Disc herniation – definition, causes, effects

Introduction

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

 

Intervertebral discs – description, function, herniation

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

 

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

 

Symptoms of disc herniation

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

 

Conclusion and recommendation

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

 

A disc rupture and its herniation

 

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Neck and Upper back pain: The Chin Tuck

The Chin Tuck: An Excellent Exercise for Neck and upper back pain

After visiting your Chiropractor, one of the most effective postural exercises for combating neck and upper back pain is the chin tuck. Chin tucks are recommended for keeping the head aligned above the spine and maintaining good posture. When done regularly and with the correct form, chin tucks can help improve the neck’s strength, flexibility, and function.

This exercise not only helps strengthen the muscles that pull the head back into alignment over the shoulders but it also stretches the scalene and suboccipital muscles.

This exercise is simple, effective and easy and can be done without interrupting your day. For instance, while sitting in the car or at the desk at work. The repetition of this exercise also helps develop good postural habits.

The Chin Tuck : Steps

  1. To perform the exercise for the first time it is often recommended that you stand with the spine up against a wall or door frame.
  2. Next place the feet out about 8 cm from the edge of the wall or door frame.
  3. Keeping the spine against the wall, pull the upper back and head back until the back of the head touches the surface. It is important to make sure that the chin is down so that the head is pulled straight back and is not looking up.
  4. Hold your head against the wall for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat this ten times.

After performing this exercise about ten times, you can start doing the exercise standing or sitting without a wall.

• The exercise can be done 5 to 7 times per day.
• When in the car, use the headrest as a point to aim for when pulling the head back.

You may feel some stretching of the muscles on the side of the neck that go down to the collarbone. These are the scalene muscles. These muscles along with the muscles at the top of the neck at the base of the skull are generally the tight muscles. The muscles in the front of the neck and of the upper back are generally the weak muscles that need to be strengthened.

In cases of extreme forward head posture, you may not be able to pull their head all the way back to the wall when you first start. In these cases it is advisable to pull the head back as far as possible without pain.

chin-tuck-neck and upper back pain

When to see a Chiropractor?

Chin tuck exercises have been well documented for many years to reduce neck pain, headaches, stiffness and much more. However although these exercises are effective, we must address the cause of the misalignment in the beginning. It it important that the correct spinal alignment is in place. By removing stress on your joints and neck muscles and putting your body into a state of ease.

If you are experiencing neck or upper back pain of any kind it is highly recommended you visit your Chiropractor. As a leading chiropractor in Auckland, we see hundreds of patients per year at our clinic – Revolution Chiropractic. A great posture starts with a great spine!

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The Importance of Exercise: Strength Training

In our blog ‘8 Benefits of Exercising’ we talked about the importance of exercise and as a recommendation, 30 minutes of exercise every day is needed. These exercises could be from something that we already know how to do like walking or mowing the lawns. This week, I would like to dive into something slightly more specific; strength training and how you can include it into your exercise routine.

When I mention strength training, I’m not asking you to become a bodybuilder nor be the next Chris Hemsworth. All you need to start with is 2 days a week for 20-30 minutes each time. So perhaps you can substitute your two days of walking and do this instead.

Effects of strength training

So now we know how often and how much weight training we should be doing every week, do you know why we should make it part of our routine? Weight training can help with many things apart from building strength and muscles, it can help with fat burning and the prevention of osteoporosis too.

Weight training helps with building muscles and increasing strength. Muscle builds and strengthens through repetitive stress. Our muscles are made from many smaller muscle fibers. Every time we do strength training, we actually tear and rip these muscle fibers. Our body knows that each time we tear our muscle fibers we are lifting something heavier than usual and it will find a way to adapt. As a result, our muscles become thicker, larger, and stronger when it recovers.

Strength vs. Cardio

Many studies also show that weight training can help us burn more fat and calories than cardio exercises. This does not mean you should just ditch cardio altogether as there are also unique benefits that only cardio provides. Muscles are metabolically more active than fat therefore muscles burn more calories in a resting state. This is why if you want to burn that fat off your belly, don’t just do cardio and add in some strength training too!

Weight training can help with the prevention of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones. This process happens as we age and as our bones become weaker, it can no longer withstand as much pressure and stress. This makes us more susceptible to fractures. Every time we strength train, we actually stress the bone by pulling and tugging it. So once we put stress on the bone, it stimulates the bone-forming cells into action causing more bone growth.

A common misconception about strength training is that we have to go to a gym or lift something really heavy. But in reality, when we are first starting off, bodyweight exercises are more than enough. Some simple bodyweight exercises include push-ups, squats, crunches, planks, lunges, and many more. We actually have plenty of videos on our YouTube channel and Instagram. If you are interested, we are also posting up new videos on basic bodyweight exercises this week that you can check out!

