Interesting Facts About Chiropractic

Chiropractic is such an interesting and fascinating practice, and there is so much to know about it. Whether you have never been to a chiropractor before and are wanting to know what it is all about, or if you have been going for years and just want to know more, there are so many interesting things to learn about chiropractic. There is so much more to chiropractic than just helping with things like back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Below I have compiled a list of interesting facts about chiropractic for those who want to know what it is all about!

  1. Chiropractic helps to look after the nervous system. Areas of your spine can become misaligned over time due to the numerous stressors in our lives. These areas of misalignments can interfere with the nervous system that runs down through the spine. These areas of interference impact the way that the brain and the body are communicating, and can stop them both from functioning at their best. This can lead to things like clumsiness, low energy, poor sleep, and slower healing times. Chiropractors are able to find these misaligned areas of your spine and perform chiropractic adjustments on them. These adjustments get the joints moving in the correct way, which reduces the interference to the nervous system. This allows your brain and body to be able to communicate more effectively and for both of them to function at their best. If you want a healthy, well functioning nervous system, you should definitely think about seeing a chiropractor!
  2. The chiropractic profession has been around for over 120 years! The first chiropractic adjustment was performed on September 18, 1895 by Daniel David Palmer (the founder of chiropractic) on Harvey Lillard in Davenport, Iowa. Harvey Lillard was a deaf janitor, who had lost his hearing due to an accident 17 years prior. After this adjustment, Harvey Lillard’s hearing miraculously returned! While this was the first chiropractic adjustment, manual therapies and manipulation of the spine have been around for centuries. Daniel David Palmer then went on to open the first chiropractic school in 1897 in Davenport, Iowa. If you would like to know more about the history of chiropractic, have a look at this website here: https://www.acatoday.org/About/History-of-Chiropractic
  3. The word chiropractic comes from the Greek words ‘cheir’ which means hand, and ‘praktos’ which means done, i.e. done by hand. Since it was given its name the chiropractic profession has grown and evolved, and there are now many different chiropractic techniques, some that use more than just hands to adjust, such as using an activator instrument, or using different tables to help assist with the adjustments. 
  4. Chiropractors are highly knowledgeable and go through extensive training, earning the title of ‘Doctor’ at the completion of their studies. In New Zealand, chiropractors have to do a minimum of 5 years of studies to earn their degree. This includes 1 year of basic sciences, and then 4 years of specific chiropractic training, which is done at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, which is located in Mount Wellington, Auckland. This education goes further than just teaching about the spine and nervous system, chiropractors learn all about all of the different body and organ systems, and all the things that can go wrong with them. On top of all their studies, they also do a lot of practical learning, and this starts from the very beginning of their training. In the final 2 years of their studies, they do an internship where they provide care to the public. All chiropractors have done a minimum of 500 patient visits before they can enter the profession as a qualified chiropractor. All of this combined means that chiropractors in New Zealand are highly knowledgeable, and are equipped to provide you with excellent quality care. 
  5. Chiropractors can see anyone of any age. You are never too young or too old to receive chiropractic care. Newborn babies benefit greatly from chiropractic care, as the birth process can be quite traumatic on their little bodies. Chiropractic care for babies is very different and interesting from chiropractic care for adults, in fact it is extremely gentle and effective. It helps make sure their bodies and nervous systems are working at their best, which helps them to grow up strong and healthy. Chiropractic is also great for the elderly. It is never too late to start looking after your spine. Chiropractic has many great benefits for the elderly, one of the biggest being that it helps improve balance. This is extremely important as falls and the injuries due to these can be extremely debilitating for elderly adults. It can also help with mobility and therefore independence. Chiropractic is also great for anyone in between. Kids, teenagers, pregnant people, desk workers, tradies, and everyone can benefit from chiropractic care and looking after their spines! The care is always catered to the specific person, so that you always get the most out of your care. 
  6. Chiropractic care isn’t just for humans which is interesting, in fact, anyone with a spine and nervous system can benefit from being adjusted. Animals can benefit greatly from being adjusted. Dogs, cats, and horses are all regularly adjusted by chiropractors, and even crazy animals such as tigers and penguins have been adjusted by chiropractors before. If your pet is having issues with pain or mobility, you may want to consider taking them to a chiropractor. It can work wonders for them!
  7. Chiropractic care is great for athletic performance, and is used by many top professional athletes. Famous athletes including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all use chiropractic care to stay at the top of their game.
  8. Chiropractic care has been shown to improve core muscle activation. This helps to stabilise your spine and can help to prevent spinal injuries from occurring. 
  9. There are over 100,000 chiropractors worldwide! And this number is rising as more and more people learn about the power of chiropractic and seek out chiropractors for their services. 
  10. Over a million adjustments are performed every single day around the globe!

Immunity

Winter is just around the corner and the change of season tends to bring lower immune system function and illness along with it. Getting sick can be a real inconvenience as you may have to take time off work, and it just leaves you feeling weak and tired. However, there are things you can do to help boost your immune system to help fight off those winter ills and chills, so that you can go about your life without the inconvenience. Here is a breakdown of what your immune system is, and some ways that you can help strengthen your immune system. 

