As waist circumference creeps up, our health can suffer
The risk of issues such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are increased. But have you ever wondered if your paunch might also be hurting your back?
The spine is made from many vertebrae that sit one on top of another, joined at the back by facet joints. These joints are a little like snap-together modular flooring. Each one fits together beautifully, and is aligned in a way to support your spine and allow healthy movement. They, in essence, provide strength and structure while preventing your head or torso from spinning all the way around! Because of their design, we can walk upright, bend, twist and move safely.
However, a large waist girth alters the physics. It’s like carrying a heavy sack of potatoes on your front. The additional continuous pressure tips the pelvis forward and drags the attached vertebra with it. It increases the forward curve in the lower back, and one vertebra then pulls on the next. The postural distortions can often be seen by the eye. These changes alter the pressure applied through the facet joints, and can trigger muscle tension – increasing the risk of pain, injury and degeneration.
People usually gain weight from a poor diet, lack of exercise, poor sleep and stress. When a person consumes more calories than their body burns, the excess energy is stored as fat, and some of this is deposited in the abdominal area.
A large hanging belly, also known as the panniculus, can occur following pregnancy or significant weight fluctuations. It’s often called an apron belly, and can hang from the top of the pubic area to the knees. The apron is made solely of excess skin and fatty tissue deposits. When combined with the weakened abdominal muscles that are common post-pregnancy, this apron can be pronounced.
For many reasons, it’s important to address a big belly. Strengthening the abdominal muscles may provide back pain relief, but it’s also important to protect yourself from future illness and discomfort by reducing your belly size. Your chiropractor can assess your posture, discuss treatment options for back pain and advise on ways to lower stress and achieve a healthy weight.
Photo from Pinterest
Have you given much thought to your balance? Or do you, like many others, take this ability for granted?
That’s understandable – it’s often only when we experience a problem that we give it more thought. Yet, balance is more than simply remaining upright. There are complex processes that allow us to move, turn our heads without our vision blurring, quickly readjust our muscles to support stability and stay vertical.
We all stumble or experience clumsiness on occasion. We may bump into the doorframe or sway when we get up too quickly. But when balance issues become chronic, the symptoms are usually caused by an underlying problem and can be troublesome, incapacitating, and dangerous. Symptoms may include a sensation of spinning or lightheadedness, blurred vision, hearing changes, stumbling, falls, decreased spatial awareness, poor depth perception, and nausea. It may also contribute to fatigue, anxiousness, and confusion.
How do we balance? It’s an important question. Just as a car has many components that allow it to safely take a corner at speed, we have many interworking parts that allow us to remain stable. We must sense where we are in space, make constant small adjustments that bring us back to centre, and integrate these functions seamlessly.
This begins within the ears. The inner ear has small organs that contain fluid and hair. As you move your head, the fluid shifts, the hair bends, and this information is sent, via nerves, to the brain. Each organ provides feedback on movement in a certain direction: tilting upward or downward, leaning to the left
or right, turning sideways, and accelerating. Inner ear infections or ear crystals upset this ability, which is why they can cause dizziness and imbalance.
The eyes provide visual input – they send impulses to the brain that provide visual cues identifying your position relative to other objects. To understand this, stand on one leg and bend your other knee. How balanced do you feel? Now, try it with your eyes closed. The difference is marked.
The skin, muscles and joints, particularly of the spine, are also involved. As they move, they continuously transmit what is called proprioceptive information regarding their position, relevant to the body parts they connect to. For example, increased pressure is felt in our heels when we lean back. These cues help our brain determine where our body is in space.
The remarkable combination of input enables us to sense when we are moving, in which direction, and at what speed. We then respond to that information, often subconsciously. Nerves fire, muscles move us in appropriate ways, and we are, usually, able to right ourselves. The balance system also provides feedback on the success of these manoeuvres, allowing further adjustment.
Maintaining optimal balance is important – these activities may help.
If you are experiencing balance problems, ask your Adam's Back chiropractor for advice.
Following a treatment plan for a structural injury can be viewed in the same way as a fitness programme. The more closely you follow your prescribed treatment schedule, the more likely you are to get positive and longer lasting results.
If you decide to do a fitness programme, it is essential to go frequently and consistently until you reach your desired level of fitness; and then it is important to maintain that level of fitness with an altered programme. If you only follow your fitness programme now and again, you wouldn’t expect much to change.
