How can I best support my aching body?
If you’ve ever experienced muscle cramps, you will know the searing pain and the panic to get rid of it. With such intense agony, you’d expect to be able to find out what it’s all about, but no one understands what causes it or even how it happens.
A muscle cramp, also referred to as a charley horse, is a painful muscle contraction that usually occurs in your lower legs. Many people get them after exercise, but some people suffer from muscle cramping for seemingly no reason at all.
Ever hear someone say that cramps are caused by a lack of salt?
For quite some time it was suggested that dehydration and electrolyte imbalance caused cramps. This theory is based on mostly observational evidence, so while there may be an association, it hasn’t been proven. And surely if it were true wouldn’t all the muscles in your body be affected?
What researchers have determined is that cramps tend to happen in muscles that are actively used and especially those that cross more than one joint. Cramps also occur more often at the start of a sports season when muscles have had less use, and at night in people who are inactive.
Fatigue is believed to be a contributing factor, particularly in endurance athletes who need to have fast-contracting muscle fibres. Muscle cramps also appear to affect men more than women. This may be due to men having more fast fibres, or that women don’t get as tired during the same level of exercise intensity.
Even though there is so much left to discover about cramps, there is evidence to suggest they affect some people more than others. Nocturnal cramping is prevalent in the elderly, and pregnant women notice cramps to be higher in intensity during the second and third trimesters.
With so many theories and little evidence, it can be hard to offer a solution. The once widely accepted solution of taking magnesium and salt tablets is now questionable, and stretching the contracting muscle may end up causing further harm.
Should you experience a cramp, the best immediate action you can take is to stretch the muscle opposite to (in the muscle pair) the cramping muscle. Additionally, if fatigue is thought to be a factor, plenty of fluids and electrolytes may also be of assistance.
Stretches may be included as part of a therapy program, and/or recommended to be done at home on a daily basis.
GENERAL TIPS FOR STRETCHING
To help effectively stretch the muscles
Stretches that are not recommended include neck circles (where the head is repeatedly rolled around the neck) or quickly stretching the neck forward and backward or side to side. These stretches may cause muscles strain or place additional stress on the cervical spine.
If you are unsure or need assistance make sure to ask one of our friendly practitioners during your next appointment.
The spine has a vital role in your body, so if you want to be healthy, you should keep your spine healthy too.
Your spine protects your spinal cord, nerve roots, internal organs, keeps your balance, provides structural support, and gives you full, flexible motion. If you find yourself struggling with aches and pains, could it be possible that you need to do the following?
KNOW YOUR ERGONOMICS
If you spend the majority of your day sitting (and possibly slouching), then you may like to make a few changes to benefit your spine. Did you know your lower spinal discs are under a lot more pressure when you sit down? Take breaks and walk around often, while making sure you have an ergonomic chair and computer setup. Consult your chiropractor to find out how you should set your computer up to benefit your entire body.
Your spine receives its support from your abdomen muscles
and lower back. If these muscles are weak, your spine suffers. A chiropractor can recommend some beneficial and targeted exercises to carry out every day to strengthen these muscles.
WEAR QUALITY FOOTWEAR
Whether you’re going for a jog, a walk, or you’re pacing around your office, make sure your shoes are benefiting your spine. The best pair of shoes provides a snug fit around the heel area. If you struggle to get the correct support your spine needs, talk to your chiropractor about shoe orthotics.
After a full day of keeping you upright, your spine needs some rest. For that, you need the most comfortable bed and mattress possible. If you find yourself sleeping funny or waking up with a sore back, consider purchasing a new, supportive mattress that encourages a favourable sleeping position. The best pillow and mattress is often a
personal choice but opt for one that rests your neck and spine in a natural position.
SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
Your spine is something you should not take for granted. If you’re struggling with back pain or spinal discomfort, consulting a chiropractor means receiving advice from a highly trained health professional who specialises in matters of the spine. They can identify any problem areas and recommend a tailored treatment plan. A chiropractor can also suggest beneficial exercises to encourage blood flow and speed up healing.
The true impact of prolonged phone use
There is no denying that technology has transformed the way we live, but we are spending more and more time glued to our mobile devices.
Australians spend 10 hours and 24 minutes on average engaging with their mobile devices every day. Within five minutes of waking up in the morning 35% of us check our phones, and 70% use phones during mealtimes with family and friends. This excessive reliance on digital devices is taking a toll on our bodies.