Immunity is your ability to protect yourself from pathogens and toxins. Your immune system if made up of 2 different parts, your innate immunity, and your adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is the type of immunity you are born with. It is the fast acting and non specific part of your immune system, which means that it responds exactly the same to each potential threat it encounters. The innate immune system is made up of 3 parts. The first is physical barriers that protect the body from invasion of external factors. This is things like your skin and eyelashes. The second part is chemical barriers that work to destroy potentially harmful pathogens. This includes your tears, mucous, and stomach acid. The third part is your cellular defences, which identify foreign substances and pathogens that are potentially dangerous, and works to destroy them. This cellular defence is non specific, which is what differentiates it from your adaptive immunity. 

Adaptive immunity is your acquired immunity to specific pathogens. The first time you are infected with a specific pathogen your body starts to create cells that work to detect and destroy that specific pathogen. This can take some time for this process to happen, which is why you will be sicker for longer the first time you are infected with a specific pathogen. If you are later exposed to the same pathogen, your body has already learned how to respond to it, and has developed specific cells that know how to detect and destroy this pathogen. This means that after the first time you are infected with something, your body’s response will be significantly faster, as your immune system has already learned how to fight off that specific pathogen. If you want some more information on the different parts of the immune system and how it works, have a read of this article: https://www.technologynetworks.com/immunology/articles/innate-vs-adaptive-immunity-335116.  

Chiropractic

There is so much more to chiropractic than just helping back pain, chiropractic care has actually been shown to help improve immune system function. Chiropractic care is all about removing interference from the nervous system. Because the spine and nervous system have such a close relationship, misalignments of the spine can cause interference in how the nervous system is functioning. Chiropractors are able to find these areas of the spine that are misaligned and perform an adjustment, which removes the interference from the nervous system and allows it to function properly. When the nervous system is free of interference it allows the brain and the body to communicate effectively. This allows the brain to better to detect what is happening in the body, and allows the immune system to work faster and better. Decreased nervous system interference also allows our brain and nervous system to better coordinate all body systems. When the immune and nervous system can coordinate their responses more efficiently this keeps our body more resilient and healthy. The more coordinated our immune and nervous systems are, the more likely are to beat sickness and infection fast.

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans, and plays a large role in the function of the immune system. Vitamin C supports the cellular functions of many parts of both the innate and the adaptive immune system. Vitamin C supports the barrier function of cells against pathogens, and helps with microbial killing. It is needed for clearance of dead cells at the sites of infection, which helps minimise potential tissue damage. It is also essential in many of the other functions of the immune system. Vitamin C deficiency can result in impaired immune system function and higher susceptibility to infections. If you do become infected with something this can further decrease the amount of vitamin C in your system, leaving you vulnerable to further sickness or infection. Vitamin C supplementation has been shown to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections. It is a good idea to supplement vitamin C throughout the winter months to help strengthen your immune system. If you do become sick, increase your vitamin C intake even more, as your body will be using up a lot more vitamin C as it fights the sickness, and vitamin C will help you to recover in a shorter amount of time. If you would like some more information on the science of how vitamin C works in your system, have a read of this article here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/.

Sleep 

Sleep and immunity are very closely related, so getting enough sleep is important in staying healthy. Not getting enough sleep or not getting good quality sleep has been linked to having a higher susceptibility to sickness. It is important for adults to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. If you are sick you should try and get even more sleep than normal, as the extra sleep will help your immune system to fight the illness. 

Food

What you are eating plays a role in the strength of your immune system. Make sure you are eating mostly whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods are high in the nutrients and antioxidants that your body needs to fight harmful pathogens. The antioxidants in these foods also help to decrease inflammation in your system, which will help to reduce sickness. It is also important that you limit added sugars, as these have been shown to contribute to increased weight and obesity, which can in turn increase the likelihood of you getting sick. 

Exercise

Moderate exercise has been shown to boost immune system function, and helps your immune system cells regenerate more regularly.

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight 

Keeping a Healthy Weight

Looking after your weight isn’t just about the way you look, there are many reasons that it is important to maintain a healthy weight, so that your body can stay healthy and function properly. Being overweight can cause numerous health issues in the long run, so it is important to keep excess weight off to ensure you can be at your healthiest. 

Obesity and Heart Disease 

Your weight plays a large part in the health of your heart, and being overweight can have significant negative effects on your heart health. There are many different ways that being overweight can cause issues with your heart. The first is by changing your cholesterol levels. Being overweight causes an increase in low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. Having consistently high levels of LDL causes fatty build up in the arteries, meaning the heart is having to work harder to pump blood, and over time this can start to damage the heart. Not only does being overweight increase LDL levels, but it also decreases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, also known as the ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL is important in the removal of LDL from your system, and works to reduce the risk of heart disease, therefore having low levels of this will increase your chances of heart disease. Another way it can cause issues with your heart is by raising blood pressure. People who are overweight require more blood to transport and supply oxygen and nutrients to their bodies. This then causes an increase in blood pressure, which is needed to move the blood around the body. Prolonged raised blood pressure places a lot of extra stress on the heart, which can cause damage, and can even lead to a heart attack. Heart attacks are more common in those who are overweight. Overweight individuals also have higher levels of troponin T in their system. Troponin T is an enzyme that is released by injured heart muscle cells. Studies have shown that those with a higher body mass index (BMI) also had higher levels of troponin in their system, and this is associated with higher levels of heart failure. One of the studies showed that those who were both obese and had high troponin levels were 9 times more likely to develop hearth failure than those with a lower weight and no detectable levels of troponin. All of these different factors show that being overweight can cause significant damage to your heart in many ways. 

