Ever wondered exactly what’s happening when you hear that popping sound when you get adjusted by your chiropractor? Or if pop or no pop makes a difference when getting adjusted? Watch this video to find out.
“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.
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
(2019, July 10). Common posture mistakes and fixes. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/
Following an initial care phase at Revolution Chiropractic, we frequently offer what we call a Protection Plan. This is a tailored plan of Chiropractic checks. Designed to maintain, or protect, the positive changes we’ve achieved with your spine.
The majority of issues we find in the spine are due to months, or more commonly years, of cumulative stresses to the body. Dysfunctional movement patterns of the spine become ingrained in the brain, and Chiropractic adjustments, along with spinal exercises, aim to rewire the brain so-to-speak as well as allow muscle, ligament, and tendons to heal and function properly.
After the initial care plan is complete, your spine should be much stronger, functional, and resilient to stress. However, it won’t miraculously be invulnerable to the future impact of poor posture, repetitive strain, or sheer bad luck.
I like to describe it this way; we design your initial care phase to unravel the effects of past stress. While the protection care plan helps you move more smoothly into future tensions.
A Scandinavian study published in 2018 compared the effect of scheduled maintenance care (what we call a Protection Plan). Versus seeing the chiropractor only when pain occurred. It discussed how this affected the frequency of bothersome low back pain (i.e., pain that affected the ability to do desired daily activities. The maintenance care group had nearly two weeks less bothersome days than did the control group in the year.
Now, this study didn’t show that low back pain completely disappeared in these chronic back pain sufferers, but they did gain more days on which they were able to do what they wanted, unhindered by their pain, which is a win. As with any scientific research piece, it is somewhat limited in its scope, in this case, it only looked at low back pain in chronic low back pain patients, which is far from the only group of people that we work with during practice!
Pain is something measurable to an individual, but we must also consider the potential effect of a spine that is more mobile and putting less tension on the brain and spinal cord on the overall capacity and well-being of a person. We see it frequently, better sleep, more mobility when playing sport, or just doing regular physical activities and fewer headaches, just to name a few! Of course, different people respond differently, and everyone has the choice of how they want to manage their health care. Still, we will continue to make available (and personally utilize, yes, chiropractors need chiropractic too!) maintenance care in the form of our Protection Plans.
How good does it feel to get a long weekend escape from the city and go to the bush or the beach? Judging by how empty Auckland got as Easter and Anzac day collided I think most of us wish we could spend more time in the beauty of nature!
While experiencing the relaxing and revitalizing effect of nature, and there is a growing body of science behind the health benefits of getting outside among the trees.
A Japanese study on spending time in forests showed a decrease in cortisol levels (a stress hormone), a decrease in sympathetic nervous activity (your fight and flight system), a decrease in blood pressure, and a decrease in heart rate.
Measurable effects on the immune system have been shown in another Japanese study on an activity known as forest bathing. It sounds weird, I know, it simply involves spending time in the forest whilst smelling wood essential oils. This study also showed a significant increase (23%) in activity of natural killer cells (immune cells). These positive effects persisted even after a month of returning to city living!
Take every opportunity it get outside by visiting parks, beaches, walkways, and the bush. There are so many places to go in Auckland to escape the feeling of being a caged animal indoors all the time. Thankfully, all the great outdoors gives you these effects for free!
The other week I was giving some lifestyle and diet recommendations to a client who commented on how hard it is to avoid certain foods, especially when going out to socialise. Of course, he is absolutely correct. This conversation spawned a realisation of the truth that making healthy choices and taking care of your body requires a level of commitment that might make you stand out or narrow your choices. This doesn’t mean you can never go out for dinner or to social gatherings, in fact keeping our social lives active is very beneficial for our health and longevity. It means you may have to alter your choices or be more prepared beforehand.
Making choices that are commonplace and popular will get you the same results that most people have. Look at the health statistics of the general population like the rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, not to mention things like fatigue, headaches, and mental fog so common amongst people and decide if you want those outcomes too, don’t follow the crowd.
Most of our health and the way our body performs comes down to the choices we make each day like the amount of alcohol we drink or choose not to drink, the type of foods we eat, how much water we drink and how active we choose to be.
Most people choose to be far too sedentary; choose not to be one of them.
