WHAT IS THAT CRACKING SOUND???

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For such a commonly asked question, there are multiple trains of thought and the answer has been a topic of debate within the scientific research world for many years. However, one thing is for certain:

It's not your bones breaking!

You may have heard before that the sound comes from gas escaping the joint as it is "cracked".

This was the train of thought among health professionals for many years. The theory being that over time, gas bubbles form within the joint cavity (knuckle, ankle, finger etc.) and when the joint is stretched to a certain point of tension, the bubble collapses and a popping sound is heard as a result.

However, recently a study was conducted with the aim of visualizing what actually happens within a joint when it is being "cracked" in real time. These researchers got participants to "crack" their knuckles whilst inside a special type of MRI machine and observed the results.

They found that it wasn't gas bubbles collapsing that caused the popping sound but a sudden cavity formation within the joint that caused the sound. Like a vacuum within the space between the two bones but created suddenly.

This is an interesting development and although there is more research to be done on the topic, we are moving constantly closer to a better understanding of the biomechanics of the amazing machine that is the human body.

Aaron Chiro Team.

Reference:

- Kawchuk GN, Fryer J, Jaremko JL, Zeng H, Rowe L, Thompson R (2015) Real-Time Visualization of Joint Cavitation. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0119470. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119470

Understanding arthritis and how you could help manage arthritis pain with routine chiropractic care.

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What is Arthritis?

Though common, arthritis is one of Australia’s most misunderstood diseases. Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, which can cause pain, discomfort and stiffness throughout joints and the body. Common symptoms of arthritis and joint inflammation include swelling, joint pain and stiffness and decreased range of motion -- typically worsening with age.

In actuality “arthritis” is not a single disease. However, there are two main types of arthritis that can benefit from routine chiropractic care:

Osteoarthritis - A degenerative disorder affecting flexible joint cartilage

Rheumatoid Arthritis - A chronic inflammatory disorder in joints

In both cases, self care combined with non-invasive, non-addictive treatment, should serve as your first line of defence to manage and relieve pain and discomfort.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help Those with Arthritis?

Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage and relieve pain caused by arthritis. Routine chiropractic care provides arthritis patients with a safe, non-invasive, non-addictive alternative to prescription opioids or over-the-counter pain medications (OTCs), which are commonly prescribed to patients to help them manage their pain.

Chiropractors deliver a gentle, non-invasive, non-addictive therapy, known as a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments reduce joint restrictions or misalignment’s in the spine and other joints in the body in an effort to reduce inflammation and improve function of both the affected joint and nervous system. By increasing joint mobility and improving your nervous system function and spinal health, your body has the ability to better manage symptoms caused by osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Below are some of the health benefits chiropractic care and chiropractic adjustments can provide to arthritis patients:

  • Reduced pain and discomfort

  • Decreased inflammation

  • Improved range of motion

  • Improved flexibility

  • Increased activity and lifestyle

To see if chiropractic care is right for your condition, the chiropractors at Aaron Chiropractic will perform a consultation, examination and if necessary, refer you out for diagnostic imaging such as x-ray or MRI. Based on the findings of our chiropractic exam and consultation, your doctor of chiropractic may elect to co-treat your arthritis with other healthcare professionals including massage therapists, physical therapists or other primary care physicians.


To find a local chiropractor and to learn more about how chiropractic care can help those suffering from arthritis, contact or visit our chiropractic offices today, to speak with a licensed doctor of chiropractic.

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Arthritis and Degeneration of the spine

Arthritis, Degeneration and Spondylosis

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Arthritis and degeneration in the spine, clinically known as spondylosis is NOT the real problem causing the pain in most of their client’s spines. Sure, it can be a problem, it can be incredibly debilitating, painful and disabling but it is not the real culprit. It’s more of a symptom in fact, a CONSEQUENCE of long term unattended to, dare I say neglected, spinal dysfunction. Case in point…the two most common regions in the human spine where we find premature spinal degenerative change is either in the lower neck or cervical spine (typically C5-7 as depicted in the attached picture) or the lower lumbar spine (L4-S1). The reason for this is that when you look up and down or turning your neck to change lanes when driving, your spine moves all the way from the top of your neck down to around the T4 or T5 thoracic vertebra which are located directly between your shoulder blades and functionally this constitutes your upper spine. Now when we become tense around the upper shoulders from mental tension or poor posture, the upper thoracic spine (T1-T3) loses its mobility and tightens, making the lower part of the cervical compensate and move more to cover for what the T1-3 region is no longer doing. Over time this causes the lower cervical spine to become irritated, mechanically over-loaded and inflammation to build in the joints in this region of the spine. This is spinal arthritis! Aretha = joint, itis = inflammation, so inflammation in a joint is the real meaning of the word arthritis. The thing is that this inflammation, if left unresolved and allowed to continue long term, (due to unresolved spinal mechanical dysfunction) leads to the eventual beginning of erosion of the joint surfaces, scar tissue formation within the joint capsule and boney remodeling or spur formation around the edges of the joint. All of which result in the eventual wear and tear and degenerative change we associate with the word arthritis. So spinal degeneration is the consequence of unresolved dysfunction and mechanical over-loading of certain regions of the spine. The same occurs in the lower lumbar spine because it attaches to the pelvis and is also an inherently stiff structure which can stiffen more from excessive sitting or the repetitive movements associated with simply being left or right handed. Combined with tightness in the gluteal muscles and the Sacro-iliac joints, this causes distortion and stiffness within the pelvis. This causes the tail bone (the sacrum) not to mesh nicely with the lowest lumbar vertebra (L5) and as a consequence, mechanical loads up this juncture. So, you now have the situation where the lower lumbar spine (L4-5) is trying to do more, but it is doing it in an “out of alignment” environment. This does not make for very happy lower lumbar facet joints or intervertebral discs (the facet joints are at the back of the spine and guide the spines movements, the discs are at the front and are designed to move but also carry most of the weight bearing load). This situation is compounded by the fact that the lower thoracic spine or thoraco-lumbar junction (T10-L1) is another region which is prone to stiffness and dysfunction. This is due largely to the fact that most of the erector spinae muscles coming up from the pelvis that hold us up, attach here and as a consequence can cause this region to stiffen up and change in alignment as well. So you can see how with years of gradual tightening in these regions due to stressors such as poor posture, muscle weakness or mental tension leads to both alignment and mobility changes that result in mechanical over-loading of these vulnerable regions within our lower cervical and lower lumbar spines. Left unchecked this can progress through a series of pathological changes that lead to the development of spinal arthritis or spinal degenerative change. A good reason to keep your spine functioning at its best…after all it’s the only one you’ve got! A final note is that these complaints are typically associated with weak core stability muscles which protect our spine and maintain good posture.

PREGNANCY & BACK PAIN

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Did you know that at least 50 percent of pregnant women experience back pain? And 10 percent of those report discomfort severe enough to disrupt their daily routines. The good news is that there are steps you can take to baby your back during pregnancy.

What Causes Pregnancy-related Back Pain in the First Place?

