Adjust your morning routine with chiropractic wake-up tips to prevent back, joint and muscle pain. 

It’s cold. It’s dark. The only way you can bring yourself to leave the warmth and comfort of the doona is to crawl or roll out of bed. Familiar? For many of us, winter means favouring ‘comfy’ over ‘healthy’. But often what feels good isn’t good for us. For instance, many feelgood morning wake-up practices can place undue stress on the spine. Whether you suffer from back pain or wish to prevent it, now is the perfect opportunity to implement spine-friendly morning (or, er, midday) habits.

Why wake-up technique matters

While you’re lying in bed, your muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones completely relax. It makes sense, then, that they need to be gently eased back into full operation rather than being ‘shocked’ or ‘jolted’ into fast-paced, coordinated movement.  

Common wake-up mistakes

Mistake: Lying in bed until the last minute or setting your alarm for as late as possible encourage practices that can jolt your body (especially your back). One such behaviour is ‘throwing’ or ‘jumping’ your legs to the floor, which can come as a shock to your spine, forcing it to twist sharply and suddenly. 

Fix it: When you’re ready to get up, first roll onto your side so you’re facing the side of the bed. Raise your knees with your feet still on the bed. Then use your hands to lift your upper body while sliding your feet towards the ground to reach a sitting position. Try to turn your whole body in a smooth, coordinated movement to keep the spine vertical and avoid twisting. 

Mistake: Many of us automatically bend over the bathroom basin, especially when cleaning our teeth. This forces your unprepared back to bear the load of your upper body. 

Fix it: Place your hands on the vanity, bench or wall to support your weight. When cleaning your teeth or grooming, try to remain upright. 

Mistake: If you’re used to getting ready in a mad rush, you may have adopted time-saving habits such as bending at the hips to put on shoes and/or socks (worse if you tend to overbalance and ‘hop’ around). 

Fix it: When putting on shoes and/or socks, consider placing each foot on a chair to reduce the distance you need to reach and help to support your body weight -- relieving pressure on your back. Alternatively, sit down to put on shoes and socks. It may take a few extra seconds, but your body will thank you. 

If you’re experiencing back pain or other pain or stiffness upon rising or throughout the day, consider consulting a chiropractor for a thorough assessment, appropriate manual treatments and recommendations for lifestyle modifications to prevent further pain and adverse spinal adaptations.

With Christmas pressure off and fewer demands on your time, it's easy for one Netflix episode to turn into days. Good news for you. Bad news for your neck and back. Before you settle in on the couch (or in bed), backpain-proof your TV binge with our chiropractors' posture tips. 

Remote control or tablet in one hand. Body awkwardly balanced on the other elbow. Relate? While getting lost in a series for days on end can be a great way to unwind and relax, there are a few hazards of kicking back on the couch (or in bed). For one, many ‘comfortable’ viewing positions force misalignment, which can not only cause pain and discomfort in the back, neck, hips and shoulders, but may, over time, affect posture and movement in daily life. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to guard against the adverse effects of couch time.

  1. Choose the chair. Ideally you’d sit on a chair with structure that encourages upright sitting, but even if your preferred cushioned lounge furniture allows you to slump and fold over, pretend you’re sitting on a kitchen or dining chair. To mimic this structure (your back should connect with the back of an upright chair), place a rolled towel in the space between your back and the chair or sofa back. This will help to support your lower back.
  2. Take posture breaks. If you are settling in for a few hours, set an alarm for hourly intervals and switch to a different seat for half an hour. Try to choose a dining, kitchen or desk chair that encourages upright sitting and allows your feet to rest on the floor. (It’s tempting to cross your legs, but resist.)
  3. Line up. Your go-to position may be resting on one elbow and twisting at the hips, or lying back with your head turned 90 degrees to see the screen, but try to think of your body - from your head to your toes - as a straight line. The best positions are those that cause the least misalignment.
  4. Level the score. Try to position the television or laptop directly in front of you, at a height that allows your chin to remain level, neither pointed upwards or downwards.  A wall-mounted screen that is too high or requires you to twist your body can set you up for back and neck pain.
  5. Stretch yourself. Schedule regular breaks to perform basic stretches. Work down from your neck to your shoulders and arms, midsection (factor in some side reaches and even a basic back stretch). Don’t forget your legs (try lunges and calf raises). While you’re sitting, consider intermittently flexing your toes and performing simple ankle rolls in both directions.  This concerted movement will help to prevent stiffness. Consider scheduling these with your chair breaks (as above).

