Should I Sit or Stand at Work?

Should I Sit or Stand at Work?

After 8 hours of sitting at work can hurt your back. Keeping sitting straight is not the solution. Explanations.
At the office, you will never find the perfect position for the back to be pain-free at the end of the working day.
Everyone should avoid slouching and stay upright when sitting. However, visiting straight can create sour tensions as the same muscles would work a too long time. The lumbar spine may accept some time reclining on the only condition it does not last too long either.

The best solution is to regularly have a break and move around and change your posture. The idea is not feeling ache or pain or even tension before moving or altering the way you sit. You can put a post-it on your computer screen, "Watch your posture!", "Have a break!", "Stretch out", etc. You can also use the timer of your mobile to ring to get a break. This is particularly important when you are doing some work demanding significant concentration. Your brain will ignore the signals and feedback from the body, indicating tensions and sufferance.

In an open office, bins and printers are more and more located in the centre of the room so that the staff need to walk. You can walk answering the phone. Do not hesitate to stretch back, legs and shoulders meanwhile.

The ideal posture would be to have lumbar support, such as the back chair in the hollow of the lower back or a half-roll, and not hunching without being upright. Do not cross the legs that freeze the way you sit, certainly slouching. You can ask your workmate and colleagues to watch your back and reciprocally.
A current trend is to get a standing desk. This is not the panacea. Prolonged standing can also create disorders in the back and the legs because of the blood circulation.

The basics of ergonomics, working on a computer, is to fit the top of the screen at the level of the eyes and avoiding working on laptops. It is highly recommended to plug a wire into a large screen or put the laptop on a book pile and plug a keyboard.

Do not hesitate to ask more details when visiting our chiropractors during your next chiropractic session.


Is Spinal Fusion the Solution For My Low Back Pain

Is Spinal Fusion the Solution For My Low Back Pain

Spinal fusion is the extreme operation for back pain. Its aim is to lock a part of the spine and may be recommended for debilitating scoliosis, spine fractures or type IV of spondylolisthesis. But these reasons are rarely the motivations for the spine fusion.

It is primarily considered and presumed that the degeneration of the disk and osteoarthritis, creating instability and inflammation, are the apparent cause of the low back pain, most of the time at the level of the lombo-sacral junction. The surgeon will remove the deteriorated disk between the vertebrae and stick the bones together. The purpose is to stabilise the hyper-mobile spine area, and the pain will logically disappear.

However, as we have seen in a previous blog, a majority of people in their middle age have degenerated disks and are primarily free of pain. Reversely, a majority undergoing a spine fusion regarding a dehydrated disk resent more pain after the operation!

According to a study carried out at Oregon Health and Science University, half of the patients undergoing a spine fusion used opioids before being operated, and only 9% ceased afterwards. Ironically, 13% used them after the operation while they did not before. Another study showed that hardly half of the patients after surgery reported a decrease of 30% in pain and the third improvement in function. Despite this, spine fusion remains very popular.

If one part of the spine is fused and rigid, the forces applied to the lumbar spine during daily tasks are directed to other segments above or below this part, leading to early degeneration of the other disks and creating some osteoarthritis.

Instead of a spine fusion, it is admitted that an advanced rehabilitation is more appropriate, accompanied by behavioural therapy to reconsider low back movements.


Chiro Adjustment and Disc Bulge

Chiropractic Adjustment and Disc Bulge

Chiropractic adjustments are the treatment of choice to relieve most back pain and disc bulge.

Most people suffer from their back during their life. However, they have little idea of what is happening in their spine and what should be done to get some relief and heal properly. It is even expected that they make mistakes damaging their condition.

Disc and Spine Lesions

It is essential to know that most people have a lesion such as a disc degeneration or osteoarthritis, and nonetheless, they do not resent any pain from it. A study published in 2015 in the American Journal of Neuroradiology has shown that a large majority not complaining from back pain show:

Thirty-three articles reported imaging findings among 3,000 asymptomatic persons. Disk degeneration soared from 37% of 20-year-old individuals to 96% of 80-year-old individuals, and disk bulge from 30% of those 20 to 84% of those 80 years of age. Interestingly, disk protrusion prevalence climbed from 29% of those 20 to 43% of those 80 years of age. An annular fissure was surprisingly at 19% of those 20 years of age than 29% of those 80.

Disc Bulge

Investigations showing spine degeneration are widespread even with people not suffering at any time from their back and are the norm after 65, likely part of normal aging. The medical profession often picks the degenerative process as the explanation of the back pain that is asymptomatic most of the time. MRI and X-Ray are not good indicators of the cause. Between 5 to 10% of them will be diagnosed thanks to the spine imagery, most of the time invisible to them.

