Archive for Back care tips – Page 2

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.

How stress impacts your body and what to do about it

For most people, 2020 has been a pretty stressful year so far. The combination of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 has either directly or indirectly affected all of us. As we emerge from these challenges, it’s time to take a look at your stress levels, and the impact stress has on your body and overall wellbeing.

What is stress?

Stress is our natural physical and mental reaction to events that occur around us. It’s our flight or fight response and is designed to protect us by giving our bodies the adrenalin hit we need to think and act quickly to escape perceived danger.

In modern life, stress can be caused by anything from daily work and family issues through to significant events such as the diagnosis of a serious illness, or death of a family member.

During your body’s stress response your heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens and muscles tighten.

Why stress is a concern

While in short bursts, stress can be beneficial to helping your body quickly respond to a situation and protect itself, ongoing, longer-term stress can lead to many issues including:

  • Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eating disorders, which may cause issues such as obesity
  • Fertility concerns
  • Skin and hair problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Chronic muscle and joint pain
  • Weakened immune system.

How to stop stress

While you can’t stop the life events that cause stress, you can control your reaction and reduce stress impacts on your body.  Some great ways to reduce stress are:

  • Just breathe deeply.  When we are stressed we often shallow breathe, which puts stress on our body and causes further stress for our minds.  By just taking some deep slow breaths, it will help your body to relax a bit so that you can better cope with the stressful situation.
  • Meditate. Even if you just take five minutes to take yourself out of the stressful situation and take your mind to a calm, peaceful place, it will help you to think more clearly and keep you calmer.
  • Try yoga or pilates.  Yoga and pilates stretches help your mind to focus while also easing muscle tension.

How your chiropractor can reduce the impact of stress

When you are stressed, your muscles are tense and your nerves are on edge. As your body endures ongoing stress, it becomes much more sensitive to physical imbalances and pain. When your body feels pain this also causes stress, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

Chiropractic adjustments help your body turn off the fight/flight response by unblocking the central nervous system, improving blood circulation and easing muscle tension.  This helps to relieve irritated spinal nerves so that the body can return to a more relaxed natural state.

As a result, you are able to think more clearly and rationally because messages between the brain and nervous system move seamlessly, reducing mental stress.

To help you maintain harmony between your mind and body, your chiropractor can also provide lifestyle advice so that you can take charge in reducing muscle tension, becoming more relaxed and ensuring your body is well nourished.

For more advice about stress management and stress reduction techniques contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

How to spot a good chiropractor

Just like a good doctor, a good chiropractor will have a great bedside manner, provide excellent treatment, show genuine care and compassion, and great communication to help you heal. Here are some quick tips to help you choose the right chiropractor for you:

  1. A good chiropractor will always take the time to do a thorough health assessment before treating you. This may involve asking about your health history, reviewing x-rays, and observing your body for signs of injury or pain.
  • A good chiropractor will give you a clear strategy of how they can help you. They will give you a clear plan of action on what treatments you need to get healthy and they will explain the reasons why they suggest certain therapies or treatments. Be wary of someone who won’t explain your treatment plan to you.
  • A good chiropractor will be sensitive to your pain and your personal needs. They will take the time to ask you consistently about your feelings and pain levels throughout the treatment process. A good chiropractor knows that pain is the body’s sign of injury and that something is wrong.
  • A good chiropractor will not stop treatment just because you’re without pain. Instead, they will work with you to restore your body to the healthiest position possible to help prevent injury without rushing the process it takes for your body to recover. However, they will also ensure to not over-treat you or pressure you into packages you may not need.
  • A good chiropractor will encourage you to take a holistic approach to healing through diet, exercise, posture and stretching.  They may also suggest and work with other practitioners such as GPs, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and massage therapists to ensure you receive an optimum level of treatment. They will provide guidance on exercises for your own self-care so that you are not constantly dependent on their services.
  • A good chiropractor will get to know you personally and make you feel comfortable. Because the body is attached to our mind and soul, your chiropractor must understand that letting someone into their personal space is a vulnerable process and therefore a great deal of empathy is needed.