Looking down, hunched over mobile devices puts excessive strain on the neck which can cause neck pain. This is a very common complaint – in fact, the chance that you will have neck pain at some point in your lifetime is nearly 50%.
More and more Australians are suffering from ‘Text Neck’ – this refers to neck pain and damage from looking down at mobile devices for prolonged periods. Staring down at your phone can put immense pressure on your neck and spine.
There is no need to shun all technology. Changing a few habits can make a gig difference in improving your spinal health and overall wellbeing. Here are some tips to help avoid text neck and other spinal health issues resulting from poor posture and excessive use of mobile devices:
Stretching can help alleviate neck pain an discomfort caused by text neck. Seek advice from your local CAA chiropractors at Adam's Back about which stretching exercises are suitable for you.
Depending on your circumstances, your chiropractor may suggest a variety of techniques to help improve range of motion and function and will develop a program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment, depending on your needs. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, a care plan may include mobilisation, massage, rehabilitative exercise, as well as dietary and lifestyle advice.
Is two minutes really worth weeks of recovery?
We can all relate to carrying as many bags as possible to save us making another trip. However, is the time you’re saving worth it? Lifting more than you are able to carry can cause immense strain on your body. Furthermore, with bad lifting technique, it can be even worse for your back.
This is not just true for carrying shopping bags. We often carry heavy suitcases and handbags without thinking of the consequences. Lifting heavy objects carelessly can result in strained back muscles. A tear or inflammation can result in severe pain and a long recovery.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 3.7 million Australians reported back problems and it has become the third leading cause of disease burden after cancer and cardiovascular problems (1). With back problems being such a prevalent ailment, it’s important to make the necessary lifestyle changes to try and prevent back pain:
Chiropractors can help address the strain caused on the body from excessive lifting of heavy objects. Although back pain is common, each patient is different and chiropractors tailor their approach accordingly.
For back problems, chiropractors use a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as spinal adjustment or manual therapies. They also advise patients on self-management of pain through exercise, stretching and lifestyle modification. Speak to your local CAA chiropractor about the type of exercise or stretching most suited to your needs.
 The burden of musculoskeletal conditions in Australia (2017), Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, www.aihw.gov.au
What prolonged TV watching is really doing to you
There is no denying that we live an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, spending hours each day sitting at desks or curled up on couches watching TV. The average Australian spends 2 hours and 25 minutes a day watching television. That’s a long time in one position and it can be hazardous to your health.
Most of the time, when people watch TV, they are either slouching or lying in ways that put strain on their shoulders, back, or hips. Unwinding in front of the television shouldn’t feel like work but it also shouldn’t leave you feeling miserable the next day (which can happen if your body is not properly aligned).
Here are some things you can do to keep your spine happy while watching television:
If you are already experiencing the side effects of poor posture and prolonged sitting (pain, headaches or stiffness), it is advisable to visit your chiropractor or to see how they can help you improve your quality of life.
Your chiropractor can provide advice on self-care, depending on your condition and its severity. Research has shown that chiropractic care can help patients who suffer with back pain. In fact, a systematic review of articles published between 2009 and 2014 concluded that “the evidence supports that doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to diagnose, treat, co-manager, and manage the treatment of patients with low back pain disorders”.
Contact Adam's Back for more information on how we can help you improve your quality of life.
 Digital in 2017:ANZ and Pacific, 2017, We are Social & Hootsuite
 Globe G et al, 2015, Clinical Practice Guideline: Chiropractic Care for Low Back Pain
Are you guilty of ignoring your body?
Headaches are becoming increasingly common and we are often guilty of taking some painkillers and ignoring the problem. Headaches can take different forms such as migraines or tension headaches, and these can greatly impact quality of life.
Headaches can be caused by various reasons, including but not limited to, poor posture, stress, sleeping patterns and poor nutrition. Here are some tips which can help decrease the severity or frequency of headaches:
Chiropractors regularly diagnose, care for and manage headaches, and many studies have reported on the effectiveness of chiropractic care in alleviating migraine pain and other health issues that arise from neck and back issues.
An Australian study published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy demonstrated the effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating migraine pain. The Macquarie University study analysed the responses of 127 volunteers who suffered from migraines aged from 10 to 70 years. The researchers found that more than 80% of people who were provided with chiropractic care reported an improvement in migraines .
Contact Adam's Back for more information on how we can help improve your quality of life.
 Tuchin PJ1, Pollard H, Bonello R, 2000, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine, J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2000 Feb;23(2):91-5