Cervical Facet Syndrome

Introduction

The cervical spine is a very delicate part of the body however it carries plenty of loads. As a result, there are many issues that can come with it. The cervical spine is what we call an open chain. At the end of this chain, the skull which is the weight of a bowling ball sits right on top of it. Due to the extra weight and the open chain cervical and neck injuries can become very common. Some less serious issues include sprains and strain while some very serious injuries can cause paralysis. Today, we’ll discuss a common issue, cervical facet syndrome.

 

Anatomy of the cervical spine

To understand cervical facet syndrome, it is important for us to know some basic anatomy so it all makes sense. The cervical spine consists of 7 segments. Each segment makes contact with the one above and below it through the facet joint located at the posterior aspect vertebra. These joints are responsible for the function and limitation of the movement between each vertebra. The facet joints are angled differently depending on the part of the spine. In the cervical spine, the joints are at a 45-degree angle on the frontal plane. Due to this arrangement, it allows more flexibility in the range of motion; flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation. This means that the cervical spine is also more susceptible to injury.

 

Causes of cervical facet syndrome

Cervical facet syndrome is when the facet joints in the cervical spine pushing up against each other for a long period of time or any sudden movement increasing the pressure in the joint. This pressure causes irritation in the joint leading to inflammation and other issues. This is often caused by prolonged extension of the cervical spine. This motion is often seen in professionals who constantly lookup such as ceiling painters.  Another reason that can cause this syndrome is any whiplash injuries. The sudden impact of whiplash injuries can cause enough pressure against the facet joints against each other resulting in damage in the joint. Finally, any degenerative changes can also lead to cervical facet syndrome. This is because as there is more degeneration, there is less support for the vertebrae. This puts more pressure on the facets to hold everything together. This again leads to heavier pressure on the facet joint thus causing irritation and inflammation.

 

Symptoms of cervical facet syndrome

There are many symptoms displayed in cervical facet syndrome. Localized pain, muscle spasm, decrease in range of motion (especially extension) and difficulty performing overhead activities are some of the many symptoms. But there is one symptom that really makes it unique. Cervical facet syndrome causes referral pain and not radiating pain. Referral pain is when there is a pain in the neck and pain somewhere else. This pain does not link or run through one area. For example, pain in the neck and pain in the middle of the shoulder blades. Whereas radiating pain is a continuous form of pain. An example would be continuous pain that runs from the cervical spine through the arm and into the fingers. Depending on the level of the cervical facet syndromes, the areas of the referral will be different.

 

Conclusion and recommendation

In the case, if you do have cervical facet syndrome here is something that you could do to help you with symptom management. Applying ice indirectly would help alleviate inflammation, using a neck brace for support would take off the pressure on the joints and some exercises designed for cervical facet syndrome is good. The best thing to do is to get it checked by a professional whether it’s a chiropractor or a physical therapist. Cervical facet syndrome can be really painful and recovery time is dependent on the severity.

 

Cervical facet syndrome - common causes

 

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Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Introduction

You’ve probably heard many times that your spine degenerates and that you’ve got degenerative disc disease (DDD). Usually by your chiropractor, but do you really know what it means and how it’s impacting your body? More importantly, should you worry about it?

 

The cause of Degenerative disc disease

Our spines are the anchor of our bodies. Due to the stability and flexibility, it provides the body, we put it in all sorts of weird positions. Even though we can do something like that it doesn’t mean we should. By putting our bodies in those weird positions, there will be extra stress on our spine. This makes our brains think that we are unstable. In order to stabilize the spine, the body will decide to lay more bone in the areas that feel weak and wobbly. Depending on where the bone is laid you’ll see different things on the x-ray. If the body decides to lay bone on the vertebral body, you’ll see bony spurs or prominence on the x-ray. If the body feels there needs to be extra stability in the facet joints, you’ll most likely see blurry facet joints behind the vertebral body (facet arthrosis). Of course, these are extremely difficult to see to the untrained eyes.

