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Core Activation and Back Pain

Your core muscles are the most important muscle group in your body. A strong core helps support your spine and promotes good posture. The muscular system relates to both local and global muscle groups. Local muscles, being our core, are the deep stabilizers and global muscles are the larger, superficial muscles that generate movement. Every move you make originates in your core. These muscles are vital to many common movements, such as lifting, twisting, reaching, and bending. Normal, everyday life requires almost constant use of the core muscles.

It is important to strengthen both muscle groups to avoid muscle imbalances. Developing strong abdominal muscles help prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injuries, having proper spinal alignment and better bladder control.

What are the core Muscles:

Five muscles make up your deep core. They are the transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal obliques, pelvic floor and diaphragm. They lie below your abdominals and wrap around your midsection connecting to your spine. The muscles occupy areas in your lower back, hips, glutes, trunk, and stomach and work together to stabilise your lower back.

Your abdominals are the front anchor of your spine. When they are not strong enough the other structures supporting your spine (e.g. your back muscles) will have to work harder. The muscles of the abdomen and lower back combine to hold your spine and pelvis in place.  If these muscles are weak, your body will be unstable, and you won’t be able to sit or stand erectly for more than a short period. Instead you will slouch or slump, which in turn will strain your muscles.

Your core muscles stabilize your entire body. Muscular weakness in any part of the body can be a sign of an inadequate core. The core generates power and stability for most of all body movements e.g. throwing, kicking and punching and also your ability to balance. A weak core will affect virtually everything you do.

Back Pain

Many people suffer from back pain and weak abdominals may be the cause of it. The lower back is one of the most common sources for recurrent pain. When your core isn’t as strong or balanced as it should be, the curvature of your lumbar spine can change. Even the slightest difference can place undue pressure on the vertebrae, discs or articulate facets that make up your spine, as well as the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround it, making you much more prone to injury. If you do not have a more serious back condition, any lower back pain is likely a result of core weakness.

Therefore it is essential for the local muscles to be targeted and trained in order to avoid an imbalance in muscle recruitment. These muscles need to be activated first and taught motor control. It is important to know how to appropriately activate the core muscles before you begin a program to improve strength and stability.

Core Activation

Your deep abdominal muscles (local muscles) work to assist spinal and pelvic control. They run from the front of your abdomen, around your waist and insert via connective tissue into your spine. These deep stability core muscles include the transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and many other deeper muscles.

By developing stronger core muscles, you will be less likely to injure or strain your back muscles.  The challenge for people with a weak deep core is learning to activate those five muscles without using their abdominals. The good news is that you can learn to activate and strengthen your deep core.

When activating the deeper muscles, it should feel like a gentle tension under your fingers. The best way to feel your deeper muscles is by wrapping your thumbs and forefingers around your waist. Your fingers will rest directly above your core abdominal muscles, just inside your pelvic bones. You can do this whilst lying down with knees bent, or sitting on a chair or stability ball.

How to activate your Core Muscles

Good posture is essential for core activation. If your posture is slumped you won’t be able to activate the core abdominal muscles properly. Make sure you sit straight with your chest lifted, spine tall and have a small inward curve in your low back before beginning activation exercises.

Gently draw in your lower abdominal wall towards your spine – it’s a slow and controlled activation. Try to slightly draw in the area where your fingers are resting. Remember this is a very subtle and gentle contraction; it should not be too strong or forceful. Try to breathe normally and start with up to 10 second deep abdominal muscle holds. Progress the duration of your holds as your core control improves with practice.

Try to avoid these common mistakes during core activation training.

  • Slumped posture
  • Over bracing all abdominal muscles
  • Breath holding
  • Doing intense exercises for the core before understanding correct activation
  • Performing intense core exercises with pelvic floor problems

Once you have achieved activation for the deeper muscles correctly, it is safe to start core-strengthening and stabilization exercises. The best place to go is a pilates class to ensure you are working under supervision with instructors who specialise in this area.

