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.

Alcohol and Sleep

Ever felt sleepy after consuming alcohol? Alcohol doesn't help you to sleep, it actually sedates you. Similar to a light anaesthesia. It breaks up your sleep because it causes you to wake up many times for a short period, you just don't remember it.

It also suppresses REM sleep. This is when we dream and if we suffer from lack of REM sleep it impairs our ability to learn complex tasks. (1) Even moderate consumption of alcohol in the afternoon and evening can impair this.

Consuming alcohol before bed can affect your ability to form new memories, not only for any that day but for several days prior as well. This is from research where test subjects were given 2-3 shots of vodka (This is the equivalent to 2-3 standard glasses of wine or beer)
after learning new information. Those that drank alcohol retained the least amount of information when retested 7 days later, followed by those who drank 2-3 days after learning the new material and those who didn't drink at all remembered all of the new information. (2)

Any amount of alcohol appears to affect one's sleep quality. Sounds like a couple of alcohol free days per week is good advice.

If you have any questions regarding this or would like help with your back pain. Please contact us as our chiropractors would love to help you out.

(1) https://www.howsleepworks.com/types_rem.html

(2) 'Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams', Matthew Walker

It Takes Time

When starting treatment, people and this includes myself, want to see results straight away and some people do.  For lasting changes it really does take time for our body to heal and become strong again, especially when our muscles and connective tissue have tightened up and are full of scar tissue which pulls us back into our old, incorrect posture.

I was reminded of this recently when I had a moment of frustration about my back still giving me issues after I had an unstable pelvis late in my 2nd pregnancy.  Whilst I am significantly better than I was (I could barely walk from 36 week's of gestation), I had to remind myself that I hadn't given it enough time or adequately done rehab exercises to strengthen my spine to get myself back to great spinal health.  I am now being vigilant about doing my exercises!

So, just remember - Rome wasn't built in a day... It takes time for our body to heal.

Stronger is Better

I hope you enjoyed the October Long Weekend and have adjusted to the clock going forward.  I love this time of year as the days are getting longer.

People tend to get back into exercise if they let their exercise regime lapse over winter. I want to share with you a wonderful exercise to help strengthen your core stabilising muscles, it is called the Pallof Press. It is so important to have a strong core to minimise spinal injury.  Please take a look at this video on our new Riverside Chiropractic YouTube channel.   We will be uploading more videos to our channel in the near future which is very exciting.

 

We will be uploading more videos to our channel soon which is very exciting.

Back Your Inner Athlete

This year, Spinal Health Week 2016 runs from 23 to 29 May with the theme ‘Back Your Inner Athlete’. 
 
Every day more and more Australians experience disabling low back pain, neck pain and headaches, limiting their ability to work and engage in an active healthy life.
 
One explanation for this is the impact an increasingly sedentary lifestyle has on postural fitness. Think about all the hours you spend each day sitting at work or school, on a computer or other mobile device, watching television or playing computer games. Poor posture increases pressure on your spine which can cause low back pain, neck pain, headaches and fatigue.
 
Low back pain is a growing problem and now ranks second in Australasia and seventh in the world according to the World Health Organisation’s latest Global Burden of Disease study. Neck pain is also problematic ranking ninth in Australasia and 21st in the world.
 
If you suffer from back pain, neck pain or headaches or if poor postural fitness is impacting on your ability to live life to the fullest, visit our chiropractors at Riverside Chiropractic and Back Your Inner Athlete.
 
Chiropractic care focuses on the relationship between body structure (primarily the spine and pelvis) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how this relationship can restore and maintain health.
 
Each week around 300,000 patients visit an Australian chiropractor. Chiropractic care is an increasingly common and effective treatment for back pain, neck pain and headaches eliminating the need for drugs or surgery. This means chiropractic care can also be very cost effective in comparison to other types of treatment.
 
At Riverside Chiropractic, we are encouraging our patients and the North Ryde community to begin a conversation about preventative health and well-being and adopt healthy habits.
 
