Sore Back? Consider a Chiro?

 

Is an exercise injury stopping you in your tracks? Has returning to a healthy lifestyle after lockdown been difficult on your body? Maybe you’ve been practising some bad habits lately, or want to keep a healthy back? This Spinal Health Week (24-30 May) we are asking our patients and community to Consider a Chiro for their back pain.

Back pain is one of the most burdensome physical conditions facing Australians and the prevalence of back pain in society is astonishing. The Institute of Health & Welfare estimates around 4 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems.1

With pain being the main symptom of most back problems, along with back stiffness, it is also estimated that 70–90% of people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives.1 This can also take a toll on your mental health, impacting your social relationships, your ability to focus, do your work and enjoy your hobbies.

The average Australian is required to sit for more than half their day, whether for work or for leisure, which certainly doesn’t help.2 Your back pain can be triggered by sedentary behaviour caused by inactivity. However, we don’t want your pain to stop you from being your most active self. As a nation of sports lovers and weekend warriors, it’s important that back pain from exercise injuries or postural complications doesn’t stop you in your tracks.

Living with back pain or back stiffness does not have to be part of everyday life. We at Happy Healthy Bodies are well equipped to care for your back (back pain) whether it be a new episode of pain or a pre-existing condition. Chiropractors carefully assess each patient individually and tailor their care accordingly, by using a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy, rehabilitation, and low-force interventions.

If you want to simply keep your spinal health in check, then we can also provide you with care, including exercise programs, lifestyle advice and assistance to help you maintain your spinal health as well as your wellbeing.

This Spinal Health Week is a great time to Consider a Chiro and to make an appointment with us to take control of your back pain!

 

Contact 03 9095 7990 to book an appointment with us today. Appointments are available at our Ringwood East and Hammer’s Gym (Nunawading) offices.

 

References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems/contents/what-are-back-problems
  2. Heart Foundation, ‘Sit Less, Move More,’ 2020: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/sit-less-move-more
  3. AIHW: Kreisfeld R & Harrison JE 2020. Hospitalised sports injury in Australia, 2016–17, Injury Research and Statistics Series no. 131. Canberra: AIHW.

Chiropractic at Hammer’s

We are pleased to announce the opening of our new clinic located inside Hammer’s Gym in Nunawading.  In addition, we have a new chiropractor (Dr Tasha Lademann) on our team, who will be heading up the group that will be treating out of our new room in Nunawading.   Dr Tasha has qualifications in chiropractic, personal training, gym instruction and nutrition coaching.  As a former personal trainer who has been in the health industry for 8 years, and who grew up in a family of dedicated Mixed Martial Artists and Muay Thai kickboxers, she has a deep understanding of the needs of athletes.

Please note that as we will be working out of a single room, inside the gym, we cannot provide all of our normal services.  The services that we will be offering include:

  • Back Pain / Neck Pain
  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Sciatica & Disc Issues
  • Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist Pain
  • Hip, Knee, Ankle or Foot Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw Pain (TMD)
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifestyle Nutrition Coaching
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Athletic Performance Solutions
  • Muscular Imbalance & Injury Rehab
  • Professional Applied Kinesiology
  • Wellness Care

So if you are in pain, injured, or are just looking to improve your athletic performance, make an appointment online or call 03 9095 7990

What’s On Your Menu?

The subject of what we should eat to ensure a healthy life, is so complicated that in 2021, we still don’t have all the answers.  All that we can say for sure is that there is a direct correlation between what we put in our mouth and both our mental and physical health.

There are some very important variables to consider when making decisions on what to eat.  These include:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your ethnicity and in particular your genetic heritage or your DNA
  • Your lifestyle, especially, how much physical and/or mental activity you do in a day
  • The medications you take (as well as things like cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs).
  • The times of day that you eat
  • The current health of your body (for example, if you are ill, injured, etc.)
  • Your desire to change your current weight, whether it be weight reduction or gain

As humans we are designed to be able to process a large variety of substances through our digestive system.  This is one of the factors that has allowed humans to survive, as  a species, for so long!  However, we cannot escape the fact that some substances are more beneficial to others and some substances, are so bad that, they create a destructive patterns in our bodies.

