Archive for neck

Why work can be a pain in the neck

Back to work and already feeling the pain? As a chiropractor, I often see neck and back pain caused by poor posture, most commonly as a result of computer or mobile phone use. Here are a few simple exercises you can try to alleviate discomfort in your neck and back.

Sit Up Straight
Maintaining good posture by sitting up straight is an important way to prevent pain. Many of us slouch without even realising it and this can put a lot of pressure on your neck and back. You can experience some immediate relief when you move from a slouching position to a straight position. Throughout the day, rotate your shoulders back. Hold for a few seconds, relax and repeat a few times to help train your body to stay straight.

Another exercise that feels great and can be done from either a sitting or standing position is to pull your arms backward and—with fingertips pointing down—rest them on your buttocks. Then try to pinch your shoulder blades together. Hold for a few seconds. Relax and repeat.

Neck Flex

This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Look straight ahead. Now look down at the floor for a few seconds and then slowly up at the ceiling for a few seconds.

Return your head to a neutral positon and then turn your head very slowly to the right as far as you can. Hold for three seconds. Return your head to the centre and maintain this position for three seconds. Next, turn your head to the left and hold for three seconds. Finally, bring your head back to the centre.

Now tilt your head to the right and try to touch your right ear to your right shoulder without raising your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds. Relax and straighten your head. Then tilt your head to the left and try to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat three or four times.

Chin Tuck
Sit up straight in a chair with your shoulders back. Pull your chin down toward your neck but keep looking straight in front of you. Hold this for five seconds and then return your head to a neutral position. Repeat ten times.

Chin Raise
Tilt your chin up and turn your head slightly to the right side. Your chin should be lifted. Hold for 20 seconds. Now turn it slowly to the left, bringing your chin up as you look toward the ceiling. Hold again for 20 seconds.  Don’t lift your shoulders as you turn. Do this exercise three times on each side.

Thoracic Stretch

Stand up and rest your hands on the back of your head. Pull your elbows back slightly while stretching out your spine. Your eyes should be looking ahead. Hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat five times. 

Pain Prevention Methods

  • Be conscious of your posture while seated at your desk. You should be sitting up straight and the keyboard should be placed so that your elbows are flexed at 90 degrees. Make sure your shoulders are back, and don’t slouch.
  • Short periods of standing and walking throughout the day are beneficial. Get up from your desk once every 20 minutes. At a minimum, stretch or if possible, walk around your office for a few minutes. You could use this as an opportunity to get a glass of water so that you keep well hydrated throughout the day.
  • Be mindful of how you position your head while on your phone or at your laptop, You may be bending your head forward and slouching while looking at screens without even realising it.
  • Reposition your monitor. Raise or lower the monitor or your chair so your eyes are level with the top of the screen.
  • Keep frequently used tools close. Keep your mouse nearby, use a headset when talking on the phone frequently, and use a document holder so that you don’t have to look down when typing.
  • Use a chair that allows you to maintain the normal curves in your spine and try to avoid a chair with armrests. Raise or lower your chair so that you’re not sitting straight up at a 90-degree angle, but rather with a slightly reclined posture of 100 to 110 degrees. Ensure that your feet can easily touch the ground or use a foot stool if needed. Armrests can be restrictive to movement so try to use a chair without them.
  • If possible create a sit/stand workstation. This type of workstation helps you to more easily change your position and reduce the risk of neck and back pain from long periods of restricted movement.

If you experience any neck or back pain, it’s important to get diagnosed and treated early before it becomes a chronic problem. For more information or assistance contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville at 6676 2270.

How to avoid seeing your chiropractor

Many of us can get a stiff neck sometimes, especially after a long workday, a stressful project or from sleeping in the wrong position. Here are some tips to help you avoid it becoming a real pain in the neck.

