Posture and Chiropractic

 

What are the benefits of good posture?

 

“Sit up straight” or “don’t slump” is advice we have all probably heard at sometime during our lives, as someone is trying to tell us to fix our bad posture. But you may not understand why having good posture is so important, and all the benefits that good posture can bring about. Here are just some of the many benefits that having good posture1:

  • Less chance of pain in the neck or lower back – poor posture places stress on these areas and can cause pain
  • Decreased incidence of headaches – poor posture leads to increased muscle tension at the back of the neck which can cause tension headaches
  • Increased energy levels – when all of our joints are in their correct alignment this allows our muscles to work at their best, which stops them from using excess energy, so this energy can be used elsewhere in the body
  • Decreased risk of joint degeneration – poor posture places excess stress on some joints, which can eventually lead to degeneration
  • Increased lung capacity – slouching compresses your lungs, having good posture gives your lungs more room to expand
  • Improved circulation and digestion – just like your lungs, other organs can be compressed with bad positioning, good posture allows your organs to work at their best, helping with functions such as circulation and digestion
  • Improved core strength and reduce injury – good posture allows your core and back muscles to stay active and engaged, resulting in a strong core. This strong core protects our spine and minimises your chance of injury
  • Increased confidence – good posture can make you appear taller and more attractive to other people. Which also improves confidence and self-esteem

 

What can cause bad posture?

 

Numerous things can cause us to have bad posture including2:

  • Slouching when sitting or standing – this can place strain on your muscles and can also cause some of your muscles to stop working effectively, which could leave you more vulnerable to injury
  • Wearing high heels – this can cause an increased curve in you lower back, putting more stress on this area of your spine
  • Increased weight or pregnancy – excess weight around the stomach and pregnancy can also cause and increased curve in the lower back
  • Leaning on one leg when standing – this causes an imbalance to muscles, mostly around the pelvis, which can place extra stress on the pelvis and lower spine. This can also be caused by carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, carrying a child on one hip, or even sitting with your phone or wallet in your back pocket
  • Hunching over when at a computer or on your phone – this usually causes tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles, which can cause pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back

 

How can chiropractic help?

 

Chiropractic is extremely beneficial when it comes to improving posture. The first way chiropractic can help, is through the chiropractic adjustment. By adjusting segments of the spine that aren’t moving properly, chiropractors can return the normal movement and function to the joints of the spine. Bringing  overall balance to the body. This helps with postural imbalances such as having one hip or shoulder higher than the other, or when the natural curve in your neck has started to straighten out.

When the joints of the spine are moving properly, this better enables them to sit in the correct position. Also allowing the muscles around them to activate work properly to support the spine, thus creating better posture3. However, chiropractic adjustments alone aren’t going to give you perfect posture. You will have to put in some work yourself. As chiropractors have so much knowledge on the spine and posture they can provide you with many stretches and exercises that will help to improve your posture. They can also provide lifestyle advice such as how best to set up your seat, computer, and desk at work. Chiropractic care along with the advice given by your chiropractor can have an amazing impact on your posture4.

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Jonaitis, J. (2018, September 18). 12 benefits of good posture — and how to maintain it. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/posture-benefits
  2. (2019, July 10). Common posture mistakes and fixes. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/
  3. Physio Works. (2019, March 17). What are the benefits of good posture? https://physioworks.com.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=31641
  4. American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Posture. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment

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Poor posture affecting women | One of the keys in healing is… | Flickr

Calm Your Nervous System

The modern era is beautiful, full of technology, plenty of food and some of us may be able to afford luxuries that were only accessible to maybe 0.5% of the population. This is because most of us now have a stable income to support the family. However, due to this stable income, we always have deadlines and criteria to meet. This may put our brain and nervous system in overdrive due to the constant stress. This state of mind means our nervous system is in a sympathetic state. Constantly being in a sympathetic state can lead to high blood pressure, being extremely fidgety and being in constant stress. So today we’ll go over a couple of ways to calm your nervous system down so you can be less stressed and enjoy your life more:

 

