Reduce mid back stiffness and back pain at home

Importance reducing mid back stiffness

Your mid back, otherwise known as your thoracic spine, is one of the most important areas of your body to keep mobile. Your mid back plays a massive part in keeping your shoulders and low back functioning properly and keeping you pain free.

People who suffer from mid back stiffness are more likely to develop injuries to the shoulder, neck and low back because these areas compensate for the lack of mobility in your mid back. The extra demand and stress placed on these areas can eventually lead to injury.

You work at a desk? Spend a lot of time looking down at your phone? Look at some photos and notice you have a slouched posture? If the answer is yes, you most likely have a lack of mobility in your mid back, particularly in twisting and extension movements.

Dee Why Chiropractic Care's advice

Mobility is key for maintaining good spinal health and protecting you from injury. Your body is designed for movement and if you have a sedentary lifestyle your joints will become stiff and eventually decay. You brush your teeth daily to practise good oral hygiene to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Similarly, it is important to practise good spinal hygiene by keeping your joints mobile, to prevent your spine from decaying.

Here are some exercises we recommend to maintain good thoracic/ mid back mobility. It is important that you do not experience any pain with these exercises. If you do, it is recommended that you consult a professional before proceeding, to prevent any aggravation to your condition.

 

 

 

Back pain Chiro Dee why

Is sitting too long causing my back pain?

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that a chiropractor will treat. The human body is designed for movement and if you tend to spend a lot of time sitting, you could be suffering from lower back pain as a result.

Why do you get back pain if you sit for prolonged periods?

Frequently patients come into our clinic claiming their back pain started when they bent over to pick something off the floor. Unfortunately, the underlying reason why they have back pain is that they have been sitting for too long and the bending over was just the tipping point.

It’s hard to maintain good posture while we sit. The longer you sit, the more likely you are to slouch. In a normal healthy lumbar (low back) spine you should have a nice arch that keeps you upright and stable. When you slouch this arch flattens out and curves the spine in the opposite direction that puts pressure on your spinal discs. Over time the pressure on your lower back adds ups leading to back pain or injury.

 

Tips to prevent back pain

It’s hard to maintain good posture for prolonged periods while sitting to protect your spine. If possible try and get a stand up desk or at the very least get a lumbar support to maintain your lumbar curve. Take short breaks throughout the day and have a short stretching and mobility routine to reset your posture when you resume your work. For more detail on tips to reduce back pain while sitting, read our blog “5 tips for the desk worker for better posture”.

Back pain treatment at Dee Why Chiropractic Care

If you have been suffering from severe or persistent back pain it is advised you see a chiropractor. They will be able to accurately diagnose and treat the source of your back pain. Your chiropractor will also advise you on ways to manage your back pain through the day and implement home exercises to complement your treatment.

If you have any questions or think we can help you with your back pain, don’t hesitate to contact us or book an appointment online.

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Core exercises to help your back pain

Low back pain so one of the most common complaints we see at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. Whether you have been suffering from low back pain for years or you recently suffered a back injury, a very important part of your rehab will be strengthening your core.

When people think of their core, they just think of the 6 pack or abdominals, however it consists of multiple muscles that help protect your back from injuries.

The core consists of:

Why is your core important to prevent back pain?

Back pain is extremely common as 8 in 10 people will experience it at some stage and is one of the most common reasons a person would visit a chiropractor. If you have a weak core, your body will rely more on the joints and ligaments in the spine for stability and makes them more prone to injury and degeneration.

Will core exercises immediately relieve my back pain?

The answer is no. You need to be consistent with core strengthening exercises to experience the full benefits because strength doesn't come overnight. Just like you can’t expect to go for a short run and the next day be able to run a marathon… it takes time. Try and have a routine that involves core strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week.

Some example of Dee Why Chiropractic Care's core strengthening exercises

 

 

Dee Why Chiropractic Care's advice

If you have severe low back pain, pain that extends into your legs or have been suffering back pain for a long time its important to be assessed. Most of the time these exercises are safe to do however if it is causing you pain or is aggravating your symptoms stop immediately. Depending on the nature of your injury, treatment may be needed prior to progressing to core strengthening exercises. 

If you have any questions or think we can help you with your back pain don't hesitate to contact us today.