  • Maintain good posture when you sit or stand
  • Avoid looking down when texting – make sure your phone is at eye level
  • Also move your computer monitor to eye level
  • Take micro-breaks throughout your day, especially if your job requires that you sit for long periods of time
  • Stop and take breaks during a long car trip
  • Use a firm pillow and sleep on your side or on your back, never on your stomach
  • Learn to recognise your signs of stress and take steps to relieve stress in your life on a regular basis
  • Try regular exercises throughout the day and each week to maintain proper movement in your neck.

Managing your neck pain at home

There are a few things you can try at home to help alleviate neck pain.

Use Ice

Often pain can be caused by inflammation. Therefore, ice can reduce swelling to an area that is inflamed. Hold a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel on your neck.  A good rule of thumb is 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off and then repeat.

How’s your pillow?

Make sure you use a firm pillow and sleep on your back or side, never on your stomach. If your pillow is too flat, it forces your neck to bend in an unnatural position and you’ll wake up feeling sore.

Try Neck Exercises

Do light neck exercises by gently moving your head up and down and from side to side to help loosen stiff muscles. Be careful not to over-extend your neck beyond its normal limits or you may do more harm than good.

Avoid driving if your neck is too stiff

Driving may require you to look over your shoulder to see behind you when changing lanes or reversing. If your neck is stiff, restricting your ability to look over your shoulder, it could impair your ability to drive safely. Driving may also require you to turn your neck quickly from side to side. If you have neck pain, this may overstretch your neck and cause severe pain. It’s best to avoid driving until your neck’s normal movement is restored.

When to see your chiropractor

It’s a good idea to see your chiropractor when any of these symptoms are present:

  1. Your neck pain or stiffness does not improve after a few days
  2. You cannot look to the right or left without severe neck pain
  3. You feel like you must use over-the-counter pain medication just to make it through the day or are using it regularly to treat your neck pain
  4. You’re worried that your neck pain may have a serious cause
  5. Your neck pain started in the neck but has moved to numbness or tingling in your hands or wrists
  6. Your neck pain started within a few days of a car accident
  7. Your neck pain is worse when you first wake up in the morning but then begins to feel a little better as the day progresses

Lane Chiropractic Pottsville can help get your neck moving again. Call us on 6676 2270 for an appointment.

Flexion gives gentle pain relief

Lane Chiropractic Pottsville uses the flexion distraction technique, which embraces a combination of chiropractic and osteopathic principles using gentle mobilisation of various body parts and slow manual traction to treat many different forms of pain.

Some of the most common conditions treated using a flexion distraction table include sporting injuries, herniated discs, migraine, neck pain, rib pain, back pain, spinal stenosis and much more.

About the Flexion distraction table

A large number of chiropractic tables are designed to respond to quick thrusts from the chiropractor, thereby realigning the spine. Some are called drop tables because various sections drop under the pressure, using gravity to help return the spinal column to a healthier position.

A flexion table, on the other hand, was developed to work best with slow and controlled movements. With this particular option, the chiropractor manipulates the patient’s body by moving portions of the table as opposed to a more hands-on approach, which requires physically manipulating the patient’s limbs and torso. This provides for a much gentler and more relaxing treatment with the same good results you’d expect from your chiropractor.

Myths and Facts about Back Pain

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

If you need help with managing your back pain contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Relieving Winter Aches and Pains

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

Why does my body hurt more in winter?

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

Here are some key tips to help you out.

Tips to relieve winter aches and pains

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

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

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

Seven Reasons to Exercise When it’s Cold

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

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

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

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

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

2. KEEP WARM

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

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

3. STAY HEALTHY

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

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

4. BEAT THE WINTER BLUES

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

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

5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH

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

6. AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN

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

7. ENABLE GREATER SPINAL MOVEMENT FOR LESS ACHES AND PAINS

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

For more advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270

Text Neck A Real Pain in the Neck

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

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

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

What are the symptoms associated with text neck?

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

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

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

How common is text neck?

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

How is text neck treated?