 

Symptoms of Degenerative disc disease

Quite often you may not feel any symptoms from Degenerative Disc Disease. However, that does not mean it’s ok and functioning properly. As extra bone is laid on, weight distribution around the spine changes, this can lead to even more degeneration. Another minor symptom would be the reduction in the range of motion. This reduction can be very minor which is barely noticeable to struggling to turn your head even by a couple of degrees. This is dependent on the level of the DDD. In some severe cases, DDD can cause numbness and tingling can be running down the extremities. This is due to the extra bone interfering with the nerves. In very severe cases of DDD, it can lead to bone fusion. This means that the vertebra has connected with the one above. As the bones are laid down to create stability, the one the true way it could do that is to connect with the one above or below. Once this happens, the range of motion will be significantly reduced in that joint. Fortunately, that only occurs in the rarest and most severe of cases.

 

What can be done?

Everyone at some time is bound to get some level of DDD in your spine. Whether it minor levels or severe levels it doesn’t really matter. Of course, there are symptoms you should worry about but even getting to numbness and tingling is very rare. There really is nothing to be too worried about DDD. It’s just an accurate reflection of how much care you’ve taken in regards to your spine. The more care there is the less likely you’ll suffer from DDD. Even if you do have DDD, there is nothing that can be done about it. You can remove them surgically but that is highly not recommended unless it becomes very severe. A chiropractor definitely does not reverse DDD, a chiropractor can help slow down DDD if you have it and if you don’t, it’s a great way to prevent yourself from getting DDD. Remember, DDD is just a visual cue to seeing what your spinal health is like.

 

Conclusion

DDD is probably the most common spinal condition. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean you should worry about it. It just a reflection on how well you’ve taken care of your spine. The more care you take by keeping a good posture, the less significant it’ll be. As a result, there will be fewer symptoms caused by it too. So go to your chiropractor and take care of your spine to prevent DDD in the future.

 

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

 

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Disc herniation – definition, causes, effects

Introduction

Our spines are very flexible yet it’s a very important part of our body. It serves as an attachment point for muscles in our body as well as protecting the spinal cord. It also helps anchor the body and creates mobility in the upper body. This is why it is easily prone to injury. A common injury is disc herniation. Today, the blog will cover a brief overview of disc herniation.

 

Intervertebral discs – description, function, herniation

Our spine consists of 34 moveable vertebrae and in between each vertebra is a soft gelatinous material called the disc. The function of the disc is to help absorb pressure and act as a cushion. This disc consists of tough layers of fiber and a soft gel in the center. A disc herniation can happen anywhere in the spine. It is more commonly located in the lumbar spine and the cervical spine. It is a common injury and can be serious depending on the area. In the lumbar spine, it is most likely from twisting while bending over. In the cervical spine, a disc herniation is usually through sudden strain or a jarring movement.

 

Located behind the body of the vertebrae and the disc is the spinal cord. Unfortunately, this disc can be ruptured through an abnormal motion of the spine as explained above. That abnormal action causes the fibers of the disc to crack. Once it cracks, it allows the gel-like substance in the center of the disc to leak out. This causes the discs to change shape. There are 4 stages of disc herniation, each level represents the change in the shape of the disc. From least severe shape change to most severe; disc bulge, disc protrusion, disc extrusion and sequestered disc. The severity of shape change is also linear with the level of symptoms and pain. Once the disc shape changes, it impacts and irritates the spinal cord. This is where the experience of numbness, tingling, and radiating pain comes into play. The spinal cord is the center of the nervous system. If that’s disrupted everything below the level of disruption will be impacted as well.

 

Symptoms of disc herniation

The level of herniation often correlates with the severity of the symptoms. The more severe the herniation the more severe the symptoms. Some less severe symptoms would be local pain, numbness, and tingling down the extremities. The more severe symptoms would include gait alteration, shock-like pain running down into extremities, problematic fine motor skills, loss of bladder control, and losing balance and co-ordination.

