Can Chiropractic help to reduce headaches?

Chiropractic: It just makes sense!

Knee pain.

Is Chiropractic safe for seniors?

Stretching is important for everyone.

Why can Chiropractors vary so much in their approach?

Stress and your body, part 1.

stress ballStress is a term commonly used everyday, it is usually considered a negative concept that has some impact on one’s mental or physical wellbeing, but it can be either the cause or the effect.

In nature most processes strive to maintain equilibrium, a steady state of balance, this includes our body on a physical level (our bones and muscles) as well as a physiological level (our organ systems). Environmental factors, internal or external stimuli, continually disrupt this balance, and these factors can be interpreted as stress.

As a chiropractor I am constantly dealing with and correcting the effects of physical stress. These physical stresses include falls and bumps, lifting or carrying heavy loads, prolonged periods of time in poor chairs, unsupportive mattresses or bad shoes, sustained posture, repetitive work or changes in our body for which it must compensate such as pregnancy or a broken bone in the foot, or knee surgery. On a physical level it is often clear to see how these stresses impact us and our wellbeing.

What is not always easy to see is how Emotional stresses impact our body and our wellbeing. I estimate that close to 75% of problems I see in clinic are due either directly or indirectly to emotional stress, but when I say that, people often can’t understand how emotional stress can affect us physically. It can be easier to understand when you consider situations of extreme stress, such as if your life were in danger.

In such a situation you would be feeling alot of emotions such as fear and panic, but your body would also be reacting, in a way that is known as a fight or flight reaction. This means that your body is getting prepared to fight or to flee. There are several things that happen but probably the most obvious sign would be that your heart would begin racing, this would result in you sweating, your body will produce adrenaline,which would make you feel buzzy or nervy. Your pupils will dilate, your blood will be directed to areas of your body that are important for fighting or fleeing (such as your muscles, your lungs and your brain) and away from areas that are not needed for the moment (such as your digestive organs). So you can see that emotions go hand in hand with physical changes.

Thankfully, it is not that common for us to be in a situation that is life threatening, but our modern lifestyles do entail alot of stress, and our bodies are constantly reacting to this stress in many ways, at a low level. These reactions will impact on our bodies in a physical way. Stress and your Body Part 2 will detail signs and symptoms your body may show in response to common low level daily stresses.


Chiropractic: Myths and misconceptions.

Chiro-Myths-RealityLike all modern healthcare, Chiropractic techniques are constantly changing with the times. Just as your GP no longer applies leeches to you, Chiropractors have updates their techniques for improved results and experiences. Here are some common myths debunked…


Once I see a Chiropractor I will have to keep going back.

Our aim is to help you get rid of your symptoms and also keep them away. We give recommendations as to what would be the best course of treatments to achieve both goals.

It may occur that after a few visits you feel improved but are asked to come back for a follow up treatment, this is because the pain or discomfort is one of the last signs or symptoms to come on and the first to disappear. These signs may have disappeared but the imbalance that caused the problem and hence the pain, may still be there to some degree. If this imbalance that is left over is not corrected it can progress again, and the symptoms will return. At Health In The Bay we incorporate different techniques that have been found to be effective in changing your body out of old patterns, which allows the body to become stable and hence need less treatments overall.

We may also recommend that you return for maintenance. It is a good idea to have occasional maintenance treatments as this helps correct any problems before they become symptomatic, and the earlier they are addressed they quicker they resolve.


Adjustments hurt.

Chiropractic adjustments generally don’t hurt. When having a manual adjustment you may hear a crack, which may be surprising if you haven’t experienced it before. This is not bone rubbing against bone or anything similar, it is just the fluid that naturally sits inside the joint, releasing a gas due to the change in pressure. Using the tool called an Activator is even more gentle. It is a tool that gives a small push to the joint in a specific direction, but no crack is heard. The adjustments themselves don’t hurt, but often you have come to see the chiropractor because of some pain you are experiencing, and as chiropractic is a hands on technique, the chiropractor will be working at the area of pain and hence it may be tender.


Chiropractic adjustments are dangerous.

Chiropractors study at University a minimum of 5 years which includes in-depth study of the anatomy and neurology of the whole body as well as adjusting techniques. With this knowledge any risk is minimised. There is a very small risk with manual neck adjustments, but this is only in those already predisposed to circulation problems. By taking a thorough history we can ascertain if there is some risk, and adapt the treatment accordingly. We also conduct screen tests prior to adjusting, if this indicates a potential risk we will not perform the adjustment. If we are happy there is no risk, but you are still not comfortable with the idea of being adjusted manually we can use a different method that does not involve cracking.