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

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

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

For more advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

How to Start Exercising and Stick to It

Many of us put on some extra kilos over the festive season and we can often find it difficult to shed that extra bit of weight. The best and easiest thing you can do is to start a simple exercise program and stick to it. Easier said than done right? Believe it or not, it’s actually quite easy to fit exercise into your daily routine. Here’s a great article from helpguide.org that gives really good advice about how to start an exercise program that you will easily be able to maintain. If you have any medical concerns about starting a new exercise program it’s always wise to visit your chiropractor to get the best advice on exercise that is appropriate for you.

What’s keeping you from exercising?
If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.

While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are mental. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point.

Here’s what you can do to break through mental barriers:

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.

Busting the biggest exercise excuses

Making excuses for not exercising? Whether it’s lack of time, energy, or fear of the gym, there are solutions.

“I hate exercising.”
Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.

“I’m too busy.”
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective—so, too, can be squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions at the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving at the weekends when you have more time.

“I’m too tired.”
It may sound counterintuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times.

“I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.”
It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you.

“Exercise is too difficult and painful.”
“No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself until you’re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even playing golf, gardening, or cleaning the house.

“I’m not athletic.”
Still have nightmares from PE? You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Focus on easy ways to be more active, like walking, swimming, or even working more around the house. Anything that gets you moving will work.

How much exercise do you need?
Current recommendations for most adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective. And a recent study in the UK found that squeezing a week’s worth of activity into one or two sessions at the weekend can be almost as beneficial for your health as spreading it out over the week.

How hard do I need to exercise?

For most people, moderate exercise is the most beneficial for overall health; you don’t need to keep intensifying your workouts or sweat buckets. In fact, exercising too strenuously can sometimes lead to diminishing returns on your fitness levels or cause injuries or other problems. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo things.

Moderate activity means:

That you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath. For example, you should be able to chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.
Safety tips for beginning exercisers

If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, keep the following health precautions in mind:

Health issues? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.
Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. If you’re going to run, start with walking, for example. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.
Cool down. After your workout, it’s important to take a few minutes to cool down and allow your heart rate to return to its resting rate. A light jog or walk after a run, for example, or some gentle stretches after strength exercises can also help prevent soreness and injuries.
Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop! If you feel better after a brief rest, you can slowly and gently resume your workout. But don’t try to power through pain. That’s a surefire recipe for injury.
How to make exercise a habit that sticks
There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build habits that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.

Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident

If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.

Start small and build momentum

A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.

Make it automatic with triggers

Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercises rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

Reward yourself

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards exercise brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new fitness goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.

Set yourself up for success

Schedule it. You don’t go to important meetings and appointments spontaneously, you schedule them. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda.
Make it easy on yourself. Plan your workouts for the time of day when you’re most awake and energetic. If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t undermine yourself by planning to exercise before work.
Remove obstacles. Plan ahead for anything that might get in the way of exercising. Do you tend to run out of time in the morning? Get your workout clothes out the night before so you’re ready to go as soon as you get up. Do you skip your evening workout if you go home first? Keep a gym bag in the car, so you can head out straight from work.
Hold yourself accountable. Commit to another person. If you’ve got a workout partner waiting, you’re less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announcing your goals to your social group (either online or in person) can also help keep you on track.
Tips for making exercise more enjoyable
As previously mentioned, you are much more likely to stick with an exercise program that’s fun and rewarding. No amount of willpower is going to keep you going long-term with a workout you hate.

Think outside the gym

Does the thought of going to the gym fill you with dread? If you find the gym inconvenient, expensive, intimidating, or simply boring, that’s okay. There are many exercise alternatives to weight rooms and cardio equipment.

For many, simply getting outside makes all the difference. You may enjoy running outdoors, where you can enjoy alone time and nature, even if you hate treadmills.

