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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Ways to Increase Endorphins

Don’t we all like to be happy all the time? During this time, I feel it would be a good opportunity to share some hope and bring some joy while we are locked in our own house! The main hormone that triggers happiness in our body is endorphin. So this week, let’s talk about a couple of natural (and legal) ways to release endorphins in our body.

 

  1. I’m pretty sure we’ve all hit a low point in our lives before, whether it’s a terrible break up, someone passing away or when you’ve lost all hope. During those times we may have stuffed ourselves with our favourite food. Eating is often a go to way for people to cheer up during these hard times. That is because eating your favour meal triggers your brain to release feel good hormones like endorphins! But don’t go overboard as we know there are bigger health complications due to obesity!
  2. This is one that I personally do whenever I’m not feeling at 100%. That is exercise. Exercise is a great way for you to forget about all your problems for a short period of time. That is because all forms of exercise triggers the body to release endorphin. This can be anything from cardio training, weight training, HIIT training or even sports. Perhaps it is a good time to release all the negative energy and use it as fuel to get fit and feel good at the same time.
  3. There is something special about Mother Nature. Nature literally mother’s us when we are down and helps us feel better. Going out doors is a great way to release endorphin. Especially, in a place which is nice and empty. Although it is difficult in this time right now, a simple method is to go out in your garden and enjoy the sunshine. That’ll have to do for the time being!
  4. LOL literally laugh out loud. Why do we laugh? Usually something happy or funny happens. When we laugh out loud, our brain releases so much endorphins that it can even increase our pain threshold. Use this opportunity to binge watch on a comedy like Friends or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Those shows will crack you up.

 

I have just listed 4 ways to raise endorphin levels while we are all being quarantined. These are difficult times but if we all just stick together as a nation, we are bound to go through this tough patch! Hopefully, these 4 tips will help you cheer your day up and bring you hope!

 

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Evening Exercise Benefits

 

Whether exercise is done first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or late in the evening, it should be a staple in your daily routine. We have previously discussed about the positives and the negatives of working out in the morning. So I thought I should do the same but later in the evening.

 

Positives:

  • Your muscles are already at prime function. During the day your body would’ve had time to warm up and lengthen the muscles to optimal tension. Once we prep the muscles , the output would be much more. As a result, you will be able to lift heavier, sprint faster and jumper higher. In another word, you will be at your physical peak in the late afternoon/evenings.
  • Exercising in the evening can help you build muscle faster than working out in the morning. Firstly, this is because you are getting the most out of your workout as mentioned in the point above. Secondly, research has shown that working out in the evening stimulates more testosterone production compared to working out in the morning. Testosterone is one of the key hormones for building muscles.
  • It is a great time to relieve stress. At the end of the day, we are often very tired from our daily chores such as work and tasks. Most of us will have a lot of stress built up, a great way to release stress is to work out. Studies have shown that exercise is great for mental health because it releases endorphins and dopamine. Both hormones are responsible for metal positivity.

 

 

Negatives:

  • Although it is a great way of releasing stress, it is also very tempting to skip evening workouts. This is because by the end of the day most of us are very tired and we would just rather go home, curl up and watch Netflix. The best way to get past this hurdle is to force yourself to go to the gym before you enter the house and once you enter, you can treat yourself with something good.
  • Intense exercise late in the evening can cause a spike in heart rate and adrenalin. This may alter your sleep quality in the evening. We can see this in competitive sports or any high intensity work out. This is because your body will be in a fight or flight response and it has not settled down yet. To counter this problem, the best way is to try do something relaxing before you sleep to allow your body to calm down. Stretching is one of the best ways to calm your nervous system down and it is a great way to warm down your body.
  • Distractions may occur. This is because it is during this time when people are usually free. This means there will be plenty of gatherings, hangout sessions or some recreational activities. Due to these social aspects, we may forget or prioritise those events before exercising. To work around this issue, try set specific days and time dedicated to your exercise program. Those days will not be altered against most events. This will help you to create a healthy habit for you to get into.

 

There are many positive and negatives when it comes to working out in the evening or morning. Personally, I’ve always been an early bird, so I like to exercise in the morning leaving the rest of the day free. I understand that not everyone is like me so I would say as long as you set yourself a specific time to exercise and stick to it, it is the most important thing.

 

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Whole Foods

 

This era has unlimited food on the supermarket shelves. We’ve got plenty of meats, vegetables, grains, oats, dairy products etc. However, not everything on the shelves is safe to eat in the long run. But there will always be one part of the supermarket that’s always going to be reliable and delicious; that’s whole foods.

