10 benefits of good posture

Poor posture is very common in today’s population due to the nature of our lifestyles. A lot of people work at a desk, have a sedentary lifestyle or overuse smart devices. When we do these things we tend to slouch and over time our posture starts to change. Posture is a reflection of our lifestyle and if we practice poor postural habits, we will almost certainly develop poor posture.

Posture is something we pay special attention to at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. We aim to educate each patient on their posture and how we can improve it. There are many health benefits with good posture and below is a list of the most important ones.

1. Reduced low back pain

Poor posture increases the stress on the joints and muscles in your lower back that can lead to injury and pain.

2. Fewer headaches

Poor posture can lead to tension headaches due to the increased stress placed on neck muscles and joints.

3. Increased energy levels

When we have good posture there is less load placed on muscles supporting your body so they are not being fatigued and for that reason we have more energy.

4. No more tight shoulders

The head is heavy; it weighs as much as a bowling ball. When we have poor posture it pushes the head forward and it increases the weight on the shoulder muscles leading to chronic tightness. In fact every inch your head translates forward it doubles the weight on your neck and shoulders.

5. Better spinal health

When we have poor posture we tend to have changes in our spinal curves. These spinal curves act as shock absorbers to protect your spine. Changes in the curves decreases the body’s ability to distribute forces through the spine leading to premature degeneration of the joints.

6. Better breathing

When we slouch we compress our lungs and when we have good posture the lungs have more space to expand.

7. Stronger core

When you’re holding good posture your core remains active. An active core protects your spine from injury and pain.

8. Decreased shoulder pain

With good posture there is less stress placed on the shoulder and it has more mobility. It protects you from conditions such as shoulder impingement and rotator cuff injuries.

9. Greater mobility

The joints in your spine have a greater range of motion and move freely because they are better aligned.

10. Better self confidence

Studies have shown that good posture can increase your self confidence. You appear confident and self assured.

 

How to relieve mid back stiffness and neck pain

Do you slouch a lot or have poor posture? If the answer is yes, you most likely have mid back stiffness and neck pain. At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we educate each patient on how their posture is related to their neck pain and mid back stiffness and show them how to fix it.

When we have poor posture the mid back locked in a flexed/ slouched position, which then leads to increased stress on the neck and shoulders. What you should be aiming to do at home to help resolve this is working on your mid back extension to get your posture in an upright position.

Foam roller mid back extension:

When we have this posture we typically have this muscle imbalance:

  1. Tight chest muscles

  2. Weak muscles between the shoulder blades

  3. Tight shoulders

When correcting posture we need to correct this muscle imbalance in addition to working on mid back extension. The formula is pretty simple: Stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles.

Chest stretch/ release:

Mid back strengthening exercise:

Shoulder release:

 

It ‘s important to know that correcting posture doesn’t happen overnight. You have to set time aside at least a few days a week to do these exercises. Overtime you will start to see improvements in your posture and a decrease in your neck pain and mid back stiffness.

5 tips for the desk worker for better posture

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we see many patients that suffer from a sore neck and back that is directly related to their workplace posture. We understand that the workplace can be stressful, juggling multiple projects and trying to get it all done before the deadline. When we are busy we often forget about our posture until our body gives as a painful reminder.

Here are some 5 handy tips you can apply to your workplace and your body will thank you for it!

Take a break.

If the project you are working on isn’t due right this second you can afford to have a break. Try and stand up and stretch out every 30-60 seconds. These are not long breaks, they will only be 1 or so minutes and it will give your body a chance to reset.

Don’t Slouch

You are probably slouching right now while reading this. Sit up straight. Slouching consistently increases tension in our low back and neck and will eventually lead to pain. Posture is a reflection of our lifestyle and if you want to be that person with a hunched over posture, keep slouching. Try and make a conscious effort to have a nice upright posture as much as possible.

Position your computer correctly.