For more information have a look at one of these websites – https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/weight-a-silent-heart-risk

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/metabolic-and-bariatric-surgery-blog/2019/march/obesity-and-heart-disease

Obesity and Diabetes 

Obesity leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes type 2. Obesity is caused by an imbalance in the energy that is being consumed by a person in the form of food, and by the energy that is being used by our bodies. This is usually due to dietary and lifestyle habits. Often those who are overweight are consuming foods with high sugar contents. This leads to excess energy in the body that does not get used, so it is stored as fat, and leads to increased blood sugar levels. While our bodies can process high sugar loads in the short term, it is not designed to do it over a prolonged period of time. Eventually these high sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, which means that the body can not properly move glucose into its cells. This causes the blood sugar levels to rise, and the pancreas then makes more insulin to try and deal with this problem. This can eventually cause the pancreas to wear out and stop working properly, and the pancreas is no longer able to make enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. This is when type 2 diabetes is developed. This can lead to issues such as frequent infections, fatigue, blurred vision, slower healing times, increased thirst, increased hunger, and frequent urination. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is significantly higher in those who are overweight, and losing weight is usually an important part in treating those with type 2 diabetes. 

For more information have a look at one of these websites – 

https://www.comvita.co.nz/blog-article/the-link-between-type-2-diabetes-and-obesity/1400410

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/weight-diabetes.html

Obesity and Joint Health 

The more weight you carry on your body, the more stress you are placing on joints such as your knees and your spine. A study has been done that has shown that for every extra kilogram of weight you carry, you are actually putting 4 extra kilograms of pressure through joints such as your knees. This excess pressure on the joint eventually starts to cause wear and tear on the joints, and this can eventually lead to degeneration. Degeneration causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joints, and makes it a lot harder to go about your day. The more extra weight you carry, the more stress goes though your joints, and the faster the degeneration process is going to happen. Losing even just a few kilograms of weight can significantly reduce the amount of stress being placed on your joints, which will prevent wear and tear and therefore degeneration from happening. 

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Now that you know the dangers of carrying around too much excess weight, you may want some ideas on how to start losing it. Below are some ways to get you started on your weight loss journey, but if you are wanting extra help, speak to your chiropractor or your GP about the best way to go about losing weight in a safe and healthy way. 

  • Walking – walking is an easy way to start burning energy, and best of all, its free!
  • Swimming – swimming is a great form of exercise, and an extra bonus is that it doesn’t place stress on your joints like most forms of exercise. This is especially useful if you already have some degeneration in your joints and are wanting a lower impact form of exercise. You could also try water walking or water aerobics. 
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables – instead of filling up on fried foods and foods filled with sugar and lots of processing, fill up instead on lots of fruit and vegetables. Diet is one of the biggest factors in maintaining a healthy weight so it is important you are putting good foods into your body. 
  • Watch what you are drinking – things like fizzy drinks, energy drinks, and alcohol all can make you gain weight. Minimising how much of these you are drinking and replacing them with water will help you minimise weight gain, and will help with your overall health!
  • Get enough sleep – if you are struggling to lose weight, you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep, as not getting enough sleep can cause your body to hold on to excess weight.

Posture and the Health of your Spine

We all know that good posture is important, but do you actually know why it is so important? Good posture not only looks a lot better, but it plays a very important role in the health of your spine. Poor posture places a lot of excess stress on the joints of the spine, and can actually lead to an earlier onset of osteoarthritis in the spine. This means that the opposite is also true, that if you have good posture you can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in your spine.

How can poor posture lead to osteoarthritis in the spine?

Good posture ensures that the spine is nicely stacked so that force is evenly distributed throughout it as you go about your day. If your posture starts to change it also changes the way that force is distributed throughout the spine, and causes excess stress to be placed on certain areas. This also increases how hard the surrounding muscles are having to work. For example, your head should sit in line with your shoulders.

Heads are very heavy so having them sitting over your shoulders means that the force can go through the spine evenly and isn’t placing extra stress on any of the joints or muscles. However it is very common these days for people’s heads to move forward and sit in front of the shoulders. When the head comes forward the weight is no longer going directly through the spine. The head is now hanging forward, and the muscles down the back of the neck are having to work extra hard to hold up the weight of the head. Over time, these muscles can start to become fatigued and struggle to hold up the weight of your head. When these muscles start to fatigue the weight of the head has to go somewhere. The weight then starts to go through the joints of the spine, but in a way that is uneven and causes a lot of stress on the joints. This excess stress leads to wear and tear of the joints, and can eventually lead to osteoarthritis of the spine.

You may associate osteoarthritis with older people, but due to prolonged poor posture it is starting to become common in younger people, even as early as people in their 20’s. And this doesn’t just happen in the neck, any changes to the posture of your spine increases the load on the surrounding muscles, and places excess stress on the spine. This can cause osteoarthritis anywhere in the spine. If you already have osteoarthritis, poor posture is just going to aggravate this, and worsen any symptoms you may be having, such as pain or stiffness.

How does good posture help with spinal health?