We know that some substances are clearly detrimental to the health of most people.  They  are commonly called “poisons” and widely publicised as such, to ensure that people do not eat them by mistake.

Other than water, unfortunately, everything else that we could eat, is not necessarily universally “good to eat” for everybody.  To make matters more complicated, humans have changed their food production practices and their food products over the centuries and what might have been good for us at one time may well be very poor today.  For example:

  • Meat products, made from animals are now being fed with different food and in modern farming practices, supplementation is added to the animal’s diet.  These have a direct effect on the processed meat composition1.
  • Vegetable products where there are now genetically modified (GMO) versions, are designed to enhance their disease resistance, prolong their freshness and enhance their flavour, to name just a few reasons for their introduction.  However, the new plants have potentially unwanted side effects in addition to the original good health benefits.  Many studies shown that there are tangible adverse side effects to both the environment and to those eating these foods2.

Some foods are good for you in small doses and can be damaging in larger doses.  Some are good if you do a lot of physical activities and yet harmful if you live a sedentary lifestyle.  Some foods are harmful to certain people and yet completely harmless to others.

Deciding what and when to eat, to improve health and wellbeing,  is no longer a simple decision, or something you can determine by researching on Google!

Fortunately our practitioners in our clinic are able to help sort out some of this puzzle and point you in the right direction.  They have a good educational foundation, in relation to foods and body biochemistry and can understand the effect that most food and edible substances have on various parts of the human body.  Careful history taking and evaluation of your lifestyle and diet may help to determine whether there are   specific adverse reactions to some of the foods that you may currently be eating.

Chiropractic is a lifestyle that involves all aspects of wellness, including exercise, nutrition, personal development, and stress relief.  We encourage you to ask your chiropractor for help in deciding what to eat with the goal of improving your overall health.  With unique advice, tailored specific to your body, they are well equipped to point you in the right direction for better health.

References

  1.  Diet and Genetics Influence Beef Cattle Performance and Meat Quality Characteristics

  2.  GMO Dangers: Fact you need to know.  (This site references other sites and gives a great overview of the GMO problem.)

How Many Visits Will Fix Me?

This is the MOST frequently asked question in our practice by patients and also by people considering a visit to the chiropractor for the first time.  Unfortunately, this is the one question for which we do not have a single answer for everybody. 

What Are People Made Of?

Unlike a car which can be fixed in a single visit to a mechanic, human beings are a complex organic structure.  We are made of bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue, veins, arteries, lymphatics – just to name a few parts!  On top of that, the part trying to make sense of it all is one of the most complex organs we have – the brain – which uses our nervous system to signal events, receive sensory and motor information from our body parts, and hopefully keep it all under control! Research studies also show that there is even a direct neural connection between the brain and the gut1, which makes the relationship between all your organ systems that much more complex.

Wow! 

What Could Could Go Wrong?

With this mind, you can imagine that with so many processes occurring simultaneously in the human body, the possibility that something is going to go wrong, is very high.  Fortunately for us, we are not as fragile as you think!  In most cases, our brain is able to compensate very well for things that go wrong.  We don’t stop functioning just because we get an injury, nor do we stop functioning if we eat something that is not good for us.

Like putting on a bandaid, the brain continuously “rewires” our electrical signals and body-maps to help us to keep going, to eat, to breath and most importantly, to survive.  It is very good at doing this.  Unfortunately, while this band-aiding process helps us to survive, as you can imagine, piling bandaids one on top of another can rapidly obscure what the original problem was.