The average healthy weight gain is more than 30 pounds. This extra weight places considerable stress on the back, feet, ankles and knees. As your baby grows, the core abdominal muscles become stretched, and cannot stabilize your posture as well as they did before.

In the third trimester, levels of a hormone called “relaxin” increase 10 times. This also contributes to back pain. Relaxin loosens your joints to allow the pelvis to accommodate the enlarging uterus. These loose joints force the muscles of the back and pelvis to work overtime to keep you upright and balanced.

Try these tips to help minimize your risk of back pain:

  • Exercise can help increase muscle support for your aching back. Always consult a healthcare practitioner before participating in a new exercise regimen. Low-impact cardiovascular activities, such as swimming, walking, or stationary cycling can help relieve pain and maintain fitness.

  • Sleep on your left side to reduce the pressure of the uterus on the large blood vessels in the abdomen, and optimize blood flow to both mother and baby.

  • Place a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back when sleeping on your side. Place the pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back.

  • Take frequent, short breaks with your feet elevated.

  • Remember, adequate rest restores your energy and gives your back a chance to relax.

  • Wear flat, supportive shoes and use a lumbar support pillow in your chair at home or work. If you sit at a computer or desk, take frequent breaks and walk around for a few minutes each hour.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when lifting heavy objects, including other toddlers and children.

ARE YOU UNBALANCED?

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A good number of people we see present with muscle imbalance. So, what is a muscle imbalance? Simply put some muscles are tight and other muscles are weak. But it is not that simple. Last week I treated a runner with hip pain.

When I mentioned his gluteal were weak, he boasted that he could break the TheraBand with side leg lifts. However, when I asked him to do a single leg squat, he had no control.

So more accurately: are the right muscles working at the right time, in the right way? Efficient movement requires coordinated action of multiple muscle groups. If a muscle doesn’t do its job, others will compensate. An imbalance leads to uneven loading on joints, resulting in pain and loss of performance. A runner with poor gluteal control will have increased loading on the outside of the hip, which could lead to tendinitis or bursitis, or the increased twisting in the knee may lead to patellofemoral pain or early osteoarthritis. How do we get unbalanced? None of us are completely symmetrical.

We all have a dominant hand or foot, and this affects our habitual movement patterns. Certain sports exaggerate this. A previous injury may lead to altered movement patterns, e.g. an ankle sprain may cause a limp which will affect the muscles in the hip leading to secondary hip pain. Chicken and the egg? Research on the deep abdominal muscles found that in people with low back pain the muscles are delayed or don’t switch on at all. Injury of a joint results in muscle inhibition of the surrounding muscles. This can be seen after knee surgery when there is marked wasting of the quadriceps.

The muscles affected the most are the antigravity/stability muscles, this is a serious design flaw, with the resulting weakness putting the joint at more risk of injury. So does the weakness cause injury, or is it a result of injury? So, we have a muscle imbalance after injury, from pain inhibition and compensatory patterns. Do these recover on their own? Not necessarily. The body tends to take the path of least resistance, so you will automatically use the muscles that are already working, reinforcing the muscle imbalance, so retraining is necessary. Which is why physiotherapists will always have work. Strength training vs. motor retraining.

When doing exercises, we must think about what we are trying to achieve. If we are looking to get muscle hypertrophy, i.e. bigger and therefore able to produce more force, we use high load and low repetitions. To retrain motor patterns, low load with lots of repetitions is needed. We need to learn to activate the correct muscles first with specific exercises, then progress to functional retraining. This is a long process, with lots of practice and repetition. Think about how long it takes to learn to drive a car. How many hours of practice does it take before the process is automatic? Pain is the last thing to appear and the first thing to go. Often these imbalances have been around well before you notice any pain, which is usually what prompts people to seek treatment. The pain may have resolved, but that doesn’t mean the imbalance has. So, it is important not to stop the exercises just because you no longer have pain. A maintenance program may even be required

DOES CRACKING YOUR JOINTS CAUSE ARTHRITIS???

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As a follow on from our previous post on cracking your knuckles, this week's post addresses another very common question we get here at the clinic.

Let's get straight to it, the short answer is no.

Many, many studies have been conducted over the years (all the way back to 1975!) to ascertain whether there is a link between cracking joints and osteoarthritis.

The general consensus is that there is absolutely no link.

There was an Australian study conducted in 2017 that found that cracking your knuckles (and other synovial joints) actually had positive health benefits! The theory here was that as the joint was cavitated (cracked), it released carbon dioxide and this caused a change in the pH levels within the area, creating a less acidic environment, which in turn lessened pain levels.

Having said all this, we do not recommend habitually cracking you knuckles because it has been seen to be linked to stress and poor mental health as well as alcoholism and chronic tobacco use.

Reference:

Suvorova, Y. S., & Conger, R. (2017). MECHANISMS INVOLVED IN THE SOUNDS PRODUCED BY MANIPULATION IN SYNOVIAL JOINTS: POSSIBLE ROLE OF PH CHANGES IN LESSENING PAIN LEVELS. Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 45(3).

Feeling Tired?

 

Our busy lifestyles have made it difficult for many of us to maintain a healthy routine with 7-8 hours of sleep every night. There are many people who are trying to improve their lifestyle by exercising and changing their diet. Of course, these steps are useful in getting into a better shape, but know what the number one priority should be? You guessed it, sleep.

Sleep and nutrition processing go hand in hand. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can inhibit the benefits from dieting and eating good food. This has been published by a research published in Annals of Internal Medicine. A study was conducted with people with different sleep schedules and same diet. The people who got sufficient sleep managed to lose weight and half of that loss was from fat. People who didn’t get enough sleep could only lose half of that fat. Moreover, they were hungrier, less satisfied with meals and lacked energy.

The morning after a sleep deprived night causes us to feel dizzy, disorientated and grumpy. The same happens to fat cells. The metabolism gets hampered and it causes insulin dysfunction. Normally insulin helps to remove fatty acids and lipids and prevent storing them. Less sleep causes insulin to not function properly and excessive insulin stores fat at the wrong places, like  

 

Our busy lifestyles have made it difficult for many of us to maintain a healthy routine with 7-8 hours of sleep every night. There are many people who are trying to improve their lifestyle by exercising and changing their diet. Of course, these steps are useful in getting into a better shape, but know what the number one priority should be? You guessed it, sleep.

Sleep and nutrition processing go hand in hand. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can inhibit the benefits from dieting and eating good food. This has been published by a research published in Annals of Internal Medicine. A study was conducted with people with different sleep schedules and same diet. The people who got sufficient sleep managed to lose weight and half of that loss was from fat. People who didn’t get enough sleep could only lose half of that fat. Moreover, they were hungrier, less satisfied with meals and lacked energy.

The morning after a sleep deprived night causes us to feel dizzy, disorientated and grumpy. The same happens to fat cells. The metabolism gets hampered and it causes insulin dysfunction. Normally insulin helps to remove fatty acids and lipids and prevent storing them. Less sleep causes insulin to not function properly and excessive insulin stores fat at the wrong places, like liver tissue.