Five ways to find the right chiropractor for you

  1. Try to get a referral. Friends, neighbours, family, and especially your primary medical doctor may recommend a chiropractor.
  2. Check if any of the recommended chiropractors are covered by your health insurance. If you receive a strong recommendation for someone not on that list, you might consider private payment or using the GP-referral scheme.
  3. Do a quality check for credentials to confirm if they are a current member of the Australian Chiropractor’s Association, where they received their qualification, and if there are any claims against them.
  4. Visit the practice website. Many chiropractors have websites, and these can be informative. Also look at their Facebook referrals, not just the number of stars but read the experiences of other patients.
  5. You may want to make a few phone calls of local chiropractors. Ask about appointment availability, insurance coverage, hours, etc. This is to see if you are treated with patience, courtesy and respect by the chiropractor’s office.

What to look for at your first few appointments

  • Does your chiropractor give sufficient time to you the first visit and on every subsequent visit?
  • Does he or she appear eager to help you get better as quickly as possible and to empower you to take care of yourself in the future?
  • Do you feel comfortable with your new chiropractor?
  • Are you getting better as a result of the treatments and not just the mere passage of time? (When effective treatment is given, most patients will see a significant improvement within the first few weeks of care, and sometimes even sooner.)
  • Is treatment physically comfortable? (Occasionally there may be some minor treatment soreness or even increase in symptoms after a treatment. This should not last more than a day or so, and improvement should be obvious with further care. If this happens, be sure to let your chiropractor know.)
  • Does your chiropractor have partnerships with other healthcare providers? Chiropractic is not a miracle cure. Whoever tells you that chiropractic can solve all health problems is probably someone you shouldn’t consult. Make sure your chiropractor works with other healthcare providers as well.

A good chiropractor is compassionate and puts you first, ready to build a long-term relationship to support your health needs now and into the future.

For more information contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville at 6676 2270.

Healthy Ginger Vegetable Congee

With winter upon is, it’s important to have plenty of nutritious, healthy food to support your immune system. Enjoy this great recipe we found on foodandwine.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 cm knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • Protein of choice (eg fish or tofu)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Sliced green onion, for garnish

How to Make It

Step 1    

In large pot add stock, rice, salt and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir occasionally so that the rice doesn’t clump or stick at the bottom.

Step 2    

While the congee is simmering prep the celery, broccoli and carrots: peeling, cutting, and dicing, as needed.

Step 3    

Simmer the congee for about 30 minutes then add the celery, broccoli, carrots and protein (fish or tofu – if using red meat or chicken ensure it is cooked separately before adding).

Step 4    

Continue to simmer until the congee is thickened and creamy, the vegetables are tender, and the protein is cooked through. Add soy sauce. Garnish with the sliced green onion and serve hot.

 Notes

As the congee cools, it will become thicker. Add additional stock or water if necessary to make the congee to your desired thickness. Serves 4.

Three ways to boost your immune system this flu season

With concerns about a second wave of COVID-19 during the current cold and flu season, it’s more important than ever to protect and boost your body’s immune system.

Just like a three-legged stool, your body’s nervous, endocrine and immune systems are linked. Therefore, it’s important to take a holistic approach to your health. Here are three ways you can help boost your body’s immune system during this flu season.

  • Reduce stress

There is much scientific evidence that shows long-term exposure to stress negatively impacts the immune system. Cortisol in particular is a hormone that can boost your body’s immune system when released in short bursts but ongoing stress can cause you to have too much cortisol in your blood, which can then inhibit the immune system over time. Now is the time to focus on reducing stress levels through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga and pilates.

Chiropractic and massage treatments can also help reduce stress by unblocking the nervous system, clearing message pathways between the brain and body, and reducing muscle tension and pain.

  • Increase blood circulation

Even though it’s cold outside, it’s important to keep your blood circulating through exercise. Your blood is important for transporting oxygen around your body and helping to remove toxins.  Both of these functions are vital in protecting and boosting the body’s immune system.

Chiropractic adjustments can also help improve blood circulation by removing pressure from nerves, allowing blood to flow more freely.

  • Nourishment

With more bugs in the air, it’s important to ensure your body has the right nourishment for its defence systems.  This means plenty of leafy green vegetables – the more colour from natural foods in your food bowl even better! There are many fantastic and easy-to-make soup and casserole recipes available. Make a big pot of nourishing food and freeze the leftovers for use throughout the week.

For more information about how to keep your body healthy contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Free chiropractor in your pocket app

Whether working remotely or in the office, studying or playing sport, it’s important to take care of your back. It’s easy for us to take our backs for granted, until we develop back pain and other related problems.

To help keep your back in shape, the Australian Chiropractors Association has developed the Straighten Up as an ongoing community service initiative to improve your health and the way your body functions.