  1. Something we can do straight away is to take a deep breath in. Deep breathing is a great way to get your body to relax and calm down. However, most of breath with our accessory muscles (your shoulder, sternoclavicular mastoids and scales) when we are stressed. The correct way to breath in instances like this is to breathe with your diaphragm. To breathe with your diaphragm is actually easier than you think. Instead of raising your shoulders and sucking in your belly, do the opposite. Drop your shoulders and push your belly out when you are breathing in! This is something simple but very effective, so give it a go next time you need a second or two to calm down.
  2. Spend some time in nature. There is just something very relaxing about nature, it reduces fear, stress and anger. One reason being there is a fresh supply of oxygen when you are in nature. You will literally be surrounded by trees and other plants and they produce fresh negative-ion oxygen which is scientifically shown to calm you down. Another reason is due to increased exposure to natural light. Natural light is shown to improve your and regulate your sleep pattern. We know that better sleep more relaxed and balanced nervous system.
  3. Put down your device. In this modern age, we are often multitasking. From reading emails, typing up document, making an Excel spread sheet to scrolling through social media. Our minds are always occupied on what is in front of us. So drop your device, focus on one thing, and practice being mindful. It can be anything from reading a book, playing music, drawing or anything that does not require an electronic device.
  4. Finally, practicing meditation is a great way to calm your nervous system down. A lot of the time we are anxious as we are trying to think about the future and we don’t enjoy the present. Mediation is a great way to bring you back to the present. This helps quieten your brain. This does not mean we are shutting problems down and pushing them away, it just means we learn to accept them. By doing this your brain will be less stressed thus allowing you to come up with better thoughts and outcomes.

 

Due to busy schedule we are all in now, we are always anxious and stressed. This means our nervous system will constantly be in a sympathetic state and in overdrive. Those are just 4 easy things to do when we are in overdrive, there are many more. Try different techniques and see what works for you!

 

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Nervous System Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

Blue Light: The Good & The Bad

Every sort of screen emits blue light and how many hours do we spend sitting in front of a screen every day? We are looking at screens every day whether it is watching shows, scrolling through social media, or doing office work. By the end of the day, we probably spend a good 12-15 hours on a screen. As a result, we will definitely be affected by blue light somehow. So today we’ll break down some of the effects of blue light.

 

Pros

  • Blue light helps regulate our circadian rhythm. Blue light can be found in the sun. Every day we are woken up by blue light. It is what triggers us to wake up. Without it, we will be in hibernation most of the time.
  • Blue light stimulates alertness, memory and cognitive function. This is because blue light increases the speed of neuron growth and strengthens neuron connection in the hippocampus. As a result, we become more focused and retain information a lot easier.
  • Apart from brain growth, blue light also stimulates eye and vision growth. Children at a young age needs to be exposed to a moderate amount of blue light in order to for their eyes to grow. The key work there was MODERATE. Too much blue light can also be bad but we’ll touch on that later. Some studies show that too little blue light can actually stunt growth and can cause near sightedness.

Cons

  • Blue light decreases sleep quality. While blue light keeps us up it decreases melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone created in the pineal gland that controls sleep cycles. Due to the shorter wave lengths from blue light, the body becomes more sensitive to it as a result, delta brainwaves which is induces sleep is also supressed.
  • Too much blue light can lead to eye strain. Human eyes are not very good at filtering out blue light due to the shorter wave length. Since the wave lengths are shorter, it scatters more than other colours making it harder to focus. At the same time it reduces contrast in other colours. As a result, our eyes need to work extra hard to filter out this out unnecessary colours thus leading to eye strains.
  • Finally, too much exposure of blue light may increase the likelihood of macular degeneration. Again due to the shorter wave length of blue light, it is easy for it to penetrate the retina (the inner lining at the back of the eye). This is where most of the light sensitive cells are located in the eye. Too much blue light can actually damage these cells. As these cells degenerate further, it can lead to permanent loss of vision.

 

Blue light is a natural source of light that can be found anywhere. This light is very important since it helps with waking us up, increasing brain function and growth. But due to technology and lifestyle we may be being overexposed. Too much of anything can be bad, with blue light it decreases sleep quality, lead to eye strains and may increase the likelihood of macular degeneration. There are a couple of ways to decrease the effects of blue light. One, spend less time in front of screen. Especially 30-60 minutes before you go to sleep so you can increase sleep quality. Second, wear glasses that filter out most of this light. This way your eyes will be less stressed. Remember blue light in moderation is good but too much of it can worsen your health.

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Blue Light | djmicromix.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/blue-a-tech… | Flickr

 

Children and Mobile Phones

Children mobile phones - text neck

Research has shown us not to let children use mobile phones, either as a toy or to talk on. Their skulls are thinner and smaller than an adults and they will absorb more radiation into their developing brain.