As discussed above, poor posture can have a negative effect on your spinal health, but the opposite is also true, maintaining good posture can help to protect the health and longevity of your spine. Good posture ensures that your spine is nicely stacked, and reduces the amount of stress going through the individual joints of your spine. It also ensures that muscles are only having to work as hard as they need to, making sure they are not overworked and eventually becoming fatigued. This means that the muscles can effectively support the joints of the spine, and help to further minimise the stress being placed on those joints. This stops wear and tear happening to the joints, greatly reducing the chances of osteoarthritis developing. If you already have osteoarthritis, unfortunately good back posture cant reverse it, but what it can do is greatly slow down the progression of it, and can reduce the amount and the severity of the symptoms you may be experiencing.

How can chiropractic help with good posture?

Poor posture often comes from weakness of the stabilising muscles of the spine. Weakness of these muscles allows your body to shift into a position that is not healthy for the spine. These muscles usually become weak due to lack of movement of the spinal joints. Over time spinal joints can become locked up and misaligned, causing them to stop moving properly. This lack of motion in the joint means that the attached stabilising muscles are not being moved or used. Muscles need motion to stay strong.

If you put your arm in a cast for a couple of months, all the muscles in your arm will become weak and lazy, well the same thing happens in your spine when the spinal joints stop moving, the muscles become weak and lazy. When they are weak they are not able to hold your spine in a good upright posture. In order for the muscles to get strong again you need to get movement into your spinal joints. This is where a chiropractor can help. Chiropractors are specifically trained to locate these areas of misalignments within the spine and back, and are able to correct them using chiropractic adjustments. The adjustment helps to restore the natural movement of the spinal joints, which then activates the spinal muscles. Book an appointment with us today!

If your spinal muscles have been weak for a long time it may take a while to rebuild the strength of the spinal muscles, and this is done through regular chiropractic appointments. After going through a care plan your spinal muscles will be a lot stronger, and therefore better able to support your spine and hold it in a good posture. Chiropractors can also help by prescribing you with stretches and exercises to help with the strength of your larger muscle groups, that also help you to maintain a good posture.

So overall good posture is essential in maintaining good spinal health, and poor posture can lead to the early onset of osteoarthritis in the spine. Chiropractic is a great way to naturally and effectively improve your posture, in order to keep your spine at its best possible health!

The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of Sleep 

We all know what sleep is and that it is important for us, but you may not know as much about sleep as you think you do. Sleep is a state that the mind and body goes into where you have altered consciousness, decreased sensory activity, decreased muscle activity, inhibition of most of your voluntary muscles, and a decreased ability to react to stimuli. 

Stages of Sleep:

Not all sleep is the same. As you sleep your body and brain go through different stages of sleep. Here is a breakdown of the different stages. Sleep is broken down into 2 main types, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and non-REM sleep, which is then broken down into 3 separate stages. 

Stage 1:

stage 1 of non-REM sleep is the transition from being awake to being asleep. This is a short stage of sleep that only lasts a few minutes, and you are only in a very light sleep. During this stage your breathing, heart rate, and eye movements start to slow. Your muscles start to relax, and as they are doing this they may twitch occasionally. Your brainwaves start to slow and change from their normal daytime wakefulness patterns. 

Stage 2:

stage 2 of non-REM sleep is still a light sleep stage, that is preparing you to enter a deep sleep. This stage usually lasts between 10-60 minutes. During this stage your breathing and heart rate slow even further than what they did in stage one, your eyes stop moving completely, and your body temperature drops. During this stage your brain waves spike and fall, and it is believed that this pattern of brain waves helps to develop your cortex in your brain, and to consolidate your memories. 

Stage 3:

stage 3 is the final stage of non-REM sleep, and is when you finally enter a deep sleep. This stage usually lasts between 20-40 minutes, and you spend more time in this stage of sleep during the first half of the night. As you continue sleeping for longer this stage will progressively get shorter, as you spend more time in REM sleep. During this stage your breathing and heart rate slow even more, to the lowest levels during your sleep, and your muscles are extremely relaxed. It is harder to wake someone in this stage of sleep.  This stage of sleep is the most important for getting a deep and restful night’s sleep. This is the stage of sleep where your body recovers and grows, and helps to strengthen your immune system and other body processes. 

Stage 4:

stage 4 is also known as rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep. During this stage of sleep your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind your closed eyelids. Your brain activity increases and becomes more similar to what is seen during wakefulness. Your breathing rate increases and becomes irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase. This is the stage of sleep where most of your dreaming occurs. Your arm and leg muscles are paralysed during this stage to prevent you from acting out your dreams. REM sleep is important for functions such as memory, learning, and creativity. You first enter REM sleep at about 90 minutes into your sleep. After that, the REM stages progressively get longer throughout the night. 

For more information on sleep stages have a look at this website: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/stages-of-sleep

Why sleep is important:

I’m sure we’re all aware of how important sleep is. You can feel the difference in how your brain and body feels between a good and a bad night’s sleep. Sleep is important for the brain as it gives it time to rest. This is need so it able to function correctly when you are awake. If you do not give your brain enough time to rest, you will notice a decrease in your brain’s ability to function properly. It can make it hard to concentrate properly, and can even affect your mood, making you more grumpy and irritable. It is also important for brain plasticity, which is your brain’s ability to change and adapt to any input that it receives. As discussed above, sleep is important for consolidating your memories, and for improving your functions of memory, learning, and creativity. 

It’s not just your brain that needs sleep, but so does your body. Sleep is when your body takes the time to grow and heal. Getting a good night’s sleep is also important for maintaining your immune system and your metabolism. Not getting enough sleep can lead to issues such as lowered immunity, headaches, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection, depression, lower libido, and weight gain. 

