Health Tips

Time To Start Living Better !

Published on Friday, 23 May 2014

The month of May promotes our chiropractic association's traditional Spinal Health Week  (May 19-25). This year's Theme is Live Better, We're Got Your Back, which aims to encourage Australians to support more investment in research and in the chiropractic wellness care initiative. Also our clinic will be encouraging patients and our community to improve their postural fitness.

The population is living longer, so let's live better!  Over a quarter of Australians are being forced into early retirement because of back or arthritic pain. Forced early retirement can be devastating not only on your finances but the quality of your retirement years from experiencing physical pain. Retiring too early due to pain may be prevented by seeing a chiropractor and maintaining good postural fitness, thereby protecting and stabilizing the spine. 

With chiropractic check-ups we can restore and maintain healthy spinal joints and mobility so you'll be able to bend and lift safely, avoiding damage to your spine. To help improve postural fitness, you can pick an exercise approach that strengthens core muscles such as Pilates or Yoga (to improve breathing and to develop good balance and flexibility) or swimming (to improve muscle endurance and strength) and even visiting the gym for moderate muscle toning.

Around the workplace, I tell my patients they should consider new ways to combat the problems from sitting down for too long. Small changes that you can make to improve your postural fitness includes: 

  1. Parking or getting off transport further away from work
  2. Taking the stairs where possible.
  3. Stand up while on the phone for long periods
  4. Take half-hour breaks from sitting and stretch and walk around
  5. Introduce walking meetings instead of sitting around a table
  6. Remember to check & adjust your sitting posture regularly (My association developed a widget to download and guide you)

Chiropractic Patients Have Better Knees !

Published on Sunday, 27 April 2014

Massage therapy was tied to better function in patients with osteoarthritis in a recent study. The prevalence of arthritis is growing every year according to world-wide health centres. They report and increasingly obese and arthritic population has also contributed to a rise in total knee replacement surgeries in younger patients.

These younger patients may require new knee replacements within 5-10 years of their original surgery with more complications arising with each additional operation due to bone loss. Fortunately, there are non-invasive options for knee osteoarthritis that do not involve the risks of surgery. 

Also, in another recent study, published in the journal of Clinical Therapeutics, found that patients who received  massage therapy and chiropractic had better knee function compared to patients not seeing a chiropractor or a message therapist. The study included an analysis of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in 1,121 adults with knee osteoarthritis. Researchers found:

1 )Almost one-third of older adults used CAM therapies.

2) People with more stiffness and severe knee pain were more likely to seek CAM therapies.

3) 18% used glucosamine and chondroitin in addition to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

These findings add to earlier research showing the benefits of non-invasive treatments for osteoarthritis, demonstrating in no uncertain terms, that chiropractic care improved mobility and decreased clicking and grinding sensations. The benefits of exercise, chiropractic and cold laser therapy also extend to patients with hip osteoarthritis.

Want to Live Longer and Healthier ?

Published on Monday, 24 February 2014

Researchers may have discovered a way to do it.....and it's NOT in your genes.  Here is what they found the might help you live a longer and more importantly...a healthier life.

First, let's look at ''centenarians.'' A centenarian is someone who lives to be 100 years old or more. Researchers developed a questionnaire designed to identify certain genetically-based personality traits and used it to assess 243 Ashkenazi Jewish adults between 95 and 107 years of age. The investigators chose this population because their genetic similarity would make it easier to account for genetic differences in personality

''The results indicated they had two things in their favour -- a positive attitude for life, meaning they are optimistic, easygoing, extroverted, laughed more and they also expressed emotions rather than bottling them up,'' said Dr. Nil Barzli, a study co-author and Director of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's Institute of Aging Research.

Other experts believe there is an interaction between personality and physiology, and it makes sense that being positive causes less stress which leads to a healthier life. In other words, some experts believe genes alone have less influence on our life span than most people think.

Dr Gary Small, Director of the UCLA Center on Aging said, ''Several studies have found that genetics accounts for only about one-third of how long and well we live.''

