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Stand up straight,  your posture!

Stand up straight, your posture!

The way in which you hold your body upright, against gravity in various positions such as standing, walking, sitting etc is referred to as our posture.   The vertebral column or the back bone provides your body with a rigid support structure for your internal organs, joints and muscles.  Any deviation from the natural positioning of what your spine should be, may result in a defected posture and all the consequences of such…

Some facts about your “back” or vertebral column:

  • The vertebral column (also known as the backbone or the spine), is a column of approximately 33 small bones, called vertebrae
  • Your vertebral column is made up of 5 parts
  1. Cervical ( neck) – has 7 vertebrae
  2. Thoracic (mid-back) – has 12 vertebrae
  3. Lumbar ( lower back) – has 5 vertebrae
  4. Sacrum  – 5 fused bones
  5. Coccyx ( tail bone) – 4 fused bones

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  • When viewed from the side, the three natural curves give it an S Shape.  The cervical and lumbar regions have a  C- shaped curve (lordosis) whilst the thoracic region has  a reverse C- shaped curve (kyphosis)

Lordosis

Kyphosis

  • These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by providing an even distribution of body weight

WHAT IS NORMAL/GOOD POSTURE

Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.

If you would like to assess your own posture: stand as comfortable as possible and have someone take a picture of you from the side.  When looking at your picture, place a dot on your ear lobe, the tip of your shoulder, at the hip, knee and ankle.  When you connect the dots, does it form a straight line?

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The truth is that many of us may not see a straight line which does not necessarily mean that you have a “dysfunction”.  But if you have been living with aches and pain, recurring / have a susceptibility to sports injuries or injuries that just never heal, its worth having your posture assessed AND begin work on correcting your posture.

HOW DO WE DEVELOP POOR POSTURE

HABIT!…In the 21st century, our occupation and lifestyles determines whether we can stand tall or stand slouched. Our vertebral column, muscles, joints and nerves strains considerably when sitting 8 hours per day at a desk, in front of a computer or standing for long periods, then we sit in traffic  to get home.  Eat. Sleep.   By which time, the muscles in your neck are too tense to properly support your neck upright, the muscle in the front of your neck (Sternocleidomastiod) tries to assist, however over a prolonged period, this muscle draws your neck forward.  The muscles of your neck become elongated, as your head is drawn forward, this automatically causes your shoulder to become rounded. A series of muscle imbalances continues into the hips, pelvis, knees ( remember the advert…Your hip bones connected to your…knee bones…Your knee bones connected to your Ankle bones…its true, it really is a chain reaction!)

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GET ASSESSED

A postural assessment done by a Chiropractor, aims to locate the problems that are at the root of poor posture.  This is done by analysing spinal curvatures, movement and alignment.  Some of the postural analyses a Chiropractor undertakes, includes assessing a patient for:

  • changes in stance (eg. The outward turning of one or both feet)
  • alignment in the knees
  • levelling of the hips or pelvis
  • height differences across the shoulders
  • tilting of the head and neck
  • forward tilting of the pelvis
  • forward head translation
  • increase in the spinal curvatures
  • changes to gait  (walking)

A Postural assessment and correction with treatment/exercise regimens aimed at the particular individual, assists in the long term management of the presenting complaint.

WHY SHOULD YOU GET YOUR POSTURE ASSESSED?

Maintaining proper posture reduces the risk of acquiring common injuries. These injuries often include ankle sprains, tendonitis, and lower back pain which are caused by prominent muscle imbalances.  Knowing how to best maintain the right posture allows for better biomechanics thus allowing your body to experience proper joint motion. Because of the fluid movement proper posture allows, the body is able to generate higher levels of functional strength.

 

Until next time,

Anca Wessels

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Posted in Studio.Chiropractic

Muscle Overuse Injuries – Getting it right!

Overuse Injuries

Overuse strain injury. Overuse strain injury definition. (Or “repetitive strain injury“, RSI, “repetitive strain disorder”): Any tendon or muscle injury resulting from overuse, usually in the hand, wrist, or arm.

It is always a hot topic, with more and more people becoming increasingly driven to getting that slim waist and toned legs that celebrities are always flaunting…but its true…getting your body active again, as when you were a child, is nature’s way of maintaining a youthful you.  The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability.

