Why Do I have Aches and Pains?

A little bit of inflammation spread all over the place is one possible culprit as to why you have aches and pains. Inflammation in one particular area e.g. a joint contributes to the breakdown of that joint causing osteoarthritis - please note that this process can take several years. Inflammation seems to be suppressed at night which accounts for more aches and pains first thing in the morning. It is also related to metabolic syndrome: being over weight, poor fitness and ageing. Smoking, inactivity, stress and sleep deprivation make inflammation worse - they don’t so much make you feel old as literally age you.  

Inflammation can make the pain of Fibromyalgia worse. If you aren't familiar with what Fibromyalgia is, according to the Mayo clinic it is an unexplained sensory dysfunction resulting in widespread oversensitivity to stimuli, exhaustion, and mental fog, among other things. 

Inflammation hasn't been proven to make stress and the associated pain of it worse but there are strong links to suggest that it does. Short term stress is ok for us, such as being stressed when sitting in traffic causing you to run late but long term stress i.e. more than 3 months is not ok for our body and health. Sleep disturbance is one cause of long term stress.

What can you do about it?

  • Eat a healthy diet - intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets (low carb) for short periods of time can help as well. Try to reduce your animal and animal product intake.

  • Lose weight

  • Exercise: including lifting weights

  • Reduce stress: through whatever means that is for you - having a couple of alcoholic drinks after work each night isn't a good idea

  • See a sleep specialist if you have any sleep issues

  • See one of our chiropractors or Andrew, our remedial massage therapist to help reduce your pain

If you would like help with your stress levels or aches and pains, get in touch with us so we can help you out or book in online.

This has been adapted from https://www.painscience.com/articles/inflammation-chronic-subtle-systemic.php

What might be causing my pain?

It might be coming from your fascia.

What is fascia?

You have most likely seen it before. It is the thin, yellowish, white-ish stuff that is wrapped around meat. In your body, it is wrapped around individual muscle fibres, muscle bellies, nerves, blood vessels and organs. It connects your musculoskeletal, circulatory and nervous systems together.

It was initially thought that fascia was just a connective tissue scaffold helping to give the body its shape and hold it together. It is now being discovered that cells move throughout our fascial system transporting nutrients and waste products. It has also been found that cells within our fascia communicate with our Central Nervous System.

Fascia can be damaged in a variety of ways but the most common ones are:poor posture, RSI, child bearing, sports injuries, car accidents, falls, wear and tear and inflammation, which is often due to ageing. When an area of fascia becomes damaged, it develops cross-linking fibres of collagen to help it heal, these do not go away once the area has healed and they actually cause the fascia to move less. The fascia develops adhesions or scar tissue, as a result, it becomes stiffer and stretches less. Over time, the by-products of sugar and sugar itself get stuck in these adhesions causing even more stiffness. Think of healthy fascia being like nicely, combed hair where the hair strands are parallel and unhealthy being like a big knot in the hair that is hard to comb out. Apart from being really stiff and in-elastic, it becomes more painful as well.  It is also going to lead to joint stiffness eventually, which causes pain. Scar tissue is more sensitive to pain than normal tissue. Fascial injuries aren't usually seen on imaging even very detailed ones like MRIs.

So, what can be done about it?

To keep our fascia healthy we need to be well hydrated but we also need movement to help get the water into it. So, another reason to exercise and stretch. If this doesn't help with your pain, see one of our chiropractors as we help to restore the correct motion to your joints which takes the pressure off the fascia. We also will do soft tissue work to allow the fascia to move more freely. Many of our clients have benefited greatly from seeing, Andrew, our remedial massage therapist as this also helps to loosen stiff fascia.

This has been adapted from https://www.doctorschierling.com/fascia.html

If you experience any back pain please get in touch with us so we can help, please contact us or book online.

Blood Pressure and Losing Weight

Recent research shows that exercise is effective in lowering blood pressure. All types of exercise including both cardiovascular and resistance training were beneficial. Blood pressure medication is more effective than exercise in creating a difference but this research is still very encouraging for people to keep up their exercise. Please make sure you check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. See our Facebook post for further information.

You have probably heard that it isn't just exercising alone that helps you to lose weight, it is mainly what you eat. Research discussed in the New Scientist, January 19, 2019, shows that our bodies have a set amount of calories that it uses per day so extra exercise doesn't allow you to eat too much more food. There are several reasons for this:

1) if someone does a heavy work out, they often compensate for this by being less active or fidgety throughout the rest of the day because their body is recovering. This was shown in mice who were given running wheels and prompted to exercise, they were less active for the rest of the day.

2) People who are used to exercising become more efficient at using calories, therefore, they don't need as many calories for their daily life and exercise.