New Year's Resolutions for a Healthy Spine !

Published on Friday, 17 January 2014

With the New Year just past, now's the time to start thinking about how you can make meaningful changes to your life for better health. Here are six resolutions you can make to improve the health of your spine and your overall wellness. Turn these resolutions into real commitments!

1)  Get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Many of the benefits of regular exercise can e experienced with as little as 30 minute of physical activity a day. Not only will you decrease your risk of obesity and diabetes, you'll also experience a reduction in back pain, migraine, and other neuromusculoskeletal symptoms.

2)  Deep breathing.  Meditation, going on walks, and taking breaks throughout the day can all aide in stress reduction. Lowering your stress can make your immune system more resilient and decrease chronic pain flare-ups.

3)  Laugh more often. Laughter doesn't just relieve mental stress, it also fires off a cascade of physical reactions that benefit your health.  Studies show that laughing can stimulate the heart muscles, and lungs -- not to mention the flurry of endorphins that are released after a good giggling session.

4)  Eat your greens. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kle, which are rich in calcium, can help to decrease your risk of osteoarthritis. Spinach, lentils, beans and even almonds are high in magnesium, a mineral shown to benefit the nerves and muscles of those with back pain.

5)  Lose weight !  Carrying extra weight obviously increases the load on your spine, not to mention the hip, knee and ankle joints. This increases you susceptibility to sciatica, disc herniation, and osteoarthritis. 

6)  Check in for a check up.  Just like the importance for having medical, dental, and eye check-ups to start the year off right, don't forget the spine plays an important role in your overall well-being by ensuring that your spinal system is functioning as it was designed to do. 

Yoga Can Help With Low Back Pain !

Published on Monday, 30 December 2013

      Chiropractors have long been fans of yoga. The idea of connecting your inner being through meditative stretching, balance and core exercise sits very well within the chiropractic approach to health. 

      A 2009 study published in the prestigious journal SPINE looked at the effectiveness and efficacy of the lyengar style of yoga for chronic low back pain (CLBP). In total, 90 subjects were randomized to either a yoga (43) or a control group (47) receiving standard medical care. Participants were followed for 6 months after completion of the intervention. 

      Yoga subjects participated in 24 weeks of bi-weekly yoga classes designed for CLBP. Outcomes were assessed at 12 (midway), 24 (immediately after), and at 48 weeks (6-month follow-up) after the start of the intervention. The results showed that yoga improves functional disability, pain intensity, and depression in adults with CLBP. There was also a clinically important trend for the yoga group to reduce their pain mediation usage compared to the control group. 

      As I always said, ''Life is Movement.'' Chiropractic is all about freeing up restriction in the body, in particular the spine, that prevents proper movement. This alters nerve function and ultimately health expression. Combining your chiropractic adjustments with yoga  positions and other forms of exercise is a great way of getting the most from your body.

The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions !

Published on Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Your sleeping style at night can lead to health problems in the morning. Here are the optimal positions for your health and the ones to avoid:

BEST:  On your back

Sleeping on your back ensures proper circulation to the brain, maintains your back and neck in a neutral position, and reduces acid reflux. Looking for a beauty rest?  It helps with that too, preventing wrinkles (because nothing is pushing against you face all night) and keeping breasts perky (since they are fully supported throughout the night).  That's not the ideal position for snorers, making the bae of your tongue collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing that vibrating sound. Side sleeping wil combat this annoying situation.

GOOD:  On your side

Side sleepers, you're doing it long as you are on your left side. In addition to side-sleeping reducing snoring, sleeping on one's left side also eases heartburn and acid reflux, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.  It's a great option during pregnancy too, when back sleeping puts too much pressure on the spine. Sleeping on one's left side during pregnancy improves circulation to the heart - doctors even recommend it since it's so good for both Mum and the baby. The downside is that gravity facilitates facial wrinkles and breast sagging.

