Archive for exercise

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 on 6676 2270.

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 on 6676 2270.

How to ease tennis elbow

Anyone can get tennis elbow, even if you don’t play tennis. It describes pain or discomfort around the outside of the elbow as a result of over use of muscles in the forearm. This condition is called tennis elbow because it is common among tennis players, who often put the tendon leading to their elbow under repeated stress.

Similarly, pain on the inside of the elbow is often referred to as golfer’s elbow.

Tennis or golfer’s elbow generally occurs more in men than women. Even though these conditions are more prevalent among tennis players and golfers respectively, they can occur in anyone who undertakes work or leisure activities that involve repetitive use of the elbow, hand or wrist. For example, hairdressers, gardeners and heavy machinery operators are among people who may be impacted by tennis or golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow symptoms

Tennis elbow affects the muscles and tendons of your forearm that extend to your wrists and fingers. Symptoms may develop gradually, with mild pain that slowly worsens over time. It isn’t caused by an injury but by overuse of the tendons in your forearm. Symptoms include:

  • an ache or pain that occurs after gripping or squeezing objects
  • weak grip strength and a pain or burning sensation on the outer part of the elbow.

Golfers elbow symptoms

Golfer’s elbow impacts the forearm muscles that attach from the wrist to the “funny bone” area of the elbow near the inner bump. These muscles are used for wrist flexion (the twisting motion of the wrist), which explains its connection to golf. In this case symptoms include:

  • pain or tenderness near the funny bone, or inner bump of the elbow, as well as reduced grip strength.

Easing tennis and golfer’s elbow

There are a number of stretches and exercises you can do to ease both tennis and golfer’s elbow:

Wrist stretches

For tennis elbow: Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing down and gently pull your hand and fingers back towards you using your other hand. This shouldn’t be painful as it is intended to give a slight stretch to your forearm. Hold for 30 seconds, relax, and repeat three times.

For golfer’s elbow: This exercise is similar to the one for tennis elbow but in this case hold your arm out in front of you with the palm facing up. Gently pull your hand and fingers back towards your body using your other hand. Hold for 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.

Forearm exercises

Wrist Extension:  Begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing down, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. As you progress you can add weight, like holding a water bottle, to add resistance and incorporate strengthening into the exercise.

Wrist Flexion: This exercise is similar to the wrist exercise above, but the palm is in the other direction. For the wrist flexion exercise, begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing up, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table towards the ceiling (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. You can also add weight resistance to add strength training to the exercise.

Grip Strengthening: For this exercise, all you need is a squishy ball or “stress ball.” Hold the ball in your hand and gently squeeze. Hold for five seconds, relax, and repeat ten times. This exercise is helpful for both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.

Strength Exercise: One of the common strengthening exercises you can do is informally called the “hammer exercise.” You will need a hammer as your weight resistance. Hold the handle of the hammer, and keep your elbow at 90 degrees, rested flat on a table’s surface. Slowly rotate the hammer towards the centre of your body, turning the direction of your palm downwards. Then slowly reverse the motion, rotating the hammer outwards—your palm begins facing up with the heavy side of the hammer pulling on your arm. Rest briefly. Repeat ten times.

In addition to these exercises you may benefit from a compression or stability elbow brace available from the chemist.

Sports chiropractic is highly effective at treating and quickly reducing the symptoms of both tennis and golf elbow. If you need assistance with tennis or golf elbow contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Chiropractic can be the difference between winning and losing

For competitive athletes, the difference between winning and losing can be milliseconds, and the secret to this is biomechanics.

Biomechanics is basically how the structure of people’s bodies impacts their movement, which is why some people move more effectively and why some others are more prone to injury.

In competitive sports, athletes need to be at their peak of strength, speed and flexibility. Unfortunately, the sustained need for peak fitness means that athletes often suffer from injury, which is why they rely on chiropractic care.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 90 percent of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injury and increase their performance potential. In fact, you will see chiropractors treating many Australian sports teams at major sporting events such as NRL and AFL grand finals, the NBL, the Australian Open and Commonwealth Games.