Lack of food makes a person crave for more food.  This readily hampers the dieting process and causes people to eat more until satiated. Cortisol is the hormone which is responsible for stress. Poor sleep causes more cortisol to secrete and growth hormone is hampered.

There is a direct connection between nutrition, good health and adequate sleep. Only diet and exercise alone are not enough if the body doesn’t get enough sleep so make sure to get enough rest for a healthy life.

 liver tissue.

Lack of food makes a person crave for more food.  This readily hampers the dieting process and causes people to eat more until satiated. Cortisol is the hormone which is responsible for stress. Poor sleep causes more cortisol to secrete and growth hormone is hampered.

There is a direct connection between nutrition, good health and adequate sleep. Only diet and exercise alone are not enough if the body doesn’t get enough sleep so make sure to get enough rest for a healthy life.

 

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What to do when your child has growing pains

What to do when your child has growing pains?

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What to do when your child has growing pains


Growing pains usually affect kids around the ages of 3-5 and 8-11.

Has your child ever complained of sore legs in the afternoon or evening? They might be experiencing growing pains. 

It can be distressing when your child is in pain, for you and for them. Find out more about growing pains, what the symptoms are and how to help, below.

What are growing pains?

Growing pains are a mysterious but common complaint in young children, usually affecting boys and girls aged 3-5 and 8-11. Some children continue to experience growing pains during adolescence.

Growing pains are diagnosed by a process of elimination. If you’re concerned about your child’s pain, your GP will eliminate other possible causes like flat feet, infection or arthritis.

You should always take your child to the doctor or allied health speciailist. If they have severe pain, pain in only one limb, pain during the day (growing pains occur in the late afternoon and evening), or other symptoms such as fever, rashes, loss of appetite, swelling or redness in the affected area or limping.

Growing pains occur in the legs and sometimes in the arms in the afternoon and evening.

Symptoms of growing pains

These achy pains occur in the muscles, not the joints, usually hurting in the calf, behind the knee and in front of the thigh, though arms might hurt as well. Growing pains affect both legs or arms at once: pain in only one limb may point to another condition and should be seen to by your GP. Some children also get headaches at the same time as growing pains.

Growing pains shouldn’t make it hard to walk, run or play normally, and won’t cause a limp. The pains don’t get worse when moving or exercising, though some children will find the pain worse after they’ve been doing a lot of activity (but this pattern isn’t the same in all children with growing pains). Talk to your doctor before changing your child’s physical exercise habits because of growing pains.

Unlike pain caused by some illnesses or injury, limbs affected by growing pains aren’t sore to touch. In fact, cuddling and massaging the area might help your child to feel a little better.

Growing pains occur in the afternoon and evening, and might be severe enough to wake a child up during the night. Growing pains can come and go: some children might experience them every night for a few weeks and then not again, others might have growing pains intermittently over months or years.

What causes growing pains

While their name suggests the pain is caused by growing, the cause of growing pains isn’t yet clear. People commonly assume that growing pains are caused by bones stretching, but even during a growth spurt bones grow really slowly, too slowly to cause pain.

The good news is that growing pains do pass and cause no damage to bones or muscles. In the meantime, though, knowing how to comfort your child when they’re in pain can make the period pass more easily.

How to treat growing pains

Make your child comfortable and try to help them to not worry about growing pains. Give them lots of cuddles and reassurance that growing pains won’t hurt anymore in the morning and that they’ll stop happening soon.

Gently massaging the area and using heat treatments like a warm bath or warm heat pack, might ease growing pains. You can also use medicines to help reduce pain, like paracetamol. Talk to your GP or pharmacist about appropriate medicines for your child and always read the label and instructions to make sure you’re using them correctly.  

Offering reassurance to your child that growing pains will be gone by the morning can help.

Pain in the heels – Sever’s disease

Children around these ages often experience a type of heel pain caused by a condition called Sever’s disease, or ‘calcaneal apophysitis’. Some people think this pain is the same as growing pains, but while the two conditions have a lot in common, they have different causes and treatments.

Like growing pains, Sever’s disease is very common and comes and goes in children aged around 8 to 14. The condition is most common in children who are very active. Sever’s disease doesn’t usually cause any long term problems.

Unlike growing pains, we do know the cause of Sever’s disease. This condition happens when the calf bones grow faster than the Achilles tendon. Because the Achilles attaches to the heel, the fast growing bones can pull the tendon tight around it, making the heel bone sore and swollen. When the growth of the bones and the Achilles tendon evens out, the pain will stops occurring.

Sever’s disease can be treated by applying ice to the area, stretching the calves and wearing comfortable, supportive shoes. Find out more about how Sever’s disease is diagnosed and treated on Health Direct.

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Which blood pressure number is important?

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Q. When I am monitoring my blood pressure, which number is most important — top, bottom, or both?

A. While both numbers in a blood pressure reading are essential for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, doctors primarily focus on the top number, also known as systolic pressure.

Systolic pressure reflects the force produced by the heart when it pumps blood out to the body, while diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is at rest.

Over the years, research has found that both numbers are equally important in monitoring heart health. However, most studies show a greater risk of stroke and heart disease related to higher systolic pressures compared with elevated diastolic pressures. That's especially true in people ages 50 and older, which is why doctors tend to monitor the top number more closely. The reason for the difference in risk may be related to the force put on the arteries when blood rushes out of the heart.

The American Heart Association now defines high blood pressure as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. The new guidelines recommend you check your blood pressure often, ideally with a home monitor, to help your doctor determine if you need to make lifestyle changes, begin medication, or alter your current therapy.

How to find and exercise your pelvic floor muscles (for women and men)

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You can do your pelvic floor exercises anywhere.

Imagine you're picking up a pea … now hold it for 3-8 seconds … hold it! … and let it drop completely.

You may have heard of this old-school method for doing pelvic floor exercises.

But pelvic floor exercises are not as easy to do correctly as picking up that imaginary pea sounds, because the pelvic floor muscles can be tricky to isolate.

Most women know it's important to do pelvic floor exercises daily, to protect against prolapse, or incontinence, and other possible issues after pregnancy, or as they age.

But a recent survey showed that while most women knew what pelvic floor exercises were (96.4%), and could feel their pelvic floor muscles working when they tried to squeeze them (95.6%), less than two out of 10 women (17.6%) did their pelvic floor exercises daily.

Pelvic floor strength isn’t just an issue for woman - it's equally important for men to do these exercises, too.

Like any other muscles, the pelvic floor muscles need regular exercise to function optimally.

About the pelvic floor

The pelvic floor is a 'sling' of muscles, a bit like a small muscle hammock that runs between the pubic bone in the front, and the tailbone at the back.

A woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her womb (uterus), bladder, and bowel (colon). The urine tube (urethra), the vagina, and the anus all pass through the pelvic floor muscles.

A man’s pelvic floor muscles support his bladder and bowel. The urethra and the anus all pass through the pelvic floor muscles.