3) Our bodies have possibly evolved to use a certain amount of calories regardless of the activity we are doing. The Hadza people in Tanzania, are very active. The men walk at least 10km/day hunting for game and the woman gather food by digging for wild tubers and picking berries yet still only burn around 2000-2600 calories/day. This is only slightly more than people who drive to work and sit all day. It takes more energy and effort for a larger person to go about their daily life than an individual in a healthy weight range. When people start to lose weight, their metabolism slows down. If they start to put it back on, their metabolism stays at the slower rate as if their mass was smaller compared to their pre-weight loss state. This makes it easier to put weight back on, because our bodies have evolved to make sure we survive - smart, but kind of unfair given the abundance of food in this day and age!

If a person exercises like crazy, their metabolism also slows down because their body isn't spending enough time repairing their internal systems and can find themselves with injuries that don't heal, not being able to shake a cold or having disrupted menstrual cycles. However, there are good reasons to do moderate amounts of exercise as there are a myriad of other health benefits: improved cardiovascular health, better brain function and reduced risk of chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's.

If you experience any back pain whilst exercising please get in touch with us so we can help, please reply contact us or book online.

Anti-ageing

Exercise really is an amazing tool to keep ourselves healthy and also younger. New research compared the muscles and cardiovascular capacity of people who regularly exercise in their 20s, people in the 70s who exercised their whole adult lives and an inactive group in their 70s.

They found that the muscles of people who have exercised their whole lives closely resemble those of people in their 20s who currently exercise. The inactive group's muscles showed significant changes. The cardiovascular system of the active older group was reduced compared to the 20 year olds but their capacity was 40% higher than the inactive group as well as their cardiovascular health being equivalent to people 30 years younger than them.

So, with most of us having time off shortly, it is a great time to start making exercise a habit that you can't live without. 

If you experience any back pain whilst exercising please get in touch with us so one of chiropractors can help, by contacting us or book online.

Turmeric and Vascular Health

You may have heard that turmeric is great for helping to reduce musculoskeletal pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. These also aid your vascular system by helping to prevent and reduce arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, which can cause a heart attack). It does this by reducing oxidative stress by improving the balance between free radicals and the ability to rid oneself of them. Heart disease can progress silently, so watching your diet and exercising at any age helps to reduce the likelihood of its onset.

If you have any questions regarding this or would like help with your back pain, please contact us so one of our chiropractors can help you to start feeling better today. To do so, please contact us or book online.

Plank Progressions

Planks are great for helping to build your core muscle endurance but they do get a bit boring after a while. Check out this video if you want to challenge yourself further. Remember to squeeze your butt whilst you're planking to avoid your back taking unnecessary load which may lead to injury.

If you experience any pain, please contact our chiropractors to see if there are any areas that need addressing.

Gardening and Your Back

We have seen quite a few clients recently who have hurt themselves whilst gardening. It can be quite a strenuous activity so warming up your body beforehand by rotating your arms forwards and backwards, doing some light squats and reaching down for your toes is a good start. At the end, do some gentle to moderate stretching to loosen up your muscles and minimise pain the next day. 

Gardening tip: If you are using a mattock, make sure you aren't using your back to bring you back up to the starting position, use your Glutes (butt muscles). Using your back to generate the movement is a great way to strain a muscle or sprain a joint.

If you experience back pain whilst gardening, please reply to this email or book online, as we can help you.

Gut Health

Just a quick one this time. The type of bacteria in your gut can influence your mood. You can change the type of bacteria in your gut by making smart, healthy food choices. It has been shown that positivity improves one's decision-making skills. If you would like more information about this, check out this video.

If you have any questions regarding your gut health, please do contact us to see if we can help you out.

How Long Will It Take? 

My colleague, Dr Jerry Kennedy, wrote this great article on a common patient question and frustration. He did a great job in answering it.

One of the most common questions that patients ask their chiropractor is, “How long will it take?” Some people ask because their #1 concern is that the chiropractor is never going to let them go. Maybe they have heard the “once you go you always have to go” myth that some people say about chiropractors. If that’s you, I have good news. It’s not true. Your chiropractor isn’t ever going to hold you hostage. That’s not the reason that most people ask that question. The majority of people who ask, “How long will it take?” are asking because they are in pain or in some way hampered, and they would like to get back to normal as soon as possible. That makes perfect sense. If patients had their way, they would get better instantly. I jokingly refer to that concept as patients wanting a “Jesus visit.” That’s when they go into their chiropractor’s office, get an adjustment, and are instantly better. Healed! Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way. Sure, there is the occasional exception to the rule, but for the most part, your body takes time to heal. It’s also important to note that healing and feeling are not the same things. There are times when a medication or a treatment can help your body feel better quickly, but that doesn’t mean it has healed yet. If your pain/problem comes back as soon as the medicine wears off, your body hasn’t yet fully healed. The same is true of treatment. If your pain/problem comes back a few days after your treatment, your body hasn’t yet fully healed. That doesn’t necessarily mean the medicine/ treatment isn’t working. It could just be the difference between feeling and healing. So that brings us back to our original question, “How long will it take?” Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact answer. It depends on the problem. It depends on the person. There are a lot of factors at work. It’s an oversimplification, but I used to tell my patients that 5 factors would determine how long it would take their body to heal.

