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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Between 430 and 530 people throughout Australasia are diagnosed with a spinal cord injury every year. But could a recent study provide hope for those with thoracic spinal cord injuries?
A new study indicated that half of those with thoracic spinal cord injuries may still have some connectivity. This is a revolutionary discovery given that it was previously thought a complete spinal cord injury spelt the end of any sensory nerve connections.
The blind study was carried out by Neuroscience Research Australia, HammondCare, and The University of Sydney, with a breakthrough published in January this year. It was found that half of the 23 patients with thoracic spinal cord injuries had surviving sensory nerve connections.
During the study, each of the 23 patients, and 21 subjects with no spinal injuries were placed into a highly advanced MRI machine to register the brain’s response. Scientists touched each person’s toes then analysed the data received by the MRI machine. The results were astounding, with over half of those with spinal injuries registering the touch, even if their bodies didn’t.
As a result, scientists were able to prove that in some cases, even if a patient has a complete thoracic spine injury, some sensory pathways can be preserved and the message is getting through to the brain loud and clear.
This new research, which is part of a long-standing relationship between researchers, opens up a whole new world of possibilities for those with seemingly permanent disabilities. While it’s too early to tell what can happen with science in the future, it does mean that new avenues for research and treatment can be opened. The ultimate goal, of course, is to restore some function, sensation, and movement to those suffering from spinal cord injuries.
One such treatment avenue that scientists may yet delve into after identifying those with sensory nerve connections is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS works by using a changing magnetic field to cause an electric current to flow through the brain. A magnetic field coil is placed near the head of the patient which connects to a stimulator that delivers the current to the coil.
Typically, this treatment method is used to evaluate damage by measuring connections between the skeletal muscle and the central nervous system for those suffering from conditions such as a stroke, motor neuron disease, movement disorders and multiple sclerosis. It has also been used to treat neuropathic pain.
While it may be beneficial for these conditions, TMS treatment does have adverse side effects, including hearing loss, fainting, seizures and cognitive changes. Further research into TMS and other possible treatment methods is necessary to see if it may benefit those with spinal cord injuries in light of this new, breaking study.
While the study does prove that sensory nerve connections are present in those previously thought to have no sensation at all, there is still a long way to go until anything can be done with this information. Time will only tell what this revolutionary break-through spells for those with spinal cord injuries.
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Spice up your meals this winter.
Most people think of a headache and see it as a sore head and nothing more. While it can feel like the pain originates in your head, it might actually stem from somewhere else.
Headache pain is “extremely common” according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In fact, as many as one in every 20 people are affected on an almost daily basis with repeated head pain. One particular type of headache which can create an astonishing amount of throbbing discomfort is the cervicogenic headache. A cervicogenic headache is a type of secondary headache, which means it is caused by another illness or physical issue. For a cervicogenic headache, the actual cause is a disorder of the cervical spine and its component bone, disc and/or soft tissue elements, put simply, the neck area.
A headache associated with neck pain is not necessarily of the cervicogenic variety. Many headache disorders including migraine and tension-type headaches can have associated neck pain/tension. So if you have a headache, you may not know it's cervicogenic, but there are symptoms that can help identify if there is an underlying cause.
One of the most common symptoms is a reduced range of motion in the neck and the headache seems to worsen with specific neck movements, or when pressure is applied to certain areas on the neck. Often the headache will be on one side only and pain may radiate from the back of the neck/ head up to the front of the head or behind the eye. Cervicogenic headaches can also cause migraine-like symptoms including blurry vision, an upset stomach, as well as noise and light sensitivity.
Different conditions, all which stem from a problem in the neck area, can trigger a cervicogenic headache e.g. a prolapsed disc in the neck, whiplash, or even degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis. Injury or trauma from playing sport or even from a fall can also trigger these headaches. They can occur due to poor posture with a cervical protraction whilst standing or sitting: pushing your chin forward, which moves your head out in front of your body, as can falling asleep in an awkward position, especially when sitting up in bed or in a chair.
An assessment of evidence for the treatment of cervicogenic headaches, published in well-renowned medical journal, The Lancet Neurology, found that patients who suffered from a cervicogenic headache frequently did not respond to medication, suggesting a drug-free treatment plan can be a more suitable course of action. Treatment, however, for a cervicogenic headache needs to target the source of the pain (in the neck), therefore the best way to do that will vary, depending on the patient and the underlying cause.
Treatment aims to not only relieve your immediate symptoms, but also to reduce the frequency and intensity of the headaches. If you think your headaches may be caused by an associated neck issue, speak with your chiropractor. A diagnosis of cervicogenic headache may lead to being rid of that pain in the neck, for good!
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Trying to hide vegetables from a picky eater?
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As soon as you learn to walk, you put on a pair of shoes and never look back. Is it time to stand on your own two feet?
Humans are not born to wear shoes, but they are a form of protection as you go about your daily business. They protect your feet from bacteria, infections, harmful surfaces and materials like glass, and uncomfortable temperatures.
However, experts say that walking barefoot can restore your natural gait, and work certain muscle groups to strengthen your body. It can offer better foot mechanics and positioning as you walk, and stronger legs to support your lower back. If your feet work better, then your core, knees, and hips can as well. You may also notice improvements in your balance.
Shoes that don’t fit properly can cause bunions, blisters and deformities, so you could say goodbye to those too. As you can see, there is plenty to love about bare feet, but that doesn’t mean you should suddenly stop wearing shoes.
You need to start slow to strengthen your feet over time. Begin with short sessions, letting your ankles and feet adjust to using different muscle groups. Participate in barefoot activities such as yoga, and go barefoot around the house. Balance exercises should also form part of your “going bare” plan.
When you decide to leave the house with no shoes, be wary of all hazards. Start on safe surfaces such as sand or grass, and ease up if you feel any pain or discomfort. If you are prone to infections or wounds, then choosing light, minimalist footwear may be a better option for you.
There are many benefits of walking without shoes, but you must take all safety precautions. Consult your chiropractor for advice, or if you plan on completing any vigorous exercises without footwear.
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Work-related arm, neck, and shoulder problems cost the workforce billions of dollars every year. Could your computer mouse be to blame?
If you work in a mouse-heavy industry, such as graphic design or architecture, then it’s not uncommon to experience fatigue and pain. Weeks of mouse use without support can lead to repetitive strain injury and irritation – particularly around your shoulder region. Such pain is often a sign of a condition called ‘’mouse shoulder’’.
Mouse shoulder is caused by the repetitive, slight movements of your hands and fingers as you use your computer mouse. These small muscles become fatigued, causing larger muscles groups to compensate, resulting in more widespread discomfort. Before you know it, you’re in that much pain that you struggle with everyday tasks.
If you notice any tension or aches after frequent computer use, there are several things you can do. See your chiropractor for treatment, and invest time in setting up an ergonomic workstation.
Pay attention to your mouse, monitor, seating, and comfort. Your elbows should be relaxed at your sides, your screen and mouse centred in front of you, and your chair adjusted with armrests to support your forearms.
You may even find it useful to invest in support pads for your wrists, an ergonomic mouse that fits your hand size, and a special keyboard that promotes natural movement. Taking 15-second breaks every hour to give your arms and hands a break, is also crucial.
If you see your chiropractor for assistance, they may recommend a manual or instrument-assisted treatment method to alleviate mouse shoulder and associated pain. Every treatment plan is unique to you and the symptoms you present with. If you have any questions, or need help with your discomfort, consult your chiropractor.
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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.