Lumbar supports are a great idea for the office, car or airplane for that time when you know you will be sitting for an extended period. The good thing about lumbar supports is that you can use something simple – an inflatable lumbar cushion, a small pillow or even a rolled up jacket or towel.
The best position to place the support in is not the same for each individual, as it varies due to the curvature of your spine.The aim is to lengthen the muscles/tissues of the lumbar spine and try to feel that your spine is in a neutral position. Placing it directly onto your lower back may cause too much extension through the lumbar spine, so therefore start off by trying these 2 places:
At the bottom of your rib cage
Place it just below the belt line
Play around with the position of the support and vary it throughout the day. Also don’t forget to try it on the lounge at home for when you are watching television or reading!
When we think about it, we do sit a lot. From watching TV, driving to work, to using the computer in the workplace and then using our computer at home – we sit for a very long time each day. It is estimated we sit for around 10-15 hours per day.
So, just how bad is all this sitting? It has often been termed that ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. Dr James Levine from the Mayo clinic in the USA suggests that there are over 34 chronic diseases that are associated with excess sitting. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
What happens to our body during prolonged sitting? Our metabolism slows due to our cells not needing as much energy, our blood sugar levels and blood pressure both increase. When we are not moving, our muscles are not contracting. When muscles contract, it forces the sugar in our blood to be forced into the muscles to provide a fuel source for contraction. This is the reason type II diabetes occurs – our muscles are not using up the sugar in our blood stream.
How to minimise our seating:
Keep moving at work:
Get up and move for 10 minutes of every hour
Stretch your back and legs often
Walk over to your colleagues instead of emailing or calling
Use the stairs
Use a standing desk
Conduct walking meetings
Reduce the number of hours we watch TV, use tablets/laptops!
Making frequent posture changes is very important. Prolonged sitting does encourage more rounded shoulders, an increase in thoracic kyphosis (ie, hunchback) and a forward head carriage posture (head positioned in front of the shoulders). Breaks as short as 1 minute can even help with posture, you just need to change your static position!
A quick postural exercise:
Brugger’s postural exercise – Start by sitting on the edge of your chair with your arms hanging by your side, palms facing forward. Now rolls your thumbs out and back. As you do this, try and get your shoulder blades to touch each other in the middle of your spine. Add in a chin tuck, by tucking the chin straight back.
Hold this position for roughly 10 seconds and perform 2-3 times. You can perform this exercise as many times as you want throughout the day. Also don’t forget to include this into your routine of getting up out of the chair and moving!
At Mona Vale Chiropractic Centre, we treat more than just the spine. We see and treat daily things like ankles, knees, hips, shoulder and muscle/ligament injuries.
Hamstring strains are a very common injury we see in the clinic. There are many mechanisms as to how they occur, the most common being running, jumping and sports such as rugby, tennis and soccer.
The hamstring consists of three muscles located at the back of the thigh. Its function is to extend the hip and to bend the knee.
Muscle overload is the main cause of a strain. This happens when the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity. There are several risk factors for hamstring strains:
• Previous hamstring strain
• Muscle imbalance (Quadriceps / hamstring ratio)
• Poor conditioning
• Muscle fatigue
Management and treatment of hamstring strains varies depending on the type of strain. A type 1 strain can take 1-4 weeks to heal, while a grade 3 tear (complete tear of the muscle) can take up to 6 months to heal.
Symptoms include a sharp & intense pain at the back of the thigh, some initial swelling, possible bruising/discolouration, weakness (especially with stairs/running) and stiffness.
Initial management should follow the RICE protocol – Rest, Ice, Compression and elevation. Following, chiropractic treatment can commence which will involve stretching and strengthening of the hamstring and surrounding muscles. Specific chiropractic adjustments are also used on the lower back and pelvis. Adjustments to this area can improve the biomechanics of running/walking and also ensure that correct muscle recruitment occurs. A rehabilitation program based on best available evidence will also be provided to ensure optimum strength and flexibility is obtained allowing for a return to play.
At Mona Vale Chiropractic Centre, we use a variety of treatment options – Adjustments, myofascial release, acupuncture / dry needling, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM), ultrasound, kinesiotaping and Scenar.
On a recent visit to the Sydney Dog Show, Neil caught up with Dr Harry Cooper – TV veterinarian and fellow animal chiropractor. Dr Harry talked about the fantastic improvement chiropractic care can give dogs and how it can improve their quality of life. It can allow them to become more active, helping them when they first get up in the morning with stiffness or even before/after exercise. (Just like me!)
Both Harry and Neil agreed as to how rewarding adjusting dogs is and how quickly you can see the results!
Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation is another form of treatment we use at Mona Vale Chiropractic Centre. It is a treatment involving using a stainless steel tool, such as the Edge Mobility Tool:
The tool allows for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injuries (Muscle, ligament, tendons and fascia). The tool effectively breaks down scar tissue and adhesion’s within the soft tissues. The tool causes a micro-trauma to the tissues, resulting in a local inflammatory response. This in turn results in an increased vascular response leading to a remodeling of the collagen fibre matrix and a reduction in scar tissue.
Studies have shown an increase in range of motion, strength and a decrease in pain following IASTM treatment. (Melham, 1997)
IASTM is very effective for:
Neck and back pain
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylalgia)
Shoulder pain / Rotator cuff injuries
References: Melham, TJ, Sevier, TL, Malnofski,fckLRMJ, Wilson, JK, and Helfst, RH, Chronic ankle pain and fibrosis successfully treated with a new non-invasive augmented soft tissue mobilization (ASTM): A case report.fckLRMed Sci Sports Exerc.fckLR1997;fckLR30:801-804