As anyone with lower back pain will know, it can take time to find the best sleeping position. But is the one you found comfortable and beneficial?
Not every sleeping position can help relieve back pain, even if it’s the best way for you to fall asleep. A poor sleeping position can aggravate, or even cause lower back pain. The position you choose should maintain the natural curvature of your spine without pressure on your neck, hips, or back.
One of the best ways to sleep is on your back, as this distributes your body weight evenly; and ensures alignment of your head, neck and spine. However, not everyone finds this position comfortable; for additional support place a small pillow under your knees, and fill the gaps between your body and mattress with thin pillows.
If you’re a side sleeper, take care, as sleeping on your side can strain your lower back. To minimise strain and keep your head, shoulders and hips correctly aligned, try sleeping with a firm pillow between your knees, and one to support your head and neck.
If you have a herniated disc, then a curled foetal position may provide relief. Lie on your side with your knees tucked into your chest and your back straight. Support your head and neck with a pillow, and place a firm pillow between your knees.
Sleeping on your front is one of the worst positions, but may benefit people with degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc. Place a thin pillow under your stomach and hips to raise your mid-section and help spinal alignment. You can sleep with your head on a flat pillow, or none at all, but make sure your head isn’t turned to the side, as this can twist the spine.
Your sleeping position, mattress, and pillows all need to work in harmony so that you can sleep comfortably with lower back pain. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort and need advice, speak with our team at Adam's Back.
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Air is the most essential element needed to sustain life.
Fresh air provides you with a steady supply of oxygen which is needed by your brain and every single cell of your body. Every function carried out by the body is directly related to the life of the cells. Cells need four things to live and function properly; oxygen, water, nutrition and cleansing. Without oxygen the cells die in three minutes as it is one chemical essential for the cells to create energy.
How much of your day, each day, is spent outdoors? For many the answer will amount to a bunch of minutes added up as we go from one closed space to another. We live in our homes, we get into our cars on our driveways, we drive to more closed locations and at the end of the day, we come back home. Some of us get better with heading outdoors when the warmer temperatures come, but our body needing fresh air is not a seasonal thing, it’s a daily requirement.
The air that you breathe in any indoor location is not as fresh as your body needs to remain healthy.
If you stay in a closed in area for a long period of time, you will end up breathing in the same air over and over again. The oxygen content of the air will go down. Fresh air is chemically different than the re-circulated indoor air that most people breathe. Breathing this stale air will not supply your body with enough oxygen to keep your cells functioning properly. If you are breathing in stale air, you may suffer from certain health problems such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, fatigue and exhaustion, irritability, anxiety, depression, frequent fevers, colds, or lung diseases.
So if you’re feeling any of the above symptoms, open a window, take a short walk outside, and drink a big glass of water. Ventilate your office or house with fresh air frequently! Consider keeping plants in your home and work environment to help improve the air quality. Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Some plants can even remove toxic pollutants from the air. If you can, sleep with your bedroom window open and endeavour to air your home regularly by opening up all the windows and doors.
In large cities, finding clean and fresh air is not an easy task as the natural freshness of air is destroyed by tobacco smoke, city smog, re-circulating air in buildings, improper ventilation, exhaust, and many other pollutants. Spend time in a park or garden with plenty of trees and plants to enjoy good quality fresh air or, if possible, head to the beach. One of the best ways to receive the benefits of fresh air is to go out into the open air and exercise by walking or gardening. This enables the lungs to expand and be filled with oxygen. Getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air should not be a chore, but a privilege!
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When ready to serve, remove from freezer and allow to thaw slightly for about 10-15 mins.
Slice into small portions – remember, although a healthy version, it is still rich.
Serve with more fresh berries.
Caring for your back is just as important as caring for your garden.
When the warmer weather hits, the plants in your garden can take off like they’ve got somewhere better to be. All that’s required is a little sun coupled with a touch of moisture, and your normally- organised garden bed can become a wild jungle only tameable with a steady weeding hand and a wheelbarrow.
When it comes time to get it under control and remove those pesky weeds, it might prove helpful to treat your body like it’s about to undertake an intense training session. Weeding might not seem like a laborious task, but some people may suffer from general muscle soreness and back pain as a result of continuous bending, lifting, weeding, and pruning. Even if you’re only in the garden for a few hours, it never hurts to put steps in place that might help to prevent those aches and pains.
Before you grab the garden spade, do a quick warm-up. Stretching your muscles before you tackle the garden can help warm and loosen them up for the task ahead. Once you’re ready to head outdoors, arm yourself with tools that might make gardening a little more comfortable. For example, a garden hose requires less strength and effort to use than a watering can, and a garden cart can remove the need to lift heavy bags of soil or compost by hand. Every little change in your gardening habits can make your time outside more enjoyable.
It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and forget how long you’ve been pulling weeds, but it might also benefit your body to break up the task into 30-minute sessions. After 30 minutes, take a break, hydrate, and make sure you’re feeling comfortable enough to continue. Always remember to bend your knees when lifting, lift with your legs, keep your back straight and share heavy loads.
