Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, injury or irritation. It induces redness, swelling and pain, sometimes rendering the affected area nonfunctional.
As your body heals from an acute episode of back pain, reducing inflammation is a key to a successful recovery. Dr Shaun from Waverley Chiropractic Centre says that if you choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, not only may you be able to quicken recovery but you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. Consistently pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
Foods that cause inflammation:
- Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
The health risks of inflammatory foods
Not surprisingly, the same foods on an inflammation diet are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats.
Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation.
Unhealthy foods also contribute to weight gain, which is itself a risk factor for inflammation. Yet in several studies, even after researchers took obesity into account, the link between foods and inflammation remained, which suggests weight gain isn’t the sole driver.
An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
Benefits of anti-inflammatory foods
On the flip side are beverages and foods that reduce inflammation, and with it, chronic disease. In particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
Studies have also associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well.
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider a diet which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
You turn your head or bend down to lift something and “CRACK”! What is it? Did you injure something? The first time that happens can be terrifying. Well, you don’t need to worry. That cracking sound is probably not a broken bone. It typically occurs in the facet joints, or knuckles, of your spinal column and it’s completely normal. Your facet joints are designed to help your spine move through a full range of motion.
Why it Matters:
The facets are little joints on the back side of your spine. Similar to your knuckles, they have a small capsule around them for lubrication and support. When a facet joint is stretched open, gas within the joint is released, making a crunch or cracking sound. The release of gas is perfectly normal and happens because of the negative pressure in the joint. Just like taking the top off a champagne bottle. Sometimes adhesions can occur in the joint making it painful to move. That is why after a chiropractic adjustment many people feel better and have an improved range of motion. Adjustments help the facet joints move more naturally with fewer restrictions.
– Cracks and pops in your back and neck are typically caused by the release of gas within the joint (like a knuckle)
– Adhesions in the joints of your spine can restrict your range of motion and contribute to degenerative changes
– Adjustments reduce the adhesions in the fact joints resulting in pain relief and an improved range of motion
While many chiropractic techniques create a “cracking” or “crunching” type sound- not all do. Low-speed techniques also improve the motion of the facet joints, sometimes without any sound at all. Dr Shaun at Waverley Chiropractic Centre is proficient in a number of different techniques and will choose one that suits your needs.
And here’s a tip to share with your friends- stubborn headaches are frequently caused by irritated facet joints. If you know someone who suffers from headaches and works on a computer most of the day- their facet joints may be to blame. Share this blog with them and let them know a chiropractic adjustment may be just what they need!
Effects of side-posture positioning and side-posture adjusting on the lumbar zygapophysial joints as evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging: a before and after study with randomization. JMPT 2000. Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. The Spine Journal 2002.
Here at Waverley Chiropractic I’m often asked about how useful that colourful kt tape is? It’s difficult to find a single sporting event where you won’t see an athlete wearing colorful tape somewhere on their body. You may have wondered what it is, and more importantly what it’s used for. The tape is called kinesio tape and was initially developed by a Chiropractor about 40 years ago. It works by stimulating proprioception, which is the medical term for knowing where your body is in space.
Why it Matters:
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it’s loaded with small sensory nerve fibers that are responsible for proprioception. Placing tape in specific areas of your body across the skin provides sensory input that gives your brain more information as you move. This additional information has been shown to help improve balance, reduce pain, and support proper movement patterns.
- Tape worn on the skin provides your brain with more information about your movement patterns and can help reduce injuries and improve rehabilitation.
- Taping has been shown to improve balance for up to 72 hours after the tape has been removed.
- Researchers have found taping can be more effective than postural exercises alone to reduce neck pain.
You can think of the tape less like a brace and more like a nervous system reminder that you wear on your skin. Not only does it look cool, but it has the potential to support better movement, reduce pain, and limit injuries. Now the next time you see an athlete wearing tape, you will know it’s more than just a fashion statement!
Extended use of Kinesiology Tape and Balance in Participants with Chronic Ankle Instability. Journal of Athletic Training 2016
Efficacy of kinesio taping versus postural correction exercises on pain intensity and axioscapular muscles activation in mechanical neck dysfunction: a randomized blinded clinical trial. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017
As a chiropractor here in Mount Waverley I’m often asked what’s the difference between a disc bulge and herniation. The bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles of your spine are designed to help you maintain proper spinal alignment, posture, and movement. Between each set of bones or vertebrae is a small rubbery disc. These discs act as small shock absorbers for your spinal bones and nerves. They have a tough, rubber-like outer layer called the annulus fibrosis and a soft jelly-like center that is called the nucleus pulposus. As you age or encounter injuries, the curve of your spine may fall out of alignment. This can place uneven stress on your spinal column and discs, increasing the chance of having a disc break down and herniate.
Why it Matters:
A disc herniation occurs when the outer portion of the disc ruptures (or tears) and the soft inner portion squeezes out. This type of injury can cause pain at the site of herniation, or sometimes the herniated disc can pinch a nearby nerve, causing pain that can radiate down into your arms and legs. Similarly, a disc bulge occurs when the outer wall of the disc is weakened, but the inner portion has not yet broken through.