Have the monitor at eye level approximately 45-60cm from your face. Keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees on the desk.  Having your keyboard and mouse at a comfortable reach will minimise the stress placed on your shoulders.

Get a sit – stand desk.

With these desks you have the ability to alter the height from a seated to a standing position. So even if you stand a few hours the day you will be doing you back a favour. Standing encourages good posture and takes a lot of pressure of your back.

Have an ergonomic chair or a lumbar support.

Your chair is your best friend to support your back and posture while at the desk. Set up your chair so that it is at the right height so that your feet sit flat on the floor with your knees at 90 degrees. When you sit there should be little space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees. We advise each chair have a lumbar (low back) support to maintain our important lumbar curve.

Try and integrate these tips into your day to counteract the effects of sitting too long.

We advise if possible to have your workstation professionally reviewed in addition to these little tips. If you have any further questions regarding workplace ergonomics don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

The chiropractic adjustment cracking sound

When you go to a chiropractor you will most likely receive a chiropractic adjustment. The process is painless and the chiropractic adjustment is usually accompanied by a “cracking” sound.

At Dee Why Chiropractic care we have found that new patients to chiropractic are a bit unsettled with the thought of us “cracking” their backs. Once they understand exactly what is happening it puts their mind at ease and they grow to love it. There is no bones breaking and no ligaments snapping as the sound may suggest.  We are simply opening or gapping the joint, which produces a “pop”.

What exactly is causing the sound?

In between each of the joints in our spine we have a substance called synovial fluid, which acts to lubricate and nourish our joints.  The synovial fluid has dissolved gas within it and when the joints in the spine are opened via a chiropractic adjustment there is a vacuum created within the joint. This vacuum sucks out the dissolved gas from the synovial fluid creating the pop or crack that you hear. This gas (nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide) acts to fill the space created by the vacuum.

What are the benefits of a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a gentle force applied to the spine with the specific purpose to increase motion, reduce nerve irritability and improve function.

Ever had a stuck or stiff joint? Most likely yes. The chiropractic adjustment aims to restore normal motion to the joint and relieve stiffness. In doing so it takes pressure off the surrounding ligaments, muscles and nerves, ultimately leading to pain relief.

What if I’m in pain and don’t want a chiropractic adjustment?

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we respect the patient’s wishes if they do not want to receive an adjustment. The good news is that we are a multidisciplinary clinic and utilise a wide variety of treatment techniques. Treatments may involve a combination of joint mobilisations, dry needling, active muscle releases, IASTM and taping that are very effective at treating conditions of the musculoskeletal system.

If you have any questions regarding chiropractic adjustments or think we can help you, don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?

 

Hamstring tightness is a common examination finding at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and a lot of these patients suffer from low back pain. Although there are many causes of low back pain, tight hamstring could be an underlying cause or a contributing factor.

Are my tight hamstrings contributing to my low back pain?

The hamstrings consist of 3 muscles located at the back of your thigh and they extend from your buttock area to the back of your knee. There can be many causes of tight hamstrings including genetic factors, lack of stretching, sedentary lifestyle, muscle tears and sciatic nerve aggravation.

How hamstring tightness contributes to low back pain

Ideally we should have a nice curve in our low back that helps distribute forces through our spine. This curve protects our joints from excessive load being put through them. However, when we have tight hamstrings there are changes in this curve that that can lead to low back pain.

When we have tight hamstring it causes the pelvis to tilt forward and as a result there is a flattening of our low back curve. When we have a flattening in our low back curve there is increased pressure on the joints in the spine. When we have increased load on these spinal joints they are more likely to be injured and degenerate over time.

Not only are the spinal joints under increased load, our muscles in our low back are working a lot harder. Over time these muscles in our low back fatigue and get weak which can potentially lead to chronic low back and hip ache.