Ligament or muscle injuries and nerve irritation by some inflammation are common causes. This leads to muscle spasms and segment dysfunctions, reducing the range of movement and flexibility. As the vicious cycle, the inflammation remains irritating the nerves, so the muscles spasm.

Chiropractic Adjustment Mechanism

Chiropractic adjustments are highly effective and safe for back pain. Their aim is not to put a bone in place to align it. It is more of a rapid mobilisation providing a short stretch, stimulating some receptors, and in response, the spasms release, freeing up the joints, disc and segment. The chemical substances of the inflammation are taken away by an increased flow of blood and less irritate the nerves.

The spine is then more mobile and pain-free.

Orewa Chiropractor

What is Spondylolisthesis?

What is Spondylolisthesis?

It is a name derived from the Greek language: spondylos is a vertebra, and listhesis means slipping.

We call this phenomenon spondylolisthesis when a vertebra slips forward over another vertebra. The lumbar spine is the most common area of location. The complaint is usually pain or ache in the low back, buttocks and sometimes thighs. It may be accompanied by muscular tightness and/or weakness in the glutes and hamstrings. However, young individuals do not report any symptoms in general, or rather some discomfort. X-Rays are the predominant investigation to diagnose its presence. The scale grades it in a range of 1 to 4, according to the slippage measure.

Stress Fracture

Most of the time, it is developed during childhood. However, it can be present at birth (it is said then congenital) or in adulthood after an accident or repetition of movements. The widespread cause of spondylolisthesis is a stress fracture during growth. The recurrence of backward movements like bridges puts a severe load on the parts of the vertebra not strong enough to cope with this charge, and they "crack". The sports often implied are gymnastics, dance, judo and martial arts, rugby, and weightlifting. The stability of the spine is then modified and creates severe tensions around.

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

The degenerative process is another cause of spondylolisthesis. The slippage can be forward, anterolisthesis, or backwards, retrolisthesis. This happens after 40 or 50, primarily due to a genetic history of heavy lifting during working time. The nerves which go through between the vertebrae may be impinged by the narrowing of the canals (holes), and then pain, numbness, weakness are resent in the lower limbs. The walking perimeter is reduced, and to open the canals, the individual feels the need to sit to "open" the canals and relieve the nerves from the pressure.

Treatment of Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis can be "silent", which means that the person does even not know about their condition and does suffer from it. On the opposite, the symptoms can be severe and may demand a surgical operation before significant compression of the nerves. Regarding ache, stiffness and tensions, chiropractic adjustments are recommended but not regarding the slipping vertebra. At Orewa Chiropractic, we have long experience with sports injuries and degenerative spinal conditions and assist the patient in reducing the level of ache/pain and increasing the flexibility of the spine. Visit us.


young male holding his back in pain

Chronic Low Back Pain Case

Chronic Low Back Pain Case

Sue, a 45-year-old lady, came to Orewa Chiropractic referred by a GP to evaluate and manage her complaint of chronic low back pain. She had been suffering for about one year, and the symptoms worsened. She initially slipped and fell on a wet surface at home, landing on her right hip. X-rays were unremarkable.
The pain varied from 4/10 to 9/10 at its worst. She was very active before the accident, but she had very little physical activity. Rising from a chair, putting shoes on and turning over the bed was painful, and cleaning and gardening impossible. Driving or walking for more than 15 minutes was excruciating.

Examination of Chronic Low Back Pain:
The lumbar spine was reversed sitting, but the arch increased standing contrarily. The gait was very short, with little strength around the hips.
Lumbar paraspinal and gluteal muscles were tight and tender with moderate pressure. The range of motion was considerably restricted at the lumbo-pelvis junction.

Management of Chronic Low Back Pain:
We started the course of chiropractic sessions per week, including adjustments and muscular release techniques. After three weeks, Sue was more mobile, dealing better with daily activities, sleeping deeper and walking for 15 minutes with little hindrance. The chiropractor prescribed then specific stabilisation exercises of the lumbar spine and hips. After four weeks, Sue complained of intermittent ache, 4/10 at worst. Most activities were pain-free except gardening. She started more advanced strength, mobility and endurance exercises and still receiving adjustments weekly.

After 12 weeks, Sue returned to her previous life, free of chronic low back pain and enjoying all the physical activities she loved and being much more optimistic about her life. She visited her chiropractor monthly to receive adjustments until the end of the year to settle down the progress.


How To Choose A Mattress?

How to choose your mattress?

We spend two hundred thousand hours in our bed, roughly one-third of our life and the quality of our sleep is essential for our mood, well-being and health.