 

So what are whole foods? Whole foods are a group of foods that has not been processed or went through minimum processing before being put on the shelves. Previously fresh meat and oils were also considered in the category. However, now that some meat contain antibiotics and hormones while we now know that even some oils are heavily processed before distributed. So nowadays, whole food are mostly fruits and vegetables that have not been processed or refined. Oats, legumes, beans are some of them.

 

cont.

 

So why are whole foods recommended so much? Firstly, they are not processed. This means, there are no additives in there. This means that everything is natural. The human body is made for digesting natural foods. Due to these additives and extra processing, it causes gut inflammation. Since out gut is inflamed, it’ll slow down any other healing process and make it look like there is a belly. Secondly, it decreases the chance of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems.

This comes back to it being unprocessed again. When processing food plenty of chemicals, MSGs, fats and oils are added to a product. This chemical mixture is like a time bomb that is going to explode in your body. A build-up of these may causes unhealthy reactions in your body leading to cancers. Finally, they overflow with healthy nutrients. These food were literally designed for the human race to keep us going! They are filled with everything we need. Don’t get me wrong, supplements are extremely useful when used correctly. But most of our daily nutrition is already lie in whole foods!

 

So next time you pick up something from the supermarket, think bigger picture than is it yum? Whole food can be just as tasty if prepped right! So make sure you read the label carefully and choose what’s best for you body!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Slow Twitch vs. Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers

Every living animal on this planet has muscle fibers. There are some animals who can move for long distances like birds migrating through different seasons and there are some animals that can be very fast and explosive like a lion. That’s the same with human beings, some human beings are very good at long distance sports while some are 100m speedsters. This is because there are two types of muscle fibers in our body; slow and fast twitch fibers. They serve very different purposes.

 

Slow twitch fibers, also known as Type I muscle fibers, are muscle fibers that contract slowly. Due to the slow contraction, they do not generate a lot of power. Slow twitch fibers are a lot more efficient at using energy and due to that, they are fatigue resistance. This is because these fibers tend to be a lot smaller and are surrounded by capillaries. Many capillaries surround them, so they support aerobic metabolism as there will be more oxygen supply. This results in muscles that can work for a longer period of time with less energy output. This type of muscle fiber is most ideal for people who do long distance or stamina based sports such as marathons and triathlons. They grow through similar types of training over a period of time.

cont.

There are two types of fast twitch muscle fibers; moderate (Type IIA) and intense (TypeIIB). Type IIB being the larger one. However, both these fibers are larger in comparison to the Type I slow twitch fibers. Due to the larger size, they are able to produce more force however they need more oxygen to sustain them. Unfortunately, these large twitch muscle fibers are not surrounded by as many capillaries as the slow twitch fiber which makes them easier to fatigue. These muscle fibers are more effective for people who often do more explosive movements such as sprinters, weight lifters and jumpers. These muscles grow through resistance training.

 

What’s very interesting is even though if the sport demands mostly slow twitch fibers, small amounts fast twitch fibers are also recruited. This is because in the action of each movement a small amount of explosive strength comes out. In sports that require plenty of fast twitch fiber, once the primary fiber fatigues, your body will naturally push the small twitch fiber to do carry on the job. This is why it is important to train both types of muscle fibers.

 

The amount of fast twitch and slow twitch fiber is predetermined by genetics and at a young age. However, it is not said that they cannot be changed. Many of this is determined by the amount and type of training done. That being said changing between the two types of fast twitch fiber and from fast twitch to slow twitch can be achieved with much more ease compared to altering from slow to fast twitch fiber. However, this does not mean it cannot be done. As long as hard work reigns supreme, and by being consistent with the type of training.

 

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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! 🙂

Chiropractor Auckland

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 1

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: My number one tip or proactive step for raising the health status of your children is to FIND AN INSPIRING, RECOMMENDED WELLNESS CHIROPRACTORs and have your child’s nervous system regularly checked.

Chiropractors and children

I’m a chiropractic baby and cannot emphasize enough how chiropractic adjustments with a wellness chiropractor are a parent’s secret weapon when desiring to raise strong, healthy children. If you have never seen a chiropractor or have any questions regarding safety and effectiveness, please read my post on The Legitimacy of Chiropractic. Chiropractic for babies and children is gentle, safe, and effective, and in the spectrum of all health professionals – chiropractors have an incredibly excellent safety record. More and more parents worldwide use their chiropractor as their trusted health resource.

While chiropractic may be able to help with many health issues, chiropractors do not treat colic or asthma. For example — chiropractic adjustments free-up the nerve “communication channels”. The body is then better able to address and clear health challenges.

Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that the way our children enter the world may have a direct effect on their health. Spine and nerve distress can, at times, arise from restricted or abnormal positioning in the uterus and also from the journey through the birth canal or potentially during the delivery process itself. In my book Well Adjusted Babies 2nd Edition I discuss that many factors may cause birth trauma, including:

Birth trauma causes:

1 False labour

2 A long or very short labour

3 Poor positioning of the infant’s head and neck as they journey through the birth canal

4 Failure of the mother’s cervix to dilate

5 The use of drugs to increase contraction intensity

6 The use of vacuum extraction or forceps

7 Caesarean section delivery because of lack of progress

8 Cord around the baby’s neck

9 Foetal distress.

10 An awkward position within the uterus before birth

 Positioning and health

Left unresolved, this spine and nerve dysfunction may place further stress on the communication systems of the body. Birth trauma can affect a baby’s nervous system, which in turn (amongst other things) may then affect digestion and an infant’s capacity to breastfeed or sleep well. The Journal of Neuroscience (2008) states that, although the first year of life may be a period of developmental vulnerability, it may also be a period in which therapeutic interventions would have the most significant positive effect.

Sometimes children have the nerve and spinal distress that results in their head being tilted to one side so that one ear sits higher than the other (refer to picture below). At other times a child’s head may be rotated or turned more to one side so that they display a preference for having their head turned this way.

A misshapen head is not merely a cosmetic issue; it is a brain stem issue. If your child’s head looks uneven or you notice flat areas, this can indicate restrictions between the skull and the soft layers that cover the brain and spinal cord. A healthy mind requires good movement of the skull and spine; when this movement is impaired, the brain and nerve function is impaired.

There is a myth that an odd-shaped child’s head is of no concern and will ‘right itself’ with time. However, anomalies of shape can be the first indication that your child is susceptible to developmental delay. Chiropractors can identify and fix this immediately.

For older children, nerve interference may play out as developmental delays, digestion issues, asthma, behavioural problems, low energy, inability to concentrate, headaches, etc – the list is endless.

Malleability

By the age of seven, a child is likely to have had hundreds of falls and while children seem to have a “bounce-back” resilience, left uncorrected the body tries to hide subtle damage that potentially leads to poor postural and neurological function. We need to keep in mind that each seemingly insignificant slip and fall our child has does ADD up, and that as the branch bends, so grows the tree. With a subluxated spine (where misaligned vertebrae may affect the function of the nervous system), our child’s “communication highway” no longer functions at 100%, potentially altering the way they can think, feel and behave.

I often explain to patients that having a subluxation is like driving a car with the hand brake on. You can certainly still drive the car but you don’t get anywhere — very effectively. And after some time, all sorts of engine issues arise. Chiropractors focus on increasing the neurological function of your child by removing nerve interference which may hinder nerve communication.

Chiropractors recommendations

I encourage parents to have newborn babies checked by chiropractors very soon after birth. Special techniques exist, that carefully correct any subluxated areas of the spine. Many chiropractors have a special focus on family health and work with babies and young children. If you haven’t had your child checked by a chiropractor then find a recommended family wellness chiropractor in your area.

If you are already taking your child to a chiropractor but feel that they are not thriving in a manner that you hoped then consider if you are only seeing your chiropractor sporadically, — investments in health work best when made consistently and regularly. I believe that children do well to be checked each fortnight, your child may not need to be adjusted each time but a quick “check-up” is an important health ritual. Most chiropractors have fee systems that make regular care viable.

People see chiropractors regularly because they feel and experience how adjustments add vitality, immune strength and clarity into their lives.

It’s like eating clean, healthy food — every cell in your body tells you, “this is a good thing.” Ask other parents who take their child to see a chiropractor about their experiences — worldwide, typically parents delight in the results they notice in their children.

Looking for a Family Wellness Chiropractor in Auckland?

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How To Avoid Burnout (Stay Sane!)

You have experienced a decrease in focus, memory, and clear thoughts. This is a sign of what’s known as mental fatigue or burnout. It can be linked to many things in your life including sleep, stress, and even diet!

The biggest contributor to all this is really at the core of how society runs today with non-stop activities and connectivity. It’s hard to catch a break! And rather than just eliminate everything that you know, why not try to increase your resilience and build some coping strategies to ensure that you can get the most out of what you do.

Structural chiropractors are known for improving the function of the spinal joints and other joints in the body to help your nervous system thrive, but what good is that if your life is under an emotional thunderstorm and mental breakdown? Structural chiropractors look at the whole person and offer lifestyle advice, as well as recognize who requires further investigation by another health care provider.