Your pelvic floor muscles help you to control your bladder and bowel, and are involved with sexual function.

Because of these very important functions, it's vital to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong.

What do pelvic floor exercises do for you?

Pelvic Floor First says pelvic floor muscle exercises can help:

  • improve bladder and bowel control

  • reduce the risk of prolapse

  • improve recovery from childbirth and gynaecological surgery (in women)

  • improve recovery after prostate surgery (in men)

  • increase sexual sensation and orgasmic potential

  • and increase social confidence and quality of life.

So, where are they?

A good starting point with the pelvic floor muscles is to lie down, resting comfortably, or to sit in a supported position. Now, imagine you are squeezing your muscles to stop the flow of urine and the passing of wind. Focus on drawing these muscles inwardly tightly. This gives you an idea of the location and function of the pelvic floor muscles.

You can also quickly identify the pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine while emptying your bladder. If you can do it for a second or two, you are using the correct muscles. (Do not do this repeatedly, or more than once a week. It can cause problems with emptying your bladder completely. It's purely for identifying the muscles you'll need to exercise.)

Focusing on the pelvic floor with more precision:

  • Relax the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and stomach and keep them relaxed.

  • Squeeze in the muscles around the urethra or front passage as if trying to stop the flow of urine.

  • (For women, also squeeze in the muscles around the vagina and pull them upwards inside the pelvis.)

  • Squeeze in the muscles around the anus as if trying to stop passing wind. Do not clench the buttocks, thighs or stomach.

  • The muscles around the urethra and anus should squeeze up and inside the pelvis.

  • Identify the muscles that contract when you do all these things together. Then relax and loosen them.

This is what your pelvic floor looks like from above. Image courtesy of openstax cnx – https://cnx.org

Now for the workout!

If you're sure you've identified the right muscles, you can start strengthening them right away:

Here are some targeted exercises for women and men from The Continence Foundation of Australia:

For women:

  • Squeeze and draw in the muscles around your anus and your vagina at the same time. Lift them UP inside. You should have a sense of “lift” each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 8. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of “letting go”.

For men:

  • Squeeze and draw in the muscles as though you are shortening your penis and lifting base of scrotum at the same time. Lift them UP inside. You should have a sense of “lift” each time you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Try to hold them strong and tight as you count to 3. Now, let them go and relax. You should have a distinct feeling of “letting go”.

For both:

  • Repeat squeeze and lift, and let go. It is best to rest for about 8 seconds in between each lift of the muscles. If you can’t hold for 3-8 seconds, just hold for as long as you can.

  • Repeat this squeeze and lift as many times as you can, up to a limit of 8 to 12 squeezes.

  • Try to do three sets of 8 to 12 squeezes each, with a rest in between.

  • Do this whole training plan (three sets of 8 to 12 squeezes) each day while lying down, sitting or standing.

  • While doing pelvic floor muscle training:

    • keep breathing

    • only squeeze and lift

    • do NOT tighten your buttocks

    • keep your thighs relaxed.

Having strong pelvic floor muscles can allow you to enjoy all of your activities.

When to seek professional help

Sometimes a person’s pelvic floor muscles can be too tight. If you suspect this is the case for you, or you’re unable to find your pelvic floor muscles, or have problems making progress, you should see a pelvic floor physiotherapist, or health professional.

You should also seek professional help if you’re experiencing symptoms such as:

  • needing to urgently or frequently go to the toilet to pass urine or bowel motions

  • having accidental leakage of urine, bowel motions, or wind

  • finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel

  • having pain in the bladder, bowel or in your back near the pelvic floor area when exercising the pelvic floor, or during intercourse.

More information

The Continence Foundation of Australia has a lot of good material on the pelvic floor as part of its focus on incontinence, for women, men, and teens.

They also run the Pelvic Floor First website, dedicated to this topic which includes tips on what cardio, core, resistance and aqua exercises are good for people with, or at risk of, pelvic floor or continence issues, and importantly, what exercises to avoid.

There is also a section specifically on exercising during pregnancy.

The Jean Hailes Foundation for women’s health has a wide range of health information for women, including looking after the pelvic floor.

If you are planning to become pregnant, you can read our article about maintaining pelvic floor health – What you should know about your pelvic floor: pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and after giving birth.

HITTING THE GYM BETTER THAN ANTI-DEPRESSANTS?

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This was re-posted from the Australian Spinal Research Foundation article 9 March 2017.

Depression is a worldwide issue. To give you some idea, it’s the number one psychological disorder in the western world1. And not unlike the common cold, it doesn’t discriminate between age groups or gender assignment. Depression is growing in all age groups, the largest increase noted in the younger generations, in our teenagers. At the rate of knots this psychological issue is developing, by 2020, it is estimated to be the second most debilitating condition behind heart disease.

Think about it, the neuroscientists at the University of Bern2, have. Traditional treatment for depression is usually with antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. But the study published in CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, found that sport and physical activity partially encounter the same neurophysiological changes as antidepressants.

There are several types of medication for the treatment of depression. Most of them work on blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitters we use to make us feel happy and upbeat. By blocking the reabsorption of serotonin – “the happy hormone”, dopamine – “the motivator hormone” and norepinephrine – “adrenaline”, a person has more of these targeted neurochemicals actively bathing their brains and producing positive feelings.

The researchers conducting the study, found that sport and physical activity brought about similar changes in the brain, that are normally only achieved through antidepressant drugs2. Not only did it affect the brains capacity to absorb serotonin and dopamine but epinephrine levels also increased. As a by-product of the surge in these neurochemicals, it was noted that the level of neurogenesis (new brain cells) in the brain also increased. This increase in neurotransmitters was noted to prevent the death of brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of our brain responsible for our emotional stability and memory. It’s also the part of the brain that is very vulnerable to stress. Low levels of neurogenesis in the hippocampus have been linked with depression and other psychiatric disorders.3 Researchers also noted a reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. Overall the effect on the brain of exercise was similar to the brain chemistry changes we see with psychotropic drug therapy.

The researchers found a large number of meta-analyses showed a positive effect of sport and physical activity on depression. Whilst the research supports that exercise is an effective tool for reducing symptoms of depression the study did not conclude how often or how long one should exercise.

“Unfortunately, the meta-analyses do not allow any conclusions as to how often and how long weekly sport should be pursued,” says Mirko Wegner, lead author in the study. “But one can see that sport and physical activity alleviate depression. For instance, we were also able to determine that the effectiveness of sport is greater with depressive disorders than with anxiety disorders.”

The obvious benefit of exercise is the lack of side effects so often encountered when using drug treatments to combat depression. It’s also can be more cost effective than medication and there’s the added benefit of all the wonderful aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise has benefits on most systems of the human body, your brain, your body and your longevity. So what are you waiting for? Go hit the treadmill and enjoying all those extra neurochemicals and additional brain cells.

References

[1] Seligman, M. E. P. (1990) Learned Optimism.

