What is Chiropractic? Leading Chiropractor in Auckland.

Are you looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland and would like to know more about what Chiropractors do?

 

Here is a short video to watch:

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Disc Herniations and Chiropractic

What is a disc/inter-verterbal disc?

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

What is a disc herniation?

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

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

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

What are the symptoms of disc herniations in the neck?

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

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

How can chiropractic help with disc herniations?

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

Prevention:

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

Proper Movement and Support:

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

Improves healing:

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

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

Other options

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

References:

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

 

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Chiropractic and Wellbeing of the Elderly Population

Introduction

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

 

Balance

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

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

Pain

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

 

Mobility

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

 

Mental Health

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

 

 

 

References:

 

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

 

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The Immune System and Chiropractic

What is the immune system?

 

The immune system is our natural defense against outside pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. It is constantly working to prevent us from getting sick or infected, or to help get us better as efficiently as possible if we do become infected. It can affect how often we get sick, how hard we are hit by sickness, and how long it will take to recover. When it does become infected by something, it keeps a record of this. So that it is better equipped to fight it if it ever returns again. The immune system contains many different parts. Including but not limited to: white blood cells, antibodies, skin bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic system, and the thymus. They all have their own role in preventing and fighting infection.

 

How can the immune system become weakened?

 

Some people are born with conditions that weaken their immune system. It can weaken from acquired diseases (such as HIV/AIDS), or through some types of medical treatment (such as chemotherapy)1. In addition, there are also lifestyle habits that can weaken our immune system such as prolonged stress, under or over-exercising, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poor diet2.

 

How does chiropractic affect the immune system?

 

It is important to look at the lifestyle factors that may be weakening our immune system and modify these where possible. However, there are other ways we can help to strengthen our immune system. One of these ways is through chiropractic care. Chiropractic care is all about removing interference from the nervous system, which is caused by all the different stresses in our lives. When our nerve system is free of interference this allows our brain and our body to communicate more freely and accurately. If our brain and body are communicating well this allows the brain to be better. As a result, it is able to detect what is happening in the body, such as an infection, and to organize the necessary elements needed to fight this.

When the communication between the brain and the body has no interference, the brain can register what is happening faster. As a result, the body can start fighting any sickness or infection as soon as possible in order to minimize damage to the body and reduce the duration of sickness. Moreover, 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. As a result, the more coordinated our immune and nervous systems, the more likely to beat sickness and infection fast, and with the least amount of damage to the body3.

 

Cont.

 

A great example of chiropractic helping boost immune function the impact that chiropractors had during the Spanish Flu. The Spanish Flu (1918-1920) was one of the world’s worst pandemics, with somewhere between 20-50 million people dying4. While it was a devastating time in history, something amazing happened when those affected went to see their chiropractor. In a city in Iowa, it was shown that every 1 out of 15 of those infected that went to medical doctors died. However, only 1 out of every 866 patients that went to a chiropractor died. Moreover, there were 233 cases that medical doctors had given up on, and after chiropractic care all but 25 of these cases survived. As a result, this amazing feat led to many licenses in the US5!

 

This all comes down to the fact that chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system. In addition, they allow all systems of the body to function at their best, including the immune system. Chiropractic is extremely beneficial for anyone looking to boost their immune function – it saves lives!

 

References:

 

  1. Better Health Channel. (2017). Immune system. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system.
  2. Everyday Health. (2015, June 17). 9 surprising ways you’re weakening your immune system. EverydayHealth.com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/9-surprising-ways-youre-weakening-your-immune-system/.
  3. Pure Healthcare. (2017, July 5). Boost your “flu-fighter” with chiropractic care. https://www.purehealthcare.co.nz/boost-your-flu-fighter-with-chiropractic-care/.
  4. (2010, October 12). Spanish Flu. History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic.
  5. Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth. (2020, March 13). 10 important studies on chiropractic and resisting a virus. https://getwellnj.com/immunity/.

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File:Organs of the Immune System by AIDS.gov.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Back Strength and Chiropractic

Can Chiropractic Adjustments increase back strength?

Yes. Absolutely. When you visit a Chiropractor, you are training and strengthening your spine. How amazing is that! A Chiropractic adjustment is not just joint popping, its also about strength of your neck, back and mind.

In fact the audible pop doesn’t even need to occur for a successful manipulation to occur. However with a manual adjustment it often does, and some patients and doctors like to hear it. Research has found that pop or not, the same benefits are experienced, so long as the manipulation is performed correctly.

chiropractic increase back strengthSo how does this strengthen my back?

