Zinc is one of the trace minerals we need in our diet to stay healthy. We only require it in small amounts, but it has many important functions in our bodies.
Zinc is essential for supporting our immune system; we need it to help fight infection. It’s also important for normal growth and development, wound healing, maintaining our eyesight and sense of taste and smell.
How to tell if you're lacking zinc
When we don’t get enough zinc, we call that zinc deficiency, and can begin to experience health problems. Signs of a zinc deficiency include:
How much zinc do you need?
We can’t make or store zinc, so it’s essential to consume it daily. The amount we require differs according to age, sex, and nutritional needs.
In Australia the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of zinc per day for adults is 8mg for women and 14mg for men. Men have a higher requirement than women because it plays a crucial role in the regulation of male sex hormones, especially testosterone.
The RDI is slightly higher during pregnancy to help the baby develop normally, and also when breastfeeding.
Where can you get zinc?
Red meat and certain types of seafood such as oysters, crab and mussels are excellent sources of zinc. Dairy products are also high in zinc. Some dairy alternatives and cereals are fortified with zinc, among other nutrients.
There are also good plant-based sources; these include cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and whole grain oats. The absorption of zinc from plant sources is less reliable than from animal foods, so those on strict plant-based diets may need to consider this when planning a balanced diet.
Zinc is available in supplements, but taking too much could cause side effects and interfere with other nutrients you need. Eating a healthy balanced diet that includes zinc-rich foods should meet most people’s requirements.
A healthy spine is the key to your wellbeing – keeping you pain-free, strong, and flexible. It’s the centrepiece of your body from which your limbs hang, your head rests, and your ribcage and abdomen attach. However, because you can’t see it, it’s often forgotten until you have pain. Here are some helpful tips to keep your spine healthy.
Poor posture is common and will strain your back − especially if you spend significant time at a desk, couch, or staring down at a screen. When you sit or stand, your shoulder should be in line with your ear. Your spine should maintain a neutral position. The natural curves of your neck and back should be maintained to protect against injury and help movement.
Strengthen your core
It may sound strange but to support your back you must strengthen your front − your core, that is. The core muscles help move, stabilise, and support your spine. Weak core muscles can place an extra load on spinal joints. This can create pain and dysfunction. A strong core may reverse these problems.
Sleep comfortably and supported
Do you sleep on your stomach? It’s time to stop. This position twists and strains your spine. Lie on your side or your back, and place a pillow under your knees when lying on your back, or between your knees when lying on your side to ease any strain. Choose a supportive and comfortable mattress and pillow that keep your spine in its ideal position.
Your spine wasn’t designed to lift heavy weights, so make sure that the object you’re picking up is manageable for you, and stick to these sensible rules. Come close to the item, bend your knees and squat down. Grasp securely with both hands, keep the item near your body. Maintain the forward curve in your lower back and brace your core. Move your feet, don’t twist. If it’s too heavy, place it down and get help before you injure yourself.
Chiropractors know spines inside out. From back pain relief to improved function, chiropractic care has much to offer in pursuit of a healthy spine. If you’d like more information about getting − and keeping − a healthy spine, talk to us.
Consider a Chiro
Everyday necks can be put in all kinds of positions, especially when looking at screens or mobile phones, and even while sleeping. Neck pain can spread and might also come with muscle tightness or spasms.
Chiropractic care is a natural, drug-free way to manage and relieve swelling and discomfort caused by neck pain.
We each have an incredible spine designed to carry us through our lifetimes. It provides protection, strength, mobility; and acts as a super highway for our nervous system. Our spines are essential for our overall health, yet its importance can be overlooked in the lives of our precious young ones.
Chiropractic care has been provided to children and babies for over a hundred years. On behalf of the Victorian Government, a review was undertaken in 2019 by Safer Care Victoria (SCV) on the practice of chiropractic spinal manipulation on children under 12 years. It found that 98% of parents or guardians reported that their child improved after chiropractic spinal care.
We often get asked about chiropractic care for children and babies, so let’s answer some of the common questions you might have.
Why might a child need chiropractic?
Colliding with objects and falling can cause little and big injuries. According to research published in the journal, Psychological Science, an average toddler “takes 2368 steps, travels 701 metres and falls 17 times per hour.” That’s a lot of bumps! Just like adults, little people can hurt their spines too. If you’ve noticed any significant thuds or signs of pain, you may like to arrange a chiropractic assessment.
What does an examination involve?
This depends on the age of your little one and what problems they’re experiencing. First, we’ll chat with you about your child’s history and your concerns. Then, a careful examination will be performed. This may include checking reflexes, range of motion, observation, measuring angles, moving joints, assessing posture, and feeling the spine.