Now you know the amount of exercise you need to do, start incorporating some weight training, and become the best version of yourself!

 

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Strength training 101: HAWC classes help improve fitness > Kunsan ...

 

 

Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 3

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 3: TOUGH LOVE

Many parents lament that they can’t get their children to eat certain foods or meals that they prepare…

Despite their best intentions, many parents today arrive at a stand-of with their children; the children dictate what they will and won’t eat, and then the parents become distressed when their kids fall ill with frequent colds and flus, ear infections and asthma, to name but a few repercussions of poor diet. Or in ever-growing cases, children acquire seemingly mysterious behavioral disorders with long labels that require medication. Even then, the link is often not made between diet and health.

Sometimes it seems a whole lot easier to just give into children and throw into their lunchboxes that vegemite, peanut butter or jam sandwich, a packet of chips, or a cupcake. There is no doubt that this type of approach to lunches is quick, simple, and easy. But the question is:

Is life simple and easy when we have hyperactive, angry or unwell children?

NO, it isn’t…full report

 …Life is draining physically, emotionally and financially.

 

We cannot pour soft drinks or additives onto a potted plant and expect it to survive… the same applies to our body.

There is a direct relationship between what we eat and our quality of life and health. In Lunchbox Solutions, I discuss a variety of approaches to retraining fussy eaters.

Every family must negotiate guidelines and boundaries around many facets of lifestyle and behavior, but there are none as important as diet, because what your children eat has an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the whole family. It’s exhausting when they are chronically unwell when they are irritable and friends and family don’t want to spend time with them. So I’d encourage you to pick your battles and be clear that the “food battle” is one you want to win!

Even if your child appears quite healthy, remember that the impact of poor food choices may have a long-lasting effect on their health as adults. The cumulative damage of refined sugars and processed foods can be an enormous contributor to illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. It is our role as guardians to empower our family with proactive and positive habits. 

Since my boys were very little they learned that they need to eat primarily wholesome foods and at times “sometimes foods.” It is vitally important that children learn how they can strengthen digestive power through eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible including a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, raw or organic nuts and seeds, beans, whole grains; you get the idea.

Foods Cont.

Foods should nourish and heal the body. Eating foods in their most natural state ensures we receive the highest nutritional content. Whole foods contain naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Consuming food shouldn’t be a toxic event. By eating “whole foods” we also help our family to reduce their intake of harmful chemicals. Such as preservatives, synthetic nutrients, and other additives that are considered non-foods (which are added to most all processed foods.)

If you can — try to eat organic foods whenever possible. This will help to ensure you avoid harmful toxins such as antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, and synthetic fertilizers. Purchasing organic food is not a luxury but rather an integral step in securing our health. Pollutants in our modern environment—for example, pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides and fumigants—have been linked to abnormalities in behavior, perception, cognition, and motor ability during early childhood, even when exposure is at so-called harmless levels.

The goal is to teach the child to make these good decisions themselves

Where possible encourage children to help you shop and prepare meals and take the opportunity to highlight the pros and cons of different foods and false foods.

Encourage your children from a young age to also be open to having supplements or “vitamin boosts” from time to time. For example, smoothies and homemade juices are a great way to add multi-mineral powders and probiotics into their weekly diet. High-quality probiotics can provide the necessary bacteria for a healthy gut, and they are an essential aid to digestive health for all children — I would recommend taking these a few times a week. It’s also a great habit to encourage them to randomly have zinc and vitamin C powder drinks or multi-mineral drinks particularly if they have been really busy or had a few late nights.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We Can Help! 🙂

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Children Eating More Fruit, but Fruit and Vegetable Intake Still ...

8 Benefits of Exercising

We all have an extremely busy lifestyle and quite a few of us may not have the time to exercise. Additionally, summer is coming up and most of us would want to get ready for the beach body. But as a health practitioner, it is my duty to emphasise the importance of exercise, how it changes the body and how much of an impact it has other than just looking good.

Here is a list of some reasons why we know exercising consistently is important:

  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Increases bone and muscle strength.
  • Lowers blood cholesterol levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Decreases the risk of type 2 Diabetes.
  • Increases endorphins which makes us feel good.
  • Decreases the risk of dementia.
  • Improves posture.

We have special little things in our body’s mitochondria. These mitochondria act as the power generator. They generate energy in our body, also known as ATP, from oxygen, fats, sugar and protein.  These ATP are what fuels the body to do what it needs to do, anything from muscle contractions and conducting nerve impulses is generated by ATP. Exercise promotes a process called mitophagy. Mitophagy is the removal of damaged or defected mitochondria after a period of stress. This promotes new and healthy mitochondria to take over providing a more efficient system to burn fat and sugar. As a result, this leads to bigger and stronger muscles.