 

Conclusion and recommendation

Disc herniations take a long time to heal. Even in severe cases, surgical intervention is needed. This is because the disc does not get many nutrients as it is mostly cartilage. One thing to do is to do some basic exercises by yourself. We have mentioned exercises previously so check out our Instagram and Facebook Page. But the best option is to seek the advice of a professional so they can put you back on to the right track.

 

A disc rupture and its herniation

 

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Spondylolisthesis – definition and treatment

Introduction

The spine goes through plenty of stress in most human beings. Whether it’s from recreational activities such as sports to work all activities will place some sort of stress on the spine. Unfortunately, as stress builds up diseases and injury will eventually come about. Disc herniation, facet syndrome, and Degenerative Disc Disease are three common injuries that we have already covered in our past blogs. Today, we’ll go through another injury; spondylolisthesis.

 

The definition of spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is when a vertebra slips out of position. This slipping out of position is different from vertebra subluxation (something that we will cover soon). This is usually caused by fractures in the pars interarticularis. The pars interarticularis is the part of the vertebra which connects the facet with the body. Once that area fractures, only the ligaments will be holding on to the vertebra thus causing the vertebral body to slip (usually) forward over the vertebra below it. This is pretty easy to see on X-rays as the back of the vertebral body will not line up with the one below it. You can find pars fractures too as that will be an indication that there could be a sign of spondylolisthesis, however, it is very difficult to see with untrained eyes.

 

Spondylolisthesis – those at risk, symptoms, treatment

Spondylolisthesis often appears in adolescence and adult men. This is because during this time there will be the most stress put on the spine due to daily living. This fracture mostly occurs in the lumbar spine (low back) and usually seen in people who do plenty of physical work. Personally, I’ve seen a couple of builders who’ve suffered from this injury along with some footballers too. You would think people who extend their low back spine are more likely to obtain this injury, but that is not true. Anyone who puts enough stress on their spine is prone to an injury like this.

 

Spondylolisthesis is painful and annoying. This is because it is pressing on your spinal cord! The main highway for nerve transmission! Since it affects the spinal cord, it is likely that both limbs will feel numbness, tingling, and pain. If the spondylolisthesis happens in the lumbar spine which is the most commonplace, some other symptoms include persistent low back pain, weakness in the limbs, and tight buttocks, and hamstrings. Fortunately, most cases of spondylolisthesis will not need surgical treatment. However, therapy such as chiropractic allows it to heal and recover properly. Even this injury may not be caused by an extension, it is best to avoid any movement that requires this motion in the lumbar spine. This is because it encourages the slipped vertebra to slip even more resulting in more spinal cord irritation. It is best for rehabilitation exercises that consist of more neutral and spinal flexion! However, always consult before doing these exercises!

 

Conclusion

Spondylolisthesis, a spinal injury that is characterized as the vertebra slipping forward in reference to the one below. An injury is seen in adults and adolescents who are often active. The best way of treatment is always prevention. So see your chiropractor and take care of your spine!

 

Spondylolisthesis and its grades

 

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Subluxation – definitions and effects

Introduction

Chiropractors adjust your spine. We pride ourselves on ‘Locating, analyzing, and correcting vertebral subluxations’. So you’ve probably heard your chiropractor say ‘you are subluxated’ or ‘you have subluxations here and here’. Well it’s true you do most likely have subluxations but how many people actually understand the term subluxation and how it can impact the body? But before you carry on reading this, I would kindly ask you to please check out the blog ‘Chiropractic and the nervous system’. Reading this blog would give you a much bigger understanding of this current blog.

 

The term “subluxation”…

The definition of subluxation has changed throughout chiropractic history. This is because of research and knowledge updates over time. This can happen in any profession, some surgeries performed in the past are no longer done today due to updated findings. But anyhow, the first definition of a subluxation written by B.J Palmer (Developer of chiropractic) is this: “A condition of a vertebra that has lost its proper juxtaposition with the one above or the one below or both, to an extent less than a luxation, which occludes an opening, impinges nerves and interferes with the transmission of mental impulses from the brain.” To summarise this definition and to make it easier to understand, we can simplify it to 4 components that interfere with nerve flow. These 4 components are misalignment, occlusion, pressure, and interference.