There is also a risk of mild soreness after a treatment, which is due to the body changing and adjusting. This is usually only with the first treatment as the body is getting used to these changes, and would only last one to two days.


Chiropractors only treat the spine.

Chiropractors study the anatomy and adjustment techniques of the whole body. It is true that the majority of what we treat is the spine, but that is not all we treat. We commonly treat other non-spinal joints, which can be symptomatic due to their relationship with the spine, or due to injuries. Common problems treated include RSI of the wrist, shoulder pain or stiffness, sprained ankles, or wrists, shin splints, generalised knee pain (often noticed when walking up and down stairs) unexplained knee swelling, dropped arches of the feet, plantar fasciitis, and more.


Chiropractic and Pregnancy

PregnantDelivery assistance, natural birthing, drug-free birthing, low back pain, sciatic pain or pain down the leg, baby in breach position, balance and coordination, hormonal balance.

Thousands of pregnant women around Australia are turning to safe and effective Chiropractic care to improve their pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby naturally.

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful natural processes to be involved with. To me, pregnant women do seem to “shine”. I love adjusting and aiding pregnant women, not only so that they can be more comfortable during the pregnancy but also so that the baby is delivered healthy and naturally without intervention.

Some mothers have concerns about being adjusted when pregnant. Is it dangerous? Will it hurt? Is it safe for the baby? Chiropractic care is actually one of the safest forms of healing available. Literally thousands of women around the world have been adjusted all through their pregnancy, and some even at the birth itself, and suffered no ill effects. In fact, in some cases their labour times were reduced by up to 33%!

If you are pregnant you should consider adding a Chiropractor to your health care team. Here at Health In The Bay we will always give the best care and advice possible so that your baby will be born with the absolute minimum of intervention. We are strong believers in holistic, natural birthing.

How Does Chiropractic Help Pregnancy?

In order to answer I’ll need to explain a little bit about how the body works. Your body is controlled through your brain and nervous system. Running down your spine is the spinal cord and branching off at each vertebra is a spinal nerve. These nerves then branch repeatedly and control almost every cell in your whole body. This is called your nervous system.

We live our lives through the function of the nervous system. The nervous system guides all of the processes in your body. This is especially vital for pregnant women. All of the delicate processes that occur within a mother’s body are guided by the nervous system. All of the five senses, the development of their brains, learning, growing, immunity and digestion are all controlled by the nervous system. So does it make sense to you that if you have any kind of nervous system interference then this is likely affecting some aspect of your life and pregnancy? Here’s where Chiropractic care and pregnancy fits in.

Chiropractic by its own definition works on improving the function of the nervous system. When a Chiropractor adjusts you he is looking for one thing: Subluxation. But what is a Subluxation? A Subluxation is a point in the spine where overwhelming lifestyle stress has created “stuck” vertebrae. These vertebrae then impact on the nervous system creating nervous system interference. The longer the nervous system interference is present and the more nervous system interference your baby has then the worse the effects will be.

It is also important to note that you can have Subluxation and not exhibit any problems initially. Sometimes it can take years before the nervous system interference creates problems.

If your problems or conditions are being caused by Subluxation and the nervous system interference created by that, then Chiropractic can help you!

How Can I Tell If I Need Chiropractic?

There are a few simple things you can check at home that can help you to see if you have Subluxation and are experiencing nervous system interference:

1. History: If you have a history of any of the following then there is a good chance that you have Subluxation:

  • Sedentary lifestyle: you spend more than 6 hours a day sitting
  • Back injuries
  • Falls or accidents
  • Motor vehicle accidents: whether as a passenger, driver, cyclist or pedestrian
  • Excessive weight (baby not included!)
  • Poor diet
  • Exposure to a lot of pollution
  • Exposure to chemicals: cleaning products or work related chemicals
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake: either regularly or binging
  • Family problems
  • Stress levels high for a long period of time.

Because Subluxation is created by all the different lifestyle stresses in your life then any of the above could have created nervous system interference.


2. Observation: There are several key behaviours that can indicate that you have Subluxation. Check out the following list:

  • Sleeping poorly
  • Low energy and lethargy
  • Hot flushes
  • Protective postures: to protect old injuries and areas of Subluxation
  • Irritability and grumpiness
  • Inability to go barefoot for long periods of time: i.e. > 3hours
  • limping
  • Like to sleep with a fan or music on every night
  • Frequent fidgeting or inability to stay still at important events
  • Postural hypotension: you get dizzy when you stand too fast
  • Any early signs of depression, anxiety, dementia, Alzheimer’s or any other degenerative brain conditions.

