Back in expert hands
In the western world, 80% of the population will experience disabling lower back pain in their lives.
Back pain is generally common, poorly managed and very expensive in terms of treatment costs, and the indirect costs of disability and lost productivity.
Direct costs are described as the “cost of care”. This includes tests and treatments such as X-rays, medications and physical therapy. Around 17% (more than $A9 billion) of total costs goes directly towards care of musculoskeletal pain.
Indirect costs include lost income, reduced work productivity or participation, and the impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The indirect costs of musculoskeletal pain were around $A20 billion in 2012. More than $A7 billion of these were due to productivity losses alone.
Chiropractors are spinal health experts, and the only health profession that requires study of the neuromuscular system for 5 years of full time university.
Each week there are more than 200.000 visits to Australian chiropractors for a broad range of reasons.
Chiropractic represents the best practice for lower back pain, is extremely safe and does not use drugs and is extremely cost effective.
Doctor OZ showcases Chiropractic
American TV show Dr. OZ has dedicated a show to explaining Chiropractic and an audience member gets to experience and adjustment live. For prospective new patients this may be really helpful to watch before your first visit. I came across this recently and think that it is an informative and entertaining introduction to the world of chiropractic.
See how it all works.
Exercise helps to protect against cancer
For many of us, the multiple health benefits to regular exercise are obvious, however in light research it has been discovered that “A run a day” could actually reduce the risk of cancer. Through a study conducted by Pernille Hojman from Copenhagen University Hospital, scientists have found that the hormones released during physical activity play a vital part in the destruction of cancer cells.
This enlightening new information was found after a series of experiments in which two groups of subject mice where each injected with one of three types of cancer. The first group had access to a running wheel providing ample opportunity for exercise, whilst the second where limited to wandering their cages. Producing results that where conclusive to say the least, this experiment showed that not only where the tumours smaller but also less likely to develop in those with access to a running wheel.
The big question, however, is why? What does exercise trigger that hinders the production of cancer cells. From close inspection of tumour cells taken from the subject mice, it is seen that those who partook in regular exercise had double the immune cells than their inactive counterparts. Their cells also contained five times as many natural killer cells, which act as sort of an alarm that alerts other immune cells.
Path to Strong Abs
According to Harvard Medical School, crunches are hard on your back, since they "push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back." When your hip flexors are too tight, they pull on your lower spine, which can cause lower back pain; plus, poorly performed crunches can also put strain on the neck.
In addition to the potential for pain, sit-ups and crunches target just a few isolated muscles, and your core goes far beyond just abdominal muscles, so they aren't the most effective use of your time.
The good news: There are many other exercises that not only protect your back and neck, but work more of the core muscles, getting you more bang for your buck. "These exercises focus on getting your spine into a good position and maintaining that while your extremities are moving," says Bott. "Instead of creating the movement, your muscles are working hard against it. Your abs still get a tremendous workout and there's no worries of overuse."
Work your core: Ab exercises that are better than crunches in order of difficulty
- Dying Bugs: Lie on your back with your arms straight up to the ceiling and your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees. Keeping your rib cage down extend your opposite arm and leg out taking a deep breath out.
- Leg Lowering: Again, while lying on your back lift both legs up so that both feet are facing the ceiling. Then while keeping one leg straight up as if you had a hot cup of coffee on your foot, slowly lower the other leg down, as close to the ground as possible and then return to the top.
- Front Plank: Set up on your elbows and toes, don’t let the hips sag or pike up. Goal should be about 60 seconds before increasing the difficulty.
- Long Lever Front Plank: Same set up except we are going to move the elbows further forward.
- Front Plank (arm lift/leg lift/combo of both): These are three quick progressions to make a plank more challenging if you’ve mastered the 60-second hold.
- Side Plank: Keep the elbow under the shoulder and shoulder away from the ear. This move targets the obliques. Again, the goal should be 60 seconds. Once this is achieved we’d want to progress it to more difficult exercises.
As a patient we will direct you with a personal exercise routine that takes into account your injury, ability and long term spinal health. This is conducted as a care plan in your initial report and the exercises will be modified as you improve and our health goals change.
The Advantages of a Contoured Pillow
Considering that we spend up to a third of our lives sleeping, your choice of a pillow is an important decision.
The most common cause of neck pain (and disturbed nights), is “prolonged abnormal posture during sleep”. A soft filled pillow that quickly loses its shape fails to offer the level of support required to relax the heads support system of neck muscles and ligaments. Instead, these structures are left unsupported and cause neck strain.
Maintaining good spinal posture, especially when sleeping, is one key ingredient to ensuring good spinal health.
Contoured pillows are specially shaped to provide support for the neck and head whilst sleeping. This is particularly important when having chiropractic care as it helps to support your adjustments and enhance recovery.