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advise for increasing hamstring flexibility:

  • Gradually ease into it, as being too aggressive from the get go as it can lead to other problems
  • Bring the muscle to a comfortable tension; it shouldn’t be painful
  • Use foam rollers or get massages to break up fibrous tissue in the muscle before you stretch for greater range
  • Hold each stretch for 30 seconds – 1 minute
  • Don’t bounce in and out of the stretch
  • Do slow and easy warm ups and cool downs to loosen up tight muscles that were involved in the workout

If you are suffering from an injury to your spinal discs we recommend you do not stretch the hamstrings using the bend over and touch your toes technique as it may aggravate your condition.

Get stretching today!

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?

 

The sacroiliac joints (SIJ) are two joints that connect the pelvis with the sacrum. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is commonly seen at Dee Why Chiropractic Care and is usually attributed to joint inflammation or altered motion.

The sacroiliac joints have very little motion as they are comprised of very strong ligaments that keep them stable. When we walk or run, the sacroiliac joints are responsible for shock absorption to prevent impact forces from reaching the spine.

What causes sacroiliac joint pain?

 

It typically occurs when we have inflammation of the ligaments supporting the joint and is usually accompanied by spasm of low back and hip musculature. This is usually caused by:

  • Too much movement of the joint
  • Little to no movement of the joint.

Are Sacroiliac conditions causing your low back and hip pain?

Other causes of SIJ pain:

  • Arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Running
  • Pregnancy
  • Inflammatory arthritis (eg. Ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Uneven strides/poor gait
  • Prolonged standing
  • Infection

What does sacroiliac joint pain feel like?

  • Pain along the joint (near the dimple in your low back)
  • Pain can be dull or sharp
  • Can be aggravated by certain movements
  • Pain often felt when getting out of a chair
  • Usually only on one side
  • Pain can radiate into the groin, hip, leg and sometimes to the feet
  • Pain may be worse in the morning and improves during the day.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help

A lot of patients make the mistake of self-diagnosing themselves with having sciatica, as they have similar symptoms. So the first step is to get the correct diagnosis through a proper evaluation.

Sacroiliac dysfunction has been shown to be treated successfully using chiropractic adjustments. It is also important to address the reactive muscles spasm because it is responsible for a lot of the discomfort associated with sacroiliac conditions.

For this reason we use certain soft tissue techniques such as dry needling, active muscle releases and stretches to complement the adjustment.

If you believe you have a sacroiliac condition and think we can help you, give us a call today.

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we treat a lot of office workers complaining of headaches, neck and low back pain caused by sitting for prolonged periods without a break!

As humans we are meant to be upright and are built for movement. Anatomically we haven’t changed much from our “hunter/gatherer” ancestors however our lifestyles have quite significantly. A large percentage of the population live very sedentary lives, working hours on end at a desk and getting little exercise.

Lets go through some of the most common conditions associated with sitting for prolonged periods:

Postural changes

When we sit, we tend to slouch. It is almost unavoidable. You can sit with good posture until the muscles fatigue and then you begin to slouch. Over the years our posture adapts to our lifestyles, which can manifest into painful conditions and premature degeneration of our spinal joints.

Weakened core

Having a strong core is important as it plays a major role in protecting the spine. However when we sit, the core is less active/contracted hence there is more pressure put on the spinal joints. Use it or lose it…heard it before? Sitting for too long leads to core muscle deterioration and fat accumulation around the abdomen.

Weak legs and glutes

Our leg muscles are meant to be strong as they are supposed to be supporting our body. As mentioned earlier when we don’t use them, we lose them. So our muscles start to waste and without strong gluts and legs to stabilise us, you are at increased risk of injury.

Muscle imbalances

Muscle imbalances occur with poor posture. Some muscles become tight and some become weak. Ultimately leading to altered mechanics of the body and increased stress on the joints (particularly the spine) that may lead to some painful conditions.

Neck and low back pain

Sitting for prolonged periods with bad posture leads to increased stress on spinal joints; commonly the discs in the low back become compressed. Compressed discs can lead to conditions such as annular tears, pinched nerves and sciatica.