Here are four burnout resiliency strategies that you can include into your life:

  1. Sleep: aim for 7-9 hours as it seems to be the optimal range for proper recovery of the brain and body. Be sure to check out our blog on how to sleep properly to support the structure of your spine.
  2. Exercise: increasing exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of depression and anxiety. It does this by getting you out of the house and releasing endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that help you feel good and confident. If you’re hesitant about doing exercise on your own – join a class!
  3. Nutrition: reducing the amount of inflammation in your diet can help your reap huge health benefits. Inflammation-inducing foods are unique for each individual and may require form trial and error, but can often be found in processed meats, juice or pop and even gluten. If you really don’t know where to start, speak to a nutritionist.
  4. Meditate: If you flick through some past blogs you’ll see that we’ve started to mention meditation as a positive health strategy quite a bit. And this is with good reason. Meditation is up and coming and many people are now experiencing the benefits of taking the time to step back and relax their mind for a bit as it can produce greater productivity and efficiency later. Even 10 minutes a day can do wonders for your health. It can be in any way you’d like; focusing on the breath, breathing techniques, a stroll outside. Find what works for you and schedule it in!

Summary

At the end of the day, the only person that can help yourself is you. And when you’re feeling foggy, unmotivated, and burnout it can be hard sometimes and it can be a downward spiral. The best way to address that is to make a decision to do something about (these strategies) and the rest will figure itself out as you start to take time and take care of yourself and your mental health. Contact one of our structural chiropractors if you have any questions.

 

Chiropractor Auckland

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Neck Pain – How To Get Rid Of It

If you’re sitting in front of a computer or desk for most of the day then you’ve probably run into the problem of annoying neck pain. Throw in a bunch of stress, poorly designed chairs and desks and you’ve pretty much got a recipe for neck pain that likes to visit you regularly.

With this kind of behaviour being the norm in every day life neck pain has become a common problem with multiple possible causes. But with the help of your structural chiropractor and some self-care, you can nip that neck pain in butt so that it stops visiting, visits less often or at least doesn’t stay over as long.

Here are our 3 tips for neck pain:

  1. Stretch – Prevent Neck Pain:

    muscles in the upper back and neck tend to contract and stay contracted for long periods of time. Over that time, your brain forgets what length they were in the relaxed state and keeps them short. Stretches can help remind the brain that these muscles aren’t meant to be that short for such a long period of time!Try this stretch out for your levator scapulae muscles:
    a) Rotate your head to 45 degrees.
    b) Place your hand on the same side behind your head and bring your head down toward your knee on the same side. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides. Do that 3 times.

    For a deeper stretch, push your head back into your hand and then relax into the stretch further.REMINDER: do this gently and DO NOT pull your head too hard. Always ease into it and start with the weight of your hand as the downward force to start.

  1. Strengthen:

    A great exercise we love to give people with neck pain is the chin tuck. It helps strengthen the deep muscles in your neck and train the brain to hold your head in a more ideal position in relation to gravity.a) Looking straight ahead place your index and middle finger on your chin.
    b) Pushing back with your two fingers retract your chin back to create double chin.

  • Hold for 5 seconds and relax and repeat that 10 times.
  1. Move:

    The main source of most neck pain is that your neck is held in a position for too long. Throughout your day keep your neck joints moving. Remember: movement is life for joints and taking the time to go for a walk or even looking up and down. Putting your neck in positions it hasn’t seen for a while does wonder for preventing neck pain.

Along with all this advice, if you have stubborn neck pain, consult with one of our structural chiropractors to help put a stop to it and get back to doing your thing.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Deadlift Foot Placement (Part 1)

Background

There is nothing quite like the feeling of picking up a heavy weight in your hands. As with any movement or exercise in the gym, when repeatedly done incorrectly the deadlift can lead to some issues.

Although the deadlift appears simple, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. The first is foot position. It’s not uncommon for me to see people in the gym deadlifting with their feet in too wide a stance. I’m referring to the conventional deadlift here, not the sumo deadlift where the feet are supposed to be placed in a wide stance.

How and Why

Having your feet too far apart will mean that your knees will cave inward to make room for your arms to grab the bar. This is not good as it will stress the ligaments of the knees, increasing your chance of injury or at the very least, decreasing your power output during the lift.

Exact foot position will vary slightly from person to person but for general consideration, if your stance is too narrow you may struggle to engage the glutes at the top of the lift. If the stance is too wide, as mentioned it will push the knees inward.

A good place to start is with feet hip width apart (please note that this is narrower than shoulder width apart!). With the feet in this position they will be directly beneath the hips, allowing you to grab the bar with your hands shoulder width apart.

Image result for feet hip width apart for deadlift

There are dozens of other things to look out for when deadlifting. But getting your feet in the right place is a good place to start.

Chiropractor Auckland

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