Compensation is unfortunately not a fix – eventually, you will find yourself receiving warning messages from the brain when it can no longer cope, just like the check engine light going on in your car.  This could be in the form of experiencing pain, ongoing pain, behaviour changes, mood changes, or just little things just not functioning as they used to.  What might have caused the first bandaid to be put on (such as an injury), and where you might currently feel your warning signals occurring, may be very different locations from the original issue! That is compensation at work.

Your chiropractor has gone to university for 5 years, and in many cases, undertaken further years of study, to get the training to understand how the complex chemical and physical processes interact in the body.

Solving the puzzle of “what went wrong?” is pretty tricky, as we already know, the brain compensates for every malfunction, including the brain and body compensations themselves.  Eventually, your body will end up with an onion of ‘bandaids’ piled one on top of each other.

Treatment In Stages: Peeling back the onion layers

To seek the root cause of the “injury”, your chiropractor goes through a process of diagnosis and treatment which endeavours to peel back each layer of compensation. Each chiropractic treatment reveals the next underlying issue until we get to the root cause. This may take a few visits, or a lot, depending on how many bandaids you have accumulated!

Each treatment step will change the compensation steps that the brain has put in place.  It is only when all the “layers” of compensation have been uncovered, that brain will report that there is no problem and that you are finally fixed!

This is why, some patients can be treated in one consultation, and others may require many months of rehabilitation.

The number of treatments therefore depends on the many factors including:

  • the length of time you have lived with the injury
  • the severity of the injury
  • your lifestyle
  • your age
  • your general level of health

OK, So How Many Visits Will Fix Me?

Spinal problems, neglected since early childhood, may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine.
Most patients find that periodic chiropractic check-ups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventative visits are helpful in the maintenance of good health.
Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time-consuming, chiropractors stand ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

References

  1. Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection

Christmas at Happy Healthy Bodies Chiropractic

Wow, what a year it has been!  We would firstly like to thank all of our loyal patients for supporting us this year and for those countless referrals.  We all feel honoured to have been of service to the community in this tough year.  We have some exciting plans for business expansion in the new year and we will publish this information once the changes are finalised , here and on our Facebook page, so check in again in the new year.

We also have a lot more helpful health care tips and information coming in the new year, so keep checking for these as well.

Our Ringwood office will be closed to allow our hard-working staff to have a well earned break from 25th December 2020 to 3 January 2021 inclusive.

From all of our staff, we wish you all a happy festive season and hope that you all have an opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Best wishes,

Tracey Lademann and Staff

COVID Restrictions Eased

The premier announced that Melbourne is now in the third step of COVID restrictions (from 27 October) and further restrictions will be eased on 8 November (travel limits).

We understand that many of you have been unable to visit us for treatment over this time.  Our clinic is permitted to see everybody now, so if you have been putting off your visit to chiropractor, take these easing of restrictions as an opportunity for us to look after you.

Remember that you health and wellbeing is important for you and your family.

See you soon.

Dealing with Stress

Why Am I Feeling Stressed?

Our bodies can experience a “stress” response to any one of these three inputs:

  • Thoughts (what we think about)
  • Toxins (what we eat and put near,  in or on, our bodies)
  • Trauma (our injuries – physical /psychological /emotional)

Is Stress Normal?

Yes.  Our bodies are programmed to react to our environment in such a way that it ensures our survival.  This is commonly referred to as the “fright-flight” response.  When our brains perceive changes in the environment as potentially dangerous, it triggers a response that serves to heighten our perceptions and reactions and effectively brings the issue to our immediate attention.  Our heart races, our breath quickens and we begin to sweat.  We get a rush of hormones and the result is that we get a “stress” response.  While we often think of this as something external to our bodies, it can also occur when there is an over reaction to events that are not life-threatening.  These can be things such as over work, a family crisis, and even, for some individual, chemical stress that occurs as gut changes that occur after ingesting some foods.  A detailed article published in the Harvard Medical School1, gives a good detailed explanation of the background and the body chemistry involved in stress reactions.

When Does Stress Become Unhealthy?

The body is designed to manage the stress response for short periods of time.  Once the stress inputs are removed, our bodies settle down and eventually return to normal functioning.

