Archive for stress

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.

Four free, simple steps to ease stress, anxiety and depression

If you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed, you are definitely not alone, particularly in these uncertain times. There are four simple things you can do right now to ease your feelings of tension and sadness:

  1. Focus on your breath

When we are feeling sad, anxious or stressed we tend to shallow breathe.  This puts stress on your body because you are not getting enough oxygen, which in turn further increases your emotional stress – so it’s a vicious cycle.

To break this cycle, simply sit quietly and focus on breathing slowly in through your nose for five seconds and then out through your mouth for five seconds. See if you can increase it up to 10 seconds, without putting stress on your body. Do this a few times and you will immediately feel some calming effects.  The beauty of this exercise is that you can do it anywhere – at home, at work, in the car and even on the toilet

2. Drink water

Similar to oxygen, our bodies need plenty of water to function. Did you know that often you can be dehydrated without even knowing that you are thirsty yet? Just like a lack of oxygen, a lack of water can put your body under stress and amplify feelings of stress, sadness and anxiety.   Try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.

The best way to achieve this is start with a drink of water when you first get out of bed each morning (and when your body is often already dehydrated).  Even better if you can squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice in the water.

Try to avoid drinks that can contribute to dehydration such as coffee and soft drinks.  If you really don’t like the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of fresh juice to your cup, or if you want something more exotic, try a small splash of rose water for a very nice tasting rose petal drink

3. Stretch

It’s amazing how quickly our bodies can lock up on us, especially as we age. Stress, anxiety and depression cause muscle tension, which can very quickly turn into quite painful problems in the muscles, back, neck and joints. Our body being in pain further adds to our emotional stress.

To ease this, make a habit of doing a few small stretches each day, whenever and wherever suits you. Don’t overdo it of course, just enough so that your body feels a little bit of a release from muscle tension.

You may choose to bend forward and very slowly and gently try to get closer to touching your toes each day, or you may also choose to very gently give your neck a nice stretch by tilting your head to one side and then the other very slowly.  Find some stretches that make your body feel good and try to do a couple each day.  You can even do them while watching TV.

4. Get some sunlight

It’s a well-known fact that sunlight is a great source of feel good vitamins and, in particular, helps to naturally boost serotonin levels (which are the feel-good chemicals in your brain).

Try to sit outside or near a sunny window for a few minutes each day.  You will be amazed at how much this can help to lift your mood.  Even better if you can take a walk outside each day.  Just make sure to wear a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses whenever out in the sun to avoid sunburn.

How your chiropractor can help

While your chiropractor can’t rid you of the cause of your stress, whether it be work or family related, they can help to relieve you of the symptoms so that you can handle stress much better. Key benefits of chiropractic care include:

Eases nervous tension

Chiropractic care aims to find the right balance between your mind and body. Your spine is literally the backbone of your neurological system. Your brain communicates everything, including functions such as breathing and swallowing, with the help of the spine. As you feel stress and begin to tense up, this causes your spine to move.  After your chiropractor has adjusted it and your spine is in alignment, the central nervous system is unblocked so it can function the way it should. You may find yourself to be sick less, have more energy and feel less stressed overall.

Another benefit is the realignment of the spine helps improve blood circulation, and it allows your body to turn off the fight/flight response, which is integral to relieving your stress.

Triggers positive hormonesSpinal health influences almost every region of your body. Chiropractic adjustments lead to an increase in hormones such as neurotensin, oxytocin, and cortisol. These hormones are involved in positive nervous system functioning, such as:

  • Neurotensin: neutralises stress-induced pain
  • Oxytocin: boosts neuro-communication and feelings of social bonding
  • Cortisol: blocks pain deriving from inflammation.

Helps you get better sleep

Insomnia is a symptom of anxiety and/or depression. With chiropractic care, you may find getting to sleep a little easier. Studies show that chiropractic manipulation may also improve patient sleep patterns.

Relieves tension, stiffness and headaches

Patients with anxiety and/or depression also suffer from muscular tension. Chiropractic care can aid in reducing tension and stiffness, as well relieve pain related to tension headaches. Studies that measure electrical activity in muscles found that after a chiropractic adjustment, muscle activity was reduced by 25 percent.

If you’d like more information about how to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, or need help with managing the symptoms, contact Lane Chiropractic on 6676 2270.

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 at 6676 2270.