How does care differ from adults?
Because babies and children are small, so are their adjustments. Depending on your child and their condition, specific techniques will be chosen. These are appropriate for young people and gentle, naturally.
Is it safe?
The SCV review found no patient complaints or practitioner notifications about significant harm following a spinal adjustment on a child.
Our main concern is about the health and safety of our clients. Any plan would be discussed fully with parents or guardians, and always includes information about the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment.
Please ask us if you have any questions or concerns about chiropractic care for your child.
We're often asked about when ice or heat should be used. As a basic 'rule' ice may be useful for injury and heat for muscle tension. But this isn’t as straight forward as it sounds; rules rarely are.
Which is better - ice or heat therapy?
Ice therapy, often in the form of a cold/ice pack, reduces blood flow, swelling, and the perception of pain. That's why shivering footy players hit the wintery sea to boost recuperation. In the first three to six hours following exercise, cold therapy can aid rapid recovery. But 24-hours afterward the benefits disappear.
Interestingly, heat therapy is also effective when it comes to the relief of post-exercise soreness. However, applying warmth continues to work beyond the 24-hour mark. It is beneficial for longer.
With that said, ice therapy has a range of other benefits. Use this therapy to gain pain relief after surgical procedures, following muscles and bone injury and dysfunction, from gout and to reduce acute pain.
Heat therapy has a variety of potential benefits too. Use to increase blood flow, improve muscle function and strength, and enhance flexibility . Apply to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, muscle knots and more.
How do I use each therapy correctly?
Use ice repeatedly in an on-and-off fashion. Twenty minutes on and an hour off is the traditional recommendation. To benefit from heat, warm packs or warps can vibe applied for hours at a time.
When used correctly, ice and heat are safe, cheap and easy to use. Do note, though, that either treatment could injure the tissues if extreme temperatures are applied; for example, an ice burn. if you have any questions, please ask. Your Adam's Back chiropractors are happy to discuss which approach is right for you.
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Do your hamstrings feel tight and touching your toes just a pipe dream? If you’ve ever thought inflexible hamstrings could play a role in back pain and spinal health, and vice versa – you’re right.
WHAT DO THE HAMSTRINGS DO?
The hamstring is the name given to a set of three muscles; together, they form the muscle group at the back of each thigh. These muscles originate at the pelvis and attach to the lower part of your knee. Think of them like an elastic band. As the band is pulled tighter, your thigh is drawn backward and your knee is bent. In anatomical terms, the hip is extended and the knee is flexed.
This muscle group is used often. Gentler contraction enables you to stand and maintain an erect posture. Your hamstrings help to support a straight leg and upright pelvis. Stronger contraction allows you to put your leg into action: to walk, jog, run, jump, squat. But you cannot use this muscle group without an effect on your pelvis. After all, the two are connected.
HOW DO TIGHT HAMSTRINGS AFFECT THE SPINE?
From a biological and chiropractic perspective, the pelvis and spine are closely linked to the hamstrings. We know that hamstring tension changes how quickly the muscles in your lower back turn on and off. This affects function. Tense hamstrings lead to an altered lumbar curve and can trigger low back pain. Lumbar and pelvic adjustments may help increase hamstring flexibility.
In short, when your hamstrings are too tight or your spinal joints aren’t working well, pressure on both increases. Dysfunction and injuries can occur. That’s why the term ‘back- related hamstring injury' was coined. But, when spinal dysfunction and “stuck” joints are corrected, these muscles relax. Injury may recover or, better yet, be prevented.
WHY DO HAMSTRINGS BECOME TIGHT?
Overuse, lack of stretching, poor posture, and individual anatomy each play a role. Different muscles designed to stabilise your body, including your spine, can also become weak. This may lead to hamstrings seeking to compensate. These weakened muscles can also stress spinal joints which, as already discussed, can then affect hamstring tension. Yes, it is a complicated web!
So, how can you know if your hamstrings are too tight? As a simple test, sit in a chair. Push your bottom to the back. Keep your spine upright and face forward. Now, straighten your left knee and pull your toes toward your body. Then, perform on the right. On either side, do you feel tightness in the back of your thigh? If you do, speak to us. While this is a basic test, it’s a good starting point.
Hamstring tightness is a significant problem. Linked to low back pain, injury, and a dysfunctional spine, it should not be ignored. The sooner you begin appropriate care, the sooner this problem can be corrected.
Adam's Back is a team of dedicated complimentary health professionals. Our aim is to support you in finding drug-free solutions for better health.