain can occur. Things like aging (wear and tear), obesity (extra weight creates a greater burden), a previous injury or trauma to the spine, and weight-bearing jobs are risk factors for facet joint damage.

If you have had no recent back strain or injury but you are starting to experience episodes of upper back pain, lower back pain, or pain that radiates outward from your spine, here are 6 clues that your facet joints may be the source of it:

  1. The pain occurs occasionally and unpredictably, perhaps scattered over several months.
  2. When the pain occurs, pressing on the skin in that area may cause soreness or tenderness; the muscles there tighten in response to pressure or movement (guarding reflex).
  3. It may not hurt to bend or lean forward, but doing it backward produces a definite “ouch!”
  4. If the pain is in the upper spine (between the base of the skull and the top of the ribcage), there may also be shooting or burning pain that radiates across the shoulders and upper back, but not down the arms or into the fingers.
  5. If the pain is in the lower back, facet joint compression can send nerve pain down into the buttocks and the back of the upper leg (pain that shoots down the front of the leg, or below the knee, is a symptom of another back problem called a herniated disc).
  6. Sitting for long periods aggravates the lower back pain episode, and riding in a car may be nearly intolerable.

Chiropractic care can help reduce facet joint inflammation. If you need help with facet joint pain contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Article courtesy of Sperling Medical Group.

Why you shouldn’t ignore growing pains

Growing pains are very common in children and young adolescents, and can start as young as age three.  While generally, they aren’t anything to be too concerned about and can be often treated with rest, joint manipulation and massage, persistent pain may signal that something else could be wrong.

What are growing pains?

Despite the name, growing pains actually have very little to do with growth.  They are mainly harmless muscular pains that occur in both boys and girls. Pain is generally felt in the calf, front of thighs and behind the knees. It mainly occurs in the afternoon and evening, and can sometimes wake children from sleep.

Causes

While the exact cause of growing pains is unknown, what is known is that it is muscular and can relate to joint restrictions. The pain may be caused by muscular tiredness from physical activity, impacts from poor posture, or even stress and emotional upset can cause muscular pain in children.

The good news is that the symptoms of growing pains can be easily treated to reduce your child’s discomfort.

When pain becomes a problem

There are many cases where pain in children can be mistaken for growing pains but actually signal a more serious issue. The first thing to always remember is that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.  While short term pain may not be an issue, persistent pain warrants investigation by a health practitioner, even if it’s just for your own peace of mind.

Aside from growing pains, if your child is feeling muscular pain it could be a sign of health problems such as scoliosis, Osgood-Schlatter disease, biomechanical issues, or viruses such as Ross River virus.

If your child has severe pain, feels unwell, has swelling, a loss of appetite or rashes seek immediate medical assistance

Treatment for growing pains

The treatment for growing pains is relatively simple and very effective. Just make sure that your health professional addresses, or rules out, issues that may be impacting your child such as scoliosis, Osgood-Schlatter disease or biomechanical issues such as a short leg.  If these are left untreated, it can actually make the problem worse and cause longer term issues.

As a chiropractor, I generally treat growing pain symptoms with gentle chiropractic techniques, mobilisation and stretching, as well as provide gentle stretching exercises that can be done by the child at home. This is combined with massage and heat or ice treatments depending on whether there is any inflammation in the joints.

If you would like any further information about growing pains, or want to check your child’s biomechanics to identify any potential issues early contact me at Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.