Sitting and Posture Health

Poor sitting posture and effects on spine health

Have a desk job and worried about your sitting posture? You are right to! Over time, poor posture from bad habits during everyday activities can wreck havoc on your spine. For instance, having a desk job, driving, leaning over a cell phone, carrying a bag over same shoulder, prolonged standing, breastfeeding and caring for small children, or even sleeping.

Poor posture can become ingrained, causing and aggravating episodes of back and neck pain and damaging spinal structures. What’s more, damaged spinal structures can have other knock off effects throughout the rest of the body. The good news is, our spine is adjustable and with a few simple changes, good posture and spine health can be achieved.

Here are a couple of steps you can take immediately to improve bad posture:

1. Identify the symptoms of back pain caused by an inefficient work environment and poor posture.

  • Did something change in your environment within the same period the pain commenced? For example, a new job, a new office chair, or a new car, a new desk.
  • Is the back pain is worse at certain times of day, or week? For instance, after a long day of sitting in an office chair in front of a computer.
  • Does the pain start in the neck and move downwards into the upper back, lower back, and extremities?
  • Does the pain ease after switching positions?

Right and wrong sitting posture - office chair

2. Keep the body aligned properly while sitting in an office chair and while standing

  • When standing, distribute body weight evenly across the front, back, and sides of the feet.
  • When sitting, select a chair that’s features support good posture. Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line.
  • If you need to change position throughout the day, try shifting forward to the edge of the seat with a straight back and alternate with sitting back against the support arch of the office chair to ease the strain on back muscles.
  • Try a balance / swiss ball. In this position the pelvis is tilted gently forward increasing the lumbar curve which shifts the shoulders back (similar to sitting on the edge of a chair seat).
  • Be aware of and avoid positions such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, sitting on your legs, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders up or forward, and tilting the head.
    Correct sitting posture at desk or office chair

3. Get up and move frequently.

This one is so easy to achieve, yet often the most forgotten. As muscles become strained, slouching, slumping, and other bad postures occur; this in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back.

Change positions frequently, in order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture. At work,  set an alarm to remind you to get up and take a break from sitting in an office chair every hour for at least two minutes. During this time stretch, stand, or walk.

poor posture sitting - stand and stretch

When to see a Chiropractor for poor posture

Many people visiting our chiropractic clinic in Auckland suffer from back pain or neck pain relating to poor posture. Our approach to treating this is very effective. We start by examining and fixing the physical problems — a process that usually involves chiropractic adjustments to correct any misalignments.

Secondly, we identify the cause of your poor posture. We find any lifestyle factors which are causing the issue. Such as assessing your sitting positions, desk environment and any other relevant triggers. We then show you correct sitting and standing positions and give you tools and exercises to prevent poor posture in the future. By correcting the root cause of postural issues, we can ensure that the musculoskeletal system remains healthy.

Neck and Upper back Pain from poor posture – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your Appointment at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.

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Why You Should Care (at least a little bit) About Your Posture

Posture. Good, bad, and the bendy.

Our bodies want to move. However, with our ever-sedentary lifestyle, we have to find a way to cope – proper posture is one of those coping mechanisms.

A lot of people talk about posture these days. Some say it matters a ton; others say it doesn’t matter at all. The truth is somewhere in the middle. It’s beneficial to be mindful of your posture and achieve the best posture you can, but there’s no need to obsess about it and walk around like a robot.

The rule of thumb is that if your current posture isn’t comfortable and your experiencing aches and pains – that’s your body telling you that you should move to a new posture! This is partly why bodily pain and discomfort was kept in our nervous system throughout evolution – to protect structures in your body from being damaged.

The best way to achieve proper posture is through acquiring knowledge and committing to ongoing applications and staying mindful of your posture throughout the day. We can achieve this through a variety of movements and exercises that common, but we may come up with a complete guide if the demand is there – let us know!

Why bother?

Now the benefits of proper posture are spectacular. You breathe better because there’s more room for your ribs to expand as you breathe. You experience less stress because your body language is open. We experience less pain because your body position is better than your body’s structures baseline. There’s even more and more evidence pointing toward more mental health benefits, such as increased confidence and reduced feelings of anxiety and depression. It’s really quite incredible!

Posture and chiropractic care go hand in hand because they both focus on two key aspects – the spine and the nervous system. Optimizing your nervous system through chiropractic care allows your brain to be more aware of where your body is in space – this is called proprioception. When you improve that, your body is more aware of your posture and can; therefore, we can correct it with better posture, and reinforcing it after every adjustment. We’re essentially re-wiring the brain the reinforcing better pathways. Now, if that’s not cool, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re looking to get help with your posture or have any questions about it please get in contact with one of our structural chiropractors and we’ll be happy to help out!