First - how old are you? That’s an easy one. Younger people heal faster than older people. The older you get, the more you realize how true that is.

Second - how bad is the problem? Not all health problems are the same degree of severity. Let’s use a sprained ankle as an example. On one end of the spectrum, you could have a minor sprain that heals up in 24 hrs. No big deal. On the other end, you could have a major sprain that requires many weeks of rest and therapy to heal. As a general rule, the more severe a health problem is the longer it takes to heal.

Third - how long have you had the problem? Just to clarify, that’s not necessarily the same thing as how long you have felt bad. It’s possible to have a health problem much longer than you have felt bad. Arthritis is a great example. Most people who have arthritis will have it for years before they ever have any pain. As a general rule, the longer you have had a health problem the longer it will take to heal.

Fourth - where is the problem? You may not know this, but different parts of the body heal at different rates. Muscles heal faster than ligaments. Ligaments heal faster than bone. Even the different joints of the body heal at different rates. An injury to your elbow is likely to heal much faster than an injury to a more complex joint like your shoulder.

Fifth - are you (the patient) willing to do your part? Healing not only takes time but it also takes participation. Sometimes rest is required. That means the patient has to be willing to slow down or stop. Sometimes nutritional changes are required. That means the patient needs to add something or remove something from their diet to help their body heal. Sometimes stretching or strengthening is required to help heal an injury. Ultimately, a patient who is willing to do their part to help their body heal will heal faster than a patient who doesn’t.

So when you ask your chiropractor the question, “How long will it take?” often you won’t get a specific answer. Don’t worry…they aren’t avoiding the question just for the sake of avoiding the question. It’s a difficult question to answer because the answer is different for every person. More often than not, chiropractors will take the information that you have given them, and use their clinical experience to give you a timeframe. It’s not set in stone. You may do better than expected and heal faster. You may do worse than expected and heal more slowly. Everyone is different. What does all this mean for you? Well, it means a couple things.

First, it’s important that you understand that healing takes time. If you expect your body to heal instantly, you may quit doing the exact things you should be doing because you aren’t willing to give them the proper amount of time.

Second, it’s important that you have open communication between you and your healthcare providers. You should be able to ask questions and express concerns. They should be able to let you know what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. When you and your healthcare providers work together as a team, you are more likely to get positive results faster.

Lastly, it’s important that you do your part. Patients who participate in their care heal much faster than those who don’t. Stretch when it’s time to stretch. Go to your chiropractic appointment when it’s time to go to your appointment. Do your exercises when it’s time to do your exercises. Rest when it’s time to rest. The bottom line is this…everyone is different. How long it takes your body to heal is going to be different than how long it takes my body to heal. If you want to heal as quickly as possible and get back to normal, you have to be patient and you have to participate in the process. You can do it!

If you are ready to have your back pain resolved, please contact us or call 8096 6781.

Neck Strain

There is a good chance it is coming from your 'Forward Head Posture' (FHP).

Your head should sit directly on top of the neck and shoulders. Imagine a bowling ball sitting on top of a vacuum cleaner pipe.  If the bowling ball rolls forward it is putting enormous pressure on the vacuum cleaner pipe, as in the case of FHP.  The neck and shoulder muscles become very tense and tight leading to tension and pain.  It can also cause disc problems and other arthritic problems in the neck. Other issues it can lead to are: headaches, back, neck, arm and hand pain and tingling.  It can also cause problems with one’s bite and jaw pain. FHP alters the body’s ability to control your balance leading to a greater risk of injuring yourself.
 
Causes:
It is usually from being sedentary and spending most of your time sitting down and/or slouching e.g. driving a car, work, watching tv and using a computer, and backpacks.  It is the repetitive nature of these activities that causes it.
 
How do I know if I have FHP?
Have someone look at you side on.  The middle of the ear hole should be in a straight line up from the centre of the shoulder.  If this is not the case, please consult your Chiropractor as it can cause spine and nerve damage. 
 
How can I prevent or manage it?

  • Consult a Chiropractor as it may be possible to improve it through corrective treatment
  • Correct work station set up 
  • Every 20-30minutes take a mini-stretch break or stand up
  • Use a low back support in your car and at your workstation
  • When wearing a backpack keep both straps on your shoulders and close against your back.  It should not weigh more than 10-15% of your body weight

If you would like help with your forward head posture please contact us or book online to so our chiropractors and massage therapist can help you to start feeling better.