The human head approximately weights about 4-5kg and while we sit our head is typically in the forward position or looking down. What this does is increase the load on the neck and shoulder muscles, as they have to work harder to support the head. This leads to tight shoulders that can lead headaches and changes in the neck curve that can lead to chronic pain and spinal degeneration.

Increased weight

No surprise here. Increased weight increases stress on your joints.

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Studies have shown that people who have sedentary lifestyles have an increased risk of developing diabetes and/or heart disease.

Moving is good for your spine and overall health. Sitting for too long increases the risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. 

What sitting for too long does to your spine & health

Steps to break the cycle:

  • Get out and move
  • Take regular breaks from sitting
  • Have your work station ergonomically assessed
  • Get a standing or adjustable desk
  • Get a back support
  • Stretch tight muscles and strengthen weakened muscles
  • When sitting try your best to sit upright and engage your core
How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

How do I know Chiropractic is for me?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

When people first injure themselves they don’t know who to see. Some people take pain medication or see the GP… but what about a Chiropractor? Chiropractors are known as spine specialists however we are not limited to the spine. We cater for disorders of the musculoskeletal system including sports injuries, postural rehabilitation and repetitive strain injuries.

Every chiropractor you will see will have undertaken at least 5 years of university training to be proficient at the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal injuries.

Common conditions treated at Dee Why Chiropractic Care:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Poor posture
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Ligament sprains

Whether you come in for a quick check-up on your posture or are suffering from something more complex such as disc herniation or impinged nerves, a Chiropractor will complete a thorough case history and examination to reveal the exact cause of your pain.

Don’t be the person that asks Dr Google why they are in pain, you will just end up causing yourself a great deal of stress…leave the diagnosing to the professionals.

We make sure you know exactly how and why it has happened, as we believe understanding why it has happened will prevent future episodes.

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we encompass a multidisciplinary approach when treating your condition. We utilise an array of techniques to release tight muscle tissue such as dry needling and active releases in addition to chiropractic adjustments to get you out of pain as fast as possible.

Call or email us today with any further questions!

Sciatica Do I have it?

Sciatica Do I have it? Probably Not…

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Frequently people come in to Dee Why Chiropractic Care claiming they have sciatica despite not having it. A quick search on “Dr Google” for low back with leg pain will immediately show up with “you have SCIATICA!” You then begin to panic and then see all the causes of sciatica; herniated discs, arthritic spurs, lumbar stenosis and the list goes on…

When you have low back pain in the presence of leg pain it its important to get professionally checked. A lot of the time the patient has simple mechanical low back pain, which can be easily treated. If after we complete the diagnostic testing and then we conclude you have true sciatica we can also help!

Sciatica Do I have it?

The sciatic nerve is comprised of 5 sets of nerve roots that exit the lumbar and sacral spine. The sciatic nerve travels from the low back all the way down the back of the leg to the foot. Many things can cause low back and with the presence of leg pain however true sciatica is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots that comprise it.

Sciatica symptoms and signs:

  • Low back and/or hip pain
  • Pain at the back of the leg which is intensified by sitting
  • Burning, tingling or shooting pain down the back of the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or poor motor control of the leg and/or foot
  • Usually only one leg is involved however in some cases sciatica can be present in both legs

Main causes of Sciatica:

  • Lumbar Bulging Disc or Herniated Disc

Spinal discs act as a cushion for our spinal joints and they sit in between each vertebra. When there is increased load on them they may start to degenerate and bulge (just imagine squishing a marshmallow). Bulging disc are painless however when they encroach onto neural structures in particular the spinal nerve roots they may cause sciatica.

In more serious cases a herniated disc causes sciatica. Herniated discs are more severe than bulging discs because the nucleus pulposus that is usually contained within the disc has broken through the annular fibrosis irritating the neural structures. Think of a disc as a jelly donut and the jelly has broken out and compresses the nerve. Not only is this worse than bulging discs because the herniated material causes direct contact with the nerve, this jelly contains an acidic, chemical irritant called hyaluronic acid which causes inflammation of the nerves.