How slouching affects your health

Your spine is designed for movement, however most of the population lives a sedentary or inactive lifestyle. A lot of people have desk jobs, sit long hours and spend a lot of that time slumped over.

Your spine is happy when it has nice curves that extend from your neck to your low back. These curves act as shock absorbers to distribute forces through your spine. Your joints will have nice fluid movement and there is less load placed on the muscles.

When you have good posture

  • You have less strain on your joints, hence they don’t wear down
  • The muscles have little load on them, hence they don’t get chronically tight
  • You have more energy
  • You breathe better
  • Less strain on your spinal cord and exiting nerves
  • Lower incidence of neck and low back pain
  • Fewer headaches
  • Increased mobility

When you slouch a lot

Our posture is a reflection of our lifestyles and if you spend a lot of time slouching, expect to develop poor posture over time. We will have changes in your spinal alignment, more stress placed your spine and you can expect the opposite of the points mentioned above.

 

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

Do your best to maintain good posture throughout the day. There are many methods that you can use to sit up nice and straight. You can get a stand up desk, lumbar support, take frequent short stretch breaks or you could even get a posture reminder device.

If you already have poor posture the good news is there is a way to correct it. The first step to fixing your posture is understanding it. We take a posture photo in clinic and explain to you what has happened to your spinal alignment and create a treatment plan to correct it. You will also be given home exercises that will complement the treatment done in clinic, specific to your posture.

Importance of shoulder mobility

Shoulder pain and injuries are a common presentation at Dee Why Chiropractic Care. The shoulder has the most mobility of any joint in the human body, however for that reason it is commonly injured.

Since the shoulder has a lot of mobility, joint stability is important to protect it from injury.

To protect yourself from shoulder injury:

  • We need to strengthen the muscles that support your shoulder
  • We need shoulder flexibility to allow it to move in a pain free range of motion

If you have poor posture and have a sedentary lifestyle, you may experience upper back tightness and shoulder stiffness. Poor posture puts you at risk of shoulder impingement syndromes and rotator cuff injuries.

Strength is an important part of shoulder stability and should not be ignored. Most people focus on strengthening the muscles that look good; the traps and deltoids. When training it is important not to forget to strengthen the muscles that stabilise the shoulder – the rotator cuffs.

The purpose of this blog is to show you some exercises that you can do at home to help shoulder mobility. You do this by stretching the shoulder muscles and doing simple mobility exercises.

Here is a short video that demonstrates stretching the muscles that contribute to rounded shoulders. Rounded shoulders put your shoulder in a comprised, injury prone position.

 

The shoulder and mid back work together. When the mid back is stiff, the shoulder compensates for the lack of movement in the spine and makes it prone to injury. The following exercise focuses on reducing your mid back stiffness.

 

The following is an easy exercise to increase range of motion in the shoulder. All you need is a broom stick!

 

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care

These exercises alone may not resolve your shoulder pain. If you are experiencing pain doing these exercises you should stop immediately and seek professional advice before proceeding. When you visit Dee Why Chiropractic Care suffering a shoulder injury we aim to restore proper function and movement to the shoulder. The goal of treatment is to not only relieve your symptoms but prevent the pain from returning.

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.

Sometimes the exercises alone won’t resolve your symptoms. At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we do a full assessment of your posture and spine and tailor a treatment to get you out of pain as fast as possible. If you are suffering with neck pain and mid back stiffness and think we can help, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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.

 

Scoliosis: What you need to know

Scoliosis: What you need to know!

When we look at someone from the back, ideally the spine should be nice and straight. In some cases there is a lateral or side bend in the spine in the shape of an ‘S’; this is commonly referred to as scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition that we regularly screen for at Dee Why Chiropractic Care.

What are the signs of a scoliosis that can be seen with the naked eye?

  • One shoulder is higher than the other
  • There is a more pronounced winging of a shoulder blade that the other
  • Rib cage higher on one side
  • One hip appears higher than the other
  • Tilt of the body to one side
  • The hips appear uneven

What are the causes of scoliosis?

There are multiple types of scoliosis and the cause of them is largely unknown. There are some genetic risk factors and conditions such as cerebral palsy that can cause scoliosis but most of the time the scoliosis is idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown. Idiopathic scoliosis is mainly seen in children and adolescents.