[2] Effects of Exercise on Anxiety and Depression Disorders: Review of Meta- Analyses and Neurobiological Mechanisms. Mirko Wegner, Ingo Helmich, Sergio Machado, Antonio Nardi, Oscar Arias-Carrion, Henning Budde. CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, 2014; 13 (6): 1002 DOI: 10.2174/1871527313666140612102841

[3] Major depression: a role for hippocampal neurogenesis? Lee MM, Reif A, Schmitt AG. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2013;14:153-79. doi: 10.1007/7854_2012_226. Review.

Headaches

HEADACHES

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Did you know chiropractic treatment may help mitigate the pain caused by headaches?

What Causes Headaches?

Headaches have become a social and economic burden across the world.

 

Scientists have identified over 300 causes for headaches. Various pain-sensitive structures and tissues including the skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, arteries, periosteal bone covering, and the upper cervical and facial nerves produce headaches when irritated or injured. Fortunately, only a handful of causes are responsible for the majority of headaches.

 

The most common of these headaches include:

  • Cervicogenic- problems within the neck

  • Muscle-tension- neck and upper back muscular spasms

  • Post-traumatic- following head/neck trauma, i.e. whiplash

  • Drug-induced- from analgesic overuse

  • Migraines

  • Cluster

     

    Most recurrent headaches fall into three categories:

  • A migraine: Severe, one-sided throbbing, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sounds

  • Cervicogenic: Headaches caused by a disorder of the cervical spine, and often accompanied by neck pain

  • Tension: This is a common headache experienced by many people — that dull, achy pain usually on both sides of the head

     

    Those who experience a headache know how debilitating they can be. It is easy to lose concentration and also, motivation. Your day seems to be cut short because productivity can decrease significantly. Not to mention the pain. So, read on to find out how chiropractic treatment can help a headaches.


    How Does Chiropractic Treatment Help A Headache?

    Up to 25% of patients consult a chiropractor because they have a headache and for good reason. Chiropractic treatment of the neck, combined with adjustments to the spine, significantly relieve tension and headaches.

     

    Spinal adjustments are also recommended for cervicogenic headaches. Studies show that chiropractic treatment provides extended pain relief and reduces the frequency and duration of this type of headache. After a spinal adjustment is completed, you may experience quick relief or your headache may gradually disappear. Either way, it’s important to follow up to evaluate your response to the treatment.

    What Other Therapy Do Chiropractors Use To Treat Headaches?

    During your examination, the chiropractors may find knotted muscles in your neck or upper back. These areas of tense muscles, called trigger points, are a source of pain and stiffness, but they also often cause headaches. The chiropractor may relax the knot using manual therapy, such as applying pressure.

     

    Bad posture puts stress and tension on the spine, which in turn can cause headaches, you will have your posture evaluated so we can help correct any problems. They may also teach specific exercises and relaxation techniques that can help prevent or ease headaches.

     

    Doctors of chiropractic successfully help thousands of individuals every day obtain effective, long-term relief from their headaches. This is because most headaches have a spinal, muscular, or habitual component which the chiropractor has been trained to identify and treat.

    How can I prevent a headache?

    Although some causes of headaches are unpreventable, there are still many steps you can take in your everyday life to help prevent the onset of a headache.

  • Drink lots of water. Keep your body hydrated especially after sweating. Dehydration headaches often occur when the body loses essential fluids to function correctly.

     

  • Manage Stress. Excessive, prolonged stress can often lead to tension headaches.

     

  • Use the correct pillow – Selecting a pillow that is right for you will depend on your preferred sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, we recommend a thick, firm pillow to support your neck. Back sleepers should look at using a medium, thick pillow, and if you sleep on your stomach, a soft, relatively flat pillow would be a good choice. Our chiropractors can discuss this in more detail at your next appointment.

     

  • Maintain correct posture. Poor posture puts undue stress on the spine and surrounding muscles which may trigger a headache. We offer posture screening at all our clinics during your first appointment.

    FAQ’s About Headaches

    How can I ease the pain of a headache at home?

    Most people reach for pain killers at the first sign of a headache, however, there are a few other methods you can use to help relieve the pain.

  • An icepack on the affected area may numb and relieve the pain

  • A heat pack to your neck and shoulders will help relax tight muscles

  • Massaging the back of your neck may help relax tight muscles and reduce stress

  • Avoid bright lights and noise

     

    How can a chiropractor help my headaches?

    Each patient we see has an individual case, and treatment options will vary from person to person. The main goal with chiropractic care is to prevent unnecessary tension and irritation in the neck and head.

     

    How long will it take before my headaches goes away?

    As mentioned before, every case is different, so results will also vary. Some patients may see results very quickly, while others may see a slow decline in the symptoms of their headaches over the course of several treatments.

     

    What if chiropractic treatment doesn’t work for me?

    Headaches are not a normal, there is always an underlying cause. Our goal is to provide chiropractic care to release tension and irritation to the muscles that may be causing the pain. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, a number of treatments may be required before you start to see noticeable results. If you have not experienced results at the conclusion of your treatment plan, there may be another underlying cause of your symptoms, and we can refer you to a specialist who may be able to investigate further.

     

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DISC BULDGE

Disc Bulge

Chiropractic Care for Disc Herniation or Disc Buldge

An intervertebral disc herniation (disc rupture or bulge) is a relatively common condition of the spine that causes intense pain. The pain is centrally located in the spine but will often radiate outward into the arms or legs depending on which area of the spine the herniation occurs. Disc bulges are frequently associated with improper lifting of heavy loads, but also can occur with other traumas such as a car accident or fall. A disc herniation is a condition that is very difficult to heal, but it can be managed successfully with a variety of treatment options including chiropractic care.

Understanding Disc Herniations

To understand how a disc herniation causes back pain we first need to know some anatomy about our back and spine. Your spine consists of individual bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae stack together to make your spinal column. The spinal column supports your skeletal structure, protects the spinal cord, and still allows free motion of the back. In between every stacked vertebra is an “intervertebral disc”, these discs are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers for the spine.

 

Spinal degeneration is when the integrity of the spinal column is compromised and begins to deteriorate. Spinal degeneration itself will not typically cause high levels of pain, intervertebral disc degeneration however, can.

Disc degeneration

Disc degeneration is the breakdown of these cartilaginous discs within the spine, and frequently occurs as the base of the neck and the low back. If the integrity of the disc becomes so poor that it no longer can support the stress put onto the spine, it can herniate or rupture. A herniation or rupture is when parts of the disc extrude or bulge outward into the surrounding space. But how does this translate to back pain? Not only are there nociceptors (pain receptors) within the outer edge of the intervertebral disc itself, which can cause pain, but many bundles of nerves that travel out of the spinal column to the rest of the body can be found in the surrounding space as well.

 

When the disc ruptures and pushes outward against the adjacent nerve bundles, compression of the nerves translate to pain. The pain due to disc herniation and rupture will feel like a deep, sharp, burning sensation and will often radiate outward into the arms or legs. Sciatica would be an example of nerve compression disorder, that can be caused by disc herniation.