However, research has shown that the idea was generally correct, some parts of the definition are no longer valid. For instance, we now know that the spine doesn’t misalign to the way that it actually ‘occludes an opening, impinges nerves and interferes’ with nerve transmission. Although it would physically make sense and it’s easier to visualize, it is just no longer true. So as a result, as time went on, many definitions of subluxations were developed to accurately describe what a subluxation is.

 

The “go-to” definition of subluxation

My personal favorite and the one I find most accurately describes subluxation is the one written by the Rubicon group. The Rubicon group currently defines subluxation as “a self-perpetuating, central segmental motor control problem that involves a joint, such as a vertebral motion segment, that is not moving appropriately thereby yielding ongoing maladaptive neural plastic changes that interfere with the central nervous system’s ability to self-regulate, self-organize, adapt, repair and heal.” That definition is surely a mouthful. Again I will simplify it to make it easier to comprehend.

In order to understand the definition, we must know that research has now proved that the stimulus to our brain comes from joint movement. The more appropriate or ‘normal’ the joint movement is, the more accurate the information to and from our brain will be. The Rubicon definition is just saying that when a joint is not moving the way it should, it causes deficiencies in the function of the central nervous system. This can lead to inaccurate and altered information traveling to and from the brain.

 

How do subluxations impact the body?

If you think subluxation is a matter of life and death, you are wrong. I’m sure not many people think that but I wanted to make that clear. Although, subluxation does play a major part in your nervous system. You would probably know that by now if you have read the definitions above.

The nervous system is the sole system that governs everything in our bodies. From basic and visible functions like typing and reading to more discrete things like keeping our heart beating and healing wounds. This is because the nervous system is the first system to notice any errors in the body. It then immediately corrects or heal the error by commanding different parts of the body to do its job. Did you know that the first system that develops in an embryo is the nervous system? This just goes to tell the importance of the nervous system.

So if we want to be functioning at our optimal best all our joints must be functioning appropriately. This can only be achieved through chiropractors as we are the only profession that can accurately ‘locate, analyze, and correct vertebral subluxations’. This gives our nervous system the best chance to accurately process and deliver messages. As a result, this allows us, humans, to adapt and change at its best for each individual.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, I have brought some clarity over what is a subluxation now. To summarise, a subluxation to me is a joint that is not moving appropriately. As a result, our nervous system is compromised and we won’t be able to function at our best state. Of course, there are other factors that cause subluxations too such as emotional and chemical stresses to the body. But we are going to save that for another time. The best people who do remove subluxations are chiropractors. And we, chiropractors, pride ourselves on facilitating a higher functioning community through enhancing the nervous system.

 

A normal vs. subluxated vertebrae

 

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Importance of a Healthy Spine

Introduction

I can’t believe that after nearly 40 blogs I have not talked about the importance of a healthy spine. That is kind of strange for a chiropractor. Our spines play a big function in our anatomy and our lives. It serves as a protection, anchor, and spring in our body. So today, I’m going to inform everyone who is reading this (if there are many) why it is important to maintain a healthy spine.

 

The protective effects of the spine

Our spine extends all the way up to the neck. It acts as a piece of armor and protects a couple of very important structures in our body; the spinal cord. The spinal cord is an organ that is responsible for relaying messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. It acts as the main highway and each nerve that goes to different parts of the body is like different exits. So if the spinal cord is disrupted it can cause major problems such as inability to control limbs, numbness, tingling, weakness and in some severe cases, we may even lose bladder and bowel control. This is why our spinal cord needs a protection by something important. Our spine serves as that protection, if our spines are healthier this way, the spinal cord will be better protected by the spine.