In the same way, if you are inconsistent with attending treatment appointments, it can hinder your improvement and make progress slower. This is because we are dealing with the same musculoskeletal structures that are exercised during fitness.
Consider joint problems caused by ligament injury, for example. Ligament injuries such as an acute ankle sprain, according to the Journal of Athletic Training (JAT), improve slowly over a period of six weeks to three months and even up to a year. JAT stresses complete healing is essential to prevent re-injury. The long-term consequence of non-healed ligament injury is chronic pain, diminished function, as well as wear and tear known as osteoarthritis (OA). Joint problems caused by ligament injury progress through three stages of healing: the acute inflammatory phase; the proliferative or regenerative phase; and the tissue-remodeling phase.
Your chiropractor understands the way the body heals and progresses. For this reason, the chiropractor sets out a specific plan for you to reach a certain level of comfort, movement and stability. During this time, keeping your appointments is VERY important. Once a level of joint and nerve healing as well as structural stability is reached, your plan will slowly reduce to consistent but less frequent check-ups intended to help you continue improving during all stages of healing.
We all have busy lives, but remember if your body is working well, then you will also be better able to maintain that busy lifestyle. Take the time for your body and health; it’s a worthwhile investment! If you have any questions about your care plan strategy, be sure to talk to your chiropractor.
Image from shutterstock.com
Edamame beans, streamed
Can of chickpeas, drained
Sprouts of your choice (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Heat oil in a pan
Add Cumin, paprika and cayenne powders.
Heat for one minute.
Add chickpeas, stir until coated and heat for another minute
Place all ingredients into a bowl and serve with dressing
1/2 Cup mild vegetable oil
1/2 Cup rice vinegar
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 Tablespoon ginger peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (or other sweetener e.g. honey)
2 Teaspoon sesame oil
Salt to taste
Blend everything together and adjust sweetness or salt to taste
Water is commonly known to be essential for life, yet a recent study at the University of Sydney found that 82% of the Australian population failed to meet their recommended water intake.
Your heart will also thank you for drinking water. The American Journal of Physiology found that drinking five or more glasses (1,185ml) of water per day reduced the risk of fatal coronary heart disease by 41% in women and 54% in men! In this study, the health benefits were limited to water because drinking “fluids other than water” (coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks) actually appeared to increase the risk of fatal coronary heart disease.
Hydration is beneficial in disease prevention as well. The risk of many cancers, including
colorectal and urinary tract cancers, has been shown to reduce with proper hydration. Bladder cancer, for example, was shown to decrease by 7% for every 240ml of fluid drunk per day; and was shown to significantly reduce for men who drank at least 1,440ml of fluid per day. Dehydration is also the number one cause of kidney stones.
Without water, our bodies can’t function, so it is always a smart idea to make sure you are properly hydrated. Although there is some debate on using the colour of your urine as an indicator for hydration, general advice suggests the darker your urine, the more likely you are to be dehydrated.
These delicious bliss balls are the perfect energy snack and great for parties and summer picnics.
Makes about 16 bliss balls
Do you experience constipation, urinary incontinence, pelvis spasms or painful sex? If so, your pelvic floor muscles might be performing poorly.
The pelvic floor muscles sit at the base of your abdomen; attaching your pubic bone, tail bone, and the base of your pelvis. They act like a sling, supporting the pelvic organs including the bladder, rectum, uterus or prostate gland. When working well, you can wait to use the toilet and relieve yourself with ease. Your pelvic organs remain in place. You continue to take these muscles for granted, but when they’re dysfunctional, symptoms may result.
Symptoms can be indicative, like a sudden urge to urinate or uterine prolapse. Urination might hurt. Constipation may occur. Sexual intercourse could become uncomfortable, even painful, for women. Discomfort may be felt in the genitals, rectum, lower back or pelvis. The symptoms can have a severe impact on your quality of life.
While the pelvic floor muscles can, on occasion, become too tight, the vastly more common problem is related to weakness. These muscles can weaken for many reasons including: increasing age, injury, hormonal changes associated with menopause, being overweight, repetitive strain through heavy lifting, straining from constipation, or continual coughing. For many women, pregnancy and childbirth can cause weakened pelvic floor muscles. Hormonal changes, downward pressure, and a growing baby can all contribute to bladder and bowel leakage, pelvic pain or prolapses.