For more information on the importance of sleep have a look at this website: https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/healthy-living/s/sleep-importance-of/

Sleep importance and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care can help with your sleep in a few ways. The first way is by decreasing pain levels. If you are in pain, it can make it a lot harder to get to sleep, and to have a good quality, deep sleep. Spinal pain especially can make it very hard to get comfortable in order to fall asleep. Chiropractic care looks after the health of your spine (as well as the other joints of your body). By improving the health of your spine, this usually results in decreased pain levels, making it much more comfortable for you to be able to sleep. 

The other way chiropractic helps is by looking after your nervous system. Your spine and your nervous system are closely related. Hence why, if your spine isn’t moving correctly, this can affect the function of your nervous system. If your nervous system is being interfered with and not functioning correctly, this can impact its ability to be able to wind down and prepare your body and brain for sleep. Chiropractors are able to remove this interference and improve nervous system function, so that your brain and body are able to communicate properly, and are able to prepare for a good night’s sleep. Many people notice the importance of improvements to their sleep after getting adjusted, why not try it for yourself!

Acid Reflux

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is when stomach acid comes up from the stomach into the esophageal. This will result in irritation and inflammation of the esophageal. This causes pain in the upper abdomen or the chest. It can also cause feelings of nausea, an acid taste in your mouth, indigestion, and mouth issues such as gum problems, bad breath, and a sore throat. The pain is usually worse after a meal. 

If this is happening consistently, and happening 2 or more times a week, you may be diagnosed with something called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (also known as GORD or GERD). There is a ring of muscle between the esophageal and the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter. This ring of muscle acts as a valve that prevents stomach acid from leaving the stomach and going up the esophageal. Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is what happens when this ring of muscle isn’t working properly, and is letting acid out from the stomach into the esophageal. If this happens repetitively it creates inflammation in the lining of the esophageal, which is called esophagitis.

What causes acid reflux, and who is at risk?

There are many things that can contribute to the likelihood of having acid reflux, these include:

Being overweight – this is one of the main risk factors for gastro-esophageal reflux disease. As your weight increases, especially in your stomach area, this places more pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, and means it is not able to function correctly. 

Being pregnant – as the size of your womb increases as your baby grows. It starts to push up against your stomach. Just like above, this extra weight and pressure causes the lower esophageal sphincter to not be able to function correctly, and allows stomach acid to flow up into the esophageal. 

Smokers – the nicotine in cigarettes causes the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter to relax and not function properly, which allows for acid reflux to occur. It is also thought that the coughing brought on by smoking cigarettes can lead to a hiatus hernia, which can lead to gastro-esophageal reflux disease, as discussed below. 

Hiatus hernia – a hiatus hernia is where a part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm into the lower chest area, due to a weakness in the diaphragm (which is a large flat muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen). Hiatus hernias can affect the function of the lower esophageal sphincter and lead to acid reflux. 

What you are eating – there are certain foods that can cause acid reflux to be worse. These include fried foods, fatty foods, spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, garlic, onions, and acidic foods such as tomatoes or lemons. 

What are the complications of acid reflux/gastro-esophageal reflux disease?

While gastro-esophageal reflux disease in itself is not a particularly serious condition, it is important to get on top of it as soon as possible, as it can have some very serious complications if left untreated. These include:

  • Barrett’s esophageal, which is precancerous changes to the esophageal 
  • Stricture, which is narrowing of the esophageal 
  • Esophagitis, which as mentioned above, is swelling or inflammation of the esophageal 
  • Regurgitation of acid into the lungs
  • Ulcerations or bleeding 
  • Adult onset asthma 

How can chiropractic help with acid reflux?

There are a couple of ways that chiropractic can help with acid reflux. The first way is by looking at the structure of your spine. If the thoracic and lumbar spine are not aligned properly, this can place excess pressure on the stomach and esophageal. In severe cases the pressure can be so much that it can contribute to a hiatal hernia. Poor spinal alignment can also cause inhibition of the lower esophageal sphincter, which can allow acid reflux to occur. Chiropractors are able to adjust your spine to ensure correct spinal alignment and structure, to lower the pressure on the system, and reduce the effects of acid reflux. 

The other way is by looking at the nervous system. Your nerve system is protected by your spine, and when areas of the spine become misaligned and stop moving properly, this can cause stress on the nervous system. Your nervous system is how your brain and body communicate.  Furthermore, if there is interference to this system, your body is not going to be functioning at its best. This also goes for your gastro-esophageal system. It needs correct nerve connectivity to be able to function at its best. Therefore interference to the nerve system can lead to issues, such as acid reflux. Chiropractors are able to locate the areas of the spine that are misaligned and causing nerve interference. After that they are able to adjust them in order to get the spine and nervous system functioning at their best. 

For more information on how chiropractic can help with acid reflux, have a read of this article: https://idealspine.com/chiropractic-care-and-acid-reflux-disease-gerd/

Should you take antacids?

Antacids are medications that work to neutralise stomach acid, in order to minimise the effects of acid reflux. While this may provide temporary relief for your acid reflux, it is not good to rely on antacids long term, as they can bring about their own issues. Your stomach acid is there and is acidic for a reason, and lowering the acidity of your stomach acid long term can lead to health issues. 