 

The “anchor” effects of the spine

The second function of the spine is to serve as an anchor. What I mean by that is, it provides plenty of supports for other muscles and other parts of the body. Big muscle groups like our Lats, traps, quadratus lumborum, levator scaps, psoas are just a few muscles that connect with the spine. This is because the spine is so well designed that it can handle plenty of stress. The reason why our spines are so stable is that it is surrounded by supporting ligaments! All these ligaments provide it with a solid structure allowing it to serve as an attachment point for different muscle groups. A lot of the time, if the spine is not healthy, it will lead to extra stress in the muscle group. This is due to the fact that the large muscle groups will have to provide extra stability. This causes the muscles to compensate and puts a greater workload on them. By having a healthier spine, there will not be extra stress placed on it, thus allowing to be the best anchor as it can be for having a long period of time.

 

The “spring” effects of the spine

Finally, the spine acts like a stress distributor. This can come from any type of stress, it can be stress from traumatic accidents such as car crashes, physical stress such as doing squats and jumping around, or even emotional stress. The spine has two main curves, these two curves are located in the neck and the low back and they look like a reverse ‘C’ shape. These two curves act like a spring and distribute stress. If we don’t have these curves, it’ll cause damage within the structures of the spine like the discs and ligaments. This is just like bending your knees when jumping off a table, if your knees don’t bend, it’ll cause even more damage within the structure.

 

Conclusion

So I just talked about 3 reasons why you should take care of your spine. If not, serious complications may occur over time. Taking care of your spine is like a long term investment. The more care you take, the more you will be able to enjoy your life for a longer period of time. So go to your local chiropractor and keep your spine as healthy as possible!

 

Spine and spinal chord

 

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Disc Herniations and Chiropractic

What is a disc/inter-verterbal disc?

Our spines are made up of bones called vertebrae. In between each of these bones, we have discs that cushion our vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. The disc has a tough outer layer, called the annulus, and a soft inner center called the nucleus.

What is a disc herniation?

A disc herniation is when the soft inner nucleus pushes out of the annulus into the spinal canal. The spinal canal only has limited space, so when the nucleus of the disc starts protruding into the spinal canal it can put pressure on the nerves within the canal. As a result, this can cause pain and other symptoms. Moreover, this can happen anywhere in the spine but usually occurs in the lower back or the neck.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the lower back?

Symptoms caused by a disc herniation in the lower back include lower back pain, numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts in the buttock and radiates down the leg and sometimes into the foot. Usually, only one side is affected. In addition, pain is usually exacerbated by standing, walking, sitting, and straightening the painful leg.

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the neck?

In the neck, symptoms include neck pain, pain in between the shoulder blades; numbness, pain, tingling, or burning. The burning starts down the arms and sometimes into the hands and fingertips. Moreover, the pain can be exacerbated by certain neck positions and movement. As well as coughing, sneezing, or straining. In addition, disc herniations can cause weakness in the affected limb.

An injury usually causes disc herniations to that area of the spine. Still, in people with degenerating discs, it can sometimes just take a small exertion or twist of the spine to cause a herniation. Risk factors for disc herniation include smoking, being overweight, incorrect lifting technique, repetitive strenuous activities, or a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, 30-50 years old is the most common age to develop a disc herniation, but it can happen outside of this age range. In addition, men are twice as likely as women to experience a disc herniation2.

How can chiropractic help with disc herniations?

There are many ways that chiropractic care can help with disc herniations.

Prevention:

Firstly, by preventing them from happening in the first place. Chiropractic is all about optimizing nervous system function. This helps to make sure all of the muscles around our spine are activated and working at their best. As a result, when muscles around our spine aren’t working properly, this leaves our spine vulnerable and more susceptible to a disc herniation if we sustain an injury.

Proper Movement and Support:

Secondly, chiropractic can prevent a disc herniation by making sure the joint is moving properly. Chiropractic restores proper joint biomechanics, and when joints are moving properly this decreases the likelihood of degeneration. Importantly, as degeneration is a major risk factor for disc herniation, this is an important part of preventing disc herniations.

