Obesity-related illness is higher than ever throughout the Westernised world, and it’s becoming more of a problem for our children.
Obesity is fast becoming a health crisis; it’s a high risk factor for many serious illnesses, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and stroke.
The majority of research shows that sugar- sweetened drinks are strongly linked to weight gain, so cracking down on these is one of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of children becoming obese.
Sugary drinks include soft drinks, energy drinks, and flavoured waters. They have little or no nutritional benefit, and can contain a shocking amount of sugar. Generally people know about the dangers these pose to their teeth and gum health, but may be unaware of the sheer volume of empty kilojoules they’re drinking.
These highly sweetened drinks – which often also contain caffeine and assorted additives – can be addictive, and it’s easy for kids to get hooked on them. However there are some simple ways to break the habit and reduce your family’s consumption.
How to cut out sugary drinks
First, remove the temptation – don’t keep sweet drinks in the home.
Getting everyone into the habit of drinking water is the best option, although it may not be easy. Try sparkling water, adding a slice of fruit, mint leaves, or cucumber to make it appealing. Milk or healthy milk alternatives are also a good choice.
Avoid drinks containing artificial sweeteners as they won’t help break the sugar habit. Fruit juices may not be the healthy alternative they seem either – they have a high sugar content and relatively low nutrients.
Remember young children can only consume what you give to them, so you can ensure they eat healthily. As children get older, education is important. It’s not always easy to get teenagers to take health risks seriously. Giving them the right information and ensuring they understand the seriousness of a poor diet is a good start.
We don’t need sugary drinks and it’s best to avoid them altogether. If your child is already keen on them, expect some resistance, be patient, lead by example, and know that you’re doing your best for your family’s health.
As school heads back for another year it’s the ideal time to consider your child’s backpack. Is it fitted correctly? Too heavy? Could it be damaging their spine and health?
Our posture is affected by the size, weight, and the way we carry our bags. Research shows that school backpacks often weigh 15-25% of a child’s body weight. This weight is lugged around daily, and regularly carrying a heavy load strains the spine. A forward lean is often adopted in order to remain upright. A bag worn on one shoulder can lead to spinal imbalance. A backpack’s size can alter how the head sits on the neck. These spinal adaptations can trigger neck and back pain and headache.
The first consideration is the size and type of backpack. It should be appropriately sized for your child, and padded at the back. Next, the backpack should sit at the top of the hips. Hip belts help to distribute the load. Thick, padded shoulder straps must be worn over both shoulders.
Next is the load. Heavy items like textbooks should be placed at the base and to the back of the bag. Light items can be positioned at the front. If the bag and its contents weigh more than 10% of your child’s body weight, it’s too heavy. Discuss and decide what can be left out and make regular reassessments to ensure the weight stays low.
The way your child wears their backpack matters to their health. It’s important to get this right! If you’re unsure about your child’s bag, or whether they’re wearing it correctly, ask your chiropractor for expert advice.
Are you working from home? The past year has brought an unprecedented move from workplace to working from home. For many, there are advantages like no commuting and a better work-life balance. On the flip side, it has resulted in workstations with poor ergonomic design. A computer balanced on a stack of books. Hours spent hunched over a kitchen bench. Slouching on the couch with a laptop balanced on the knees.
Why is It important?
If we hold a strained posture for hours on end, our body gets tired. Let’s try this simple experiment... locate a heavy book and sit holding it near to your chest. It will rest easily because this position requires little effort. Next, hold the book out at arm’s length. Notice how quickly the book feels heavier? Observe how fast your arms weaken and ache. Poor posture increases the strain through the spine and body in the same way.
When your workstation is set up incorrectly, it alters your posture. Your head may jut forwards and shoulders round over. The bend though your upper back increases and your lumbar spine loses its natural forward curve. Your hips, ankles, knees and wrists get compressed. Headaches and pain in your neck, back, shoulder, arm and wrist can result.
Setting up your workstation and position
To check your posture, set yourself up as usual at your desk and ask someone to photograph you from the back, front and sides. Takethesephotostoyourchiropractor for advice, or assess yourself against these guidelines:
Wherever you work from, the correct ergonomic set up is worth the effort. Reach out to your chiropractor at Adam's Back if you need guidance.
Have you heard of degenerative disc disease and wondered what it is? Maybe you’ve asked yourself if you’re at risk, or how it happens and whether it’s possible to prevent it.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a common condition in which age-related wear-and-tear on a disc causes pain, instability, and other symptoms. When we reach the age of 50 and beyond, regardless of gender, more than 90% of the population has the condition.
The most commonly affected joints include those in the cervical region (neck), and lumbar region (lower back). These areas of the spine are more susceptible as they undergo the most motion and stress.