Scoliosis in adults

Degenerative scoliosis is seen in adults and is mainly due to age, as the spinal joints start to deteriorate over time and a lateral curve in the spine develops. A history of spinal trauma or osteoporosis in the elderly may lead to the development of a degenerative scoliosis. People with degenerative scoliosis typically suffer from back pain and stiffness, as there is increased pressure on the nerves, muscles and spinal joints. We regularly see these patients at Dee Why Chiropractic Care complaining of these symptoms due to the development of this curve. We use a combination of muscle release techniques, chiropractic adjustments and the prescription of home exercises to take pressure off the structures under increased load to decrease the pain and stiffness.

It is important for children to be screened for scoliosis

If you are a parent or have young family members it is important to observe if they are showing any signs of a scoliosis. Scoliosis often develops rapidly in preadolescence and adolescence due to the growth spurt. This condition is usually painless so it is important to keep an eye out for these symptoms before the curve progresses. There is no way to prevent a scoliosis from developing but the best way to prevent a scoliosis from worsening is early detection and treatment. It is very important to detect scoliosis early as they can cause serious health issues and may require surgical intervention.

Scoliosis is more common in girls than it is in boys and it is advised they are first checked around 10-12 years old. Boys should be first checked around the age of 11-13. Due to the serious consequences of scoliosis, at Dee Why Chiropractic Care we offer complimentary screening for scoliosis for individuals under the age of 18.

Scoliosis bracing

We screen for scoliosis using specific tests, scoliometers and analysing posture. If there are signs of scoliosis we will refer for X-ray imaging for further analysis.If we find that the scoliosis is advanced to a point where bracing will be needed we will refer out to an excellent facility based in Sydney. They make custom braces that can be hidden under clothes unlike the bulky ones of the past. They have proven in recent studies to be very effective in treating the scoliosis in conjunction with physical therapy. For any further information on the bracing of scoliosis please visit the Scolicare website

For mild cases of scoliosis and the degenerative type scoliosis found in adults, chiropractic care has been shown to provide pain relief, improve movement and help with posture and strength.

Feel free to contact Dee Why Chiropractic Care if you have any further questions regarding scoliosis or if you would like to book in a child/adolescent for a complementary scoliosis screen.

 

Excessive mobile phone use and neck pain

Text Neck: Excessive mobile phone use and neck pain

 

Text neck is a real thing and is becoming increasingly more common due to advancements in technology. Many people today suffer from pain and stiffness in the neck and upper back due to overuse of mobile phones and tablet devices.

Depending on our lifestyles we will spend a certain amount of time looking down, whether it be working at a desk or reading our favourite novel. However today we have very powerful mobile phones and tablets that can entertain us for hours on end.

This adds another activity that increases the time we spend looking down and this can lead to excess strain put on our spinal joints and muscles. Are you on a phone right now reading this? Are you slouched over, looking down? Most likely yes.

Don’t worry you are not the only one. For instance next time you are on public transport have a look around and you will notice almost everyone is slouched over on their phones. Text neck is rapidly becoming an epidemic.

Text neck is a defined as neck pain and damage that is a result of looking down at a mobile phone too frequently and for too long. This is becoming extremely common, especially due to the growing popularity of social media, games and streaming sites such as YouTube.

If you have children it is important to monitor how long they spend on these devices as it could lead to changes in their spinal alignment that could lead to chronic pain in their adult lives.

 

Effects of Text Neck

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Tight achy shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Postural changes
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Pinched nerves
  • Mid back pain
  • Low back pain

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

  • Hold your phone at eye level as much as possible
  • Don’t spend too much time looking down at your phone
  • Take frequent breaks from phones and desk work to reset your posture
  • Stretch out you chest and shoulders as the tend to get tight
  • Do mid back extension exercises
  • Heat packs across your shoulders if they are chronically tight
  • Listen to podcasts or music to entertain yourself

In some cases you may be experiencing significant pain and physical therapy is recommended. Text neck is a postural syndrome and for that reason we will do a full postural exam to identify where the pain is coming from and what exercises would be most beneficial to correct the problem.