Chiropractic Care for Disc Bulge / Herniation

Most people believe that these degenerative disorders are linked to ageing and that they cannot be prevented. While ageing is a risk factor for disc degeneration, consistent chiropractic treatment may prevent and slow the degenerative process and limit any of the symptoms associated with it.

 

In the most severe case, disc herniation is treated with surgery to completely remove the disc that has ruptured and fuse the two adjacent vertebrae together. This is a complex surgery, and due to the amount of nervous tissue in the involved area can lead to some serious complications later in life. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort of treatment. Alternative health modalities including chiropractic care should be highly considered as a first treatment option and may often get positive results.

 

 

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SHOULDER PAIN

Shoulder pain

The Shoulder Joint

The shoulder joint is one of the most complex in the human body. The shoulder joint is where the arm attaches to the rest of the body, but the muscles involved with keeping it stable, and moving the arm, reach upward into the neck, and downward to the top of the pelvic bones. The shoulder joint requires such a high degree of muscular involvement because it can move in all directions, and requires a different muscle to move in each unique direction.

Frozen Shoulder

Due to its’ complexity and its’ massive amount of movement, the shoulder is one of the most common joints to injure, malfunction, or cause pain. As a result, the shoulder is one of the more common complaints we see as chiropractors. The most common shoulder condition treated in our clinic is frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.

 

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a common shoulder condition where the patient struggles to move the entire joint. The capsule surrounding the joint becomes tight and thick restricting the range of motion of the shoulder. Frozen shoulder is usually quite painful and can sometimes be confused as a rotator cuff injury.  The pain and limited range of motion usually come on months after a trauma to the joint where healing has already occurred. It is unknown what causes adhesive capsulitis but some postulate that it is an overactive healing response within the body.

Chiropractic treatment for shoulder injuries

With chiropractic care we can use a combination of manual adjusting, myofascial tissue release, and stretching to improve the overall range of motion of the shoulder joint. Adhesive capsulitis is not something that can be treated overnight and will take substantial time to reduce and eliminate pain, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion.

 

Other shoulder conditions such as bicipital tendonitis, subacromial bursitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and rotator cuff injuries can also be helped with chiropractic care.

 

 

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SCIATICA

Sciatica

Sciatica and Chiropractic Treatment

Sciatica is a neuromusculoskeletal medical condition characterized by a constant stabbing low back pain that will shoot/radiate down the leg and potentially into the foot and toes along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve bundle in the human body and can be as thick as your thumb in diameter; sciatic nerves are also some of the longest nerves in the body running from the low back down into the toes.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica symptoms follow this nerve pathway through the entire leg. Sciatica typically will only affect one leg but sometimes can cause symptoms radiating into both legs. The pain is worse when sitting but can be so sharp that the patient has difficulty standing or walking.

Most people consider sciatica a medical diagnosis, but sciatica should be considered a symptom of a more complicated medical condition. These underlying conditions include lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome, and even arthritis. These conditions can all cause compression of the large sciatic nerve bundle, the compression of the sciatic nerve is what creates weakness, numbness, and difficulty moving the leg, foot, and toes of the affected limb.

Treatment of Sciatica

To treat sciatica, we have to discover the underlying condition causing the sciatica. The nerve compression could be occurring in different locations along the nerve, it could be directly inside the spinal column, through the pelvic brim, or anywhere along the sciatic nerve. Chiropractors can use orthopaedic testing to identify, not only where the nerve compression is taking place, but properly diagnose the underlying condition causing the symptoms. Once the problem is identified we can begin a specific treatment protocol to begin the recovery process. Results will vary based on the individual case but chiropractic care has been shown to improve sciatica symptoms.

Prevention of Sciatica

Unfortunately preventing sciatica is not always possible, and once treated, does not guarantee it won’t recur. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly to build strong core muscles play a key role in protecting your back and maintaining correct posture. This will prevent undue stress on the spine which may help prevent a number of spinal conditions including sciatica.

 Sciatica

 

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LOWER BACK PAIN

Low Back Pain

Why is low back pain so common?

Low back pain ranges from a mild, nagging ache to a sharp, debilitating pain. It may resolve in a few weeks or turn into a chronic, lifelong condition. No matter what form it takes, it’s one of the most common causes of pain. More than 80% of all people experience low back pain sometime during their lives.

Your lower back is vulnerable to pain for two reasons:

 

Its lack of structural support: The lower back is designed to be flexible so you can twist, bend, and move. But that mobility also means there’s little structural support to hold it steady, which makes it unstable and prone to injury.

 

It supports your body weight: The 5 bones, or vertebrae, in the lower back support the weight of your entire upper body. This constant strain damages the discs that serve as cushions between the bones.

 

According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers’ compensation claims. In addition, the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs.

What causes low back pain?

Muscle spasms, spine or muscle injury, and degeneration of the spine due to normal wear-and-tear are all common causes of lower back pain. While there are multiple causes, your chiropractor frequently treats the lower back stemming from the following problems:

 

Spinal misalignment: When bones in the spine are dislodged or displaced from their normal position, the misalignment may damage discs, irritate nerves, or restrict blood flow, which result in pain and inflammation.

 

Disc herniation: A herniated disc — when the disc bulges out between vertebrae — may not have symptoms, but it usually causes intense pain that radiates down your leg. Herniated discs seldom heal completely, but regular chiropractic care may prevent progressive deterioration.

 

Sprains, strains, and spasms: Running, gymnastics, sports, lifting a heavy object, over-exercising, and pivoting the wrong way are just a few causes of sprains, strains, and muscle spasms.

 

Stress: Muscle tension increases when you’re stressed or anxious, which leads to pain, often in the lower back. Then a cycle develops; chronic back pain causes stress, which in turn triggers more pain. Adjustments to the realign the spine may stop that cycle.

How will the Chiropractor treat my low back pain?

Chiropractic treatment of low back pain has an advantage over medications and conservative treatment such as rest, heat, and ice. Those strategies only treat symptoms, while chiropractic adjustment may correct the problem by repositioning the spine. Depending on your history and condition, your chiropractor will assess your back on X-ray, determine optimal chiropractic adjustments, and develop an exercise regimen to help you regain strength and function in your back.

 

The chiropractic doctor is unique in the health care field in that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions. As chiropractors, we have learned the skills necessary to effectively identify and treat most back conditions.

How can I prevent low back pain?

Low back pain is usually associated with lifestyle choices and conditions. Common factors that attribute to low back pain are a history of smoking, repetitive bending, and lifting at work, age, and unhealthy lifestyle choices related to nutrition and exercise. Exercise is an important element in a healthy lifestyle, keeping us fit and balanced, as well as allowing for a quicker recovery when an injury does occur. Ensuring you have strong core muscles is a crucial component of spinal health and injury prevention. Strong core muscles allow our body to work effectively, and maintain correct posture, taking unneeded stress off the spine.

 Low Back Pain

Why is low back pain so common?

