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.

Osteoporosis: What you need to know

What is Osteoporosis?

Our bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects our bones and occurs when we lose minerals such as calcium faster than we are able to replace them. As our result our bones become weaker are more likely to fracture. Fractures to the spine, hips, ribs and wrists are most common however, they can occur in any bone in the body.

Why is it called the “silent disease”?

Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because there are no symptoms associated with it. Typically people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they suffer a fracture.

Unfortunately around the age of 35 our bone density begins to decrease. To be diagnosed with osteoporosis your bone density needs to be significantly lower than normal and is usually determined by a bone density scan.

Risk factors

  • Women are more susceptible, especially after menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low levels of vitamin D and calcium
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking
  • Low levels of oestrogen
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids (eg. Asthma medication)
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Suffer from a condition that affects the body to absorb nutrients (crohns, coeliac etc.)

How can I decrease the chance of getting osteoporosis?

There are things that you can do to limit your chance of getting osteoporosis.

  • Engage in regular weight bearing activity
  • Obtain sufficient amounts of vitamin D
  • Eat calcium rich foods
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking
  • Limit caffeine consumption

If you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis:

  1. Engage in safer exercise options: As you are more at risk to sustain bone fractures it is best to consult a professional as they will show you what exercises are safe to do. Poor form during strength and high intensity training my lead to fractures.
  2. Fall prevention: Reducing the likelihood of a fall is very important, as you are more likely to suffer a fracture. Strategies like performing balance exercises, wearing prescription glasses, wearing appropriate footwear or even wearing hip protectors are good strategies to limit the chance of a fall and a fracture.
  3. Medication: Consult your GP as medication will vary from each individual.

Osteoporotic treatment at Dee Why Chiropractic Care

At Dee Why Chiropractic Care we treat many patients that have been diagnosed with osteoporosis seeking treatment for conditions such as low back and neck pain. We modify our treatment to accommodate each patient to be safe and effective. We prescribe specific home exercises, with the purpose to help maintain and increase bone density.

Need help with your diet?

If you are having trouble with your diet and don’t know exactly what you should be consuming, Dee Why Chiropractic Care highly recommends local nutritionist Amanda Pittas from Nutritional Balance in Collaroy. She is very knowledgeable when it comes to health and will tailor a meal plan to suit your needs. She will assist you to reach your health goals and get you feeling your best.

If you have any further questions regarding osteoporosis 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.

 

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.

 

Foods for Strong Bones

Foods you should be eating for strong bones

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones weaken and are more likely to fracture. It is a condition that affects women more than men, typically after menopause. Even though there are many treatments for osteoporosis, there unfortunately is no cure. The best treatment is prevention.

Being active plays a major role in maintaining bone density, however, there are some foods that you can add to your diet to assist in keeping you bones nice and strong.

Calcium

One of the main minerals your body needs to maintain bone density is calcium. Calcium has many functions; it helps keep your bones and teeth strong, assists in the maintaining normal function of the heart and nerves, and assists in preventing blood clots. When we don’t ingest enough calcium in our diet, our body extracts it from our bones for these other functions, ultimately weakening our bones. It’s very important that we meet our daily requirements of calcium.

What are some good food sources of calcium?

  • Dairy products: milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables: Kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and cauliflower
  • Fish: Salmon and sardines
  • Nuts: Almonds and Brazil nuts
  • Tofu
  • Whey protein
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin D

In addition to calcium, it is important that we obtain enough Vitamin D to keep our bones strong. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and it is necessary for calcium absorption. You could argue it is just as important as calcium in maintaining bone strength.

UV exposure is the best source of vitamin D. Getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight on you face, hands, arms and back without sunscreen, twice a week is enough to acquire the required amount of vitamin D. If you have trouble obtaining vitamin D from the sun, it is wise to start adding foods that contain it to your diet.

Foods that are a good source of vitamin D:

  • Fish: Salmon, mackerel and tuna
  • Eggs
  • Orange Juice
  • Soy milk
  • Fortified cereals

Protein

It is also important to add high protein foods to your diet. There have been numerous studies that have shown the positive effect a high protein diet has on bone mineral density. Studies also found that there is a significantly lower number of hip fractures in people with high protein diets.

Foods with high protein content:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Lentils

It is very important that we keep our bones nice and strong, as osteoporotic fractures are the leading cause of disability. So get active and make sure you get enough bone strengthening foods.

Need help with your diet?

If you are having trouble with your diet and don’t know exactly what you should be consuming, Dee Why Chiropractic Care highly recommends local nutritionist Amanda Pittas from Nutritional Balance in Collaroy. She is very knowledgeable when it comes to health and will tailor a meal plan to suit your needs. She will assist you to reach your health goals and get you feeling your best.

 

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.

 

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.

Below are a few examples of exercises to stretch out and release your tight hamstrings

 

 

 

Get stretching today!

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.

Tight chest muscles and posture

 

A lot of patients that we see here at Dee Why Chiropractic Care have rounded shoulders and a slumped over posture. One of the major contributing factors for this is tightness of the chest muscles.

Not many of us think about maintaining good posture throughout the day and don’t even realise that they are slouching. There are many downsides to slouching and they include fatigue, neck and back pain and headaches. One of the muscles that get tight due to slouching is the pectoral (chest) muscle group.

Tight chest muscles and rounded shoulders are common in individuals that:

  • Spend long hours at a desk
  • Frequently use a computer
  • Spend a lot of time on a phone or tablet
  • Drive a lot
  • Bend, lift and carry often
  • Poor postural habits
  • Lack regular physical activity, stretching and mobility exercises

When we are thinking of someone with good posture, their ear should be in line with their shoulder. But when they have poor posture their head will translate forward, there is an slouch in their mid back and their shoulders roll forward. The main contributor of forward rolling shoulders is the tightness of the chest muscles.

Effect of rounded shoulders:

  • Increased load put on neck joints and muscles
  • Neck and mid back stiffness
  • Increased load on rotator cuff muscles
  • Headaches
  • Low back pain
  • Subacromial impingement

Dee Why Chiropractic Care’s advice

The chest muscles get tight when you sit most of the day because they are in a shortened position. We advise that if you work at a desk to try and stand up every hour and reset your posture.

Stretch out your chest muscles. Stretching the chest muscles is extremely easy and comfortable. Find a door and place you forearms on the doorframe with your arms parallel to the floor. Lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the muscle and hold for 1 minute, breathing normally throughout the stretch.

If your chest muscles are chronically tight they have most likely built up with fibrous tissue within the muscle. Use self-massage devices such as trigger point balls or hand held massagers to break up these adhesions to make it more comfortable before you stretch.

Do mid back extension exercises to counteract the slouched posture and restore movement to the joints that are stiff. The easiest way to do this is to get a foam roller and place it across your back at the level of your shoulder blades.

 

If you have any questions about posture or any of the exercises feel free to contact us.

Start stretching out your chest and correcting your posture 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.