Just about everyone can find a physical activity they enjoy. But you may need to think beyond the standard running, swimming and biking options. Here are a few activities you may find fun:

horseback riding
ballroom dancing
rollerblading
hiking
paddle boarding
kayaking
gymnastics
martial arts
rock climbing
Zumba
Ultimate Frisbee
fencing
Make it a game

Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as running from hordes of zombies!

Pair it with something you enjoy

Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine. Watch TV as you ride a stationary bike, chat with a friend as you walk, take photographs on a scenic hike, walk the golf course instead of using a cart, or dance to music as you do household chores.

Make it social

Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out with others can help keep you motivated. For those who enjoy company but dislike competition, a running club, water aerobics, or dance class may be the perfect thing. Others may find that a little healthy competition keeps the workout fun and exciting. You might seek out tennis partners, join an adult soccer league, find a regular pickup basketball game, or join a volleyball team.

Getting the whole family involved

If you have a family, there are many ways to exercise together. What’s more, kids learn by example, and if you exercise as a family you are setting a great example for their future. Family activities might include:

Family walks in the evening if weather permits. Infants or young children can ride in a stroller.
Blast upbeat music to boogie to while doing chores as a family.
Seasonal activities, like skiing or ice skating in the winter and hiking, swimming, or bicycling in the summer can both make fun family memories and provide healthy exercise.
Try a mindfulness approach

Instead of zoning out or distracting yourself when you exercise, try to pay attention to your body. By really focusing on how your body feels as you exercise—the rhythm of your breathing, the way your feet strike the ground, your muscles flexing as you move, even the way you feel on the inside—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster but also interrupt the flow of worries or negative thoughts running through your head, easing stress and anxiety. Exercising in this way can also help your nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD and trauma. Exercises that engage both your arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, rock climbing, skiing, or dancing—are great choices for practicing mindfulness.

Easy ways to “sneak” more movement into your daily life
If you’re not the kind of person who embraces a structured exercise program, try to think about physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here and there. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.

Make chores count. House and yard work can be quite a workout, especially when done at a brisk pace. Scrub, vacuum, sweep, dust, mow, and weed—it all counts.

Look for ways to add extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park farther from the entrance, rather than right out front. Get off your train or bus one stop early. The extra walking adds up.

Ditch the car whenever possible. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike instead when the distance is doable.

Move at work. Get up to talk to co-workers, rather than phoning or sending an email or IM. Take a walk during your coffee and lunch breaks. Use the bathroom on another floor. Walk while you’re talking on the phone.

Exercise during commercial breaks. Make your TV less sedentary by exercising every time commercials come on or during the credits. Options include jumping jacks, sit-ups, or arm exercises using weights.

How getting a dog can boost your fitness

Owning a dog leads to a more active lifestyle. Playing with a dog and taking him for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners.

One year-long study found that walking an overweight dog helped both the animals and their owners lose weight (11 to 15 pounds). Researchers found that the dogs provided support in similar ways to a human exercise buddy, but with greater consistency and without any negative influence.
Public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes, five days a week, lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets.
If you’re not in a position to own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
For more on how owning a dog can make you healthier and happier, see: The Mood-Boosting Power of Dogs.

How to stay motivated to exercise
No matter how much you enjoy an exercise routine, you may find that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to shake things up and try something new or alter the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.

Tips for staying motivated

Pair your workout with a treat. For example, you can listen to an audiobook or watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Log your activity. Keep a record of your workouts and fitness progress. Writing things down increases commitment and holds you accountable to your routine. Later on, it will also be encouraging to look back at where you began.

Harness the power of the community. Having others rooting for us and supporting us through exercise ups and downs will help keep motivation strong. There are numerous online fitness communities you can join. You can also try working out with friends either in person or remotely using fitness apps that let you track and compare your progress with each other.

Get inspired. Read a health and fitness magazine or visit an exercise website and get inspired with photos of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images of people who are healthy and fit can motivate you to move your body.