We turn something like 40 times each night, so we don't sleep in the same single position. Some prefer to sleep on their back and others on their side. As you probably know, it is not recommended to sleep on your stomach as it creates a large amount of strain on your cervical spine.

You may think your bed is too old and time to change it. Bed stores are quite well minded, and they will be happy if you try these tips:

  • Lie on your back and pass your hand under your lower back arch. If there is no problem, the mattress could be too firm. It should provide good firm support but with enough softness so that your musculature can release.
  • Turn on your side and push down the mattress with your elbow. If it's too deep, it may be too soft. You may think it's comfortable, but your back won't like it, especially if you have been suffered from it.
  • Lie in your favourite position and try to feel your muscles between your shoulder blades and pelvis are released.

We should change our bed every ten years, whatever is its purchase cost. It is important to be aware that mattresses made with springs will lose some of their properties sooner than latex ones.

Don't hesitate to ask for more information from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are experts in spine health and will advise the sort of mattress that you need according to your spine needs when they are assessed. It is simple to choose a bed when you have the correct information.


How to Choose a Pillow

How to Choose Your Pillow

We spend one-third of our life sleeping, something like 200,000 hours in our life.

Thousands of New Zealanders could be needlessly suffering from disrupted sleep due to lousy pillow choices at bedtime.

According to the Massey University Sleep-Wake Centre, 37 per cent of New Zealand adults aged 30 to 60 are sleep-deprived.

Several studies have shown that a proper pillow selection can significantly reduce neck pain, upper and lower back discomfort, headaches, shoulder and arm pain, and restlessness.

It would also improve the quality and duration of sleep. Chiropractors at Orewa Chiropractic believe that more education around pillow and bed selection could lead to a better quality of life.

It is essential to choose a pillow that is of material and a shape that suits your sleeping position.

Choose the filling.

Today the choice is vast. There are now pillows on the market made from memory foam (developed by NASA) or natural latex/bamboo, which has been shown very effective for neck pain suffering and improving sleep quality. However, they can be a significant initial investment.

Polyester filling, less expensive than down and memory foam, provides proper support and holds its shape reasonably well. However, it is also the least durable of these materials.

Consider your sleep position.

The way you sleep will affect the height of your pillow; different positions require different types of support.

Back and stomach (not recommended) sleepers may want to choose a flatter pillow that helps keep the natural curvature.

However, if you sleep on your side, a higher pillow, which fills the gap between head and neck, is generally better. We have all different necks, with varying widths of the shoulders. That’s why there isn’t a standard “best of the World” pillow.

The point is to have the cervical spine (neck) aligned with the rest of the body spine, not allowing any head tilt. It doesn’t need anything contouring the neck or with a specific edge; sometimes quite uncomfortable. Orthopaedic or ergonomic isn’t necessarily a reference.

Take special needs into account.

You’ll find plenty of specialty pillows on the market tailored to specific situations. For example, people with allergies might think about a pillow with a cover and filling specifically formulated to keep away dust and mites.

If you snore, consider a pillow-shaped to position your head and neck in a way that will prevent your airway from becoming compressed.

If you are in any doubt, book a visit with one of our chiropractors at Orewa Chiropractic. We will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.


Why Do Knuckles Crack?

What is it that makes that popping sound when you crack your knuckles? A team of researchers led by the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine have confirmed that it is because of vacuum cavities forming in the joint's synovial fluid.

How? By pulling the fingers of a test subject inside an MRI machine.

"We call it the 'pull my finger study' — and pulled on someone's finger and filmed what happens in the MRI," said Professor Greg Kawchuk of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine. "When you do that, you can clearly see what is happening inside the joints."

The idea for the study came from Nanaimo chiropractor Jerome Fryer, who approached Professor Kawchuk with a theory. Rather than beat around the bush, they decided to take a natural look using magnetic resonance imaging.

"Fryer is so gifted at it, it was like having the Wayne Gretzky of knuckle cracking on our team," Professor Kawchuk said.

Fryer's fingers were inserted, one at a time, into a tube attached to a cable; this tube slowly pulled on each finger until the knuckle cracked. And in each instance, it was the bubble formation in the synovial fluid was associated with the popping sound, occurring within 310 milliseconds.

"It's a little bit like forming a vacuum," Professor Kawchuk explained. "As the joint surfaces suddenly separate, there is no more fluid available to fill the increasing joint volume, so a cavity is created, and that event is what's associated with the sound."

"The data fail to support evidence that knuckle cracking leads to degenerative changes in the metacarpal phalangeal joints in old age," the study concludes.


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