If you are suffering back or neck pain or discomfort or would like to establish lifestyle habits that promote wellness and prevent spine and posture issues, consider consulting a chiropractor, who can recommend personalised changes for optimal overall health and wellbeing.

The holiday break is the perfect time to catch up on missed sleep. It’s also a great opportunity to fix common sleep position mistakes (hello, 10am lie-ins). Make your nap back-friendly with our chiropractors’ tips. 

Who thinks about their sleep position? For many of us, how we lie is an afterthought. But considering we spend around a third of our lives lying down, it makes sense that sleep posture can impact spinal health. Fixing common sleep position mistakes may potentially prevent the effects of an unsupported or misaligned spine (think neck or back pain). Our chiropractors have compiled simple DIY tweaks to try during your holiday sleep-ins. As a bonus, a better sleep position may even help to increase sleep quality, with untold benefits for your health and wellbeing.

Adjust your sleep position

Check your bedding

If you are suffering back or neck pain or discomfort, changing your sleep position and adapting daily lifestyle habits may help. However, with anything spine-related, it's important to seek assessment and any required treatment from a chiropractor, who can provide personalised recommendations for habits including sleep position, exercise technique and sitting and standing posture. 

If the announcement of permitted return to sports training and gym had you googling ‘fast fitness gains’, ‘fitness hacks’ or ‘performance enhancement’, guess what? You and so many other fitness enthusiasts and athletes! The likely condition losses and performance declines due to limited training are a bitter pill to swallow. So what did you come up with? Hissing while you lift? Casein shakes before bed or carefully-timed carbohydrates? A progressive overload equation that would make Einstein squirm? What about chiro?  

There are many effective tricks to naturally enhance fitness results and performance. Nutrition is one. Training protocols are another. But the power of both will be limited if you don’t optimise your personal biomechanics and range of motion, minimise recovery time and get your nervous system working in your favour. Did we mention chiro? Here are a few ways chiropractic can help with fitness progress and performance.  

1. Chiropractic care can facilitate optimal range of motion. In a nutshell, facilitating alignment of the spine enables joints to work more effectively and efficiently. 
2. Chiro may help to improve muscular function by reducing muscle inhibition (in real terms, read: greater force and strength).  
3. Adjustments may contribute to a reduction in recovery time after training or competition (cue more training sessions).  

There are many more direct and indirect advantages to using chiropractic in your fitness program. If you’re serious about enhancing your fitness or sports performance, ask us about the Soaring Health Method, developed by our world-class sports chiros for elite athletes and successfully used with elite sports teams from netball to lacrosse and AFL and rugby. Curious? 😏#keepsoaring 

From preparing the body for a hassle-free pregnancy and minimising the risk of post-partum complications to facilitating recovery during #breastfeeding and fast-tracking a new mum’s return to a ‘pre-baby body’ and regular exercise routine.  

Here are the most common reasons #postpartum women present to soaringhealth for: 

Many people perform sit-ups in an attempt to strengthen the core and, in turn, strengthen and support the lower back. After all, it sounds logical.  

But contrary to popular belief, sit-ups may exacerbate or worsen lower back pain by placing undue stress on the lower back as they pull you into a seated position from the waist. It’s asking the lower back to do something it wasn’t designed for. 

What to do instead?  
 

Partial crunches. Unlike standard sit-ups, partial crunches can help to strengthen the core and back.  

How to do it?  

 Lie with knees bent and feet flat on the floor or mat. Place your hands behind your neck or cross your arms over your chest (avoid using your arms to pull your neck or head off the floor). Tighten stomach muscles and raise your shoulders off the floor, breathing out as you ascend. Hold for a second before slowly lowering all the way. Repeat 8 to 12 times. To prevent placing undue stress on your low back, keep your feet, tailbone, and lower back in contact with the mat throughout. 

If you are experiencing persistent or worsening low back pain, consult a musculoskeletal healthcare professional before performing any exercise! #keepsoaring . 

Could that sudden stiffness, swelling or pain be the big A? In fact, around two thirds of sufferers are aged between 15 and 60. Yet the perception of arthritis as an ‘old people’s condition’ means that symptoms such as joint pain and/or stiffness are often dismissed as results of being deskbound, over-training or other lifestyle factors.

