Do you suffer from a mental health disorder? You’re not on your own − one in five Australians will experience mental illness this year alone, and nearly half will have mental health issues at some point in their lives.
Anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders like alcohol dependence are the most common. Many people who struggle with mental illness either don’t seek or don’t receive treatment, and therefore remain undiagnosed and unsupported.
Part of the problem may be that the body and brain are often treated as separate; different systems that don’t relate to one another. This is where chiropractic comes in – we understand that your physical health and mental health are connected and that physical therapy can help to improve mental health.
Factors such as a poor diet, stress, sleep problems, reduced mobility and pain can all contribute to poor overall health. Research shows that a healthy diet, exercise, strength training, body awareness practices, and relaxation techniques can benefit not only physical function but psychological function too − it’s all interconnected.
So, if you’re wondering, “Should I mention my mental health challenges to my chiropractor?” The answer is yes for a number of reasons.
Firstly, mental illness can create physical tension. By knowing what’s happening in your mind, we can better understand and treat your body.
Secondly, mental illness can interfere with your ability to participate in treatment. We can assess your health, talk to you about your lifestyle and stressors, and discuss reasons that might get in the way of being active or engaged in care.
Thirdly, we are primary healthcare providers. We can share advice that promotes wellbeing and targets specific issues. If we’re not able to help, we will refer you to an appropriate health professional.
We’d love to support you on your journey to better health.
Love them or hate them, you’ve probably heard many claims made about them. So here are some FAQs and facts about the humble avocado.
Are avocados fattening?
Avocados are high in healthy fats – the unsaturated essential fatty acids and oils that allow us to absorb and use essential vitamins and minerals in our bodies. However, there’s no reason avocados should be avoided when losing weight, in fact the fats in avocados may help by keeping you fuller and decreasing appetite.
Even when a food is rich in only the healthy kinds of fats; if your kilojoule intake is higher than your output, you will put on weight.
Are they high in cholesterol?
Avocados don’t contain any cholesterol – only animals make cholesterol, so any purely plant-based food will be free of
cholesterol. Humans make their own, so even if your diet is very low in cholesterol, you could still find your levels higher than they should be.
Are avocados good for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrients in 100g of avocado – that’s about half a medium-sized fruit.
What does ‘nutrient dense’ mean?
'Nutrient dense’ simply means they have a lot of goodness packed into a small area! Sometimes particularly nutritious foods are referred to as ‘superfoods’, which just means that they’re really good for us.
Avocados are a great addition to a healthy diet, and they’re so versatile – squished onto toast, blended into a smoothie, or mashed and stirred into a pasta dish, these tasty, creamy fruits pack a nutrient-rich punch.
Learn how back injuries can happen and how to prevent them.
Are you an avid golfer, out on the course while the rain buckets down? Maybe you just prefer the social fun of an occasional game. Perfect! Golf has many benefits. It’s great for your fitness, enjoying the outdoors, spending time with friends, and challenging yourself. The skills required to guide a golf ball around nine or eighteen holes is impressive.
But as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have shown, golf can injure your back. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that almost one in six Australian golfers had experienced at least one injury in the preceding 12 months. Of these, one in four experienced lower back problems. The research found that pain more commonly affected those with pre- existing injuries and that it tended to slowly worsen, rather than striking in a single blow.
So, how does your golf swing affect your spine? Think about what happens: the take-away, backswing, downswing, acceleration, and follow-through. There’s a lot of movement, but motion is not the sole problem. Its combination with high force is the kicker; the swing involves a huge amount of pressure.
The stress forced through your lumbar spine is equal to that of heavy contact sports. Your body is somewhat equipped for single direction strain but in golf the force is exerted in more than one direction. Imagine the force of a golf swing like aggressively wringing out a towel. It’s not good for backs. Muscles can stretch or tear, discs may herniate, and the ‘wear and tear’ of arthritis can flare up.
But don’t put your clubs away just yet.
