Date: 10th December 2013
CHIROPRACTORS OFFER STRATEGY TO STRAIGHTEN OUT SEASONAL STRESS
Members of the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) are providing holiday season tips to reduce seasonal stress and help New Zealanders have a happy, healthy Christmas.
NZCA spokesperson and chiropractor Dr Hayden Thomas says: `At this time of year our member chiropractors see a big increase in people consulting them for what turn out to be stress or tension related physical disorders. Stress is not just a mental or emotional problem but has flow on effects to the entire body through elevated levels of stress hormones.’
Seasonal stress is widely recognised as a clinical condition overseas by institutions such as the Mayo Clinic in the USA and by the NHS in the UK. For many people Christmas is a time of increased stress with arguments over where the children will enjoy the festivities, competing grandparents, new partners and other family tensions, financial worries, time pressures, over indulgence and even summer swim suit body image issues.
According to a new poll of more than 4,000 British adults, more than 40 per cent of divorced or separated Britons find the festive season “very stressful”, and 33 per cent claim they “just want the Christmas season to be over as soon as possible”.
Dr Thomas explains: `Our bodies are intelligently wired to respond to stress through our sympathetic nervous system which detects potential threats and produces a fright, flight, or fight response for increased survival. This fear and protection response is fantastic for short term action, however, long-term chronic stress can cause damage and contribute to numerous health problems as the heart is placed under sustained pressure, blood sugar levels remain elevated for long periods, and resources are directed to the muscles for action at the expense of the immune system, digestive system, reproduction, healing, growth and repair.’
New Zealand chiropractors are helping out by advising on a number of easy and highly effective ways to reduce the stress response in the body and have a happy, healthy holiday season:
1) Get moving. Simplewalking helps unwind the stress response. Do it as a family or with friends each day. Choose Christmas presents for your kids that encourage activity and interaction. Plan some games for Christmas day – it can be as simple as playing hide and seek, tag, or cricket on the beach.
2) Eat fresh fibre first.Add more fresh vegetables and fruits to your diet. Reduce sugar, grains, and other simple refined carbohydrates. Start putting together some healthy recipe ideas for Christmas lunch or dinner. Make a break from the traditional ham and processed treats – think bountiful salads, fresh local fruit and berries, and nuts and seeds to snack on.
3) Always shop full, with a list, and in a relaxed frame of mind. This will help you to avoid grabbing the highly processed sugary, fatty foods and overspending.
4) Non-alcoholic alternatives.A tropical fruit punch or fresh pressed vegetable juice is a perfect choice for summer celebrations. Humble water with a sprig of mint, slice of lemon, or even some strawberries makes a healthy, cheap and refreshing option.
5) Thoughts become things – choose good ones. Start and end every day with gratitude. Be thankful for what you have and who you are. Tell others how important, loved and appreciated they are. Life is a gift – extract every drop of joy out of it that you can.
6) Be mindful. Make your choices based on how things will make you feel afterwards.
7) Sleep. Along with exercise, sleep is one of the most powerful ways your body metabolises and neutralises stress hormones. While socialising over the holidays is great, be sure to have early nights to recharge and rejuvenate.
8) Sit and stand tall, and get adjusted. The NZCA recommends having every member of the family checked by an NZCA chiropractor to ensure the spine and nervous system function at an optimal level. Chiropractic adjustments to areas of spinal stress and nerve interference can help reduce tension and enhance health. Doing the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand every day will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, and prevent spinal disability. It is also important to encourage family members to stand or sit straight and to take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch if they have been sitting down for a while. This will help to stop muscles getting tight and strained. Remember that it is always advisable to have any symptoms that are severe or not improving checked out promptly by your family chiropractor.
For more information on the Straighten Up campaign, visitwww.straightenup.org.nz. Further details on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association can be found atwww.chiropractic.org.nz.
Date: 15th October 2013
CHIROPRACTORS CALL FOR NEW ZEALANDERS TO STRAIGHTEN UP AND MOVE ON WORLD SPINE DAY, OCTOBER 16TH
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) has added its voice to a global campaign to walk a bit further and improve spinal health habits.
NZCA spokesperson and chiropractor Dr Hayden Thomas says: `Activity is a key part of maintaining good spinal health, so we want to encourage New Zealanders to walk just a bit further on October 16th. Each additional step takes you a little bit closer to a healthier spine and a healthier spine is the lynch-pin for overall health and wellbeing. Research is showing us that we are relying too much on pharmaceutical remedies, dangerously reducing the efficacy, for example, of antibiotics, when what many of us need to do is take steps to improve our health and wellbeing.’