Improves healing:

Thirdly, it is important to try and prevent disc herniations from happening in the first place. However, you could still sustain an injury that causes a disc herniation. Chiropractic is beneficial in the healing process for this. As chiropractic impacts the nervous system, it impacts our body’s healing capabilities. As a result, a nervous system free of interference is able to better heal injuries such as a disc herniation fast and effectively. Therefore, chiropractic returns normal movement and function to the spine.

In addition, along with proper exercises and stretches, a spine that is moving and functioning properly is more likely to heal properly. In conclusion, this decreases the chance of needing surgery for the disc herniation.

Other options

There are many different types of surgery for disc herniations, which can involve removing bone, removing discs, or fusing multiple levels of the spine together. However, this is usually the last resort for extreme cases, as it is extremely invasive. Moreover, it can cause further issues down the road. Chiropractic is safe and non-invasive, and can drastically reduce your chances of needing surgery. As a result, your body is able to heal naturally, resulting in less chance of re-injury and further complications.

References:

  1. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2019). Herniated disc – Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatments. https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Herniated-Disc
  2. Southern Cross. (2017, December). Herniated disc – symptoms, treatment, surgery. https://www.southerncross.co.nz/group/medical-library/herniated-slipped-disc-symptoms-treatment-surgery
  3. Grassi, R. (2019, June 26). Chiropractic care for degenerative disc disease. Spine Universe. https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/degenerative-disc/chiropractic-care-degenerative-disc-disease
  4. Pietrangelo, A. (2017, April 21). Herniated disc surgery: What to expect. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/herniated-disk-surgery#surgeries
  5. Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006). Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: A randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The Spine Journal, 6(2), 131-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.001

 

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Disc Herniation - Auckland Chiropractor

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

Chiropractic and Wellbeing of the Elderly Population

Introduction

Chiropractic can benefit anyone at any age, as we all have spines and nervous systems that need to be looked after. Chiropractic can provide many benefits to people in the elderly population. Therefore, it can have a positive effect on many aspects of their lives. This is especially important as we have an aging population, and need to look after these members of our community. Here are 4 ways chiropractic can help have a positive effect on the wellbeing of the elderly population.

 

Balance

As we age our balance progressively worsens. This creates an increased risk of falling. Falling has more serious consequences as we age because our bodies gradually become more fragile. Falls are a major health concern in the elderly population. They can cause injury, loss of independence and quality of life, and in serious cases even death. Falls account for over 80% of hospital admissions for injuries in people over 65. Moreover, they are the leading cause of injury related death for this population. In addition, falling has a high health care cost associated with them, which is only going to increase with our aging population.

Chiropractic allows better communication between the brain and the body. This helps with balance and preventing falls in multiple ways. Firstly, it increases our reaction time which makes us more likely to be able to catch ourselves if we trip. Secondly, it allows us to more accurately know where our body parts are in space, which leaves us less vulnerable to falling. And thirdly, it increases our ability to integrate our senses from external factors and respond to them faster and more appropriately.

Pain

Chiropractic is probably most well known for its ability to assist with musculoskeletal issues and pain. And this is no different in the elderly population. They may have pain for different reasons such as injury from a fall, or due to the degeneration process. By restoring the proper joint biomechanics in the spine, the spine moves better and allows the muscles in these areas to relax. As a result, this often leads to less pain. Moreover, chiropractic allows better communication between the brain and the body, which allows the body to heal itself better and faster if there are any injuries there causing pain. As many older adults are on multiple medications, chiropractic is a great, natural way to reduce the need for painkillers for musculoskeletal issues and pain. As a result, this may lead to reducing the overall side effects someone may experience from taking multiple medications2.

 

Mobility

Chiropractic restores normal movement of spinal joints as well as extremities. As a result, this not only improves motion for that joint but also an overall range of motion for the whole spine/extremity. Importantly, elderly people are then more likely to be able to continue with activities that they enjoy doing e.g. gardening, walking, playing with grandchildren. Moreover, when we return normal motion to these joints, we also take the stress away from them. In addition, when we decrease the stress on these joints and improve movement, we are also slowing the degenerative process3.