Getting back on track

Even the most dedicated exercisers sometimes go astray. Almost anything can knock you off track: a bad cold, an out of town trip, or a stretch of bad weather. That’s why it’s important to learn how to reclaim your routine. When you’ve missed workout sessions, evaluate your current level of fitness and goals accordingly. If you’ve been away from your routine for two weeks or more, don’t expect to start where you left off. Cut your workout in half for the first few days to give your body time to readjust.

The bigger challenge may come in getting yourself back in an exercise frame of mind. Try to keep confidence in yourself when you relapse. Instead of expending energy on feeling guilty and defeated, focus on what it’ll take to get started again. Once you resume your program, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it will begin to feel natural. Here are a few tricks you might try to rekindle your motivation:

Imagine yourself exercising. Recall the aspects of exercise you enjoy most.
Come up with a tantalizing reward to give yourself when you meet your first goal after resuming your program.
Line up walking partners for your next few outings.
If completing your whole exercise routine seems overwhelming, mentally divide it into smaller chunks, and give yourself the option of stopping at the end of each one. However, when you reach a checkpoint, encourage yourself to move on to the next one instead of quitting.
Rather than focus on why you don’t want to exercise, concentrate on how good you feel when you’ve finished a workout.
Adapted with permission from Starting to Exercise, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications.

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.

For more advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.

Back Your Inner Athlete

BACK YOUR INNER ATHLETE focusses on how you can perform and live better by backing your inner athlete through good spinal function, reducing pain, improving posture and taking care of your health.

You don’t need to be a sporting professional to achieve peak performance. You can perform and live better through reducing pain, maintaining good spinal function and living a healthy lifestyle.

The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia encourages you to Back Your Inner Athlete by making sure you have the three P’s of chiropractic care tended to:

REDUCE PAIN by helping de-stress your spine
IMPROVE POSTURE by educating you on correct posture
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.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘globally, around 31% of adults aged 15 and over were insufficiently active in 2008 (men 28% and women 34%). Approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity’.1

REDUCE PAIN
Back pain can result from injury, spinal abnormalities, degenerative conditions and even poor posture – all of which can prevent you from backing your inner athlete.

DID YOU KNOW?

Back pain is the third most common reason for taking time off work.3
Work-related activities, including lifting heavy weights, bending and twisting and even working in the same position for extended periods can contribute to lower back problems.4
Parents of young children are at risk of back problems due to lifting and twisting while carrying children.
Children are not immune to back problems.
DIY and gardening can have an impact by placing stress on the back.
In older people, postural issues can effect everyday activities.
Chronic back pain can lead to a range of health issues including reduced mobility, quality of life, longevity and depression.
Neck pain is the second most common reason patients seek chiropractic care and is a leading cause of disability. Neck pain can be caused by degenerative conditions, poor posture, stress, poor hydration and bad sleeping conditions.
FINDING A SOLUTION TO BACK YOUR INNER ATHLETE

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 that inner athlete. Chiropractors are trained and knowledgeable professionals who use skill – not force or strength – to conduct adjustments that address the cause instead of simply treating a symptom. Chiropractic care is individually based: 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, soreness, 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:

Have an ergonomic assessment. If you have a desk job, this is essential in helping to maintain your spinal health.
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.
Move regularly. Walking is a great start.
Visit your local CAA chiropractor. These professionals are educated to assist your management of back and neck issues.
Download the ‘Back Your Inner Athlete’ augmented reality CAA Back App from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
ACTIVATE PERFORMANCE
By placing importance on good spinal health and function, alleviating pain, improving posture and mobility, and living a healthy lifestyle, one can improve performance in life.

Back Your Inner Athlete by building core muscles to help support your spine, which provides stability and protection. A good place to start is 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.

To help make walking easier, the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia developed the Just Start Walking mobile app which can be downloaded here.

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

For more advice contact Lane Chiropractic Pottsville on 6676 2270.