Each year World Spine Day is observed to encourage spinal health by disseminating information on good spinal health habits. This year’s theme for World Spine Day is Straighten Up and Move, focusing on the importance of proper posture and movement in maintaining good spinal health.
The NZCA runs the Straighten Up New Zealand online resource www.straightenup.org.nz, which provides information for adults, children and healthcare professionals on ways to keep active and maintain spinal health by using the Just Start Walking and Straighten Up programmes.
Dr Hayden Thomas explains: ‘Spinal health problems were once seen as an affliction of older people; however, it is becoming more and more common amongst children and adolescents. There are a number of reasons for this including increased use of computers, watching television and playing computer games, which have been linked with neck and back pain and headaches. Poorly designed school furniture and inappropriate backpack use, carrying weights of more than 10% of body weight, could also be to blame.
‘The NZCA recommends having every member of the family checked by a family wellness chiropractor because we help the spine and nervous system to function at an optimal level. Doing the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand every day will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, enhance health and prevent spinal disability. It is also important to encourage family members to stand or sit straight and to take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch if they have been sitting down for a while. This will help to stop muscles getting tight and strained.’
Straighten Up New Zealand is a simple, engaging spinal exercise programme, designed to promote spinal health. The Straighten Up campaign was originally developed in the US and is now being adopted by countries all over the world. The NZCA has produced brochures and posters, and developed a website to support the campaign. Remember that is always advisable to have any pain that is severe or not improving checked out promptly by your family chiropractic doctor.
Date: 4th October 2013
Chiropractic Care of Children Safe in New Zealand
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) is concerned that recent media coverage has inaccurately reported allegations about chiropractic care of children in Australia and unnecessarily alarmed some New Zealand patients.
The NZCA wishes reassure New Zealanders that chiropractic care is one of the safest forms of primary health care and to reiterate the points made by its sister organisation, the Chiropractic Association of Australia (CAA) last week.
The CAA has demanded the Australian Sunday Age and the Australian Sun-Herald retract and correct an erroneous claim made in those newspapers on 29th September that an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency found that ‘a Melbourne infant’s neck was broken during a chiropractic adjustment.’
In fact no such finding was made.
In fact no finding of inappropriate treatment by a chiropractor was made.
In fact no finding was made that any treatment performed by the chiropractor caused a fracture as alleged.
The NZCA notes that the National President of the CAA, Dr Laurie Tassell has gone on record as saying: ‘It remains the case that not a single serious adverse event has been recorded in the medical literature (world-wide) involving a qualified chiropractor treating a child since 1992.
NZCA President, Dr Corrian Poelsma adds that: ‘New Zealand chiropractors are some of the best trained in the world. Chiropractic training in this country involves five years tertiary study and qualified chiropractors are taught the appropriate primary care for infants and children.
‘Thousands of younger patients are seen by chiropractors in New Zealand each year with any adverse events being extremely rare. Chiropractic care of babies involves very safe, gentle adjustments; the light techniques used would usually be similar in pressure to that given to test a ripe tomato.’
Date: 23rd July 2013
CHIROPRACTORS CALL FOR KIWIS TO STRAIGHTEN UP BEFORE THEY FLY
New Zealanders taking to the air in search of a temporary break in warmer climes are warned to take extra special care by the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association because of the extra strain on the spine and nervous system caused by the country’s long distance from almost anywhere.
Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: ‘We do see a spike in people visiting us when they get back from a journey overseas. We are a long way from anywhere so the effects are often more pronounced than for other nations. Long periods sitting in cramped positions on planes and in transit lounges, sleeping in different beds and without familiar supportive pillows, reduced hydration and the stress of travel and time zones on the nervous system can all take their toll.
`Turbulence shock and the vibration we experience sitting on long journeys in planes may also cause a change to the structure of the discs between the spinal bones and lead to stiffness and discomfort with increased likelihood of a disc bulge and nerve compression. We remind people to stay well hydrated and move around regularly during the journey. At this time of year when people tend to take international journeys to escape the New Zealand winter it’s important to be in great health so one can enjoy their holidays.’
The Straighten Up New Zealand (SUNZ) website www.straightenup.org.nz has a series of simple exercises taking just three minutes to complete, to help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, enhance health and prevent spinal disability.