If you have not already seen the documentary Mobilize, there is now an opportunity to watch it for free here. You can also find out more about the film by going to the Mobilize website here.

There are more informative links on cell phones and cancer, and also tips for safer cell phone use below.

Mobile phones and cancer in humans

Links to more studies are below:

Radio-frequency (RF) radiation in the microwave range produced by cordless and mobile phones. Cordless phone bases and cell phone towers have been classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible carcinogen” (type 2B).

Cellular phone use safety tips:

We realise that many people have jobs that require them to use a cellular phone in their day to day lives. While there is probably no way to make cellular phone use completely safe, there is information to help you reduce the risks of unavoidable cellular phone risk.

Ideally, cellular phone use should be minimised. The more cellular phones are used, the more cellular phone infrastructure is needed to support the phones use. Living close to cellular phone base stations has been associated with increased risk of cancer in several studies.

Mobile Phone use and Skeletal Alignment

If exposure to radiation and providing endless distraction isn’t enough… cell phone usage is responsible for yet another hazardous side effect! Text neck!

Chiropractors have observed that most people hunch over their mobile phones and developing neck and back strain, headaches, achy shoulders and even in their arms and hands.

If you are experiencing symptoms similar to the above and would like a professional opinion, then go see your chiropractor or feel free to contact Revolution Chiropractic.

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Chiropractic Care And Sleep

The connection between Chiropractic Care And Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health. If you are having trouble sleeping and are generally well in your health otherwise, there’s some good news. Plenty of research shows regular chiropractic care and sleep quality can go hand in hand.

While chiropractors aren’t commonly thought of as being the first point of call on sleep issues, more than one-third of people who have a chiropractic adjustment with us report that they experience immediate sleep improvement – and save a lot of frustrating time and energy in the process!

Is this treatment right for me?

If it’s aches or pain that’s keeping you awake, back pain, neck pain,  headaches or migraines then there is a good chance visiting a chiropractor will fix the problem. A sleep that doesn’t process through the full sleep cycle, is intermittent or leaves you feeling restless for hours can also result in back or neck pain over time and therefore only perpetuate the issue.

Revolution Chiropractors will assess where the root cause(s) is coming from by discussing your sleeping position, discomforts and habits. We provide in depth solutions and help alleviate any  pains and improve relaxation. Spinal adjustments enhance blood flow which support relaxation and prepare your body for a deep sleep. Not only will we adjust you in targeted areas but we will also show you some possible sleeping positions based on our assessment of your spine and body.

Once we have your back pain under control and having you sleeping like a baby. You can wake up feeling rested and full of energy.

So the good news?! Booking a visit with a chiropractor may be you need to soothe nagging aches and greatly improve the quality of your nightly snooze.

 

Chiropractic care and sleep
Improve the quality of your sleep – Revolution Chiropractic

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂

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Digital Minimalism

.The Internet has brought many benefits to my life as I’m sure it has yours, however, if you are like most of this generation you probably find yourself spending (wasting) a lot of time digitally. How often do you reflexively check your phone for a message or to see how many reactions your last post is getting?

Excessive use of digital devices can cause poor posture, which puts strain on the nervous system and can lead spinal issues. Constantly being plugged into social media, email and receiving messages can create a sense of anxiety and impact your mental wellbeing. Constantly switching tasks from productive work to social media and emails is a huge waste of efficiency in your day too.

If you want to take more control of the time you spend on the Internet and your phone then put some of these boundaries into play. Depending on your job you may have to modify these to suit you:

Do not check social media or email until noon

 

You may select a different time that suits your life. But putting off checking emails and messages at the start of the day can allow you to have a more productive morning. The main goal here is to get away from your phone being the first thing you look at each morning.

Do not check email, social media or messages while in bed

 

This one is key when it comes to improving your sleep quality. It is important  to create boundaries around not only when but where you use your digital devices, especially the bed. You want your brain to wind down ready for a restful night not to be on alert thinking about what is happening on your social media, email inbox or the world news.

Put your phone at the other end of the room, not right by your bed so you create a physical and mental boundary.

If you do keep your phone by you at night then switch it airplane mode. This will prevent an alert waking you at night with the light or sound and also helps create a mental boundary that you are done with being connected to the world for the day.

Don’t use your phone while eating

 

Instead of being online or checking messages take time to unplug and focus on your meal.

Make a no phone rule when you are at the dinner table so you can connect with family and friends and interact on a real social level and not social media!

 

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File:Ciudadanía digital.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

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

 

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