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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 on 02 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 on 6676 2270.

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.

YOUR SIDE PROFILE MIGHT INDICATE BACK OR NECK PAIN TRIGGERS

Paying attention to your side profile could help avoid neck and back problems and improve quality of life. New research published by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) suggests that those whose heads lean forward are most likely to be currently suffering from back or neck pain (58%), followed by those with an excessively arched lower back (56%).

The BCA researchers asked women (whom the study was focused on) which side-shape they are, with four broad categories of altered posture compared to the ideal.

• Spoon – flat back, rounded shoulders

• Leaning tower – head leans forward

• Bridge – arched back

• Flat-pack – flat back

Whether you stand like a spoon or a leaning tower, a bridge or a flat back, your side-shape may indicate problems ahead.

Posture has also been shown to have an effect on many other areas of health and wellbeing beyond symptoms of pain such as mood, energy levels, self-confidence, range of motion, and change in the release of stress hormones. Poor posture can also negatively impact on decision making, work productivity and other areas of life.

The good news is that making changes to your posture doesn’t call for extreme dieting or exercise programs and can be managed simply with the help of your local chiropractor.

People who want to improve their back and neck pain symptoms through a better posture should try imagining they have a plumb line hanging straight from their ears to ankles – with everything in the middle sitting on the same line.

One way to do this is to try standing in a relaxed way and then gently contracting the abdominal muscles. When sitting, the gravity line should pass thorough ear, shoulder and hip.