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading Auckland Chiropractor

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 2 How?

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: How? Take an audit.

Whenever we want to set ourselves a new goal we have to know where we are starting. This allows us to look back in 6 and 12 months time and celebrate how far we have come. It’s hard work being a parent and it’s harder again to a parent who’s committed to healthy habits and rituals. So, it’s important to take stock and appreciate your efforts.

So let’s begin how to audit.

Q: How Much Sugar Do You Each Consume Daily

Without realizing it, most adults and children eat refined sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner via processed cereals and grains. Most of us consume an average of 53 kg of sugar each year (approximately
29 teaspoons of added and natural sugar each day), and 75 percent comes from the packaged and convenience products we eat and drink.

I’d encourage you to investigate the health risks associated with eating too many sugars (in Lunchbox Solutions I discuss the dangers of sugars and outline what are healthier ways to sweeten recipes, so that’s a great place to start).

There are several reasons should we should avoid sugars, including that they raise our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone
that our pancreas produces and its main function is taking up blood glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy. High insulin levels are thought to contribute to multiple health issues but for this post where we are focused on raising the health status of our children — let’s keep to three main issues.

Key issues with sugar

1 High insulin levels can depress the immune system weakening our ability to fight disease. This occurs because white blood cells need stacks of vitamin C to kill bacteria and viruses. So our white blood cells work to accumulate
and store vitamin C within the cell. The problem is that vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structures so they then compete to enter the white blood cells. Guess what happens when we have lots of glucose in our blood from eating lots of foods that contain processed sugars? Glucose wins and our white blood cells become deficient in vitamin C compromising our ability to fight bugs.

2 Too many sugars also upset the integral balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut. When we consume too many sugars we can create an overgrowth of harmful yeasts and bad bacteria which override our helpful “disease fighting” helpful bacteria — hindering our immune system.

3 Refined sugars also provide us with no vitamins or minerals. In order for them to be metabolized, they draw on the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, depleting our body’s nutrients.

ACTION: Start a food diary and observe just how much sugar find there way into your daily diet. Here’s a tip for when looking at products and packaging — sugars tend to be any ingredient ending in “ose” — sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose etc. Try it — it will shock you!

Drastically reducing sugar (initially this is not an easy task) not only lightens the load on your child’s immune system it also allows your children to get off the ‘blood-sugar rollercoaster’.

Here’s another tip — cutting back sugar … life just gets better. Sugar highs and lows, make us all irritable and grumpy.

Audit Cont.

Q: How many processed foods are in your pantry, fridge and child’s lunch box?
-Literally count the number of packaged items and take an audit. If a food item has more then 5 or 6 ingredients you can bet it’s refined, altered and damaged. If you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food item, mostly likely it’s full of chemicals. I’d encourage you to become a food critic and learn what all those numbers and complex sounding ingredients really mean. Please see “Become a Food Critic” and the “Poor Choice, Better Choice and Fabulous Choice” Table in “Empower Their Choices” in Lunchbox Solutions.

Q: How many pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables are you all currently consuming each day?

-Daily consistency is key here.

Q: How many glasses of water do you drink?

Q: What sort of water do you drink?
-And I don’t mean the wet kind. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is invest in a water filter to protect your family against chemically-treated water. Most of our drinking water today contains chlorine and chlorination by-products, as well as numerous other contaminants. Drinking good quality water via a high quality filter system — promotes detoxification, enhances nutritional uptake and ensures optimal hydration.

Help your children develop the habit of drinking water throughout the day rather than juices and soft drinks. A mere two per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Many children are frequently dehydrated, suffering with concentration issues, constipation and digestive problems.

Q: How many prescriptions has your child had in the last twelve months and over their lifetime?
-With regular chiropractic care and addressing these other tips for raising healthy children, many parents delight in no longer relying on antibiotics and instead being able to rely on their child’s own immune strength.

Q: How many sessions of sweaty exercise would each family member perform each week?
-Ideally each of us should be raising our heart rate 5 times a week.

Q: How many harmful chemicals are in your personal care and cleaning products?
-Source brands that are genuinely wholesome — free of nasty chemicals and toxins which are readily absorbed through the skin and tax our body and its defence system.