Low back pain ranges from a mild, nagging ache to a sharp, debilitating pain. It may resolve in a few weeks or turn into a chronic, lifelong condition. No matter what form it takes, it’s one of the most common causes of pain. More than 80% of all people experience low back pain sometime during their lives.

Your lower back is vulnerable to pain for two reasons:

 

Its lack of structural support: The lower back is designed to be flexible so you can twist, bend, and move. But that mobility also means there’s little structural support to hold it steady, which makes it unstable and prone to injury.

 

It supports your body weight: The 5 bones, or vertebrae, in the lower back support the weight of your entire upper body. This constant strain damages the discs that serve as cushions between the bones.

 

According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers’ compensation claims. In addition, the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs.

What causes low back pain?

Muscle spasms, spine or muscle injury, and degeneration of the spine due to normal wear-and-tear are all common causes of lower back pain. While there are multiple causes, your chiropractor frequently treats the lower back stemming from the following problems:

 

Spinal misalignment: When bones in the spine are dislodged or displaced from their normal position, the misalignment may damage discs, irritate nerves, or restrict blood flow, which result in pain and inflammation.

 

Disc herniation: A herniated disc — when the disc bulges out between vertebrae — may not have symptoms, but it usually causes intense pain that radiates down your leg. Herniated discs seldom heal completely, but regular chiropractic care may prevent progressive deterioration.

 

Sprains, strains, and spasms: Running, gymnastics, sports, lifting a heavy object, over-exercising, and pivoting the wrong way are just a few causes of sprains, strains, and muscle spasms.

 

Stress: Muscle tension increases when you’re stressed or anxious, which leads to pain, often in the lower back. Then a cycle develops; chronic back pain causes stress, which in turn triggers more pain. Adjustments to the realign the spine may stop that cycle.

How will the Chiropractor treat my low back pain?

Chiropractic treatment of low back pain has an advantage over medications and conservative treatment such as rest, heat, and ice. Those strategies only treat symptoms, while chiropractic adjustment may correct the problem by repositioning the spine. Depending on your history and condition, your chiropractor will assess your back on X-ray, determine optimal chiropractic adjustments, and develop an exercise regimen to help you regain strength and function in your back.

 

The chiropractic doctor is unique in the health care field in that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions. As chiropractors, we have learned the skills necessary to effectively identify and treat most back conditions.

How can I prevent low back pain?

Low back pain is usually associated with lifestyle choices and conditions. Common factors that attribute to low back pain are a history of smoking, repetitive bending, and lifting at work, age, and unhealthy lifestyle choices related to nutrition and exercise. Exercise is an important element in a healthy lifestyle, keeping us fit and balanced, as well as allowing for a quicker recovery when an injury does occur. Ensuring you have strong core muscles is a crucial component of spinal health and injury prevention. Strong core muscles allow our body to work effectively, and maintain correct posture, taking unneeded stress off the spine.

 v

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KNEE PAIN

Knee Pain

Overview of The Knee Joint

The knee is a synovial hinge joint. This means that it has fluid within the joint to help a with movement and can move in mainly 2 main directions; flexion and extension. The knee can also move internally (medial rotation) and externally (external rotation). It is made up of 3 bones; the tibia, femur and patella.

Menisci

The knee joint has 2 menisci, sometimes referred to as the ‘shock absorbers’ of the knee due to their cartilaginous nature. They are the mechanical spacers of the knee to increase stability.

 

The medial meniscus is C-shaped and attaches to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibia.

 

The lateral meniscus is circular and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and the popliteus muscle (which helps to unlock the knee from a flexed position).

Main Ligaments

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL); Weaker then PCL. It prevents the tibia from going forward on the femur in knee extension.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL); It prevents the tibia from going backwards on the femur in knee flexion. It prevents hyper-flexion of the knee joint.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL); extension of vastus medialis from the quadriceps muscle. It helps to limit medial rotation of the knee.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL); extension of the vastus lateralis from the quadriceps muscle. It helps to limit lateral rotation of the knee.

Patellar Ligament; attaches the quadriceps muscle group to the tibia

Conditions & Injuries of the Knee

Knee injuries never usually happen in isolation. Most often the cause of the knee pain in question has nothing to do with the knee but is occurring because another area of the body is not moving properly affecting the biomechanics of the knee joint. Other areas that can cause aberrant motion and pain in the knee are; the low back, hip, foot and an All of these structures have a direct impact and influence on the knee and must all be addressed when assessing and treating the knee.

 

ACL injury

ACL tears are common. Females are known to be more predisposed to ACL tears than males due to smaller intercondylar notches, hormones and imbalances between hamstring and quadriceps strength. ACL tears typically occur with the ‘unhappy triad.’ Which means that when the ACL is torn, most typically the MCL and medial meniscus are torn or damaged as well due to the mechanism of injury. The mechanism of injury is a blow to the outside of the knee or twisting of the flexed knee when the foot is planted.

 

Some common symptoms of an ACL injury are history of significant trauma with give way weakness, immediate pain or no pain at all, swelling and discolouration within 12 hours and decreased range of motion.

 

PCL Injury

The PCL is typically torn due to a ‘dash board’ injury where there is a fall on a flexed knee with the toes pointed driving the tibia back into the ligament. The symptoms are vague. The individual might report unsteadiness and patellofemoral symptoms because now the quadriceps are stabilizing the knee.

 

Patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee)

Patellar tendinitis presents with anterior knee pain that is usually localized above or below the patella. Knee flexion is typically painful. Patellar tendinitis occurs typically due to over-use, over-training, jumping, running downhill, and interval training.

 

Patellofemoral syndrome (PFS)/Chondromalacia patella

These conditions are hard to differentiate from one another. This is the abnormal softening and degeneration of the patellar cartilage due to poor alignment of the knee cap as it slides over the femur. This is the most common cause of chronic knee pain. PFS typically affects young athletes.

 

Bursitis

There are 9 bursae in the knee. Bursae are fluid filled sacs that help to decrease friction in a joint. Any one of the bursae can become inflamed and cause pain. Pre-patellar bursitis is common and has swelling occur just in front of the knee cap (patella). This typically occurs with individuals who work on their knees.

 

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome

ITB syndrome occurs due to friction of repetitive knee flexion/extension in running or cycling. There is typically inflammation of the bursae underlying the bottom part of the knee on the lateral (outside) of the knee where the ITB attaches. Typically, the hamstrings, quadriceps and tensor fascia latae (TFL) are all tight and pull on the ITB creating more friction and pain. Pain is usually felt on the outside of the knee.

 

Meniscal Injuries

Meniscal injuries are typically associated with ligament damage, degenerative changes, or it could be an abnormal shape or attachment.

The medial meniscus is typically injured with compressive forces and is injured 5x more than the lateral meniscus twisting of knee while bearing weight on the knee. The lateral meniscus is typically injured with torsional or twisting forces. The most common symptom of meniscal tears is pain at the joint line.

The menisci only have partial nerve supply to the outer third of the meniscus meaning that healing is often slow and can require surgery if the tear is extensive.