The Harvard Medical School article goes on to say:  “Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body.  Research suggests that chronic stress contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction…”.  We are effectively seeing permanent unhealthy changes taking place in our body.

The changes/symptoms that are connected to excessive stress include:

  • persistent pain (headache, backache, etc.)
  • anxiety
  • sleeplessness
  • depression
  • frequent sickness
  • decreased energy
  • digestive issues
  • changes in libido
  • appetite changes
  • obesity or weight loss
  • increased heart rate
  • excessive sweating
  • addictions (smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling and other obsessions)

The problem is that once we start to have the symptoms of excessive stress,  we may possibly be adding to it by eating the wrong foods, drinking too much, sleeping less, or having negative / destructive thoughts.

OK, I’m Over Stressed.  How Do I Deal With It?

Most people have a clear idea that they are suffering from excessive or chronic stress, based on the list of symptoms above.  Unfortunately, tackling the problem is a challenge, given that so many factors can contribute, or feed into, the stress response.

Once you have recognised that your state of constant stress is having negative consequences in your life, it’s time to seek professional help.

Chiropractors are primary health care practitioners.  The first steps to addressing stress and its many consequences often starts with a discussion in your chiropractor’s office. Chiropractors are used to dealing with the physical causes of stress (that result in musculoskeletal issues) and some look further at the nutritional / biochemistry issues as well.  There are a number of clinics, including ours, that include heart rate variability (HRV) testing as a biomarker of stress and use it to make sure that prescribed “exercise is having the desired effect2“.  Chiropractors also “advocate for a whole-of-life approach to health – one that involves movement and social connection” in a state of spinal and neurological health.

Additionally, your chiropractor may refer you to other health professionals to assist you with the stress.

Psychologists & professional counsellors are trained to help you deal with your thoughts.  We cannot emphasise how important it is to seek this type of help.  Remember that some of these services are provided free, or at very low cost, from your local government.

Great Stress Reduction Strategies

It is possible to take some action immediately to help you manage some of the stress inducing factors in your life.  They all help to bring your life back into your control.

Here is a list of some we would recommend:

  • Talk to a friend or colleague (preferably face-to-face)
  • Turn off all of the mainstream social media (including news and Facebook feeds) as they thrive on feeding you fear and uncertainty.  They are designed to flourish in an environment of high stress and anxiety.
  • Get a pet
  • Start a hobby that makes you feel good
  • Take a walk in the park (any exercise is great but doing it outside is even better)
  • Get some sleep (greater than 8 hours per day) and develop a routine pattern of bedtimes.
  • Look around and see whether you help those that are less fortunate than yourself.  Often when we do this, it puts our perspective into a more meaningful context.
  • Take up mindful thinking exercises (meditation, yoga, etc.)

Summary

Prolonged or excessive stress is bad for your health and wellbeing.  Dealing with it in a timely manner is the key to recovery.  This article has shown you what to look out for and where to get help.

At Happy Healthy Bodies Chiropractic we treat all enquiries discretely and are passionate about improving community health, so if you feel you need some caring professional help, just ring and see if we can help.

References

  1. Harvard Health Publishing: “Understanding the stress response”
  2. Australian Spinal Research Foundation: The Stress Series Part 4

Start A Movement Today

Our health is directly related to the amount and the type of movement that we do.  We are born to move.  Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle choices limit, or remove, any need for us to move like we used to.

This is just a small list of what is considered normal today:

  • We drive everywhere – sitting while we do it.
  • We sit at our desks
  • We come home and relax on the couch
  • We sit while we eat
  • We go to bed and sleep
  • We sit for a long time looking at our mobile devices
  • We go out for dinner and sit
  • We go out to the movies and sit

Why Do We Need to Move?