DDD occurs, as its name suggests, when the discs between the vertebrae degenerate, or deteriorate. The discs narrow and develop tears. The disc material can protrude into the spinal canal, called posterior disc protrusion. Bony spurs (osteophytes) can grow at the edges of the vertebrae. Together, reduced disc height and protrusion can combine with spur growth to cramp the space where a nerve leaves the spine. It’s like a narrow tunnel; there’s less room to move.
These disc and bony changes can press on the nerves and cause pain. If a nerve is compressed in the neck, it might cause arm pain; if it’s a compressed nerve in the lower back, shooting pain could strike the leg. Symptoms, though, might not relate directly to a compressed nerve. There might be pain on bending, lifting or sitting. Relief may be found by changing positions, lying down or walking. Or there might be flare-ups that come and go. The amount of pain varies between individuals and can range from minor irritation to severe.
Surprisingly, sometimes there’s no pain at all; some people are shocked when an MRI reveals they have long-standing, significant issues with spurs, a narrowed disc height and degeneration... but there are no symptoms. Being pain-free doesn’t guarantee you don’t have DDD.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Whilst being older is the biggest risk, other factors can accelerate the process of degeneration. These include:
To aim for prevention, we should reduce any risk factors. While we can’t reverse our age, we can maintain an ideal weight, quit smoking, lift correctly, and improve our posture. Moderate, daily exercise can help
strengthen the muscles that surround the damaged discs without placing too much stress on the spine. Regular stretching can help DDD, whilst also increasing your flexibility and strength.
If you’d like more advice about prevention, or need targeted treatment, speak to your chiropractor.
If you were to take 7500 daily steps over the course of 80 years, you would rack up over 219 million paces in your lifetime. That’s a lot of work for two knees. It’s little wonder they can develop problems and become painful. Knees are prone to a range of issues.
How do the knees work?
The knees are known as hinge joints. They move (mostly) forward and backward, like the hinges on a door. This type of movement means we can walk, hop, skip and run. But it requires many parts to ensure we remain stable as we move.
Each knee is formed by three bones; the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). Ligaments and menisci join these bones together, holding them fast. Cartilage lines the ends of the bones − this strong, rubbery layer stops the bones from grating together. A capsule surrounds the joint and holds the joint (synovial) fluid in. Just like oil in a car’s engine provides a protective coating to stop the engine from seizing up, synovial fluid helps to prevent damage and degradation. The quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles allow the knee to move.
When each part works well, our knees do too. They bend while remaining stable and function under pressure. But with so many moving pieces, it’s easy to see why problems can occur. If a part loses strength, or the stress within a knee becomes too much, damage occurs.
Common Knee Problems
Common problems include sports-related injuries, damage from accidents, and changes that develop over time like the wear and tear of age-related arthritis.
If a ligament or meniscus is torn, the knee can become painful, even unstable. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or medial meniscus tear often happens during sports. The ACL is at risk from fast direction changes, stopping suddenly, and landing after a jump. Menisci are at risk when we pivot, stop suddenly,or squat deeply. These tissues can also be injured from direct trauma or when underlying wear and tear is present.
Sometimes the muscles can be weaker or stronger than they should be. This can cause knee pain and problems. For example, in a condition called patellofemoral syndrome, a muscular imbalance changes the patella’s path. Instead of being pulled along the middle of its tract, it’s drawn along the outside. The usual ease of movement is replaced by a painful, bumpy journey.
Wear and tear is a common knee problem too; as arthritis sets in, cracks in the cartilage and reduced joint fluid lead to swelling, stiffness, grating and pain. These changes can reduce a joint’s height and allow exposed bone to peek through the cartilage. Ouch!
As you can see, the knee is complex. Depending on your circumstances; being overweight, sports, kneeling, poor posture, injury or arthritis could be hurting your knees. If you have knee pain, talk to your chiropractor at Adam's Back today.
Time to flex some creative muscles this holiday season.
This Christmas Adam's Back is holding a colouring competition as well as our annual food and toy drive.
It is open to all ages so please feel free to ask for a sheet at reception. The competition will close on Saturday the 19/12/2020 with the winner announced Monday the 21/12/2020.
Should you wish to colour in at home and bring your entry into the clinic please contact the clinic staff who will happily email you a copy.
Picture from Crayola.com.au
Can you believe it is almost Christmas?
Join us again this year as we give back to the community as we support Anglicare Victoria in their annual Christmas Toy and Food Appeal.
We invite you to place new toys and non-perishable food items under our clinic Christmas tree.
All gifts are to be brand new and unwrapped. Food items are to be non-perishable.
Please don’t forget to consider gifts or gift vouchers for teenagers.
You can help every child receive joy and help them to have a Merry Christmas this year.
Supporting our mission at Adam’s back to contribute, collaborate and give back to the community.
This year has been a particularly challenging year for many Victorians we greatly appreciate any donation regardless of how small as it will have a big impact for a family who have fallen on hard times this year.
And why does it matter?
Have you heard the term synovial fluid, or maybe synovial joints? These joints get their name because of the synovial fluid found inside them. This fluid has a thick texture that protects the bones from rubbing on each other. It acts like oil in a car’s engine; stopping friction and protecting moving parts.