Common symptoms due to a poor quality pillow include: headaches/migraine, neck pain, grinding noises on movement, pins and needles and numbness or pain in the arms and/or fingers
- Use your pillow at the beginning of each night.
- If you experience any discomfort, change to your old pillow.
- Continue to do this until your neck posture alters enough allowing continual use.
- In some cases this can take up to 2 weeks.
How much water is Healthy?
The question of how much drinking water is needed for good health is a complicated one. In reality the question should be how much fluid do we need as the Mayo clinic noted:
Although the "8 by 8" rule isn't supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it's easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: "Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day," because all fluids count toward the daily total. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
The proper amount of fluid required varies depending upon a number of factors. The most common are climate, disease conditions including fever or fluid loss, and strenuous work and athletic activity. As nontechnical as this sounds, the body has an excellent feedback system and most experts suggest a total fluid intake around 6-8 glasses and to simply drink when you are thirsty. Drinks with diuretic properties like coffee, tea, and alcohol may increase the need for other fluids.
Giving patients advice to drink 8 glasses of water rather than fluids a day can actually have harmful effects. Individuals who already consume large amounts of fluids (from fruits, vegetables, etc.) have no need of adding an additional 8 glasses of water. Most people are not aware that drinking excessive water can have serious adverse health effects and in rare cases result in coma and death.
Chiropractic saves patients money
There has been conflicting research and an ongoing debate regarding the cost value of chiropractic. At the center of the debate is the question: Does chiropractic add to or reduce the total cost of care? The most recent and better designed studies suggest that chiropractic care can not only reduce the immediate cost of an episode of care, but reduce the recurrence of subsequent bouts of conditions such as low back pain. These musculoskeletal conditions are a heavy financial burden on society often requiring expensive tests to pinpoint the exact diagnosis.
A 2012 study offering on-site chiropractic care versus off-site physical therapy concluded that “[These results suggest that] chiropractic services offered at on-site health centers may promote lower utilisation of certain health care services, while improving musculoskeletal function.” Additionally, patients who receive chiropractic treatment often have a more conservative, less invasive treatment profile which can significantly reduce the overall cost of treatment.
J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Jul 17.
Causes of back pain in children
While a single incident can cause sudden spinal injury, cases of nagging, ongoing back pain seem to be caused by a range of factors working in combination. Relatively minor injuries as a result of normal sports and games may lead to muscle spasm, so some back muscles may have to work harder than others. This can cause fatigue, pain and changes in posture. Poor posture can further contribute to back pain. A child with a sore back may avoid sporting activities, and the lack of exercise may then cause further problems.
Many things can lead to back pain in children, including:
- Gender, since back pain is more common in females
- Age, since children at 12 years and over experience significantly more back pain than younger children
- Obesity and poor posture
- Heavy schoolbags carried on one shoulder or in one hand
- Incorrectly packed backpacks
- Sedentary (sitting down) lifestyle, such as watching a lot of television or sitting in front of the computer
- Injuries caused by vigorous sports such as football or horse riding, flexibility-dependent sports such as gymnastics or dance, and power sports such as weightlifting or rowing
- Soft tissue injuries, such as strains and sprains
- Competitive sports that demand intense training – it is thought that tight thigh muscles can trigger lower back pain.
Giving orange juice a miss to avoid gout
Another possible reason for avoiding fruit juices and sugar-sweetened soft drinks – other than weight gain – is gout… at least in men over 40.
And if the finding is real, the culprit is fructose, which makes up 50 per cent of table sugar.
Gout is a painful arthritis, usually in the big toe, but it can affect other parts such as the fingers.
It's caused by crystals of uric acid being deposited in the joint. Uric acid is a by-product of protein metabolism and is raised in association with things like obesity, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, a high intake of alcohol and being a bloke.
In the laboratory, fructose raises uric acid. The question is whether in real life it's linked to gout. Researchers tested this in a long-term follow up of 50,000 male health professionals.
There was in fact a relationship between the amount of fructose in the diet and the chances of gout. Two cans of sugar-sweetened soft drink a day nearly doubled the risk, as did two glasses of fruit juice – in fact fructose was probably a stronger risk factor than alcohol, and similar to meat and obesity.
Luckily, whole apples and oranges were more weakly linked to gout. Diet soft drinks were not associated.
I had a patient who had his first acute gout attack on a hot summer’s day. He is a large man over 40. He had been rushing around and pulled in to a shop to get a drink. He thought he would go for a healthier option and so selected 2 litres of orange juice. After consuming that he had an acute attack that night. He was dehydrated due to what is called osmotic diahorrea from the orange juice, which made the whole situation worse.
So, when you need to quench your thirst: maybe stick to water.