One of the issues that can happen if stomach acidity is neutralised for too long is bacterial overgrowth. Your stomach acid helps to maintain its environment. Reducing the acidity long term can allow bacteria to grow out of control. Bacterial overgrowth can cause issues such as maldigestion of carbohydrates, which can lead to overproduction of gas inside the stomach. It can also cause issues such as reduced nutrient absorption, increased inflammation, and even raises the risk of stomach cancer. 

Nutrient absorption is another issue. Stomach acid is there for a reason, and plays an important role in the process of digestion. Stomach acid starts the breakdown of food before it enters the intestines. This breakdown of the food allows for the proper absorption of nutrients from the food you are eating. Missing this important step due to lowered acidity of stomach acid means that nutrients are unable to be absorbed properly. When they enter the intestines, it means your body is missing out on many of the important nutrients. Even though you may think you are eating enough, if you are missing this important part of the digestion process. You may not be receiving these nutrients correctly, resulting in malnutrition. 

For more information on how long term antacid use can be detrimental to your health, have a read of this article: https://chriskresser.com/how-your-antacid-drug-is-making-you-sick-part-a/

Chiropractic for Athletes

As an athlete it is important that you look after your body the best that you can. Then you can perform at your best in your chosen sport. This can be through diet, exercise, stretching, and getting enough sleep. Another thing you can do to keep your body performing at its best is to see a chiropractor. Chiropractic care can benefit athletes in many ways. Furthermore it can give you that extra edge to be able to perform at your very best in your chosen sport.

Here are a few of the ways that chiropractic can help athletes.

  1. Injury recovery

    As an athlete, injuries can severely slow down your progress. Depending on the severity of your injury, you will likely need to take some time off of training to recover. Therefore, this can slow down your progress, especially if you have specific goals or events you are working towards. Therefore it is important you are healing from injuries as quickly as possible.

    There are a couple of ways chiropractic care can help speed up the recovery process after an injury. One way is by looking at the structure of your musculoskeletal system. If there are misalignments in the area you have injured, whether this be your spine or your extremities, this is going to place excess stress on the muscles and joints in this area. This excess stress can prevent the area from healing quickly or properly. Chiropractors are able to correct any misalignments in your structure to minimise the stress in this area and allow proper healing.

    The other way chiropractic care can help athletes heal after an injury is by looking after your nervous system. Furthermore, your nervous system is how your brain and body communicate with each other. If your brain is not able to send and receive messages to and from the injured area efficiently this can slow down the healing process. Hence why this interference to the nervous system can come from areas of your spine that aren’t moving correctly. Additionally chiropractors are able to locate these areas of nerve interference and adjust them, to restore the flow of information between the brain and the body and to allow for optimal healing.

    All of this combined can help you to recover from your injury as efficiently as possible and get back to training.

    If you would like some more information on how chiropractors can help with injury, here is a good article that explains this: https://drwardchiro.com/improve-your-recovery-time-with-chiropractic-treatment/
  2. Injury prevention

    Not only can chiropractors help you recover from injuries. In addition to this they can also help to prevent injuries in the first place. That is to say, chiropractors can help to ensure that there are no misalignments in your musculoskeletal structure. Having everything aligned correctly ensures strength and stability of your joints and muscles. This not only helps healing when you do have an injury, but it also prevents injuries from occurring in the first place. Keeping your body strong and injury free will help you greatly in your chosen sport, and is just one of the ways that chiropractic can help you be a better athlete.
  3. Improved awareness of your body

    No matter what your chosen sport is, having a good awareness of where your body is in space is going to benefit you greatly and help you to perform at your best. To clarify, your nervous system is how your brain and body communicates. Sometimes there can be interference to this system by segments of the spine that aren’t moving correctly.  Therefore, if there is interference to system  it can reduce your brain’s ability to know exactly where your body is in space and what it is doing. This may reduce your accuracy within your chosen sport. By adjusting the incorrectly moving segments of the spine, chiropractors can restore nervous system function. This allows your brain to more accurately perceive where your body is in space. In short, it can know what it is doing, in order for you to have greater accuracy in your sport.

    This has been shown in a study in which people had their joints placed in a very specific position, and then were asked to recreate this, to see how accurate their joint position sense was. After that they were then adjusted by a chiropractor, and the test was then repeated. The people who were adjusted showed an improvement in their joint position sense. This shows that chiropractic care can help improve your awareness of your body, which will help you greatly with your chosen sport. Furthermore, if you would like to read more about this study, you can follow this link here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0161475410003611
  4. Improved range of motion

    Sports is all about movement, and athletes need to be able to move their bodies correctly. Over time, if you have joint misalignments throughout your body, this can lead to stiffness within the joints, and an overall decrease in range of motion. This is going to hinder you from performing at your best. Chiropractors are able to ensure you have correct joint alignment and proper joint motion. In short, it will ensure your body can move correctly, without limitations to your range of motion, that may slow down you ability to perform at your best within your sport.

Improved overall wellness

As an athlete you want to be in the best possible health. Chiropractic is great for improving an athletes overall wellness. As mentioned above, chiropractic  can ensure that the nervous system is free from interference. Therefore your brain and your body will be able to communicate properly. The nervous system controls everything little that your body does. By looking after this system, the rest of your body is going to be functioning at its very best.

