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.

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.

Fuel For Your Back

Your back pain isn't only affected by what you do or don't do throughout the day but also by what you eat. 

What you eat affects your back pain and body composition. Your body is like a car's engine, if you fuel it with e-10 and it needs 95 or 98 octane fuel, don't get upset when it doesn't give you the output you want. Research shows that a plant-based diet is best to help reduce pain and inflammation. Whilst a purely plant based diet makes it harder to get in enough protein and you may be sad to not eat meat, the Mediterranean diet is a happy medium.

If you would like to know more about fuelling your body properly to reduce pain please contact us or book in online to start feeling better today as our chiropractors love being able to help.

There's A Reason Why It Is So Important

Walk into any gym or health club and you’ll find people exercising their core. Core training has taken the world by storm, and for good reason as strengthening the core creates stability and better movement and helps prevent lower back pain. To help you get the most out of your efforts, it’s important you understand what you’re doing.  We’ve outlined below the difference between local and global muscles, to help you perform core work safely and effectively.

What Is your Core?

Your core is a shorthand way of referring to all the muscles of your lower back/pelvis/hip area. It’s where your centre of gravity is located and where movement begins. A strong core stabilises the spine and pelvis and supports you as you move. The core has 29 pairs of muscles that fall into two categories:

1) Local Muscles: Think of your local muscles as the deeper muscles, the ones close to the spine and responsible for stabilisation. They don’t have much ability to move the joints. The local muscles are further broken down into primary and secondary categories. The primary local muscles are the Transverse Abdominus and Multifidi (the two most critical muscles for providing stability). The secondary local muscles are the Internal Obliques, Quadratus Lumborum, Diaphragm and Pelvic Floor muscles.

2) Global Muscles: The global muscles are the outermost layer of muscle—they’re the ones you can feel through your skin. They’re responsible for moving joints. The global muscles in the core are the Rectus Abdominus, External Obliques, Erector Spinae, Psoas Major and Iliocostalis.

The core should operate as an integrated functional unit, with the local and global muscles working together to allow easy, smooth, pain-free movement. When the muscles work together optimally, each component distributes, absorbs and transfers forces. The kinetic chain of motion functions efficiently when you do something dynamic, like exercise or run.

Core Injury

An injury to one of the core muscles usually means an episode of lower back pain. When that happens, the deep stabilizers change how they work as a way to compensate for the injury and protect the area. The stabilisers now have delayed action; they’re turned on only after you move, instead of as you move. Because now they’re not functioning as they should, the brain recruits the global muscles to compensate. That causes a core imbalance. The result: pain in the lower back, pelvis and glutes (the big muscles you sit on).

Exercises designed to help get your core muscles back in balance are the best way to prevent re-injury and avoid lower back pain. Traditional abdominal exercises are often recommended to strengthen the global muscles. These exercises can actually increase pressure on the lower spine. Similarly, traditional lower back hyperextension exercises meant to stretch out the lower spine also may actually increase pressure on it. A better approach to preventing lower back pain is restoring stability with the core exercises below.

Abdominal Brace

The abdominal brace activates all the contracting muscles in the abdominal wall. This exercise strengthens the connection between the global muscles and the deep local muscles. This helps restore the balance between them and improves spinal stiffness.

To get an idea of how the muscles in your core work, place your thumbs in the small of your back on either side of your spine. Next, do a hip hinge: bend forward from the hips about 15 degrees. You should feel the muscles in your lower back move as you bend and stand back up again.

To do the brace, stand upright and suck in your stomach, as if you were about to get punched. Hold that for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat 20 times; do three sets.

You’ll know you’re doing the brace correctly if you poke your extended fingertips right into your side below your ribs and then brace. You should feel the muscles move under your fingertips.

Curl-Ups

Curl-ups train the Rectus Abdominus, the long abdominal muscle that runs vertically from your breastbone all the way down on both sides of your bellybutton.

Start by lying on your back with your hands palm-up beneath your lower back. Bend one leg and put the foot flat on the floor; extend the other leg, perform the abdominal brace. Hold your head and neck stiffly locked onto your ribcage - imagine them as one unit. Lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor by about 10 centimetres and hold that position for 20 seconds. Your elbows should touch the floor while you do this.  

Relax and gently lie back again and repeat 10 times. Switch legs and repeat 10 times again. Do three sets.

Tip: If you experience neck discomfort doing this, push your tongue against the roof of the mouth to help stabilise the neck muscles.  If you experience pain in your low back try bending both knees.

Bridge

Lying on your back with your knees bent, brace your abdominals then raise your hips up until you are in a straight line.  Do not over arch your back.  Keep your hips level and hold for 10 seconds then lower hips to the  floor.  Repeat 10 times.

This strengthens all of your core muscles due to abdominal bracing as well as your Glutes and Hamstrings.  These muscles become weak from sitting too much.

Side Bridge

This exercise is great for training the back extensors, including the Longissimus, Iliocostalis and Multifidus.  

Start on your hands and knees (quadruped position). Raise and extend the opposite arm and leg simultaneously.  Hold for eight seconds, then return to the quadruped position. Repeat eight times, then switch arms and legs and repeat for ten reps. Do three sets.

All the muscles of the core must work together to produce efficient and effective movement. The core is the centre of the body’s motion—training it is a critical part of any exercise routine.