- A disc herniation occurs when the inside of a spinal disc breaks through its outside wall.
- Disc herniations often contribute to nerve compression, which can send pain, weakness, or numbness into your arms or legs.
- By maintaining proper spinal alignment, you can reduce added wear and tear on your discs and potentially decrease the likelihood of a disc herniation.
Now that you know what a disc herniation is, be sure to stay tuned. Next week, we’ll reveal the best ways you can find natural relief. Can you guess what type of care resulted in over 90% of people with a disc herniation finding improvement within the first few months? We’ll be back next week with the answer!
Columbia University. The Spine Hospital 2018
Herniated Disk: What is it? Harvard Medical School. Harvard Health Publishing 2018
If you’ve had neck or back pain that you could pinpoint with your finger, or experienced sharp pains when you move, it may be related to the facet joints of your spine. It’s easy to think of your facet joints like the “knuckles” of your spine. They are small joints and have a capsule and cartilage pad that glides and slides, allowing your spine to move.
Why it Matters:
As you go through life and your spinal discs go through the aging process, your facet joints end up taking on extra load. Unfortunately, this excess stress and pressure can wear down your facet joints. What results is the beginning of the degenerative process, which means you can end up with adhesions, restricted motion, bone spurs and, well…pain.
- The facet joints of your spine slide and glide as you move.
- Restrictions or adhesions in the facets can occur with age and injury.
- Chiropractic adjustments help the facet joints move freely and decrease painful restrictions in motion.
The facet joints of your spine love to move, and, in fact, movement helps them stay healthy and may even slow down the degenerative process. Chiropractic adjustments may help reduce adhesions on these joints, allowing you to move more freely and with less pain. Here at Waverley Chiropractic Centre, we believe that when you’re moving better, you’re feeling better, and we’re proud to be a part of the healthcare team that helps you stay active!
Magnetic resonance imaging zygapophyseal joint space changes (gapping) in low back pain patients following spinal manipulation and side-posture positioning: a randomized controlled mechanisms trial with blinding. JMPT 2013
The average human head weighs about 3.6kg. Each day we all walk around with a bowling ball (our head) balancing on a toothpick (our neck). We are designed this way to allow for the full range of motion we all know and love. Even under the best circumstances, this places a lot of stress on our spine. But leaning forward even just 15 degrees pushes that weight up to 13kg, and with a 30 degree tilt it’s closer to 18kg! (That’s 5 bowling balls on top of neck!)
Why it Matters:
Driving a car, working on the computer, and using a tablet/phone all usually result in less than ideal posture. And when you start to lean forward, it places a tremendous amount of extra pressure on the discs in your neck and spine. This can cause increased compression and lead to pain. Even just a few centimetres of forward head posture can double or triple the amount of stress on the spinal joints in your neck.
- The average human head weights approximately 3.6-4.5kg.
- For every 2.5cm of forward head posture, an additional 4.5kg of weight is added to your spine.
- Forward head posture may result in muscle imbalances, a high risk for spinal degeneration, reduced range of motion, and pain.
Take a moment today at work and notice if your shoulders are rounding, the head has moved forward, and upper back is hunched over. If you see yourself slouching into this posture, let us know. We would love to provide you with some exercises you can do at work to help strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and combat these muscle imbalances. And remember, the more time you spend in this posture, the more likely you are to suffer head and neck pain.
The Physiology of the Joints, Volume III. 6th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007.
Myofascial trigger points, neck mobility and forward head posture in unilateral migraine. Cephalalgia 2006
Your life is experienced through your nervous system. Think about that. Every thought, breath, heartbeat, memory, and movement happens in coordination with your central nervous system. Researchers have found that nerve signals can travel from your brain to your body at more than 250 miles per hour. Your brain is the master control system of your body with signals and messages starting in the brain and then heading out and down to your body. But can messages travel the other way? What if I told you there are ways you can impact your brain by moving your spine? It’s true…
Why it Matters:
Top researchers have found that specific movements of the spine, including the motion that happens during a chiropractic adjustment, can provide a multitude of benefits to your brain and nervous system. Adjustments activate the nerves that detect and sense motion. When those nerves are activated, it stops (or gates) the nerves that deliver pain signals. That is one of the reasons why adjustments provide pain relief. They literally “turn off” the pain sensors! Perhaps even more exciting is the emerging research that has shown adjustments can increase cortical drive. That’s a fancy way of saying researchers have found adjustments can make you stronger!
– Your entire life is experienced through your central nervous system- every thought, memory, and action.
– Movement of your spine can activate your central nervous system and brain
– Emerging research has shown chiropractic adjustments can help reduce pain, improve function, and even increase strength!
Chiropractic care has been helping people live their best life for over 100 years. Having a higher quality of life and feeling better (with less pain) are two of the most popular reasons why people seek chiropractic care. But new research into sports performance, strength, and how the adjustment can improve brain function have a lot of people excited. We would love to hear how chiropractic care has changed your life. Stop by the front desk and tell us your story today!