Your immune system will be boosted. You will have more energy. Additionally your body will just overall feel a lot better. The best part about it is that it is all natural, you are not having to rely on medicine. No more trying to stay healthy, your body just does it all for you. By staying in your best possible health you will be able to function at your best. This can be for your training as well as other aspects in your life.

Anxiety

Anxiety is your body’s natural response to any kind of stress in your life. It’s a fear about what is going to happen next. It is normal for everyone to experience anxiety in their life at some point. This can be a first day of school or university, a job interview, a big sporting event, a competition or a big social event. It is normal to have these feelings when we are feeling stressed, worried or scared, however these should settle once the situation has passed. If they do not, and we cannot control them, this is anxiety. 

When anxiety is severe, it is hard to cope with everyday life and its stresses. If you worry about a certain thing and this worry continues for days after, this is called generalised anxiety disorder. This is when you are worried about many things and you may not get through your day without feeling anxious. This causes a person to feel mentally and physically exhausted constantly. 

For more information on anxiety follow this link:

https://mentalhealth.org.nz/conditions/condition/anxiety 

Types of anxiety disorders:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – is when people worry about many things, for most days for six or more months. It usually affects young adults, affecting women more than men. The anxiety is about a wide range of situations and issues, not just one specific event. It can be hard to control it and affects all parts of your life. 

Phobias – these are extreme and irrational fears about a particular thing. They can be so great that the person goes to great lengths to avoid it, even if it’s harmless. To the person, it can be extremely frightening, and can cause people to not want to leave their house. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – is when a person has unwanted, or repetitive thoughts (or obsessions which cause anxiety. They then carry out actions to reduce the anxiety or get rid of those thoughts. They may feel like they have to do a certain thing, a certain number of times for example. 

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – is a reaction to a highly stressful event that has happened in a person’s life. The person feels scared or threatened and often has flashbacks to this event. This can be an accident, sexual abuse or anything else. 

Panic Disorder – is when a person has panic attacks. These are intense feelings of anxiety along with the physical symptoms and overwhelming sensations you would have if you were in great danger. This includes, a pounding heart, feeling faint, sweating, shaky limbs, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort and feelings of losing control. The effects can be so severe that people experiencing panic attacks can believe they are dying. 

Symptoms:

  • Racing heart.
  • Shaking.
  • Feeling too hot or too cold.
  • Chest tightens.
  • Struggling to breathe.
  • A mind that won’t stop racing.
  • Worrying thoughts. 
  • Feeling dizzy. 
  • Sweating.
  • Fear.
  • Numbness or tingling. 
  • Stomach problems.
  • Poor sleep. 

Depression or anxiety?

Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness and emptiness rather than constant fear or worrying. A person who has depression may lose interest in everyday activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. They feel deflated all the time along with feeling tired and lacking energy. Simple tasks such as eating or showering will feel like a huge effort. 

Depression can occur after a person has been struggling with anxiety for some time. Anxiety may cause a person to isolate themselves from things that make them feel anxious or worried. This isolation may lead to a lack of interest in things that once were enjoyable. Thus leading to depression. For this reason, sometimes anxiety and depression may be linked. 

How you can help:

  • Meditation.
  • Mindfulness.
  • Exercise – this helps the body to reduce any tension or stress it may have. Exercises encourage a release of the happy hormone, serotonin, this helps the body feel calmer and happier in general. 
  • Support groups.
  • Breathing techniques.
  • Counselling.
  • Education about anxiety.
  • Relaxation techniques- try yoga or Pilates. Do things you enjoy as this will help your body and mind to relax. A relaxed mind will help reduce anxiety. 
  • Adjusting your diet- too much caffeine, sugar and fast food can upset the balance in the body. Caffeine speeds up your heart rate which increases anxiety. It is important to eat a healthy diet. 
  • Sleep – it is important to get sufficient sleep in order to reduce the effects of anxiety. 

Helplines:

  • Anxiety helpline- 0800 269 4389
  • Are you ok? – 0800 456 450
  • Common ground – commonground.org.nz. For family or parents looking to help a young person who is struggling.

How Chiropractic can help?

Chiropractors find areas of misalignments and correct them, allowing the body to function at an optimal level. This allows the body and mind to have a much clearer connection and balance between the two. The body is then able to balance physical and mental health. Chiropractic allows for better sleep as it clears the body of interferences, this in turn helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and stress. It is known that Chiropractic adjustments trigger a release of hormones, especially good hormones. These good hormones can boost your mood and allow a positive effect on your wellbeing. This will improve your mental state in general. Anxiety can often cause muscles to tighten due to the constant stress, chiropractic helps reduce this stress on the body through manual adjustments. 

If you, or someone you love is suffering from anxiety, Chiropractic care can help in many ways. 

Meditation

What is meditation?

Meditation is an umbrella term for a set of techniques that aim to focus the mind, to train attention and awareness, and to create a clear and calm mental state. The aim of meditation is usually to improve psychological wellbeing. While meditation is often involved in many religious practices, it is something that can be practiced by anyone and everyone to improve their mental wellbeing. The most common meditation technique used is mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about focusing intensely on the present moment, being aware of what you are feeling, thinking, and sensing, and accepting this without interpretation or judgement. Hence why it helps to make you a more aware, open, and accepting person. 

What are the benefits of meditation?