When weak, it’s important to strengthen the pelvic floor. Your health professional can instruct you on Kegel exercises, which specifically target the right muscles. Just as achieving results from attending a gym requires regularity, so does strengthening your pelvic floor – daily. Exercise regularly. Walking is restorative for your pelvic floor muscles and for your spine.
If you think you may be experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, seek help. You do not have to live with these symptoms. Treatment options are available, many are natural and safe. We are ready to help.
Picture: Unknown Author Pinterest
Honey has been prized around the world since time immemorial for its flavour, as well as its medicinal qualities. Jars of honey dating back to 5,500 years ago were found in a noblewoman’s tomb in Georgia, showing how treasured honey has been through the ages.
Honey is a sweet substance that bees produce from the nectar of flowering plants. Many types are available depending on the plant type. Honey is loved around the world for its flavour, texture and versatility.
And it’s good for you.
Honey was used as a healing ointment at least as far back as Ancient Egyptian times, and its popularity as a wound care product has had a recent resurgence. Researchers believe that honey’s healing powers come from its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. It also has the ability to nourish surrounding tissue, making it effective for wound healing. Pharmaceutical preparations of honey are now well-evidenced as excellent topical antibiotics with healing properties.
Honey is rich in antioxidants, known for their properties in reducing the risk of cell damage and certain cancers. A growing body of evidence links honey with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes; due to its action on harmful triglycerides – chemicals linked to insulin resistance and inflammatory disease. Honey is also thought to increase HDL – ‘good’– cholesterol while decreasing LDL – ‘bad’ – cholesterol.
Honey has been popular for generations as a traditional home remedy for sore throats, hay fever, skin conditions, and coughs and colds. Regular honey is often pasteurised and processed, so raw honey is the best way to maximize potential health benefits.
DRAWBACKS TO HONEY
Although researchers have found a possible connection between honey and a lower glycaemic index compared to other sugars, consuming honey still means you are consuming sugar, which does affect your blood sugar in some way. Eat only a moderate amount of honey in your diet, or replace processed sugars with honey for a sensible approach.
Current advice from the World Health Organisation is that honey should not be given to infants under twelve months, as in rare cases honey may harbour certain bacteria which, while harmless to older children and adults, can cause serious illness in babies.
Honey is high in certain substances which are known to promote health and reduce certain diseases. There is compelling evidence for its use in wound treatment, and ongoing research into its potential for reducing the risk of cancer and other serious illness. While honey is high in healthy chemicals, it’s also high in sugars – better forms of sugar than most other sweet foods, but still high in calories, so moderation is the key.
With winter settled upon us, the longer nights and colder days can make healthy eating and exercising feel difficult. Yet now is the perfect time to prioritise these two practices – they can help enhance your immunity, elevate your mood, and ease the aches and pains that commonly accompany this season.
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat”. While cold salads might send a shiver up your spine, there are plenty of healthy meals to fill the need for comfort food, and meet your nutritional needs. They could also help protect you from viral infections, including the common cold.
The common cold is more prevalent in winter because the colder temperatures reduce antiviral immune responses, allowing greater replication. Added to that, nutritional deficiencies might both lower immunity and increase the potency of any virus we become infected with. Nutrition, though, can provide a powerful antidote.
Nature’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds help fight against viral infection. You can find these in foods such as almonds, avocado, seeds, turmeric, curcumin, berries, green vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fresh fatty fish.
Lentil bakes, hearty risottos and soups, vegetable omelettes, veggie-packed stir-fries, berry smoothie bowls... The choices are endless, only limited by your imagination. Maybe it’s a good time to take a cooking class?
You may hear people talking about “the winter blues”. Darker days can bring darker moods. Consuming foods rich in vitamins B12, B9 and zinc may help, as deficiencies in these can cause low mood. Think – eggs, leafy greens, legumes, nuts, oysters, salmon and seeds. Exercise is also great for boosting your mood.
Exercise improves immune function. Add in its pain relieving power and mood lifting ability, and moving throughout winter becomes essential. If adverse weather keeps you housebound; stream exercise classes, dance, try body weight exercises, and clean your home energetically. If the weather is hospitable, go out for regular walks.
The winter months need not be a time of hibernation, accompanied by poor food choices, irregular exercise and ill health. Use these tips to ensure you effortlessly glide through our coldest season in great shape, and ready for the rest of the year.
Have you suddenly experienced a pain near your hip, or in your groin?
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.