Chiro & Sport Med

Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing a pinched nerve, bulging disc, back painneck pain,  headaches or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be searching for pain relief after an accident, experiencing injury or if you suffer from a specific condition like chronic back pain or a spinal condition. Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury and to improve your quality of life, your well-being and your ability to live and active healthy lifestyle.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of the chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med simply call our office on 9817 2005 and one of our friendly staff will organise an appointment for you.


Water for your spine

Water is the source of Life and there is a good reason for it too. The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. The water in our bodies serves a multitude of functions. Its is important to keep ourselves hydrated, our spines in alignment and our vertebrae’s properly cushioned. When we feel thirsty, dehydration has already set into a certain degree. So, everyone should drink regularly throughout the day, before they even feel thirsty. Not drinking enough water can increase your risk of health problems, chronic back pain arthritis, joint problems and degenerative spinal conditions as you get older.

How Dehydration Causes Back Pain

Water not only helps lubricate the joints but insulates the brain, organs and spinal cord. Between the bones, or vertebrae, in your spine lives a disc. These spinal discs act as shock absorbers. They also help to shield your back from the damage of daily use leading to wear and tear. These discs are spongy like a jelly donut. It has a tough but flexible outer layer surrounding a squishy, jelly-like centre. The jelly, officially called the nucleus pulposis, is made up of Water. Every night, our discs nourish themselves as our bodies regenerate in our sleep. When you lie down and rest, your body is best able to initiate the process of rehydrating your spinal discs via osmosis. So we need to keep your discs properly hydrated. Water keeps all of the tissues in the body and spine flexible.

The movement of your spine and gravity causes water to flow through your spine and be reabsorbed by the discs. Your discs are made to lose water and then rehydrate. If not enough water is available for the discs to absorb what they’ve lost, then it can’t function properly. Since most of the jelly inside the discs in your spine is made up of water, it will shrink if not hydrated adequately. When it shrinks it will cause the outer layer to take on more of the stress of absorbing shock and supporting your spine. Eventually, this can cause swelling, pain and even a bulge or rupture in the disc’s outer shell making it very uncomfortable. Dehydration may actually be the cause of your constant back pain.

As you go about your daily activities, each time you move, the spine compresses the disc, squeezing out the water within. Even walking or sitting upright can cause this as gravity causes the spine to compress. When the disc does not have adequate water, the result is pain and lack of mobility as well as increased risk of spinal injury. You need to make sure that you drink enough water every day.

How to Stay Hydrated

Here are a few tips to keep you hydrated:

  • Drink enough water– You should be drinking at least half of your body weight of water per day. If you weigh 90 kilos, drink 3 litres of water each day.
  • Choose water when working out– If your workout is under 60 minutes, water before, during and after exercise is good. If more than 60 minutes or in extreme heat, drink water along with sports drinks that contain sodium and potassium.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables – You don’t just get water through drinking, you also get it through foods. Try to work in at least five cups of vegetables and fruits a day. Who doesn’t like watermelon in the summer?
  • Monitor your urine – You can keep tabs on how hydrated you are through the color of your urine. If it looks dark yellow, orange, cloudy or smells bad (not due to something you’ve eaten) you aren’t drinking enough water. Keep in mind that certain B Complex Vitamins can yellow your urine. Almost light and clear urine means adequately drinking enough water. You should be urinating regularly (more than three to four times per day).

Unfortunately when the body rehydrates itself, the vital organs take precedence and the spine gets what is left over. If there is already a deficiency present, then there is nothing left over to rehydrate the spine. The trick is to drink water throughout the day instead of waiting until you feel thirsty. Maintaining proper hydration will promote a healthier environment for your discs and other spinal structures.