Good For The Brain

Reason No.1

The antidepressant. Numerous studies have shown that movement, such as walking, running and other aerobic exercises, have an antidepressant effect in the body. Movement boosts our mood and causes our brain to flood our bodies with feel-good chemicals. These feel-good chemicals, the endorphins, are also natural analgesics – pain relievers!

Reason No.2

Movement helps our brain plasticity by causing growth and new connections between cells in a wide number of important areas of the brain1. Chiefly, aerobic movement has been associated with more cell growth in the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory2 ! The hippocampus is also an important part of your limbic system, the area of our brain which regulates our sense of motivation, our emotion, learning, spacial navigation and memory function.

Unfortunately, the hippocampus is also the most fragile part of the brain and is the region that suffers the most when we “don’t look after ourselves” (alcohol, drugs, poor diet, hours of television viewing,  etc.)


In other words, movement increases brain function and improves brain health.

Movement done in the morning before the work day increases our attention span and mental clarity throughout the day, and helps us be more resilient to any mental stresses that may occur. Movement is also one of the main reasons that “active” people (ones that move a lot on a regular basis) maintain a healthy brain longer as they age.  This in turn results in a higher quality of life during our later years.

Good For Your Joints

Motion is lotion, as the saying goes. The joints in our body, including our spine, are surrounded by a soft tissue called the synovial membrane, which produces a very important fluid that lubricates your joints and allows them to move smoothly.  Physical activity (movement) is one of the best ways to help that fluid circulate! The increase in heart rate during movement also helps blood circulation throughout your body – including your joints.  As a result, your joints, muscle, ligaments are exposed to a steady supply of nourishing oxygen and nutrients, helping them to stay healthier.

Are you noticing you are in pain? So long as you have the all clear from a professional (your Chiropractor or your GP), exercise is actually highly recommended for pain management!  It is a common misconception that “resting” is the best way to relieve pain, however, in most cases the opposite is true. Movement is healing. In fact, these days, even surgery patients are encouraged to get up and about as soon as possible after their surgery.

Good For Your Heart

When we move, our heart rate increases so as to increase the circulation of blood around the body.  This increased blood flow is required to feed the organs in our body and flush toxins out.  Our heart is programmed to regulate this flow to meet the bodies various demands.  Our heart is a muscle too and having a strong heart allows us to change from rest to activity and conversely recover back to rest when the activity stops.

Since our heart is responsible for feeding the brain with oxygen and nutrients, we have a relationship that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain.

What Happens When We Stop Moving?

Things start to go wrong in so many areas.  Some of the ones you will notice include:

  • Our brain (especially the hippocampus) starts to shrink.  Connections decrease. Our mood depresses (the feeling of being “flat”or “low”).  We remember less.  We are slower or reluctant to change.  We lose interest in things.
  • Our joints start to “dry up”.
  • Our muscles start to wither (atrophy).
  • We start to experience more pain, aches, and stiffness.

How Much Movement Is Enough?

There is no golden rule for movement.  Remember that before technology, we, as humans, moved a lot and most of it was simply walking from place to place in search of food.

In fact movement doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. Anything that seems manageable to you right now is great – whether that’s a 20-30 minute walk, a session of yoga, stretching or Tai-Chi on YouTube, or for those needing a bigger fitness challenge to stay motivated, a high intensity dance class in your living room (there’s a lot of new classes for almost anything you can think of available on YouTube!).

Regardless, daily movement IS IMPORTANT- and you should choose an activity that you can manage a little of each day.

We know from research3 that to maintain health, we need to do some heart rate elevating exercise for around 30 minutes a day, every day.  Please do remember this is different things for different people.  For people with injuries or older people, low intensity is best. But for those already into fitness, feel free to experiment with running, dancing, riding bikes, weight training (body weight training if you don’t have any equipment at home), the list is endless.

Does It Mean That You Have To Do A Workout?

To summarise. No.  All we need is movement, preferably of all of joints in the body and an elevated heart rate.

Movement is key to resilience to the daily physical and mental stresses of life.  Start a Movement today!