BAD: In the foetal position

It may feel comfy, but sleeping with your body curved in the foetal position restricts breathing and compresses vital organs. And, like side sleeping, it may predispose you to facial wrinkles and breast sagging. It puts an inordinate strain on your neck and spine over time.

WORST: On your stomach

Spending seven to nine hours a night sleeping stomach-down with your head and neck turned to one side or the other is asking for trouble. You might be feeling it in the morning with a stiffy neck or headache but it also puts stress on joints and muscles, leading to nerve irritation, pain, tingling and numbness. The position flattens the natural neck curve and will lead to degeneration and arthritis in your later years which will need chiropractic care to keep real vertebral damage at bay.

FINAL TIP: Pillow-supplemented sleep

Regardless of which sleeping position you refer, it's highly likely that you can get  better night's rest with less pain in the morning by supplementing your body with a pillow. Back sleepers can put a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers can place a pillow between their knees and those prone to stomach sleeping should place a pillow on each to stop rolling over on their stomach. 

Red Wine Contains 23 New ''Healthy'' Molecules !

Published on Saturday, 21 September 2013

Professor Dennis Taylor & Dr Crystal Sweetman

The health benefits of drinking wine have long been argued and now new research suggests a glass of red ma be even more better for you than first thought. A team of international researchers, including from Adelaide University, have discovered at least 23 new special molecules contained in red wine that have potential health benefits. The study concluded that the chemical compounds could help prevent chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular problems and could also slow aging. The scientists suggested their research showed the benefits of the ''Mediterranean diet'', which advocates moderate wine consumption as well as providing clues to the ''French paradox'' which explains why French people enjoy good health despite their well known love of wine, cheese and fatty foods. We can all drink to that!

Prof Dennis Taylor (right, enjoying a drop with Dr Crystal Sweetman), the chairman of Oenology at Adelaide University, who co-authored the study, explained, ''Wine is an especially complex alcoholic beverage containing thousands of different elements. It just goes to show you that with the thousands of studies that have been around the world on wine there are still new compounds to be discovered within. In a series of tests, we concentrated wine extracts and separated the compounds that allowed us to examine each molecule and create a fingerprint of each one.'' 

The scientists already knew some molecules, called stilbenoids, the kind have health benefits, were already contained in red wine. But in a surprising development, they found that of the 41 stilbenoid compounds, 23 had ''never before been detected in red wine.''  The newly discovered unnamed molecules relate to Resveratol, a natural wine chemical found in the skin of red grapes that protects the vines from bacterial and fungal infections and is known to have potential effects of preventing ageing-related human diseases. Previous studies have shown regular light to moderate alcohol intake is associated with lower risk of neurological disease and dysfunction, including a lower risk of stroke and dementia, while heavy drinking is associated with higher risk. This research adds weight to the benefits of drinking wine in moderation.

Cycling Linked to Osteoporosis !

Published on Monday, 19 August 2013

While maintaining a steady exercise regimen is one of the best things people can do for their general good health, recent studies suggest an alarming correlation between bicycling and the onset of osteopenia (lower-than-normal bone density) or osteoporosis (very low bone mineral density), even among those who are young and fit. A low-impact sport that puts little mechanical load on the bones and joints, bicycling is a wonderful cardiovascular exercise that people can enjoy into their later years. When it comes to the risk of thinning bones, however, it's the weight-bearing nature of exercise that signals bones to create more mass. Without such stress, bones do not get stronger, and become more prone to injury.

This recent study appeared in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that competitive male road cyclists showed significantly lower bone mineral density in their spines than a control group of men who were moderately physically active. Although the cyclists had a greater calcium intake, they were still more likely to have osteopenia and osteoporosis than the control group. A similar study in Bone illustrated that male road cyclists had lower bone mineral density than male mountain bikers. The distinction could be found in that mountain biking, with its variable terrain, provides more impact for bone growth than road cycling or racing. Swimmers may also be at risk, because that sport requires similarly little mechanical loading, leaving the lower spine particularly vulnerable.

