Our shoulders are amazing joints. They have (or at least should have) a vast range of motion. This amount of motion comes at a cost though and that is stability. The shoulder joint doesn’t have a ball in socket type joint like the hip, which is inherently stable. The joint of the shoulder is often referred to as like a golf ball on a tee. This lack of socket allows the range of motion that our shoulders have, but also means it is more unstable than the hips. It is the muscles and ligaments of the shoulder that keep it in place. In order for the shoulders to function well there needs to be good alignment of the shoulder joint and thoracic spine. Basically, this means we need to have good posture to allow optimal functioning of the shoulders. In this post I am going show you 2 tests to try to see how your upper back and shoulders are functioning. Continue reading to try the tests.
Having a good pillow is one of the most important things we need to maintain good function of the body. Unfortunately we often keep our pillows too long which affects their ability to provide adequate support for our necks when we are sleeping. In this video I discuss 2 simple tests that you can try on your pillow to see if it is still offering good support.
If you try these tests and realise that your pillow needs to be replaced, download our new e-book "Your how-to guide to choosing a good pillow". The link can be found here. Simply put in your details and download the book. It will help you choose the right pillow for YOU. There is no one size suits all pillow. What is good for me is not necessarily good for you.
If you have any questions, please comment below and feel free to share if you think the information could help others.
The static back position, also referred to as the 90/90 position is something that I show almost everyone that comes into see me in practice. It is a great postural reset and works for all areas of the back. In this post I will show you how to do it with a few progressions and regressions. Continue reading to see how to do it.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post with some simple tips to help with a sore lower back. If you haven’t read the post you can read it here. In this post I wanted to give some simple tips on dealing with a sore neck. Most people will have neck pain at some point in their lives. With the postural changes associated with the amount of sitting we do and associated poor spinal function, it is really going to be more of a matter of ‘when’ you get neck pain rather than ‘if’ you will get neck pain. There is some overlap with the techniques for dealing with a sore lower back, but there are some differences. I hope you find it interesting. Continue reading to learn the 5 simple tips.
Back pain is a very common problem. Most people will experience some back pain at some point in their lives. A new study out of Sydney has looked at common causes or triggers of acute lower back pain. They looked at 999 people who had had recent episodes of acute lower back pain and asked them to report exposure to 12 physical or psychosocial factors in the 4 days before the onset of back pain. They then created an odds ratio (OR) on the chance of injuring yourself. I am sure you will agree that prevention is better than cure, so knowing what things may trigger an episode makes it easier to try and avoid them. Continue reading to see what they found and what time of the day injuries are more likely to happen.
Recently I did a 2 part blog series on Upper Cross Syndrome. In this series I showed how our poor posture often leads to this head forward, rounded shoulder syndrome which can cause, upper back and neck pain, shoulder injuries, headaches etc. Most people I see in practice have this syndrome to some degree. It is the slouching that we do that causes our shoulders to roll forward leading to forward head carriage and then the symptoms of Upper Cross Syndrome. The second part of the series discussed several ways to help this syndrome. If you want to read the original posts, and try the simple test to see if you have it, you can read them here and here. In this post I wanted to show you a very simple standing or sitting position that can dramatically improve your posture and take the strain off of your upper back and shoulders. Continue reading to find out how to do it.
If you follow my blog posts you will remember a series on headaches that I did recently. These included posts on several different types of headaches, tips for helping yourself at home, chiropractic care and headaches and then headache warning signs. I came across an article that was published in The Lancet in July 2014 that caught my attention. The paper was titled “Chronic subdural haematoma secondary to headbanging”. I will explain what the title means soon, but this paper is a great case study of what can happen with headaches and why you need to be aware of certain headache types and when you need to seek help. Continue reading to find out what happened.
In this 4th blog post in my headache series, I will be discussing migraines. If you have read the previous posts you will see that there are similarities between the cause and possible treatments of the headaches. Migraines have some similarities but they do have a few differences, especially in the presentation of the migraine. A migraine is usually described as an intense throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound and can cause nausea and vomiting. Migraines are more common in women and some people can predict the onset of a migraine by an “aura”. This aura is a visual pattern of flashing lights, lines or blind-spots running across your visual field or even pins and needles in an arm or leg or unpleasant smells. Continue reading to find out possible causes and some treatment options for them.
In my previous post, I talked about how chiropractic care is an effective way to help ease headaches. I also gave 7 ways to help ease headaches yourself at home (you can read it here). Hopefully you have tried some of these tips and found them useful. In the second part of the headache series, I wanted to talk about a specific type of headache called a cervicogenic headache. These are one of the more common types of headaches. It is a headache that originates from the neck. They call this a secondary headache as the headache arises secondary to another problem. In this case, the problem is in the neck but there is referred pain into the head. This is an important point to understand as simply taking something to ease the headache pain will help it feel better, but it won’t fix the cause of the problem. How does a neck problem cause a headache you may ask? Continue reading to find out.