A Chiropractic adjustment strengthens the weak muscles around your spine and restores the body to it’s optimal functioning performance. In it’s correct position balance to your spine and nervous system is restored.

Your brain and body connect and communicate with each other through the nervous system and deep spinal muscles that hold your spine in it’s proper position. When the joints of the spine are out of alignment, they lose communication pathways and therefore do not carry out their proper movement and lock up. The spinal muscles that stop working and become weak and lazy. Over time your brain loses more connection to these muscles. If you think about how the brain works and the saying ‘ if you don’t use it, you lose it’, this is exactly the same.

This is not a good situation to get into because losing strength in your deep spinal muscles can lead to a cascade of problems; compensations throughout the body, reduced nerve connection, reduced power and strength, over-active and tight superficial muscles, confusion in the nervous system and too much pressure on delicate structures in the spine that can cause significant damage.

What does all this mean for me? Well it’s a really good idea to get your spine checked regularly by your Chiropractor.

a) For the peace of mind your spine is structurally sound and strong, and b) To ensure your nervous system is firing nicely and at its optimum level for the maximum performance of your body and mind .


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When Did You Last Brush Your Teeth

When did you last brush your teeth? I would be surprised if it was more than 24 hours ago. And why did you brush them? Because they were sore or you had cavities? Probably not. You probably did it because you know it’s good to keep your teeth clean if you want to still have them in your mouth as the decades roll on. It is easier and less painful to maintain the health of your teeth than it is to let problems build up.

The same goes for your spine, but when did you last do something for it? You can start to take care of your spine in a few ways. The spine needs strength, mobility and a good postural position.

Strength

Performing movements like the superman exercise and planks are simple and can be done at home without equipment. When done right and within a well-planned training program barbell squats and deadlifts are possibly the most effective spinal, and full-body, strengthening movements you can do but obviously require more equipment or a gym membership and personal trainer.

Mobility

The cat/camel exercise is a great spinal mobility exercise you should do daily at home.

Posture

Imagine you have a string attached to the top of your head like a marionette puppet and it’s pulling you upward. Reach your head as high as you can and elongate your spine while keeping the shoulder blades tucked down and back.

Chiropractic adjustments can assist you in all 3 areas by promoting a more mobile and stronger spine. Many of our clients report a feeling of ease in posture, like a weight has lifted off their spine. Areas of the spine that don’t move well due to years of poor posture or various injuries are prone to develop weakness. The less a joint moves, the weaker and lazier the muscles become. Chiropractic focuses on improving the motion of the bones in the spine so that the muscles and ligaments can strengthen and the nerve system can function optimally.

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Common Myth About Chiropractic

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!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21245790

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Strength

Exercise is something you probably know you should do but may not really enjoy and that could be for a variety of reasons; it’s hard, you don’t have time, you don’t know what you are doing, it’s boring, you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere even when you try, the list goes on. Evidence and common sense both agree that a fitter, stronger person is a healthier person. You probably want to be that person but don’t know how to get there.

This year will be my 9th year of strength training and the more I learn through experience and reading, the more I enjoy it. Maybe I’m crazy, or perhaps I’ve managed to find a sweet spot by making something that’s necessary for health into a hobby. I encourage you to change your mindset and view your health and strength, as a project to improve rather than something boring you should do.

The reality is that becoming stronger and healthier is simple but it takes discipline and consistently doing the RIGHT things. Many people start with good intentions of getting in shape, however, give up because they failed to see progress.

 

Strength Training

 

Lots of gimmicky ‘get fit quick’ schemes promising fitness and strength in 4 weeks, or even 12 weeks. Yes, you may see some change within that period but to build real strength and fitness it must become part of your lifestyle. It needs to become something you view as a ‘must’ not just a ‘should’.  However, you need not spend 5 or 6 days a week in the gym to get stronger, 3 days per week is sufficient.

Strength is probably the most important aspect of physical capacity. The most effective way to achieve this is through well-planned strength training. Getting stronger is simple, do something a little harder each time you train and your body will adapt. There are many ways to do this. I am an advocate of the Stronglifts 5×5 method, it’s how I began my strength journey. Simple principles are what guides these training methods; use full-body movements (squat, deadlift, press, row), start light, slowly increase the weight over time, train 3 days per week.

The most enjoyable aspect is that you see progress in every session as you watch the weights you lift increase. This is why I believe it grew into a hobby for me. I became addicted to the progression, and the feeling I was achieving something every time I went to the gym. The training program is free and available on the Stronglifts 5×5 website. It has videos and written guides on how to perform the lifts and program, and even a free app. It is simple yet hard work, but hard work pays off.

I highly recommend that you check the program out, it may be the best decision you ever make!

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