It can be a “reality slap” to take an audit and look at where you currently sit along the “healthy” and “not so healthy” scale. Where you sit on the “fresh” and “disastrously preserved” scale. Remember though that every moment we make choices and have the opportunity and capacity to influence both our child’s — short and long-term health.

 

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We Can Help 🙂

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Netflixing Without Back Pain – Stretch

You know it happens. You go on to Netflix and promise yourself that you’ll only watch one episode and get off your butt… One episode turns into two… two turns into three… and before you know it you’re binging. 

Or maybe you’ve got a date arranged around an intense TV marathon that’s going to be epic. 

Before you decide to set out on a TV show marathon whether it be alone or with your partner, consider taking the right steps to take care of your spine and avoid any pain or injury that may come your way. 

Steps to Stretch:

  1. Plank beforehand:
    Before committing to your hours of absorbed fun, plank. The plank position helps engage your core muscles and take on the stresses of sitting for long hours. Nothing fancy here, go as long as you can and challenge yourself a bit! 
  2. Sit properly:
    Slouching can add additional stress on your back. Reset your posture periodically by backing your butt right back to where the backrest meets the cushion.
  3. Do NOT kick your feet up:
    Kicking your feet just adds more stress to your lower back and encourages slouching. It’s okay to do temporarily but not for an entire episode.
  4. Stretch it out:
    Try out a stretch break every hour. Here are the steps to what’s called the “figure four stretch”.
                 i) Slide to the edge of your seat
    ii)
    Cross one leg over the other into a figure 4
                 iii) Sit up tall and feel the stretch in your glutes
    iv)
    Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side
  5. Break? Get up and move:
    Whether you’re going for a bathroom break, refilling your wine or getting some more snacks, every step counts. Periodically, getting up and walking or stretching is an excellent solution to avoiding any back pain and should always be encouraged. 

 Try these out and impress your date with these helpful tips to take care of your bodies. 

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Maintaining Good Posture in the Car

The NZ Ministry of Transport released a survey in 2014 stating that people aged between 35-64 in New Zealand spend two-thirds of their total travel time driving. Just looking at the sheer number of cars on the road and the kind of traffic we experience here in Auckland, it doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that we spend a lot of our time in cars. All that time is enough to develop bad habits in posture and movement. Structural abnormalities in the spine tend to increase with prolonged driving, however, there are ways to maintain good posture and stop bad habits from developing.

Avoid “the lean”

Leaning back or to the side in your seat can create an S-shaped curve in your spine that puts uneven loads through your discs. This can contribute to structural problems such as anterior head syndrome and adaptive changes that lead to compensations in the natural curve of your spine.

The muscles adapt by lengthening or shortening and once they’ve been in that position for a prolonged period of time they’ll affect your movement patterns and contribute to structural shifts in the spine. Those structural shifts may not cause issues at first, but when they do it will take just as much time to undo it.

3 ways to find good posture while driving

  1. Sit right
    • Find a seat position where you can sit upright with your bottom touching the back of the seat. Have your hands comfortably on the wheel with mild elbow bend.
  2. Adjust your mirrors
    • Once you’ve found an ideal position adjust your mirrors so that you can use them effectively when in this position. That way you’ll always have a constant reminder to be the proper position to use the mirrors.
  3. Switch your sitting position
    • If you find yourself leaning to one side, try to lean on the other side for about 5-10 minutes. Since the driver’s seat is on the right in NZ, we tend to lean to the left, so you may find it awkward to lean to the right. This is because your brain is not used to your body being in this position. Challenge it and then return to neutral. Constantly switching positions is ideal because it allows certain muscles to have a rest when they’ve been on for prolonged periods of time.

Happy driving!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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portrait, cow, car, purple hair, girl | Pikist

How To Reduce/Avoid Jet Lag

When flying for long hours (even just 3 hours), we can start to experience certain symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, confusion or just feeling zombie-like.

What is it?

This is called jet lag. It’s what happens when the part of your brain called the hypothalamus (centre that controls sleep cycles, appetite and temperature) is conflicted with its “inner time” and your new “outer time”. Further symptoms may include insomnia, GI problems, joint and muscle pain and stiffness, and reduced fitness.

A New Zealand survey from 1994 of international flight attendants found that, despite being used to long air travel, 90% had fatigue over the first 5 days of arrival, 94% had lack of energy/motivation, 93% had broken sleep and 70% had ear, nose or throat issues.

Scientists have estimated that it takes 1 full day to recover for every hour of time difference. Which means that if you took a flight from New Zealand to Singapore, it would take about 4 days before you feel right.

The direction you travel can affect how intense the symptoms are since it’s easier for our bodies to delay our “inner time” than to speed it up. Travelling east is more difficult on the body compared to travelling west.