There are many benefits to meditation, both physical and psychological. Here are a few examples of the many ways including meditation in you life can benefit you:

  • Better stress management skills
  • Improved attention ability
  • Improved emotional wellbeing and decreased negative emotions 
  • Better memory
  • Increased self awareness 
  • More patience and tolerance 
  • Increased imagination and creativity 
  • Relief from headaches
  • Management of symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improved sleep and management of sleep disorders
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Less pain
  • Better immunity 

How can I get started with meditation?

Starting meditation may seem a bit intimidating if you have never tried it before. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Set a time – start off small by doing sessions of 5 to 10 minutes a day, and slowly work your way up to longer sessions. 
  2. Make sure you are comfortable – find a place and a position you are comfortable in. This may be sitting on the couch, sitting cross legged on the floor, or lying on your bed.
  3. Focus on what you are feeling – acknowledge any thoughts or feelings you are having without any internal judgement. Don’t try to suppress any thoughts or feelings you may be having. 
  4. Minimise expectations – don’t set expectations for what you are going to feel like or be like during or after a meditation session. Just enjoy each session for what it is, you will start noticing the benefits in time. 

Use an app – there are many websites and apps out there that can help guide your meditation, this is extremely helpful for beginners. A good one to start out with is headspace (https://www.headspace.com), but there are plenty of other apps and websites out there as well.

Chiropractic for Children

It is just as important for children to receive chiropractic care as it is for adults. 

Why is it important?

Children are at an age where they are constantly learning. They are always running, jumping, playing, falling and sitting. Children have the constant stress of everyday play. It is important to get children checked regularly for any misalignments in their spine. This is due to the fact that it is much easier to do a small correction in a young child than months of work on an adult who may have spent years or even decades compensating for misalignments they had as a child. Even minor trips and falls can unsettle the spine. The longer these misalignments are there in their spine as a child grows, the harder it is to correct them later. This is why we encourage parents to regularly have checks for their children. This is explained in more detail in the following article : https://www.precisionchiro.co.nz/chiropractic-for-kids/ 

They have the stress of the weight of carrying a heavy school bag. This weight causes the spine to not be able to move as well as it should and this affects how the nervous system functions. 

Any interference with the nervous system and how it functions, causes the communication between the brain and body via the nervous system may not be working as well as it should be. The ability of the brain to understand where the body is in space is called proprioception may be impaired due to this lack of communication. Poor proprioception can impact on the muscle control throughout the entire body, and may affect coordination, balance, hand-eye coordination, as well as muscle tone and posture. This will impact on the healthy and optimal function of the whole body.

The nervous system controls and coordinates every function in the body. This is why regular chiropractic care starting at birth can help children to grow up healthier and happier.

Some positive effects of Chiropractic care for children

  1. Bedwetting: Chiropractic focuses on the brain and nervous system. Adjusting the spine at areas of interference allows a child’s spine to become healthy and strong which directly affects how the nervous system functions. In the spine there are nerves which directly affect the bladder. If there are any interferences here there can be problems with bladder control and bedwetting in children. However, through Chiropractic clearing these interferences, the brain can communicate better with the bladder.
  2. Earaches: If there are any misalignments in a child’s spine, the nervous system is not able to work to its optimal. Any dysfunctions in the upper neck can cause a problem in the function of many aspects of the body such as the inner ear, causing it not to function the way it should. Chiropractic can help by removing the interference and allowing the nervous system to function better.
  3. Anxiety: Chiropractic helps the body manage any stress that a person is going through. It can help children with anxiety as it helps the nervous system manage any extra stress the child is experiencing.
  4. Behavioural issues: Behavioural problems are most commonly associated with the attention centre of the brain. Our brains have plasticity which means they are able to change and grow. The brain sends messages to the rest of the body through the spinal cord. If there are any misalignments between the two, the messages cannot be sent as clearly. Chiropractors remove these misalignments which causes the communication to return between the brain and body. This means the spine will return to proper alignment which allows for better function of all parts of the body, especially the brain. This includes the parts of the brain that are responsible for impulses, reasoning, activity and much more. Chiropractic allows for optimal function of the brain and body which leads to proper brain development and better behaviour in children.
  5. Sleep: All humans have two sides to their nervous system, a stressed and a rested state. The body should be able to. Go between the 2 as needed. However sometimes children are constantly in a stressed state due to their lifestyle. Chiropractic helps this by calming the nervous system down so it can regulate the stress coming in. This allows for a better sleep in children.
  6. Falls: It is common for children to fall. It is easy to tell if your child has a major injury, however it is impossible to tell if they have a minor injury. Minor injuries such as, tripping or falling, or some other accident can cause micro trauma. Unfortunately, over time these micro traumas can lead to subluxations, which increase the chances of long-term health issues. When it comes to treating misalignments or subluxations, chiropractors are experts in locating and correcting them.
  7. Poor posture: When children develop a habit of having poor posture, the effects can be long-lasting. Back and neck pain is only one effect of the problem. Poor posture can also cause the spinal cord to change shape, which can create chronic pain and affect balance. This can all appear in adulthood rather than as children. This is why we encourage parents to have checks and adjustments for their children rather than waiting until becoming older and feeling pain. Poor posture also has an effect on the rest of the body. Sitting for extended periods of time with poor posture compresses the digestive organs, which has a negative effect on the digestive system.

In conclusion, it is important to check children while they are young rather than when they are older. Children face many stresses in life and Chiropractic helps them manage these stresses.