Chiropractors have an important role to play in preventative health and well-being because they understand that a vital part of maintaining normal spinal function is by helping patients to make healthy lifestyle changes around nutrition, exercise and wellness. 
 
Adopting healthy habits today (such as improving postural fitness) can significantly reduce the risk of injury or pain later on and have a positive impact on your self-esteem, social relationships and even mental health.
 
Back, neck and spinal problems are also a leading cause of lost productivity in the workplace and forced early retirement. Every year forced early retirement has a traumatic effect on the hopes and prosperity of a large number of Australians.
 
We are encouraging people who haven’t been in for 6 months or more or those who have never had their back checked to com in and discover what steps you can take to improve your overall health and well-being and Back Your Inner Athlete.  Please either phone 8096 6781 or email us for an appointment today.
 
Celebrate Spinal Health Week on 23 May by downloading the CAA Back App with augmented reality feature at Back Your Inner Athlete, on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
 
Spinal Health Week 2016 is a national initiative of the Chiropractors’ Association Australia (CAA).

Thrills, Spills, Pills 2

Welcome to ‘Thrills, Spills and Pills 2’.  It is an article containing three tips which reflect the three different types of stressors we typically experience in our lives.

Thrills: Mental and Emotional Stress – relationships, work, finances etc
Spills: Physical Stress – Sitting, sports injuries, training, car accidents etc
Pills: Chemical Stress – Diet, alcohol, cigarettes, pollution, supplements, medication etc

Thrill Tip: The 10 Min Practice: this is an exercise to help purge yourself of a negative self-image. If you are constantly beating yourself up, this exercise is great to reset your thinking. Here’s how it works: every morning, before you do anything else, write down every negative thought about yourself that you have. Try to aim for at least 20 things. Really be brutal with yourself. Then turn around each statement and write down the list again, this time writing the opposite of each thought.  This is another one that only seems to work if you hand write it out.

Spill Tip: Ever wanted to increase your low back mobility? Probably the best exercise for this is the full squat. Here’s how to do it: stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart and with straight arms held out in front (this helps with balance but is not essential). Slowly squat down into a full squat position. Your buttocks should almost be touching the floor and your heels should be flat on the floor. Let your tailbone sink down and under. If you’re having difficulty balancing, use a pole, table, doorframe etc to hang onto and lean back until your heels are flat. Aim for 10 minutes cumulatively per day.

Pill Tip: Ever tried to start the day with a smoothie but found it unfulfilling? Were you hungry only an hour later? Try the following to supercharge your smoothies: ensure that you add plenty of fat and protein. Do this by adding two raw eggs and a whole scoopful of high quality protein powder. You may also wish to add a tablespoon of coconut oil or a some full-fat, pot-set, organic, biodynamic yoghurt. The extra fat and protein from these additions will bring your smoothie to a much more satisfying level.

Avoiding Back Injury Whilst Training

Back pain affects 80 percent of the population. 99 percent of cases are non-life threatening, and may be the result of :
- Muscle strain
- Joint strain 
- Disc strain

Symptoms can range from a mild ache to severe pain, not only in the back but also radiating down either one or both legs. The good news is there's a lot that can be done to help with the management of symptoms and get you back to a normal, pain free lifestyle.

Here are some tips for avoiding back injury while training:

* A strong core is the key to preventing back injuries. Ensure you engage your core muscles i.e. keep them contracted during cardio and resistance training

* Keep a neutral pelvis and lumbar spine at all times

* If you are suffering back pain, stick to exercises involving little to no low back movement and low impact cardio

* Rowing - Keep back straight, bring shoulder blades in and down with every stroke

* Horizontal/seated leg press - is to be avoided as it does not encourage core stabilizers and can cause disc injury

* Keep arm weights below shoulder level - to avoid neck strain. Also, avoid poking your chin out whilst exerting yourself

Pain is not normal; it indicates that there is a problem, pushing through it may cause extra harm. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during or after training, come and see one of the chiropractic team at Riverside Chiropractic for a full assessment, x-rays can be taking if required and treatment provided.