Sports chiropractors use techniques that strengthen and support an athlete’s body structure to achieve peak athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.  If an injury occurs, chiropractors also help to relieve pain without the complication of prescription drugs or surgery.

The most common sporting injuries we see as sports chiropractors involve knocking the spine out of alignment or causing stress on joints, muscles, nerves, discs and ligaments. Chiropractors are experts at gently re-aligning the spine and supporting recovery from situations such as head and neck injuries, back and shoulder pain, ankle and knee injuries, tennis elbow, groin pain, shoulder instability and even repetitive strain injury.

A key benefit of chiropractic care is improved performance. In fact, in one American study, athletes achieved a 30 percent improvement in hand-eye co-ordination after 12 weeks of chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care also helps to improve muscle strength, boost speed, increase flexibility, improve balance and enable more effective training.

Another key benefit of chiropractic care is fewer injuries as a result of alignment issues causing unnecessary stress on the body. If your musculoskeletal system is in alignment, your body is less likely to suffer injury.

If you are injured, chiropractic care reduces the recovery time. Sports chiropractors use massage and stretching combined with movement to speed up recovery time and reduce the chance of further injury.

If you’d like to know more about how to improve your sporting performance, to avoid injury or just to generally improve your fitness contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

Does cold and rainy weather cause back pain?

Often my patients tell me that they feel more aches and pains as the weather turns cooler and I am regularly asked if pain is linked to a drop in temperature.

With the cooler weather approaching and some much needed rain in northern NSW, you may find that you get a few more aches and pains. This is because when the body is faced with low temperatures, blood vessels narrow in your extremities and divert that extra blood to vital areas like the brain, heart and lungs to keep them warm.

When muscles, tendons and ligaments have less blood, they become stiff. It’s the same with the structures supporting your spine. When the weather is cold, there is less blood flow to the structures supporting your spine and they become naturally stiff which, in turn, places extra strain on the back. Additionally, if joints are already inflamed, a drop in barometric pressure or temperature can cause swelling and subsequent pain.   

It’s important to note that the majority of spine pain is caused, not by a problem with the spine itself, but by strain or injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that give it support. If these tissues are stiff and pull on the sensitive nerve endings in the spine—which is common—it can feel like your back is hurting despite the fact that the source of the pain is not the spinal structure. On top of this, tight or cold muscles, tendons or ligaments are much more susceptible to strain or injury.

Metal implants can further exacerbate the condition because metal implants react differently to human tissue. If they get cold, they can start lowering the temperature of the tissue and nerves surrounding them, which can lead to back pain. People whose device is simply covered by skin or a thin layer of soft tissue are much more likely to experience aches and pains in cold weather. 

COLD, DARK DAYS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DEPRESSION, WHICH CAN AGGRAVATE BACK PAIN

Just as importantly, research has shown that cold weather and dark days can contribute to what is known as seasonal depression, which can cause or aggravate back pain. 

Seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that typically occurs yearly, starting in autumn and lasting through the winter months.

There are a number of factors that can cause seasonal depression such as the decreased amount of sunshine throwing off your body’s circadian rhythm and causing a drop in serotonin levels in the brain.

Seasonal depression can also cause fatigue, increased perception of pain and decreased interest in daily activities that can prevent people from exercising and strengthening the muscles supporting the spine, which in turn causes back pain.

How to avoid back pain in cooler weather

The key to reducing back pain in cool and rainy weather is to make every effort to keep yourself warm and ensure that you do daily low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, bike riding, yoga or indoor aerobic exercise.

Our muscles need continued exercise to remain strong and if you are neglecting to work out when it’s chilly, you are opening yourself up to injury further down the line. 

Regular exercise is also a great way of releasing endorphins, those natural mood lifting hormones that help reduce depressive symptoms.

Overall, it’s important to know that daily back or neck pain is not normal. If this is something you’re experiencing or if you need advice about a winter exercise program to suit your needs, contact me, Bruce Lane at Lane Chiropractic 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.

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.