Care factor? Left unchecked, this group of conditions (there are many forms) can cause lasting damage to affected joints. A telltale indicator of arthritis is that pain, swelling and stiffness tend to emerge without a clear trigger or cause. To mark World Arthritis Day, we encourage anyone with these persistent, unexplained symptoms to consider consulting a physiotherapist or chiropractor for assessment.

Arthritis signs (experienced for more than a few days):

-Joint pain
-Diminished movement or stiffness of a joint
-’Catching’ of the joint
-Joint swelling
-Warmth and redness in the joint
-Fatigue

Arthritis interventions (good news):

Tests such as X-rays may be used as part of the diagnostic process. If you do have one or more types of arthritis (e.g. osteoarthritis), a personalised treatment plan may include a combination of hands-on techniques, in-room or gym-based and at-home exercises, therapies such as hydrotherapy and even consultation with a dietitian to learn which foods and nutrients aid joint health and minimise inflammation. Arthritis can be managed!

If you have a question about joint pain or dysfunction, our musculoskeletal experts would love to answer! Just leave us a comment and watch out for your post! #keepsoaring

Are your joints and muscles ready? Many factors that are commonly overlooked, from not appropriately treating painful joints to under-hydrating and failing to stretch, can cause pain and movement limitations that disrupt or even halt your pre-summer fitness regimen. To get the most from your workouts and training, incorporate these tips from our chiro Dr John.  

1. Apply an ice/heat protocol.

The transition from winter to spring can affect sensitive joints or even cause joint aches and pains that mimic chronic inflammation such as that experienced with osteoarthritis. If your joints become painful, swollen or red, try applying ice. If the joints are achy or you experience stiffness in the morning, try applying a heat pad or have a warm shower in the morning to enhance blood flow to the muscles and spine.  

2. Stay hydrated.

To promote spine health and avoid build-up of lactic acids in muscles, it’s important to stay adequately hydrated. As well as regularly drinking water during the day, consume extra H20 during and after exercise to accommodate the water you’ll lose through perspiration. Avoid or limit caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics and undermine hydration. 

3. Stretch and move.

Stretching can help to facilitate delivery of oxygenated blood to your spine and muscles, assisting with function/movement. Regular movement through exercise or sports activities is also a great way to maintain musculoskeletal health, with the fringe benefit of supporting both heart and mental health. For moderate or vigorous exercise, make sure you build up slowly as factors such as strength and endurance improve to minimise the risk of pain, injury and musculoskeletal conditions.  

Setting out on a spring fitness kick and need advice for how to stage your progress or minimise injury risk? The chiros in our sports and wellness divisions would love to help. Just ask in comments! 😊#keepsoaring  

If your chiropractor pulls out one of these, should you run? It looks scary and sort of sci-fi, but the ‘activator adjusting instrument’ is a common tool used by chiropractors to target specific points quickly and with low force.  

By delivering force lightly and quickly, the spring-loaded instrument may bypass or minimise muscles’ reactive tensing or resistance. It may also be preferred for clients for whom manual adjustment is contraindicated. 

If you are ever anxious or unsure about any part of your chiropractic treatment or techniques or feel you need more information, always raise your concerns with your practitioner. 

Have a question about chiropractic? Visit our Chiropractic Page: https://soaringhealth.com.au/wellness/chiropractic/ 😊#keepsoaring 

A chiropractor can’t possibly help with that oppressive, constricting, crippling stress you’re feeling. Surely? Actually, maybe they can! 

While it’s true that they can’t wave a magic wand and relieve you of life’s stressors or stop you from worrying, a chiro may be able to help mitigate the effects of stress on your body and mind.  

How? By using their intricate knowledge of both the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and administering techniques to restore balance and optimise the body and brain’s communication pathways. For instance, the physiological effects of stress may have created a cascade of unhelpful changes and built-up tensions that present not only as physical constriction but lead to lack of focus, headaches and even digestive issues. Even these knock-on symptoms may be eased by corrections that restore proper alignment, unblock the central nervous system and enable the body to relax.  

Here are 3 ways a chiro may be able to help you to restore calmness and balance and swap your ‘agh’ for ‘ahhh’.  

Link: https://soaringhealth.com.au/wellness/chiropractic/  
#keepsoaring  

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We honour the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay our respects to all Elders, past and present.
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