References

  1. Voluntary exercise increases axonal regeneration from sensory neurons
  2. The antidepressant effect of running is associated with increased hippocampal cell proliferation
  3. Development of Evidence-based Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults (18-64 years) – Department of Health Australia

Don’t Let Lockdown Get You Down

Many people have been “stuck” at home since March this year.  This is a whole 5 months.  Even the strongest amongst us are feeling the pressure.  Here are some tips to help you cope.

  1. DO NOT listen to the news every day.  The “news” is not really news when you get to hear the same thing every day, day in, day out.  Look up goodnewsnetwork.org to see lots of articles that will make you laugh and smile and help you to see that there is real news worth checking out.
  2. DO reach out for help, if you are feeling miserable or if you feel things are getting hopeless. If you already have people you can talk to, don’t put it off.  Do it now.  If you are isolated (physically) and feel like you cannot cope any more, then lookup au.reachout.com.  Most of the critical services are provided for free.
  3. TAKE up a new hobby.  Our body health is controlled by the brain. Learn a new language, play computer games, build something new, try anything you have not done before.   Not only will you have something to look forward to each day, you will be “exercising” the brain and will build new neural connections/pathways, which will help to keep your brain stimulated and happy.
  4. MOVE. The importance of this cannot be understated.  Our bodies love to move.  Movement stimulates the brain, lubricates the joints and makes us breath more.  If your body is able, then consider spending 30 minutes early in the day, every day, to do an an exercise program (even if it’s just walking around the back garden!).  There are plenty of programs available for free on the Internet.  You will notice that your day will look very different once you have finished.  If you are unable to exercise, the at least consider walking and/or standing, rather than sitting.  Try walking while you read your book.  If you are working from home and have to work at a desk, take frequent breaks… i.e. get up and run on the spot, skip around the house, do some push-ups, or anything else that gets you to MOVE.  Each time you move, it flushes your brain with fresh oxygen and blood and you will be able to work better and feel happier.
  5. LISTEN to your body.  For most people this is as simple as deciding whether you are hungry, tired, sleepy or sick.
    While it may be tempting to indulge in alcoholic drinks, remember that alcohol is still a drug and at some stage, your body will tell you to stop!
    Try to maintain a rough timetable in your day and make sure it involves sleep.  Your body will appreciate it if you can get 8 hours of sleep every day.  Yes, it’s tempting to tell yourself that watching another episode of a TV series at 11:30pm won’t matter as you don’t have to go to work the next day.  Again, your body will tell you that something is not right the next day.  If you do this often enough, your ability to do your daily tasks will diminish and your health will eventually suffer.
    If you do any exercise and it hurts, your body is telling you that something is wrong.  Stop doing that exercise and pick something different, or simply let your body rest for a day or two.  If the pain does not go away or gets worse, consider getting treatment.  You are permitted to seek medical treatment and remember we are still open and ready to help.

Do Not Put Off Getting Medical Care

On August 3, the Victorian government updated the restrictions on travel and other activities to help with the spread of the coronavirus.  It is important to understand that your good health, while at home, or work, is still very important.   To this end, we refer you to the following taken from the Department of Health and Human Resources website:

Care and health care:

  • You can leave home to receive health care or attend medical appointments. If you need to see a doctor or health care professional, you should do so. Do not put off getting medical care. Your doctor or health care professional can provide advice on how to stay safe.
  • You can leave home to care for a sick or elderly relative. If you are providing care for someone you should try to keep 1.5 metres between you when you can. Wear a face covering.
  • You can leave home to accompany someone for essential medical treatment if you are a parent, guardian or necessary support person.
  • You can take a pet to the vet.

Happy Healthy Bodies Chiropractic is still open and seeing patients.

Please look at our updated office procedures here to see how we are making sure that everybody remains safe while we look after you.

Update 7/8/2020:
Remember that if you are in urgent need of our care, you are permitted to travel from anywhere in Victoria to get help in our clinic.  There is no travel restriction for this purpose.