 

So how do you manage it?

 

  1. Plan it out

    -You should expect symptoms to take place after long-haul flights and so you should always plant accordingly. If you have a meeting on Thursday morning, consider arriving 1-2 days in advance instead of getting there Wednesday night and possibly having to struggle through it.

  2. Nutrition

    -There is a fasting protocol that can minimize jet lag symptoms. It’s called the Argonne fasting diet. However, it is a little intense, so below is a modified version that you can try if you’re interested.

    -On the day of travel, eat normal meals leading up to your flight, then fast immediately before and during your flight while hydrating by drinking plenty of water. Eat soon after landing as close to local meal time as possible. Time your fast 14-24 hours before your next planned meal in your new time zone. Then have your normal eating schedule based on local time.

  3.  Exercise

    -Most preferably outdoors since it affects your circadian rhythm and improves mood. Light is the most powerful signal for our internal biological clocks, so it can help reduce jet lag.

    -It’s helpful to train at the same time you’d train at home. So if you normally workout at 9 am at home and you travel to London, try your best to train at 9 am London time and do it outside. This helps your muscles and tissues adapt to the new time zone.

    -If you’re feeling exhausted then a high intensity cardio workout might not be in the cards… but a light bodyweight workout or some stretching is definitely helpful. Do what you can, at your usual time, and again, preferably OUTSIDE.

  4.  Supplements

    a)Melatonin is a hormone in your body that helps control its circadian rhythm, which plays a role in when we sleep and wake up. Melatonin is dependent on the amount of light you’re exposed to. When there’s light, melatonin release is stopped. When it’s dark, melatonin release is stimulated.
    -The time you take it is important. Do NOT take melatonin before leaving for a trip or it will make the jet lag worse. Wait until you land in the new time zone to supplement 1 hour before normal bedtime at your new location. Continue for 3 nights or until you’ve adjusted.

    b)Pycnogenol has been studied for its effect of reducing jet lag symptoms. It reduces cerebral and joint edema or swelling, which leads to less short-term memory problems, fatigue problems, and cardiac issues. It has also shown to decrease deep vein thrombosis and superficial vein thrombosis, which are both common side effects of long flights.
    -Take it for 3 times a day for up to 5 days (max 7 days) after landing.

Our human bodies haven’t fully adapted to travelling long distances by air… and they probably never will. So jet lag remains a part of life if you’re exposing yourself to this kind of travel. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, you can reduce its effects and even prevent it from happening!

Your Trusted Chiropractor Auckland

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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Jet Lag Exhaustion | julie corsi | Flickr

Mobile Phone Posture

As a chiropractor, I look at a fair few x-rays from week to week and a concerning pattern I am seeing is the amount of people, young people, with necks that curve the wrong way. Less mobile, due to mobile use. The cervical curve should somewhat resemble a backward C when viewed from the side, the curve isn’t as much as a C but you get the idea. Many people coming in have a straight or reversed curved yet they don’t have any history of a neck injury.

A big factor that I believe contributes to this, and I am not alone, is the way most of us are using our smartphones and devices. Take a look around the next time you are in public. You will see the majority of people, especially young people, hunch over their phones with no idea of the impact it is having on their bodies.

The normal neck curve is designed to support the weight of the head and protect the spinal cord and nerves. When this curve gets altered it will cause the joints to wear out faster, which can lead to pain and even nerve issues later in life. A few extra kilos of effective weight on the neck is added for every inch forward of the shoulders that the head is.

What can you do about it?

  1. When you are using your mobile always have the screen at eye level. When your arm tires, then take a break!
  2. A more sustainable posture is to hold the device at eye level with one hand. Place your other arm across your belly as if you were folding your arms. Then use the back of your hand to support the elbow of the upright arm.
  3. Be conscious of how you hold your head and neck when working long hours on the laptop. Keep your chin tucked and head and shoulders back.

References:

Hansraj, K, “Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head,” Neuro and Spine Surgery, Surgical Technology International XXV

Nejati P, Loftian S, Moezy A and Nejati M (2013), “The relationship of forward head posture and rounded shoulders with neck pain in Iranian office workers,” Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Vol. 28,26. 3 May 2014, http://mjiri.iums.ac.ir

Quek J, Pua Y, Clark R, Bryant A (2012), “Effects of thoracic kyphosis and forward head posture on cervical range of motion in older adults,” Manual Therapy, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.math.2012.07.005

 

Your Trusted Chiropractor Auckland

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here !


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