Just remember our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are here to help promote ongoing wellness by improving spinal and joint function often resulting in a healthier, more active lifestyle. With regular adjustments, chiropractic care offers a host of preventative health benefits. It is vital for keeping your body balanced, flexible and functioning at its best. Everyone, from growing children to active seniors, can benefit from regular chiropractic care. We believe in restoring patients to their optimal health and well being in the shortest possible time.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of the chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med simply call our office on 9817 2005 and one of our friendly staff will organise an appointment for you.


What is Glucosamine?

Essentially the most effective supplements for osteoarthritis is a compound called glucosamine. It is an amino sugar manufactured from the shells of chitin (shellfish) and is an essential component of cartilage. Also, it actively works to stimulate joint function and repair. It has been determined efficient at numerous scientific trials for relieving osteoarthritis pain, aiding in the rehabilitation of cartilage, renewing synovial fluid, and repairing joints which have been damaged from osteoarthritis. Each individual generates a specific amount of glucosamine for their body.

As you age, your body lose the ability to make enough glucosamine. Having plenty of it within your body is vital to producing the nutrients necessary to stimulate the production of synovial fluid, the fluid which lubricates your cartilage and keeps your joints healthy. Lacking the necessary amount,  makes the cartilage in your weight-bearing or high-use joints, including the hips, knees, and hands deteriorate. The cartilage then hardens and forms bone spurs, deformed joints, and limits joint movement. This is one way the debilitating disease of osteoarthritis develops.

Is Glucosamine safe?

Data from a highly regarded trial which was publicised in a medical peer review journal – demonstrated that the compound provided prolonged analgesic (pain relief) benefits with adverse reactions just like taking a placebo. Along with showing measurable improvement of joint health on x-ray. Importantly, even though many brands of glucosamine that you can buy have several other additives, there isn’t any proven benefit of these other additives (yet), nor have they demonstrated that they are completely safe since they are typically not the attention of the research. Chondroitin is a typical additive, essentially because it is a precursor to cartilage. You are able to pay considerably more to acquire shark- based glucosamine, but it’s not always that good for the shark population.

How Much Glucosamine Should I Take per Day?

Most studies recommend 1000mg of glucosamine sulphate-potassium chloride complex. Because this is really a dietary supplement, is natural and possesses no negative effects, and is replacing deficiencies in the compound, it really has to be taken continuously.

How Quickly Will Glucosamine Work?

Glucosamine isn’t strictly a pain killer, but due to how it works, many individuals experience decreased pain within 8 weeks. However it’s not a assured result for everyone nevertheless the general success rate is fairly high. An alternative solution would be to take extended courses of anti-inflammatories that often have nasty side effects, become ineffective over time, and do not nourish the joints. Taking the compound in addition to a good quality fish oil seems beneficial because the omega oils assist with cholesterol, and possess an anti- inflammatory effect.

How Long Should I Take Glucosamine For?

Evidence demonstrates that you’ll gain the greatest benefit from taking it over a prolonged length of time (3 years plus). This is a result of the relatively slow regeneration process of cartilage.

Are There Any Side-effects with Taking Glucosamine?

Some individuals experience slight, short-term stomach upsets. Otherwise it appears to be remarkably safe.

Is Glucosamine for Everyone?

Glucosamine must not be taken by individuals with a known allergy to crustaceans, or simply a previous reaction to the compound. It has not been fully tested in kids, pregnant or lactating women so should not be taken by these groups.

Are Brands the Same?

Usually the benefits associated with glucosamine derived from research using “Flordis DONA” Glucosamine. Independent tests indicate that this is a superior brand, works more effectively at reaching the prospective part of your body (and not merely absorbed), plus is tested to exhibit similar pain relieving effects as anti-inflammatories. Considering the strong research supporting it’s excellent quality it is the brand that we recommend. We have the practitioner range here at the clinic and sell them for a similar price to supermarket brands with poor research backing. You may even find it in particular health food stores or via other health practitioners. It’s not sold to shops. If you’re going to take something, take something that works.

Our practitioners are on hand to treat you