 

Mental Health

When you combine all of the above points, this has an amazing impact on the overall quality of life of older adults. Importantly, when they have increased mobility and decreased pain, they are more likely to be able to keep exercising and doing things they enjoy. Moreover, remain independent. Remaining independent is very important to older adults and has extremely positive effects on their mental health. In conclusion, the longer they can remain independent, the better their mental health and overall wellbeing will be. Moreover, chiropractic helps improve quality of sleep, all contributing to improved mental health and quality of life4.

 

 

 

References:

 

  1. Holt, K. R., Noone, P. L., Short, K., Elley, C. R., & Haavik, H. (2011). Fall risk profile and quality of life status of older chiropractic patients. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 34(2), 78-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.12.01078.
  2. Vindigni, D., Zark, L., Sundberg, T., Leach, M., Adams, J., & Azari, M. F. (2019). Chiropractic treatment of older adults with neck pain with or without headache or dizziness. Analysis of 288 Australian chiropractors’ self-reported views. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12998-019-0288-1.
  3. Brantingham, J., Snyder, R., & Biedebach, D. (1994, March 25). Spinal manipulation may help reduce spinal degenerative joint disease and disability. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/ChiroZine/ABSTRACTS/Degenerative_Joint_Disease_and_Disability.shtml.
  4. Ohio State Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Chiropractic care for seniors. Senior Citizens Guide. https://www.seniorcitizensguide.com/articles/southwestohio/chiropractic-care-for-seniors.htm.

 

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Nervous System & Chiropractic

Chiropractic is so much more than ‘cracking’ backs!

Contrary to what most people think, Chiropractic care is not just for neck and back pain. I suppose when we become sick, we don’t tend to say, “I think my nervous system needs fixing.” Although, this can exactly the case. To apprehend how powerful chiropractic care can be, an understanding of the importance of the nervous system is crucial.

The nervous system is so vital and central to controlling functioning of our bodies. Without it, our hearts would stop beating, our lungs will collapse and the body will be at a halt.

The two main parts of the nervous system are the brain and the spinal cord. Without the brain, we would not be able to give commands out to other areas in our body (eg limbs and organs.) And we would not be able to receive, process and interpret messages from the rest of the body. The spinal cord acts as the main pathway that delivers the messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa.  If we think about it, the spinal cord is just like the main highway and the messages from the brain leave the main highway to different parts of the body. The nervous system is what powers and governs the body. Without it, our bodies would not be able to function.

The Spinal Cord

So how does this relate to the spine? Well like we just mentioned above, the nervous system consists of two main parts; the brain and the spinal cord. It’s common knowledge that the skull protects the brain and spine protects the spinal cord. This means that the spine and the spinal cord have a very close relationship with each other. Sometimes life’s physical (repetitive movements, staying in one position too long, etc.) and mental (financial, relationships, anxiety, etc.) stressors can alter the spinal structure. This alteration in the structure will act as a roadblock for the nervous system in the spine. This is why achieving the best functioning spinal structure, is our goal at Revolution Chiropractic. We know that by having a healthy spine and good structure, we minimise musculoskeletal problems as well as maintaining a healthy nervous system.

So there you have it, Chiropractic is so much more than just pain. Only 10% or the nerves that run through the spine are related to back and neck pain. The other 90% is all about the information from the brain to and from the rest of the body. Hopefully, you are now aware that the nervous system governs every part of the body and how a healthy, well-structured spine is central to improving the brain-body connection.

Keeping your Nervous System at its optimum state

Chiropractic care helps keep the nervous system healthy. When your spine is misaligned, the messages that are carried through the spine aren’t firing properly, throwing the body out of whack. This can wreck havoc on daily life but also increase chances of developing various diseases later down the line. Having regular visits with your chiropractor can assist you in maintaining a healthy functioning nervous system and thus – healthier brain and body!

For treatment and a check up you can visit our Revolution Chiropractic and wellness clinic in Auckland, North Shore. 

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 !


 

Follow us on Instagram Or  Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn,  become a fan on Facebook.

 

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