Headaches are an extremely common occurrence in many people. The severity ranges from an annoyance to debilitating pain. They can also be short lived or last hours to days. People often think of headaches as a ‘normal’ thing. When inquiring about headaches during our initial assessments I often get the response of “I get the odd normal headache” or “I get the usual headaches”. This is an interesting response to me because headaches are not normal, you do not have to put up with headaches. In a lot of cases, they can be dealt with reasonably easily. Chiropractic care is an effective approach to helping headaches and there are several things you can do at home to help. My aim is to write a blog series on headaches and focus on several of the key types that I come across regularly in practice. For this first post I will show that chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for headaches and then I will discuss several things you can do at home to help ease the discomfort if you are unfortunate enough to be suffering from headaches. Keep reading to find out.
In part 1 of this series I explained how technology can put you in poor positions that often lead to pain and dysfunction and can even increase your risk of injuries. Simply looking down at your phone can lead to 27kg of extra pressure being put on your neck and spine. We can’t get away from technology and less than ideal postures all the time, so how can we minimise the effects? Here are 5 ways to help counteract the problems stemming from the use of technology.
Optimal function of the body generally narrows down to one key point – Balance. If your body is not in balance, you are at risk of injury. One common problem that causes an imbalance, especially in men, is carrying and sitting on your wallet in the back pocket. More often than not these days, wallets tend to be quite bulky with all of the cards we need to carry. So why is sitting on a wallet in your back pocket a bad thing? Continue reading to find out.
Neck pain is a very common complaint that I see in practice. The causes of this discomfort can vary dramatically. Some new research suggests that poor breathing patterns may affect how the neck functions and therefore could be a contributing factor for neck pain.
Continue reading to find out what the research revealed and why your breathing technique can affect your neck function.
It is often said that muscle and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Put simply, this means that as you get older you are naturally going to lose strength and muscle mass and there is not much you can do about it.
A new study by Dr Vonda Wright and her colleagues that can be found at the The Physician and Sports medicine, may counteract this belief. They took detailed measurements of 40 masters athletes between the ages of 40 and 81, and found a surprising lack of age related muscle loss. They suggested that these declines that are usually seen, may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging. Continue reading to see a sample image of their results. It is very interesting.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Health suggests that medication is not the best option when dealing with neck pain.
In the study, they tracked 272 patients for 12 weeks. What they found was that those who used a chiropractor, or those that used exercise, were more than twice as likely to be pain free than those who took medication.
With all the kids heading back to school this week after the school holidays, I got thinking about schoolbags and the effect they can have on growing children. I see children walking to or from school hunched over due to the weight of the heavy bags or bags that are almost the size of the child carrying it. So what effects can carrying heavy bags have and what is the ideal weight for a school bag or backpack?
Our last post looked at why and when to use heat therapy, but what about ice you may ask? It is common knowledge that if you hurt yourself playing sport, at the gym, or out in the garden, you apply ice to the area to stop swelling and inflammation. Many people spend 20-30 minutes continuously icing an aching joint or sore muscle. Research has shown that this can actually be counterproductive. Dr Romain Meeusen, a cryotherapy expert of the Free University of Brussels says that icing an area for too long can actually make the injury worse and if you are icing an injured area, it should be used with caution.
The ice and heat debate is a never ending discussion. Depending on what book you read or who you talk to, you will get different answers as to what is best and how to use them effectively. Here is my take on heat therapy.
Heat therapy can have numerous benefits and has long been associated with comfort and relaxation. However, it can provide both pain relief and healing benefits for injuries. Heat is best used for sub-acute and chronic or long term conditions.
So how does it work?
Heat therapy can help provide relief through several mechanisms:
How to use heat therapy effectively
My suggestion for using heat therapy is to have a good heat source like a wheat bag, hot pack or a heat lamp.
My favourite thing to use is a wheat bag for its ease of use and safety (if you follow the instructions and heat it correctly). If you are using a microwave to heat a wheat bag, make sure you put a cup of water in the microwave to avoid overheating the wheat.
When applying the heat I have found short bursts tend to work more effectively from a physiological perspective. Apply the heat for 20min (to make sure it penetrates deeper tissues) them remove the heat for approximately 40 min before re-applying for a further 20min. These short bursts will help bring two big rushes of fresh oxygenated and nutrient rich blood to the area to help speed up the healing process. You can leave the heat on for longer, but applying it in shorter bursts will give you the best physiological response.
We stock a range of wheatbags made locally in Whenuapai. They are great value and great quality. If you come to my practice, make sure you check them out. If you would like some more information about this article please contact us. Stay posted for the next blog on the reasons for using ice and how to use it effectively.
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