Dr Thomas adds: `We’re also asking people to think about their spines before they fly by keeping the weight in their suitcase to a minimum. Don’t be tempted to over fill your suitcase and choose appropriate luggage with wheels or padded and supportive straps. Try our SUNZ exercises to help alleviate muscle tension and joint stiffness during the flight and take care of your spine when lifting your case from the carousel and also loading it into taxis and cars. Keep your back straight, use your core strength, bend from the knees and be sure to use airport trolleys when available. A quick trip to your chiropractor before you fly to help optimise function and prevent any potential injuries is also a great idea.’
The NZCA advises that stretches may help to ease any muscle tension during and after your journey and elevating your legs so that your feet are higher than your knees and regular movement en route should help reduce swelling and incidence of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
Healthy food choices, minimal alcohol consumption and adequate sleep while on holiday also help to keep you feeling and functioning at your optimum.
In flight exercises may also include:
Sit upright with your shoulders relaxed. Tilt your head forwards until your chin rests close to your chest. Take a big breath in hold for the count of 5 then breathe out and relax. Repeat holding head to either side.
Sit upright and gently tuck your chin backwards like you are trying to make a double chin. Hold for 5 five seconds, relax and repeat 3 times.
Sit up straight, relax and keep your head still. Place your hands on the armrests and hunch both shoulders upwards. Hold for 5 seconds, repeat three times.
ARM & HAND STRETCHES
Sit slightly forwards. Raise your arms up straight and interlock your fingers, palms facing downwards. With your fingers interlocked, turn your palms upwards. Try and keep your elbows straight and fell a slight stretch in both arms. Hold the stretch for five to ten seconds and repeat.
TOE & HEEL TAPS
Sit with your back straight with both feet flat on the floor slightly apart. Lift the toes of both feet up as high as you can. Both feet flat on the floor again. Lift heels up high, keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Repeat ten times.
Sit up straight forearms and elbows flat on the arm rests. Lift your right leg up with your knee bent, and then lower it. Repeat this action with your left leg. Alternate legs repeat 20 times.
Date: 15th March 2013
CHIROPRACTIC MAY REDUCE “KLUTZ SYNDROME” SAY NZ RESEARCHERS
Chiropractic care may have a role to play in assisting those who display a poor proprioceptive function say researchers at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic, who are developing a scale to measure what they have dubbed ‘Klutz Syndrome’.
Proprioception is the ability of your brain to sense the relative position of your body parts in space, and the ability to move your body accurately and precisely without having to look at what you are doing. Without accurate proprioception you would not be able to drive a car as you would need to constantly look at what your arms and legs were doing.
According to Dr Heidi Haavik, Director of Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic: ‘When proprioceptive function is impaired, for instance not knowing precisely where your arm is when your eyes are closed, you are more likely to be clumsy and accident prone. We know that chiropractic care assists brain function in many ways, one of which is proprioceptive function and this improves the accuracy of the internal brain map so your brain knows accurately what is going on all the time.
‘We are developing a dysfunctional sensorimotor integration scale, or I suppose you could call it a ‘clumsiness scale’. With this, the higher your reading on the scale, the more likely you may need to be adjusted by a chiropractor.’
Dr Haavik explains: ‘We felt it was fitting to highlight this work during Brain Awareness Week. In the past ten years our researchers at the College and research collaborators aboard have objectively demonstrated that chiropractic adjustments can change aspects of nervous system function including the way the brain controls muscles, responds to sensory stimuli and controls limb function.’
In a review published in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology last year Dr Haavik and Professor Bernadette Murphy from Canada provided an overview of the growing body of research on the effects of spinal manipulation or adjustments on sensory processing, motor output, functional performance and sensorimotor integration. The review looked at studies using somatosensory evoked potentials, transcranial magnetic brain stimulation, and electromyographic techniques to demonstrate neurophysiological changes following chiropractic interventions.
Dr Haavik explains: ‘This work contributes to the understanding of how an initial episode of back or neck pain may lead to ongoing changes in input from the spine which over time can lead to altered sensorimotor integration and poor control of spine and limb muscles. This may exacerbate the problem and cause it to become chronic.’
Brain Awareness Week 11-17 March, is a global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Brain Awareness Week also aims to increase community awareness of the potential for improving the long-term health of the brain through lifestyle changes and risk-reduction strategies.
Date: 10th March 2013
HOT WEATHER BRINGS SLEW OF PATIENTS TO CHIROPRACTORS
The long hot summer has brought a bumper crop of exercise-related injuries according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association.
Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: ‘The lovely summer weather has tempted a lot of people outside and some of them are trying to do more than they should physically, without adequate preparation and we are seeing the results.’