 

Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis most commonly affecting large weight-bearing joints. Symptoms of knee OA include; instability, pain on weight bearing and/or at rest, reduced range of motion, disuse atrophy (muscles become smaller) and weakness of the quadriceps muscles. Pain and loss of quadriceps strength reduces the quality of life in individuals with knee OA.

Chiropractic Treatment for Knee Pain

Depending on what the injury is, how old the individual is, current health conditions and the past history of the individual all contribute to how an individual will be treated. As always a thorough history and physical examination with be performed with orthopaedic and neurological testing. The most important goal with the initial assessment is to find the cause of the pain which often times does not come from the knee.

 

Your chiropractor will look at the joints above and below the knee to determine where the pain and dysfunction are actually coming from. So just because you have knee pain does not mean your chiropractor will just focus on your knee.

 

Some common chiropractic treatments for knee pain are:

 

-low back chiropractic adjustments and mobilizations

-knee and ankle adjustments and mobilizations

-hip mobilizations

-soft tissue trigger point therapy

-rehabilitation and strengthening of muscles that weak and not firing properly

 

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WHIPLASH

Whiplash

Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash

When we think of whiplash we think of someone getting rear-ended in a car and being stuck wearing one of those ugly neck braces for weeks on end. While this is the primary mechanism of injury for someone suffering from whiplash it is not all there is to know on the subject.

 

Whiplash is a condition of the cervical spine (neck) brought on by a distortion of the neck, usually from severe acceleration or deceleration of the body, driving the cervical spine into excessive extension, flexion, or a combination of the two. Our typical rear-end accident resulting in whiplash is a stationary vehicle suddenly hit from behind by another. In this case, it is not the impact of the car that causes the injury, it’s the severe “jarring” or “whipping” of the head backward, driving the neck into extreme extension and injuring the muscles, ligaments, and skeleton making up the neck. This whip-like action of the neck gives “whiplash” its’ name.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Neck injuries of this sort are not always black and white, many of them fall into the category of whiplash associated disorders (WAD) or cervical acceleration deceleration (CAD). These disorders will cause symptoms such as:

 

  • neck pain

  • dizziness

  • headaches

  • neck instability/weakness

  • swelling, and bruising.

     

    In severe cases of whiplash, the skeletal/structural component of the neck can also be compromised with fractures of the vertebrae, loss of cervical lordosis (natural curve), and ligament tears.

    Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash

    Chiropractic care during the healing phase of a whiplash injury can be very beneficial for the client. It can shorten recovery time from the injury, increase range of motion, promote the cervical lordosis, reduce muscle tension and pain, and improve blood flow. Cervical spine x-rays are very important after the injury to rule out any fractures of the spine.

     

    Whiplash associated disorders usually have a long rehabilitation process, so it’s very important that you start treatment immediately after sustaining the injury. Studies have shown that getting active treatment decreased recovery time by 4 weeks as opposed to those who just used the cervical collar. Any symptoms that persist longer than 6 months are then classified as whiplash syndrome.

     

    Whiplash and whiplash-associated disorders can be complex and require unique personalised care plans for each case. Recovery times are unpredictable and some sufferers respond better to different treatments. Chiropractic care has a variety of techniques that can be tailored to each unique case of whiplash.

     

     

     

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MIGRAINES AND MAGNESIUM

New studies have revealed a link between Magnesium deficiencies and migraines, prompting some researchers to recommend that magnesium be included in the treatment plan for all sufferers of the debilitating neurological condition.

The reasons behind the link include the impact of magnesium on a number of brain structures and chemicals “suspected to be important in migraine [1].” The studies showed that magnesium levels impacted serotonin receptors, had an effect on nitric oxide synthesis as well as nitric oxide release, and affected NMDA receptors [2,3]. All of these are thought to be significant factors in the development and recurrence of migraine.

Other small studies have shown that migraine and cluster headache patients have responded positively to magnesium administered intravenously during attacks [2,3]. A larger study, which was double-blinded and controlled, looked at prevention and found the following [4]:

“The treatment group receiving 600 mg of magnesium for a 12 week period experienced a 41.6% reduction in headaches as compared to only 15.8% reduction in migraine headaches in the placebo group[2].  Another controlled trial at a dose of 485 mg did not show benefit [3].”

Yet another study linking magnesium levels and migraines found the following:

“Researchers looked at 50 migraine patients and 50 healthy subjects with no history of migraine. The migraine patients had average magnesium levels of 1.86  mg/dl, while the healthy subjects had magnesium levels of 2.10 mg/dl.

The researchers didn’t find any variation in magnesium levels in patients during or between headache attacks.”

Magnesium contributes to some 300 metabolic processes in the body, and is present in a number of important enzymes. However, it is often overlooked in terms of nutrition and supplementation – a fact that is evident in the studies revealing almost 50% of American adults who suffer a magnesium deficiency [5]. If magnesium deficiency is so prevalent in the typical western diet, then we have a little work to do in terms of empowering people to heal themselves from the inside out.

Where can magnesium be found?

Magnesium can be located in a number of freely available foods. These include [5]:

  • Almonds and cashews

  • Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

  • Bananas

  • Tofu

  • Flaxseed

  • Milk

  • Oatmeal

  • Broccoli

  • Sweet corn

  • Peas

In some cases, these foods (or other Magnesium rich foods) may not be included in a persons diet. This is where a number of readily available supplements may be employed to assist in bolstering magnesium stores.

Migraines change the structure of the brain

The migraine-magnesium link could be an important one for those wishing to prevent the recurrence of migraines, especially given the developing bank of knowledge about migraines. Where previously we believed them to be a benign occurrence that bore no long-term consequences for the brain, studies are now telling us that this isn’t necessarily true. The migraine can in fact change the structure of the brain. A study published in the Journal of Neurology found that [6]: “Migraine raised the risk of brain lesions, white matter abnormalities and altered brain volume compared to people without the disorder. The association was even stronger in those with migraine with aura.”

When discussing the findings, Dr. Yurgelun-Todd PhD (Professor of Psychiatry at Utah School of Medicine) said this to Prevention Magazine [7]:

“Individuals who have migraines are experiencing a neurobiological change that causes cells to die. Loss of tissue may not have an effect at first, but if you have enough, you may end up being less efficient cognitively.”

When asked what these changes are due to, Yurgelun-Todd said “the most prevalent idea is that there are changes in the brain due to dysfunction in delivering enough blood and nutrients to different brain regions—causing tissue loss.”

The damage is said to be cumulative and migraine-induced volume loss can be reversed with treatment, hence there is no cause for panic. However, it does paint a clear picture for us. We aren’t dealing with a painful condition that ‘just has to be dealt with every now and then.’ We are dealing with something that can change the brain.

The triggers for the condition are many: from stress to hormones, genetics, food and more. Many of these will be individual, and must be managed on a patient by patient basis. Checking magnesium intake and adjusting if necessary is just one way we can sure up the system to lower the risk of recurring migraines.