The synovial fluid carries out other tasks too − acting as a shock absorber and bringing in nutrients and chemicals that mend damage. As your joint moves, the pressure spreads these healing substances around – similar to squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.
Most joints that allow us to move are synovial joints, such as knees and hips. These joints contain special cells that make the synovial fluid. The bones are lined by tough, slippery cartilage and wrapped in a membrane. For example, your thigh and shin bones meet at the knee and the ends of each bone are lined with cartilage. The joint is wrapped up, keeping the fluid inside and the joint together, allowing it to move safely and stay strong.
Joint damage can harm the synovial fluid by triggering fluid changes that hurt the joint more. For example, arthritis causes inflammation in the joint, damaging the cartilage and changing the make-up of the synovial fluid. Imagine the effect that dirt in a car’s engine oil has. It damages the moving pieces and the way they function − similar to what happens in our joints.
Joint injury can also alter the synovial fluid. Cartilage can be injured by a chip in the underlying bone, which then affects the fluid. Or when a ligament tears, the synovial fluid loses some of its lubricating ability, which damages the joint. These changes happen soon after injury, so it’s important to seek care promptly.
We know that injury and damage can harm synovial fluid. So, what can we do to maintain its health? There’s a saying − motion is lotion. Staying active keeps your joints moving and pushing the lubricant around. Walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, and yoga are great gentle activities.
It’s important to protect your joints from injury, too. There are many ways to do this; weight training builds muscle mass and can increase flexibility. Specific exercises increase the muscle around a joint, giving it strength.
If you have any concerns about your joints, see your chiropractor, they can offer treatment where appropriate, and advice on how to maintain good joint health.
Hemp is often called a ‘superfood’, with a huge range of nutritional benefits.
Hemp is commonly confused with marijuana, but the plants are different. Hemp contains less than 0.5% of the active compound THC, so has none of the psychoactive effects of marijuana. This means that it is legal, safe, and readily available.
What are the benefits?
Edible hemp is a great source of lots of essential nutrients, such as fats, vitamins and minerals, protein, and fibre.
Hemp seeds contain the ‘good’ fats found in plant-based oils, essential for maintaining good cholesterol levels and carrying vitamins and minerals to the body. Hemp seeds and hempseed oil are particularly good sources of Omega 3 and 6. Hemp is one of only a handful of plant-based sources of these essential fatty acids. This makes it a perfect choice for vegetarians and vegans who may have struggled to find these without supplements.
Hemp seeds have a good amount of dietary fibre, contributing to a healthy digestive system. Hemp seeds are good sources for vitamins A and E, and many of the B vitamins. They also have high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron, which are essential for many of our bodily functions, a strong immune system, and general health.
A hemp seed comprises more than 35% protein – a highly concentrated, complete protein source, containing all of the amino acids necessary in a healthy diet.
Where can you get edible hemp products?
Until recently, edible hemp was mainly found in health food shops in the form of supplements. As it increases in popularity, hemp is becoming available in a wide variety of products, and is now found in mainstream shops and on the menu in cafes.
With a faintly nutty flavour, it’s good in both sweet and savoury forms. The simplest way to eat hemp is just to get the seeds – they’re versatile enough to be sprinkled over almost any meal, blended into a smoothie, or mixed into your muesli. The internet abounds with simple, delicious recipes for meals and desserts containing hemp seeds or hempseed oil, which can be a healthy addition to your regular diet.
Not yet feeling 100% and worried that pain relief isn’t happening fast enough? These are natural thoughts when you begin treatment − after all, aches, spasms, and stiffness are not nice and can stop us from enjoying life.
The human body takes time to heal. Think about a broken leg; a plaster cast is usually worn for around six weeks and can take another month for the bone to harden. Then, the fracture keeps remodeling itself over months, even years. The person who broke their leg doesn’t feel these changes.
The ligaments, joints, muscles and nerves also require time to heal. Plus, different parts of the body repair at different speeds. Muscles have a great blood supply so they recover quickly from injury. Ligaments, like those in the spine, have a poor blood supply so are slower to heal, and cartilage, which lines the joints, takes even longer. So, different tissues can cause pain, even while they’re getting better.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"
Many problems also appear over time. This is often the case with our spines; wear and tear can exist for years before it hurts. Poor posture develops slowly − if you have rounded shoulders, try going one day without hunching. It’s hard, right? Your body has adapted to this and it takes time to resolve.
There are other factors that slow healing, too. These include: being older, illness, stress, obesity, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and having a poor diet. There is nothing you can do to lower your age, but lifestyle improvements can be made. The right steps will help you recover faster.
Chiropractic care is like increasing your fitness, you need enough sessions, good advice, and to take the right steps at home. Pain relief may or may not happen in the first few treatments, but either way it’s not the best sign of progress.
Picture from Pinterest
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.