Last year the Accident Compensation Corporation paid out almost $9 million for summer-related injuries, with 30,737 people making claims for injuries they sustained doing what Kiwis do best – enjoying the great outdoors.
Dr Thomas advises New Zealanders to `Work within your limits and gently extend them. If you do have some joint stiffness or tissue tension, then make sure you do some stretches to improve your flexibility and tone before undertaking strenuous activities and beware of high impact exercise. Deconditioned joints and muscles need extra care to slowly increase function and strength. Some people can be at the opposite end of the spectrum where hypermobile joints can be overloaded and cause problems in the surrounding supportive tissues. People need to listen to their body and find a happy medium with a mixture of stretching and strengthening, along with finding the right activity and activity level for their individual condition.
‘Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a sign that your body has reached its limits for the time being. We do see people who have gone that bit too far at this time of year, they might have felt great at the time of activity but their body lets them know they have overdone it and need some time out to recuperate. The key to enjoying the great outdoors is to maintain your joint flexibility and enhance your adaptive capacity – the body’s ability to get fitter and stronger. Seeing a chiropractor will help keep that ability on track and reduce the risk of injury. An optimum functioning spine and nervous system is less likely to get injured’
But the NZCA is keen for New Zealanders to get out and exercise more as the biggest risk for spinal and overall health problems comes from sedentary lifestyle. Dr Thomas says that older people especially benefit from exercise in lots of ways. He refers to a study, which was published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, which showed that astronauts on the International Space Station benefited from good nutrition and exercise with an increase in their bone mineral density.
Dr Thomas says: `This study shows the vital importance of weight-bearing exercise in maintaining bone density. It’s undeniable that bones grow weaker without it and
this study has been hailed as the first significant progress in protecting bone through diet and exercise.’
Dr Thomas points out that: `People may not realise that chiropractic is a key wellness and prevention service. Chiropractors don’t just wait for people to break down but are primarily interested in preventing and correcting the underlying factors which cause ill health. A chiropractor will be able to check that all your spinal joints are moving properly to provide enough input to the brain and also look at other physical, emotional, nutritional and biochemical stressors that may be impacting on your body’s ability to self regulate and heal. Then working in conjunction with other members of the healthcare team your chiropractor will devise a programme that will help to address each of the factors.
 1 Scott M. Smith, et al. “Benefits for bone from resistance exercise and nutrition in long-duration spaceflight: Evidence from biochemistry and densitometry.” Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2012; 27 (9): 1896 DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.1647
Date: 15th February 2013
BRASH V ACCIDENT COMPENSATION CORPORATION  NZACC (1 FEBRUARY 2013)
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association profoundly regrets the injury sustained by a patient following chiropractic treatment recently confirmed on appeal against the ACC in the Auckland District Court.
Dr Corrian Poeslma, chiropractor and President of the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: ‘This case is a rare, extreme and unusual set of circumstances that appears to have combined to an unfortunate outcome. All health care carries some risks. Chiropractic, which is a pharmaceutical medication-free health care practice, is very safe when compared with conventional medicine. The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association is dedicated to improving standards of care through research and investigation. The Association will be reviewing the findings of this case to see whether specific advice and guidance needs to be reissued to practitioners.’
Neck manipulation has been shown to be safe and effective, benefitting thousands of people suffering from neck pain and headaches. In fact, the risk of a stroke after treatment is the same http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204390 whether you see a GP and get a prescription or see a chiropractor and get your neck adjusted.
Manipulation of the neck is at least as effective as other medical treatments and is safer than many of the medications used to treat similar conditions. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17258728
The term chiropractic is often misused for treatment carried out by non-chiropractors. This leads to over- reporting of incidents blamed on chiropractors, including in the BMJ. In one report of 24 cases attributed to chiropractors, not one was shown to be a chiropractor http://chiromt.com/content/14/1/16#B21
Chiropractors are highly trained in spinal care. In one UK study undertaken in 2007, of 50,000 neck treatments not one serious adverse event was reported.
Dr Poeslma points out that: `Chiropractic is a key wellness and prevention service. Chiropractors are primarily interested in preventing and correcting the underlying factors, which cause ill health. A chiropractor will be able to check that all your spinal joints are moving properly and also look at other physical, emotional, nutritional and biochemical stressors that may be impacting on your body’s ability to self regulate and heal. Then working in conjunction with other members of the healthcare team your chiropractor will devise a programme that will help to address each of the factors.’