Gardening is a fun hobby to have, and forming good habits with proper technique can help to reduce the risk of back pain and/or injury. However, should you find yourself feeling worse for wear after a day of lifting and bending in the garden, your chiropractor is available for consultation.
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Muscles knots can be extremely painful, but there are many ways you can both prevent and treat them.
Muscle knots are muscles fibres that are tight and tense, even when your body is at rest. They may be sensitive to touch, and feel swollen and lumpy. Muscle knots commonly occur in your back, shoulders and neck, and are also known as trigger points. They can cause additional conditions such as headache, toothache, jaw pain, and lower back pain.
Muscle knots can happen for a variety of reasons. Common causes are poor posture, overuse or injury of a muscle, stress, dehydration, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Firstly, take a look at your posture.
If you spend hours at your desk, are you sitting correctly and taking enough breaks? Slouching causes muscle stress which can lead to back pain, so try keeping your back straight, and your head upright in a neutral position.
Moving regularly through everyday activities, or following an exercise plan, helps to keep muscles strong, flexible, and free of tension.
Including gentle stretching into your daily routine will also release tension in your muscles. Activities such as swimming can be beneficial by working the muscles in your neck and shoulders, and improving circulation to these areas.
If you’re not drinking enough water, dehydration may be the cause of your muscle knots. Your water requirement varies depending on factors such as your age, and the amount of exercise you do, but health authorities commonly recommend seven to nine glasses a day. There are many apps you can use to remind you to drink water,
and track your daily intake.
If these preventative measures aren’t working for your muscle knots, then it may be time to seek professional help. Chiropractors may use chiropractic adjustments to address the underlying cause, improve posture and reduce tension in your body. They can also use or recommend other therapies such as massage to relieve immediate pain.
A combination of Chiropractic and Massage can not only help immediate symptoms of muscle knots, but also correct the cause and prevent them from occurring again.
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Do you think that strength training isn’t suitable for you? Find out why it is an essential part of an exercise plan for everybody.
Strength training is not just for body builders; as well as building strength it can help burn calories, reduce body fat, improve tone and lean muscle mass, and increase overall wellbeing.
How does strength training help weight management?
Lean muscle mass reduces with age, and fat can take its place if you don’t strengthen your muscles. Building muscle indirectly increases your metabolism as muscle burns a higher percentage of calories than fat, even at rest.
Develop strong bones
Many of us don't know that strong muscles lead to strong bones. The pulling and pushing on bone from strength training and other weight bearing exercise puts stress on the bone which responds by building new cells. Strong bones can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and strong muscles can improve balance and stability, therefore lessening the risk of injury from falling.
Help with chronic conditions
Strength training can also help reduce the symptoms of many conditions such as back pain, arthritis, depression and diabetes. Being stronger can increase your energy and improve your ability to do everyday activities which can help keep you mobile and independent.
Do I have to go to the gym and lift weights?
Strength training isn’t all about lifting weights at the gym.Although free weights and weight machines are commonly used, you can also use resistance bands and balls, and your own body weight. Leg squats, pull-ups, push-ups, yoga, and Pilates are all low impact activities that use bodyweight resistance, and can be performed easily at home.
How do I start?
Before you get started, make sure that strength training is right for you. Check with your doctor if you’re over 40, have a chronic condition, or if it has been some time since you exercised.
It is advisable to work with an exercise professional to help you choose the right level and weight, and to learn the correct training techniques. It’s also important to warm up beforehand and have rest days in between workouts.
Strength training doesn’t require hours of weight lifting every day; with a balanced and regular routine you will see improvement in your strength, muscle mass and overall health. See your chiropractor for advice on strength training options for you, and how to lower the risk of injury.
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Biking is a fun form of exercise, but is it helping or hurting your back?
There are few things as refreshing as heading out for a ride on your bike. You can feel the wind on your face, the blood pumping through your veins, and a burst of energy as you power through the gears.
Riding a bicycle has many positive points, but many riders are unsure if this form of exercise is suitable if they suffer from back problems.
Biking can often involve less jarring on the spine than the likes of jogging, especially stationary cycling. Sometimes, the positioning of your body on the bike can be favourable as well. If you have lumbar spinal stenosis, leaning forward towards aerodynamic, or low handlebars can be more comfortable than other positions.
Biking can still cause back and neck pain for some. Your back muscles may not be strong enough for the riding position, or your posture may cause strain. Although you may be leaning forward, this position can also cause you to arch your neck backwards, causing strain to the neck and upper back. Rough terrain may increase the risk of spinal jarring or compression, especially if the bike is unsuitable.
Prevention of back injuries
There may be ways you can prevent back and neck injuries from occurring while riding your bike. Whether you are a commuter, off road enthusiast or occasional cyclist; the first thing to do is select a bike that’s fit for purpose.
It’s worth getting advice from a bicycle professional on the right bike and accessories, and how to adjust your riding position to suit your body.