Another challenge facing cyclists and swimmers in relation to bone density is caloric intake. Both sports are notorious for burning up calories. Hard-core athletes may not be eating enough to offset what they burn when they exercise, depriving their bodies of bone-strengthening nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. These caloric shortfalls could also trigger physiological problems such as lower levels of estrogen in women and testosterone in men, both hormones that hav protective effects on bones and slow the rate of bone breakdown. '' Unfortunately, many people consider osteoporosis a disease that primarily concerns women and the elderly,'' says Dr. Warren P. Levy, President and CEO of Unigene Laboratories. ''Of course, exercise is good for people, but in order to maintain healthy bones, avid cyclists and swimmers should be mindful of incorporating cross-training weight-bearing exercise into their routines. People do not achieve peak bone mass until their late twenties, so if cyclists or swimmers are in their early to mid twenties, and they're not doing any exercise that's going to load their spine and help them achieve peak bone mass, they may be putting themselves at risk for a fracture in the years to come.

Yoga Or Pilates ?

Published on Monday, 01 July 2013

     Many chiropractic patients wonder which is best. It depends on the individual and their personal needs. Both Yoga and Pilates work in supporting your body, mainly the muscular system. You see the muscles of the abdomen, the back and the buttocks all support the spine. These are the core muscles. If these core muscles are weak, they often contribute to the root of back pain, especially lower back pain. Shortened muscles can throw the spine out of alignment and cause back pain. Stretching exercises lengthen shortened muscles and help to relieve back pain. Even tight hamstrings (back of thigh muscles) or quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) can affect the alignment of the spine.

Yoga is aimed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit; and is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body's posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stressful environment. Your own body's weight is used for resistance from one posture to another. (See photo) There are several different Yoga styles. It boils down to personal preference.

Pilates is aimed at reaching similar goals with a series of controlled movements. The major difference is that the Pilates technique has a full complement of mat work, as well as the option to work on Pilates machines. Pilates works the whole body, emphasising control, precision and concentration in both mind and the body. The focus is on quality not quantity, so movements are not performed rapidly or repeated excessively. The abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks serve as the centre of all movement, allowing the rest of the body to move freely. The low impact nature of both Yoga and Pilates makes them ideal for injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Are you still left with the question of which of these two fitness techniques is right for you?  Here's an answer for you: Do Them Both! The nature of the techniques makes it easy for them to complement each other. Get the stretch from Yoga and keep it in Pilates. Strenghten your abdominals and watch your poses improve. Join the breathing techniques of Pilates and meditative aspect of Yoga into your daily routine and the stress of your everyday life begin to dissipate. Both techniques are time-proven and established, and with the help of your chiropractor you will surely reach the goals you set up for yourself.

Pregnancy and Lower Back Pain !

Published on Sunday, 19 May 2013

An average of 50% of pregnant women will suffer from lower back pain as a result of their pregnancy. Of those, around a third will suffer severe lower back pain, yet only a small percentage will actually inform their health care providers of it. Research has shown that there can be effective relief without the use of pharmacological drugs by combining spinal manipulation, exercise and advice.

 Once you are in the Family Way , we know studies show chiropractic adjustments and pregnancy related to back pain definately are an effective treatment for relief of back. sciatica and pelvic pain in pregnant women.

All those undertaking exercise during pregnancy should check with their prenatal health car provider before embarking on any exercise program. Regular aerobic exercise of around 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity such as walking or on a stationary bike is recommended.

 NOTE:  If you are unable to talk normally while exercising you are probably overdoing it. Shorter less frequent exercise can still be beneficial and remember if you haven't exercised for a while, start slowly and gradually increase the duration. Individualised stabilisation exercises such as ''pelvic tilt'', ''pelvic floor'' and ''core stabilty'' type training have also been been found to be effective in reducing lower back pain both during and after pregnancy and our Health Team can advise you accordingly. To enhance the spinal treatment we recommend some sessions in the last half of your pregnancy of remedial massage using our specially designed table-top for mum so she can fit in comfortably lying on her tummy. For further information contact us or visit our office to see our facilities.