Subluxation interferes with the way you interact with the environment. Each of the five senses is directly controlled through the nervous system. Any of the above signs could indicate nervous system dysfunction and Subluxation.


3. Posture: Posture is a simple way of easily checking if you have Nervous System interference. Just follow the simple instructions below to check it out:

  • Stand straight and relaxed in front of a full length mirror with your arms hanging by your sides and your feet slightly apart.
  • Observe the level of your ears, particularly the ear lobes. Look for one ear lobe being higher than the other.
  • Next, find the bony bump near the tip of the shoulder. This bump is the AC joint and is at the end of the collar bone. With your hands hanging loosely by your side check your AC joints and observe their level. Note down if one side is higher than the other.
  • Lastly, find the tops of your hip blades. Place your hands flat against the top of the hip blades and observe for any change in height between the two.

By checking these three points you can see if your posture is out. If you found any difference then this is a sign that you have Subluxation.


What Will Happen When I Come In?

At Health In The Bay we take a very comprehensive and integrative approach to care of pregnant women.

  • Firstly, we take a comprehensive history. It is important that we get as much information about you and your pregnancy as possible before we begin taking care of you. You will be required to fill out our comprehensive health survey and answer any questions the chiropractor may have to fill in the details.
  • Next, we do a comprehensive exam. The exam is tailored to you but may include: posture, balance, reflexes, muscle testing, cranial structure examination, neurological assessment, and other nervous system assessments.
  • No X-rays will be required for pregnant women.
  • On the second visit, the chiropractor will report to you what is going on and outline a care program.
  • The first adjustment is given and the chiropractor will follow up via phone to see how you responded.
  • The Care program is followed as closely as possible with frequent reviews to ensure that the underlying cause is being addressed.


Should I See a Chiropractor or a Physiotherapist?

Chiro Or PhysioWhen you’re faced with pain, especially if it’s the first time, it’s hard to know who to turn to. Can your GP help, or do you need someone more specialised, someone who treats your specific issue? Both physiotherapy and chiropractic professions specialise in the musculoskeletal system, to help improve overall health and well-being.

What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are known as the ‘spinal health experts’ who work to help improve your body’s nervous system. Chiropractic assumes that a healthy and properly functioning nervous system equates to improved overall health and well-being. Chiropractors address all demographics including babies, infants, athletes and the elderly.

Chiropractic focuses primarily on the spine and the alignment of the vertebrae, the skull and the pelvis. The spinal column, consisting of the vertebrae, contains and protects the spinal cord and the many nerves that branch out from it. These nerves form the nervous system and are responsible for all our bodily functions. A chiropractor aims to improve the flow of information along these nerves, which are sometimes impaired through misalignment of the vertebrae.

Though chiropractic is not just about the spine – it also focuses on nutrition, exercise and your health and well-being as a whole.

Lower back pain is one of the principal reasons people consult a chiropractor, although they also treat a number of other issues, both structural and functional. Examples include digestive issues and headaches. Research suggests it can also be helpful in treating menstrual pain, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chiropractors primarily use chiropractic adjustments to help improve the nervous system. Sometimes they ëmove’ areas that are not moving properly. This is referred to as an ëadjustment’. They may also use an ìactivatorî, a pen-like instrument that addresses the misalignments in the spine and pelvis by correcting them with a gentle percussive force. There are a number of different styles of Chiropractic. Other techniques they could use are massage or hot or cold packs.

Are Chiropractors Qualified?

To practise in Australia, chiropractors must complete a five-year university qualification, which is subdivided into a three year Bachelor and a two year Masters degree. They are also regulated and registered by the government. The Australian Government has set up a regulating body to oversee the industry and ensure high standards of practise are maintained.

What is a Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapy, like chiropractic, aims to improve your health and wellbeing. Physiotherapists are often referred to as movement specialists and aim to help your joints and muscles work to their full potential. They often give exercise programs to patients to improve mobility, and will also use in massage, stretching, ultrasound and laser therapy, and mobilisation and manipulation.

Common problems that physiotherapists treat include sports injuries, back and neck pain, arthritis, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and even asthma. They will use a range of treatments includuing massage, exercise programs, hot and cold packs and aids such as crutches and wheelchairs to help improve movement and mobility.

Are Physiotherapists Qualified?

In Australia, physiotherapists will have completed either a four-year degree in Physiotherapy of Applied Science (Physiotherapy), or a graduate entry Masters program (a two-year accelerated program). These qualifications enable practitioners to apply for registration with the Physiotherapists Registration Board. In 2010, a single national registration and accreditation program was set up in Australia, with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia responsible to registering physiotherapists and students.