As you ride, gently lift and lower your head regularly to reduce the risk of neck strain. Biking isn’t greatly effective for strengthening back or abdominal muscles, therefore you may need to strengthen these in other ways to support your body and avoid lower back pain.
If you are trying to find forms of exercise that won’t cause or worsen back pain, biking could be the answer; however, it’s advisable to ask your chiropractor at Adam’s Back, if it would be suitable for you.
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Everyone knows the age-old adage of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but what about citrus fruit?
The beautiful arrangements of oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, and grapefruit in your supermarket may be appealing, but these citrus fruits have more to offer than mere looks.
They’re a lunch box staple, a beverage, and a pick-me-up when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Furthermore, they’re plentiful in Australia throughout most of the year. The studies on how citrus fruits can benefit your health will surprise you.
Vitamins and minerals
Citrus fruits offer an abundance of B and C vitamins; one orange alone can provide as much vitamin C as you need in a day. They also contain minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper; all of which play important roles in your body processes.
They don’t lack in the fibre department either; one large orange offers around 18 percent of your recommended daily requirement. Fibre is crucial for improving your digestive health, and lowering your cholesterol.
These fabulous fruits are rich in plant compounds that provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. They may reduce the risk of heart disease, possibly boost your brain function, and lower the chance of kidney stones. If that’s not enough to convince you, then the widely accepted studies on their protective effects against cancer, just might.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then citrus fruit may help. Their fibre and water content help to fill you up, and they are low in calories. A 2015 study, conducted over 24 years, showed a link between consuming citrus fruits and weight loss.
Are there any downsides to citrus fruits?
As with any food and beverages, ensure you consume citrus fruit in moderation. Their acid content can erode tooth enamel, which increases your risk of cavities. Also, consuming citrus in juice form can lead to increased sugar intake. Grapefruit can also have adverse effects with some medications.
Overall, citrus fruits are nourishing, versatile and convenient to eat. Add them to your regular diet and enjoy the sweet burst of flavour and subsequent health benefits.
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Surprisingly the hamstring muscles are not very active when you’re walking or standing, but they play an extremely important role in other activities.
The hamstring muscle has long been known as one of importance, even in ancient times. Knights used to slice their enemies across the backs of their thighs with a sword, rendering them immobile. Prisoners were also subjected to similar treatment to hinder escape attempts!
Hamstrings muscles are the large muscles at the large muscles at the backs of your thighs. They allow you to straighten your hips and bend your knees; and are vital in activities such as running, jumping, and climbing.
Hamstring injuries are muscle injuries, and range from a minor strain to a severe rupture, with a grading of I, II, and III. Grade I is minor, II is a partial rupture, and III is a complete rupture. An injury can occur over time from overuse, or from one sudden movement.
Grade I injuries can heal on their own and cause minimal aggravation, especially in those who don’t actively use those muscles. Grade II and III injuries are usually caused by vigorous activities. For an athlete, a grade III rupture can sometimes mean the end of their career.
When you experience a strain or rupture, you may notice a sudden jerking or a ‘pop’, followed by pain. Spasms, tightness, swelling, and bruising may develop.
It is very important to treat and repair your hamstring injury correctly to avoid re-injury.
Home remedies such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation, (RICE), may provide some relief. Splinting and crutches may also be necessary for severe strains. Your chiropractor may examine your feet, knees, hips, pelvis and lower back, as imbalances in these areas can all contribute to hamstring injuries.
You may not realise the importance of hamstrings until you injure them. Talk to one of the friendly team members at Adam’s Back on how you can best support your hamstrings.
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Most people know they should stretch their muscles before they exercise, but what happens if you stretch all the time?
If you make a conscious effort to stretch all your muscles throughout the day, not just before or after you exercise, you may discover some surprising benefits.
Stretching can decrease the risk of muscle- related injuries during physical activity. You’ll develop strength, flexibility, and muscle balance. Balancing your muscles enables your body to withstand more physical stress, and is achieved by stretching all of your muscles correctly.
As you become more flexible it’s important to build your strength as well. This ensures your muscles will have the correct amount of tension so they can provide enough strength to support you, and all your movements. This means you will become fitter in whatever you do.
Do you experience stiffness and aching muscles after carrying out activities or physical tasks you don’t normally do? If you
make an effort to open and lengthen your muscles, you may be able to reduce that discomfort.
Better balance and improved posture are also surprising benefits that may help you in every area of your life. With regular stretching, your body may correct any imbalances in your alignment.Your range of motion will improve, helping with everyday movements such as sitting and standing.
A positive mind
Finally, stretching can even pave the way for a positive state of mind.You may find it easier to unwind and relax with a body that’s free of aches and pains.
Getting rid of tension and loosening your muscles can have some amazing benefits. However, be wary of starting any stretching exercises if you suffer from an injury or chronic condition. Talk to one of the friendly team members at Adam’s Back if you have any health concerns.
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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.