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

This is more common in the older adults and is a result of compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots. The spinal cord can be compressed in the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) and the nerve roots can be compressed as they exit the spinal column via the intervertebral foramen (foraminal stenosis). In simple terms, lumbar stenosis is narrowing of the pathway that the spinal cord and nerves travel.

There are many causes of stenosis including:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy
  • Arthritic bone spurs
  • Abnormal growths.
  • Spondylolithesis

Spondylolithesis (lets call them spondys for short) is a fancy way of saying one vertebra has slipped forward in relation to the vertebra below. There are a few different types of spondys and not all cause sciatica. We have seen patients in clinic that didn’t know they had a spondy until they were seen on diagnostic imaging.

In cases where spondys do create sciatica is when the spinal canal and intervertebral foramen have been narrowed as a result of the vertebra slipping forward.

  • Trauma

Sciatica can occur from external forces placed on the low back. Most common examples include; car accidents, falls, football or gym exercises such as squats and deadlifts when done incorrectly. Usually sciatica due to trauma results from ligament and lumbar disc damage.

  • Piriformis Syndrome

The Piriformis muscle lies under your gluts and is responsible for external rotation of the hip. The sciatic nerve runs below it and in some individuals the nerve actually pierces through the muscle. When the Piriformis muscle spasms it can compress the nerve giving you sciatica like symptoms.

  • Tumours

Ok if you are experiencing sciatica or sciatica like symptoms don’t immediately think you have a tumour! Fortunately tumours are not common in the spine however if they do occur in the low back, sciatica can occur due to compression to either the spinal cord or nerve roots.

If you think you have sciatica, it is important to get assessed by a professional. The first step to relief is finding out exactly what is causing it!

Contact us today if you feel you are one of those people!

Can a chiropractor help my low back pain?

Can a chiropractor help my low back pain?

Written By: James Hayes
Chiropractor

Low back pain is extremely common, as 80% of us will experience it at some point in our lifetime. Low back pain can come on suddenly or can linger for years to the point you just get used it. Fortunately if you are suffering from low back pain, there is a solution and you don’t have to put up with it any longer!

Can a chiropractor help my low back pain? Low back pain is one of the most common presentations we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. The way you present to the clinic will depend on what you have injured and the severity of it. Depending on the nature of the injury the pain can range from a recurring dull ache to extremely debilitating to the point you can’t move without breaking out in tears.

Sometimes the location of the pain will be so precise that you will be able to feel the exact location of the pain with some movements or when you cough or sneeze. In some cases the source of the pain will not be as obvious and the pain will be spread across the low back, hips and even into the legs.

How Dee Why Chiropractic Care can help you with your low back pain

The exact source of the pain needs to be identified for an effective course of action to take place! That’s why at Dee Why Chiropractic Care we take a thorough case history and physical examination to hone in to the injured tissue. When the source of the pain is identified we explain to you how and why it has happened and get to work!

If you are suffering from severe low back pain, it is important to be assessed. In serious cases we work closely with other healthcare providers to get you the best possible care!

Depending on the injury the treatment will vary. Treatments can involve:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Lumbar traction
  • Various muscle releases
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Dry needling
  • IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation)
  • Active muscle releases
  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Strapping

We want to get better faster and will advise you on what activities to avoid that may slow the healing process or make it worse. We will also suggest some home pain management strategies to complement the treatment.

Examples of home pain management strategies:

  • Heat or Ice
  • Certain creams
  • Stretches
  • Bracing and other supportive products
  • Ergonomic advice

Once the pain is at a more tolerable level we implement a specific home rehabilitation program to limit the chances of the pain from returning!

If you found this information helpful and want to find a solution for your low back pain, don’t hesitate to contact us.