Ways to prevent and recover from injury
1. Learn to swing correctly. The follow- through phase, in particular, appears to have higher risk.
2. Strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal and paraspinal muscles.
3. Enhance your flexibility, including your lower back and hips.
4. Improve your physical fitness so when you tire your swing doesn’t suffer.
And if you have hurt yourself, chiropractic care, specific back exercises, a program to strengthen weak muscles, and improving your mobility may help. If you have any questions, please ask. We look forward to keeping you on course and enjoying your golf!
Do you have arm or wrist pain, or experience pins and needles, tingling, burning or numbness? It may surprise you to know that your neck may be causing your arm or wrist problems.
When you have pain, you usually suspect the problem is nearby − if you break a bone, that’s where it hurts. However, your spine is different. It’s unique and complex. This complexity means the cervical spine − the neck − can be the origin of arm or wrist pain. But how?
To understand how, it can help to know a little about the structure of your neck, and how your nerves work. Let’s take a look.
Your neck contains seven spine bones called vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other. The top vertebra connects to the skull. Together, they form a ‘tunnel’ which allows your spinal cord to pass safely from your brain to your body. Eight pairs of nerves exit through small openings between your vertebrae and branch off to other areas.
These nerves relay messages to different parts of your body, including your shoulders, arms, wrists and hands. Sometimes the messages tell a muscle what to do, or tell your brain about pressure or feeling. For example, the sixth cervical nerve is responsible for sensation in your wrist, the thumb-side of your forearm, and your thumb.
Your nerves need enough space in your bones to exit freely, but sometimes this space becomes smaller. The nerve can become squashed (compressed) and damaged, changing the way it works.
What does this have to do with pain? If a nerve is damaged in your neck, the messages it sends to your arm or wrist can be interrupted or impaired, too. This is called cervical radiculopathy. You might know this as a ‘pinched nerve’. This can cause pain, weakness or numbness in your arm or wrist (or shoulder or hand).
There is a range of reasons why nerves can become compressed. The best way to find out why your arm or wrist hurts is a professional assessment. We can help determine if your neck is involved, and if so, provide the right advice.
Have you been told that you have scoliosis? Are you wondering what this is and what this means for your spine?
Firstly, it’s important to know it’s not a disease. Scoliosis is the name given to a spine that curves sideways in an S or C-shape. Your spine is meant to have certain forward and backward curves − these give it strength and flexibility, and help distribute stress during movement − but it shouldn’t curve sideways.
What are the causes?
Scoliosis can be functional or structural. A functional scoliosis refers to a curve caused by a non-structural problem such as poor posture or a difference in leg- length. When your legs are different lengths, everything above them tilts to adjust, and this could potentially cause a sideways curve in your spine.
Structural scoliosis refers to a curve that usually has rotation and affects the structure of your spine. Structural scoliosis may be due to a medical condition or injury, nerve or muscle dysfunction, or be congenital − meaning present from birth. In most cases the cause is unknown (called idiopathic), especially in children and teens.
What can happen if you have scoliosis?
A sideways curve changes the biomechanics of your spine; the way your bones, joints, muscles, and nerves work and move together. This alters the way your whole body functions.
Scoliosis may cause symptoms such as back pain and a change in muscle function. Some muscles can become weak while others become tight and sore. Changes in physical appearance; like having uneven shoulders and ribcage imbalance, may reduce confidence. If scoliosis is severe, heart and lung function can be affected.
How is scoliosis diagnosed?
Sometimes we can look at your spine and see the scoliotic curve. We may also notice signs in other areas of your body, such as asymmetry in your shoulders, ribs and hips.
In some cases an X-ray may be needed for a correct assessment. By using specific measurements we can assess what’s called the Cobb angle. The degree of this angle can indicate the presence and severity of scoliosis.
Why does a diagnosis matter?
The presence of scoliosis tells us your spine is not working properly; that there may be an underlying condition, or more pressure on certain joints and tissues. An early diagnosis and prompt treatment may reduce the degree of scoliosis and help limit the curve progression.
As scoliosis is such a complex and highly variable condition, there are different ways of helping it. Correct diagnosis and working out the cause − when possible − helps to determine the right type of care and treatment.
If you have or suspect scoliosis in yourself or a loved one, speak to us. We’d be happy to answer any questions. Remember, appropriate and timely treatment is important.
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.