Most people choose not to drink enough water; choose not to be one of them.
Most people choose to eat too much; choose not to be one of them.
Most people choose not to eat enough fruit or vegetables; choose not to be one of them.
We know that making healthy choices isn’t always easy but we are here to support your efforts to become a healthier and stronger person!
Once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop
If you are seeing a chiropractor or have mentioned you are considering it to a friend you may have heard this little lie “once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop”.
This myth may be because many people who start going to a chiropractor do in fact continue to go even after their initial care phase. This isn’t because they have to but because they choose to. The reality is that with any health choice it takes sustained effort to maintain results. Think about it, if you have a terrible diet of lots of takeaway food and soft drinks which has caused weight gain and you clean up your diet and lose the weight, do you think you will keep the weight off if you return to your old habits? Of course, this would be foolish to think!
The same is true with spinal health and strength; if you start utilising chiropractic, postural awareness and exercise to improve your strength and pain. Then going back to your old habits will most likely get you back to the same place that you started with.
For those who want a bit of research about this topic click the link below to s study performed in 2011 that demonstrated better pain and disability outcomes with ongoing “maintenance” care (fortnightly chiropractic adjustments) compared to those who only received an initial care phase of one month.
So the truth to the myth that “once you start chiropractic you can’t stop” is that once you start chiropractic you can CHOOSE to continue reaping the benefits of a stronger, more mobile and coordinated spine or you can CHOOSE not to. As with most things in life, the outcome is down to the choices you consistently make!
Work, kids, school, money, exercise, eating… What do these all have in common? Well, they can stress you out to the point of ripping your hair out OR inspire and motivate you to get out of bed and do what you do every single day. The KEY is to find your stress sweet spot and use it to fast track your goals, and potential.
Too much stress can get in the way of you and your goals… Maybe even lead to you crashing and burning. However, too little stress can slow down your progress because you’ll get bored. Let’s find out how to hit that optimal point of stress to keep you at the top of your game.
First, let’s go through the difference between a positive and negative stress response. Stressors aren’t necessarily good OR bad, it depends on your response. A positive response means you’re feeling energized, focused, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone, balancing stress and rest, and learning and growing through the process. A negative response leads to you feeling weak, distracted, in need of rest, not challenging yourself, and can even lead to weight gain and metabolic, hormonal, and immunity disruptions.
How do I deal with this?
How? Well first you’ve got to recognize what factors are out of your control and more importantly, which factors are IN your control. Also, if you’re stress resistant by nature and have had lots of practice at handling stress growing up, your view on stress may be that it is a challenge to tackle. But if you’re stress prone and have had little practice dealing with stress, you may find yourself looking at stress as a problem to avoid. If you’re having a hard time changing your attitude and view on stress, look at building a strong support network and changing your environment to have more time outdoors in nature or with loved ones.
It’s important that you look at your current stress load and ask yourself “does it have to be that high or that low?” Think about your goals and how your actions align. Find out what’s worth taking out or adding in.
What does it feel like?
Too low: bored, unfocused, purposeless
Too high: anxious or obsessive, panicked, stuck
Just enough: energized, engaged, actively moving towards goals
A great way to address inspiration and energy is to learn how to set effective goals. We’ll be releasing a blog post diving into this topic further in the near future. But until then, go read up on the last blog titled “How NOT to set goals”. Do this too get started on the perspective you should be taking when approaching goals.
For rest and recovery, there are many things that you can do! A lot of it depends on personal preference, but here are 4 examples to get you started.
Practice relaxing activities: Walking, massage, deep breathing, laughing, yoga, meditation, and even (especially) sex, which is not always relaxing.
Get outside: take your walk outside for improved mood and lower stress hormones and heart rate. Getting moderate sun exposure is ideal and helps increase mood and vitamin D levels.
Adjust your exercise routine: the most effective way to approach this is with a mix of strength training (weights), conditioning (cardio, intervals) and low-intensity recovery (walk)
Practice self-compassion: ask for help when you need it. Get counseling if you’re feeling helpless, know your limits and unplug regularly.
If you follow and apply these recommendations you’ll be well on your way to taking control of your stress. Stay tuned for more valuable blog posts!
In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.
Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.
Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.
Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.
This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.
Exhale forcefully through the mouth
Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
Hold the breath for a count of 7
Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8
Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.