I’m not asking you to be an athlete and exercise over 2 hours a day. but, as a recommendation, doing 30 minutes of exercise every day is enough. We may already be exercising every day without knowing it such as mowing the lawns and walking to work. If you are not regularly exercising, I’m going to ask you to go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes after dinner around the neighbourhood!

There are plenty of different types of exercises but the main two are cardio and weight training. In the next two weeks, I’ll be covering the benefits of each. Just remember we should all go for a 30 minute walk after dinner this week!

Chiropractor Auckland

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Eat To Live – Dr Joel Furhman

Eat to Live – Dr Joel Furhman

Do YOU want to change your life?

Would you like to get rid of your pain?

Do YOU want to become healthier?

Would you like more energy?

Do YOU want more happiness?

Would you like to say goodbye to your headaches and migraines?

Do YOU want to say goodbye to your heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune conditions, chronic illnesses and diseases?

Do you want to say goodbye to the medications you’ve been made to believe you need?

READ THIS BOOK CALLED “EAT to LIVE” AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Eat To Live by Dr Joel Furhman

Here are some videos you can watch too:

Video 1 : 19 minutes

Video 2 : 1 hour 44 minutes

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4katnfHzXA[/embedyt]

Eat to live

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

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Stress Management – 3 Ways

Mindfulness and stress are on the tips of everyone’s tongue nowadays. Large corporations are investing millions on mindfulness rooms and practices for their employees to reap the benefits and increase productivity. Meditation and stress-reduction taught in school curriculums now, because they also know the effectiveness.

It seems the hustle and bustle of everyday life is getting to our heads. It’s not natural for our circuitry to be firing constantly for so long. So how can we help support this new way of life, or at least reduce the amount of stress that affects us?

Here are our 3 top tips:

  1. Exercise/Yoga: Studies have shown that regular exercise or yoga can decrease stress, pain, and even your risk of injury. Aiming to do either one of these 3-5 times a week is ideal and does wonders to support your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain and having your focus set on something other than a screen for at least half an hour.
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing (or belly breathing): this kind of breathing calms down the nervous system and reduces the noise that goes on by getting you to focus on your breathing. Studies have demonstrated breathing exercises can reduce fatigue and anxiety. To actually benefit from the practice, it must be performed 3-5 times a day for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meditation: once thought of as a hippie ritual, mindfulness meditation is now common practice used to help people reduce stress, anxiety, chronic pain, headaches and depression. It’s widely accessible as there are many online guides as well as apps that can help guide you through a session and all you need is yourself and a peaceful environment.

Stress is just a part of life and how you choose to manage it is up to you. Keep these tips in mind to take care of your mental health and keep your mind sharp. If you have any questions or would like more tips on stress management, please consult with a health professional.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Deadlift Technique (Part 2)

Last week I talked about the deadlift stance. This week I want to cover another significant error I see in deadlift technique that can lead to injury and give this great lift a bad name. Properly performed deadlifts are great for strengthening the lower back and glutes. Performed poorly they can lead to significant lumbar injury.

When starting my strength training journey in 2010 I injured my lower back by making the foolish mistake of adding too much weight to the bar too soon, causing my lower back to round partway through the lift. Bang, my back went into spasm. I sheepishly put away the weights and limped to the shower and was forced to take a few weeks off to recover. Since then I have been meticulous about working on my deadlift technique.

After I recovered I spent months drilling the technique by having my training partners hold a broomstick along the length of my spine while I would perform my deadlifts. The goal is to keep three points of contact with the broomstick:

Broomstick-Deadlift method

  1. The back of your head
  2. Your midback between the shoulder blades
  3. Your tailbone

Image result for deadlift 3 points of contact

This drill will help you stay aware of what your back is actually doing during the lift and not fool yourself into thinking your form is good.

Filming yourself during deadlift sessions is paramount when starting out, and even for more advanced lifters to keep an eye on your form especially during your heavier sets. Review the footage between sets and don’t keep adding weight if you notice your form is looking rubbish!

Excessive rounding of the lower back, technically called lumbar flexion, puts a lot of strain on the back of the discs of your spine. Repetitively loading your spine in a flexed position is a great way to increase your risk of a disc herniation. Repetitively loading the spine in a neutral position (within a properly designed training program) is a great way to strengthen the spine and reduce low back pain and injury risk.

So grab a broomstick and a camera and work on your technique so you can build a strong, healthy spine!

 

Chiropractor Auckland

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

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