However with the great interest being taken into getting physically fit, therapists have noted a great increase in overuse injuriesOveruse injuries can happen when you try to take on too much physical activity, too quickly.  This maybe any type of muscle or joint injury, such as tendinitis or a stress fracture, that’s caused by repetitive trauma. An overuse injury typically stems from:

   1.   Training Errors                                                          

   2.     Technique Errors

Training errors can occur when you enthusiastically take on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.

Improper technique can also take its toll on your body. If you use poor form as you do a set of strength training exercises, swing a golf club or bowl a cricket ball, for example, you may overload certain muscles and cause an overuse injury.

It’s always a good idea to consult your therapist prior to starting out any exercise program or ramping up your routing.  Each person is designed with their own abilities or inabilities.  A general exercise program that is not suited to an individual can actually wreak havoc in the long run.  For example, if you have a muscle weakness in a shoulder, your therapist can guide you with exercises that will address the actual problem and prevent an elbow injury.

Most overuse injuries can be avoided if you :

  1. Do it right! Using the correct technique is CRUCIAL to preventing overuse injuries.  Whether you are starting a new activity or you’ve been playing a sport for a long time, consider taking lessons or ask the professionals before injuring yourself.
  2. Use the right gear – wearing proper shoes, is essential in preventing an ankle, knee and hip injury, all at once.  We all have different tendencies of foot movement (pronators, supinators, neutral).  Most sports shops have the tools to assess your foot and suggest the best type of shoe for yourself.   If you exercise regularly, consider replacing your shoe for every 480 km’s you walk or run or at least twice a year or
  3. Do not become a “Week-end Warrior” – compressing your physical activity for the week into two days can lead to overuse injuries.  Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week.  Make sure to warm up before physical activity and cool down afterwards.
  4. Gradually increase your activity level, when changing the intensity or duration of a physical activity.  For example, if you want to increase the amount of weight you’re using while strength training increase it by no more than 10 % each week until you reach your new goal.
  5. Add variety to your routine, so that your body is able to use different muscle groups, preventing impact to just one group.  Low impact activities (water jogging, walking, biking), when done in moderation enables your body to use different muscle groups preventing an overuse of a particular muscle.
  6. REST – Rest days are greatly underrated!  Your body needs to be able to rest from strenuous activity. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues.

 

Treating Workout Injuries

If you develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to keep your injury from getting worse:

  • R: rest the injury
  • I: ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation
  • C: apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling
  • E: elevate the injury to reduce swelling

Most workout injuries will heal on their own in four weeks or less. If the injury has not improved within a week, or if it gets worse, seek medical care. And always use common sense. If you’re concerned about the injury, it’s best to seek medical advice.

Until you are fully healed, avoid doing the activity that triggered the injury. And avoid any activity that puts strain on the injured area.

You can still be active as long as you don’t stress the injury. Staying active may help you heal quicker than if you take to the couch. Try a new workout while your injury heals. For example, if you sprain your ankle, exercise your arms instead. If you hurt your shoulder, work out your legs by walking.

After you have fully recovered from your injury — pain-free for more than a week — start back slowly. Don’t try to work out with the same fervor you did before your injury. You will need to rebuild your muscle strength and endurance. It may take three weeks of regular exercise to regain your pre-injury fitness level. If you push too hard and too fast, you may injure yourself again.

It is worth having regular check-ups with your chiropractor, to maintain good form and in doing so, enhancing your performance.

 

Dr Virosha Deonarain

Chiropractor – Centurion

M.Tech: Chiropractic (DUT)

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Chiropractic Realignment

Chiropractic Realignment

 

This video teaches us about chiropractic realignment.

The Doctors Visit with Dr. Patrick Kerr who Performs a New Painless Procedure Designed to Realign a Patients Atlas Bone in her Neck.

This video will show you:
HOW TO get an adjustment
HOW TO talk to your doctor
HOW TO ask good questions

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Three steps to discovering better running form

Three steps to discovering better running form

 

Running faster, more efficiently, and injury free is what runners strive for, and having good running form is paramount to achieving these goals. Good Form Running aims to help runners of all ages and abilities; having proper mechanics is important for everyone. The simplicity of the technique, and the focus on body awareness, make Good Form Running both unique and effective. This video covers the basic steps of Good Form Running as presented by Playmakers running store in Okemos, Michigan. Please visit www.goodformrunning.com or Playmakers.com for more information.

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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Chiropractic

Are you sitting correctly?

Are you sitting correctly?