Science Source: Mechanism of action of spinal manipulative therapy. Joint, Bone, Spine 2003. Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. Spine Journal 2002.
1 PAIN REDUCTION
The first benefit of chiropractic care may be the most impactful- reducing your pain. Before you are living your optimal life, you have to be free of pain.
Multiple research studies have shown that chiropractic is considered one of the most safe and effective treatments to reduce pain from your neck, low back, and more. Even if you are suffering from spinal stenosis, disc herniations, or foraminal encroachment-chiropractic may be able to help.
2 REDUCE HEADACHES
The second health benefit of chiropractic care, especially important if you have struggled with chronic headaches. Researchers have discovered that chiropractic care can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
With over 20 million people suffering from headaches every day, this is a massive development in healthcare! The most common type of headaches includes; tension headaches and migraines. Tension headaches often include neck pain, muscle pain, and facial pain. Migraines are usually throbbing, can cause nausea and light sensitivity, and some even include an aura.
3 IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE
Many people don’t go to the doctor when they have pain. They go to the doctor when that pain interferes with their quality of life!
If you have a healthcare issue that is keeping you for enjoying your hobbies, hanging out with friends and family, and limit your ability to perform well at work- then you are likely going to start researching on Google and eventually call a doctor to get answers.
Fortunately, getting back to your active lifestyle, and improving your quality of life (or in science-speak, “functional ability”) is one proven benefits of chiropractic care.
4 REDUCED MEDICATION USE
Researchers have discovered that people who receive chiropractic care are 49% less likely to fill an opioid prescription. And, in my opinion, if we were able to reduce opioid use by nearly 50% just be helping people get well with chiropractic care- this world would be a different place!
Even what many people consider to be “safe” medications like NSAID’s contribute to over 100,000 hospitalizations, and over 3,000 deaths each year. Drugs should rarely be viewed as a first line treatment for spinal pain. Your body is designed to move and recover- so going to a doctor focused on movement and recovery seems like a good idea to not only reduce your medication use but to get the best results possible.
Did you know that every major sports team in the USA has a chiropractor available to their athletes to help with injury prevention and sports performance?
That’s right, teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL all have chiropractors integrated into their healthcare team to keep their athletes performing at their top level all season long.
No one can perform their best when in pain, so chiropractors are used to keeping the athletes feeling good, but with a focus and eye towards sport-specific performance.
Pain in your hand, wrist, or arm can be frustrating. You don’t realize how much you use your arms and hands each second of the day until pain, numbness, or tingling gets in the way. But, getting rid of the pain may be easier than you think.
Hand, wrist, and arm pain often starts with a neck problem. When a spinal disc in your neck irritates or presses on a nerve, it can result in arm pain. Just like the power lines that bring electricity to your house, your brain and spinal cord split into individual nerve roots that deliver information to every part of your body. The nerves in your neck are specifically focused on providing strength and sensation to your head and arms.
- A bulged or herniated disc in your neck can irritate or compress the nerves that travel to your hands, arms, and shoulders.
- A recent study of people with cervical (neck) disc herniation showed improvement in over 86% of those who received chiropractic adjustments.
- Improving spinal mobility, decreasing inflammation, and improving your posture may help prevent future episodes of neck and arm pain.
A painful arm as a result of a pinched nerve in your neck very rarely requires surgery. Getting rid of the inflammation, decompressing the nerve, and giving the disc time to heal are all part of a complete plan we use each day to help our patients reduce their symptoms and get their life back.
Symptomatic, Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Cervical Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative-Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated With Either Imaging-Guided Indirect Cervical Nerve Root Injections or Spinal Manipulative Therapy. JMPT 2016
At Waverley Chiropractic Centre we want to encourage people to take control of their health, regardless of age, by making chiropractic part of their spinal healthcare regime.
Australians aged 65 and over make up 15% of the population and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that this will increase to 22% by 2065, putting additional strain on the government to provide care for older Australians.
3.7 million Australians reported back pain in 2015 alone. Back pain can have a damaging effect on a person’s quality of life by affecting their ability to participate at work, in social activities and sports.
So here at Waverley Chiropractic we are encouraging Australians to get Ready For Life by ensuring their posture is correct, they are living active lifestyles and seeking chiropractic care where necessary.
One way to help you be Ready for Life and improve your spinal health is to get a check-up from your local ACA chiropractor. Chiropractors can also be seen as a preventative healthcare option by offering advice and assistance in making appropriate lifestyle choices and therefore reducing the risk of spinal health issues arising in the first place.
Chiropractic care is not a one size fits all healthcare option. Chiropractors carefully assess each patient individually and tailor their care accordingly. By using a variety of non-surgical techniques, such as specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy and low-force intervention, chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to spinal healthcare.
It is important to take preventative measures when it comes to spinal health and if you are experiencing pain, it is not advisable to ignore this. Get advice from your local ACA chiropractor as early as possible.