Consisting of a set of simple exercises and taking just three minutes to complete, Straighten Up will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, and enhance health.

The exercises can be undertaken by Australians of all ages with a special program tailored for children., which helps them develop good habits for life.

The exercises can be completed at any time of day but are most beneficial when they form part of a daily routine. It’s hoped that over time all Australians will take a few minutes every day to care for their spinal health, just as they do for their dental health.

Studies conducted overseas indicate that 90% of people who adopted the exercises as part of their daily routine reported a postural improvement. Approximately 80% reported that their backs were more comfortable and that they had better core stability after practicing the activities for several weeks.

Straighten Up app

While your chiropractor can’t be there 24/7 correcting your posture, the Straighen Up App can! Designed to act as ‘Your Pocket Chiropractor’, this app aims to address the growing posture issues and back pain problems faced by Australians.

Features of the App:

  • Reminders: Set reminders to receive notifications about sitting right, stretching, taking breaks, drinking water and improving your posture.
  • Exercises: A 3-minute spinal health program designed to improve spinal health, stablise core muscle groups and enhance health.
  • Augmented Reality: Showing both good and poor posture in different settings. The augmented reality feature works in conjunction with Straighten Up postcards.
  • Locate A Chiropractor: The app shows a list of local ACA chiropractors on a map and also as a list.

Download the free Straighten Up app today through either Google Play or the App Store.

Google Play

Get the free walking app

According to the World Health Organisation, musculoskeletal conditions that reduce mobility, dexterity and functional ability, are the second largest cause of disability worldwide. Musculoskeletal conditions can have a damaging effect on your quality of life by affecting your ability to participate in work, social activities and sports.

With the burden of low back pain ranking first in Australia, it is likely that you or someone you know could suffer from back pain. Improving posture, maintaining an active lifestyle and keeping your spinal health in check can help you continue to do the things you love.

As the weather cools down, it can become too easy to live a sedentary lifestyle but it’s even more important in cooler weather to keep moving and alleviate stiffness in your joints.

If the gym or sports field isn’t for you then walking is another great way to keep active. Some benefits of brisk walking include increasing your heart and lung fitness, muscle strength and endurance, and it contributes to a naturally upright posture.

Need a little extra help to get you walking to a healthier life? The Just Start Walking app is just what you need. This free app was developed by the Australian Chiropractors Association to encourage Australians to get outside and to get walking! The app allows you to not only map your walk, but track the distance and time taken.

The app also displays your walking history, so you can see your improvements, features local walking events near you and lets you share your walk with friends on social media.

Download Just Start Walking and get active today!

Available on the App Store here: https://apps.apple.com/au/app/just-start-walking/id431040552

or Google Play here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.caa.JustStartWalking

Have you got your back?

Spinal Health Week – May 25 to 31

It’s national spinal health week, which is a great reminder that while your back supports you, are you doing the right thing to support your spine?

While it’s true that we all have a certain amount of mileage in our bodies, which are held up by our spines, here are three things you can do to increase your body mileage:

  1. Improve your posture

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. When your posture is poor this can increase pressure on your spine and contribute to tension, soreness, headaches, back pain and fatigue.  Australian adults, on average, spend an estimated five hours per day sitting, with a quarter of the population sitting for more than eight hours per day,7 including the 67% that play video games recreationally.8 This time sitting and hunching over a desk or on the couch can add pressure to the spine.

That’s why it’s important to make sure whenever you are sitting or standing that you keep your head in a neutral position, keep your shoulders back and your spine straight. When lying down, make sure your back is well supported and avoid lying on your stomach, otherwise this requires you to turn your neck and that’s not good for the spine.

2. Keep Active

We need to remember that an active spine is a healthy spine. This is important at any age, however according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 56% of all Australians are not sufficiently physically active. This has a negative impact on your spinal health.

You don’t need to go to a gym to be active.  You only need to do regular exercise, whether that be walking, bicycle riding, swimming, or even stretching or yoga from the comfort of your own lounge room.  The key is to keep that spine moving!

3. Good nutrition

It is true that “you are what you eat”.  This means that whatever you consume is the fuel that drives your body.  To keep a well-oiled engine make sure you are eating plenty of natural, healthy foods and try to reduce sugar and fat in your diet.  Also drink plenty of water as hydration is key to good health.

For more healthy spine tips or to book a spinal assessment this week contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.