 

With so many people sitting in front of a computer all day long, plus time sitting while driving, and excessive time watching TV, learning how to sit properly and take ‘microbreaks’ to avoid muscular imbalances is vitally important. So make sure that you are sitting correctly.

One of the most simple ‘micro-breaks’ to perform is to stand up, reach overhead with both arms/hands while pretending that you are climbing the rungs of a ladder with your hands. Perform this manoeuvre for 30 seconds every 30 minutes.

Generally, maintaining the normal spinal curves is considered to be beneficial during sitting; however a common tendency for most people, especially those sitting at computers with improper screen height is to assume a forward head posture (FHP) along with kyphosis of the thoracic spine. Forward head posture has been shown to increase the incidence of neck and shoulder trigger points and pain, along with alterations in shoulder muscle activity. As a result, individuals who regularly sit this way may be more prone to conditions like cervico-scapular injuries, scapula-thoracic and shoulder impingement syndromes upon starting exercise programs if not properly assessed and corrected.

Poor posture while driving can produce a repetitive load to the tissues that causes sustained stress. Simply staying in the car seat with poor posture long enough will eventually ensure damage.

Next time you are on the freeway, notice how many people drive with only one hand on top of the steering wheel. For example, notice that driving with the left hand on top of the steering wheel may make the left shoulder elevate. That could perpetuate trapezius and levator scapulae tightness on the left.

Unless you are holding the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock or even lower, you are probably elevating and protracting the shoulder. With your hands in the proper position on the steering wheel, the thoracic spine, scapula and gleno-humeral joint have a better chance of remaining in neutral.

I frequently find myself holding the wheel with my left and leaning my torso to the right because I rest my right arm on the centre console. Prolonged sitting on the glutes can cause poor circulation and lack of oxygen to the tissue contributing to inhibition.

An example of a ‘microbreak’ for driving in the car is to squeeze the shoulder blades together for 20-30 seconds and then letting go and repeating 2-3 times. Other ‘microbreaks’ for driving can be performing cervical range of motion; perform shoulder retraction with elevation and depression. It is also good to use the ‘fiddle factor’ with the car seat by changing positions frequently (every 30 minutes) especially if you have electric seats.

 

Use this checklist for ‘proper sitting’ while driving a car or in your office: Sit up against the seatback with a tall spine.

Adjust the seat pan length so you can permit a fist to pass between the front of the seat and the back of the upper calf. Adjust the back rest up and down to your comfort level. It should be placed firm against your back and may be tilted a bit backwards for more comfort.

Adjust your hips so that they are level and square.

Lightly draw your belly button in towards your spine.

Lightly push the back of the head against the head rest while maintaining a level chin.

Plant your left foot firmly on the floor and dead pedal.

Lift the sternal notch.

Slightly set the scapula by rolling them back and down, or back and up (depending on the client’s neutral scapula position).

Holding this good posture, reach your arms for the steering wheel at 3 and 9 o’clock or lower, and like I want you to be in life, ‘keep your foot on the gas pedal’.

 

By Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

 

 

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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Chiropractic

Sport and Chiropractic

Sport and Chiropractic

 

Have you ever had a sports injury that limited you from playing your favorite sport? If so, you aren’t alone. Whether you are a weekend sports enthusiast or a competitive athlete, getting back to playing again is the most important thing. Fortunately, chiropractic care can play a big role in helping you recover – and prevent future injuries.

Getting your injury assessed and treated appropriately will not only get you back on your feet faster, but also screen out any bad habits that can lead to further injury. Here are some of the most common sports injuries, along with tips of what you can do to get better with the help of your chiropractor.

Injury: Hamstring Strain or Low back strain -Hamstring pulls and strains are most commonly due to lack of flexibility and adequate warm up before beginning your sport. Apart from treating the area of injury, your chiropractor will examine you to see if there are any muscular imbalances.

Treatment: Follow RICE principle: (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) if injury happened within last 48 hours. Chiropractic care and electrotherapy work to address joint tightness and range of motion.

Injury: Tennis Elbow -The pain on the outside of the elbow is known as lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. This area has one of the least amounts of blood supply to the body. That’s why it may take longer to heal. It’s important to get back into activity slowly.

Treatment: Ultrasound or laser to help with tissue healing, and manipulation around the elbow joint to increase joint motion. Your chiropractor can help maximize athletic performance, reduce injury risk and treat many injuries you may suffer.

 

 

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