WARM UP BEFORE TACKLING THOSE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS AND SUMMER DIY PROJECTS ADVISE NEW ZEALAND CHIROPRACTORS
Date: 10th December 2015
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association is recommending Kiwis limber up before undertaking any strenuous activity around the home to prevent injury or worse.
According to Dr. Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association: ‘At this time of year we see an increase in people seeking care for conditions brought on by sudden bursts of new activity after winter deconditioning, which essentially means they are out of shape. Injuries are really common, especially among people who have tried to do too much or attempt new activities without enough preparation. We know from ACC that 12 people die every week and many more are injured in accidents at home. Last year ACC received claims for more than 3000 accidents on Christmas Day and 3,500 injuries on Boxing Day, which together cost nearly $5 million1. We’re hopeful that with a little preparation and some fine tuning of people’s neuromusculoskeletal systems by their family chiropractor, we can reduce those numbers this year.’
Groundbreaking New Zealand research has shown that chiropractic care can help improve muscle strength and control, and assist with balance and coordination which may also help prevent strains, falls and other injuries2,3.
US research shows that more than one quarter (26%) of homeowners who have completed a DIY project reported injuries to themselves or someone else in their household during a home maintenance project, according to a survey by the National Safety Council4.
`We think that figure may be slighter higher in New Zealand,’ says Dr Thomas, `due to our can-do, number eight wire mentality and love of DIY. ‘Over winter many people stop exercising as much. This can result in joint stiffness, loss of muscle strength, muscle memory and control. We want to encourage people to be active, however care should be taken to prepare for any sort of strenuous or new activity, not just sports, to reduce injury risk and to warm up and cool down appropriately. We advise people to develop and maintain a regular varied physical exercise programme, in conjunction with advice from their chiropractor, that is individually tailored to their needs.’
‘Your body needs regular movement to stimulate growth and repair, starting at a cellular level and on up’ says Dr Thomas. ‘Inactivity affects all body systems but the good news is it’s never too late to start moving. Straighten Up New Zealand (www.straightenup.org.nz) is an easy and enjoyable every day programme to improve spinal health and posture. Consisting of a set of simple exercises and taking just three minutes to complete, Straighten Up New Zealand will help improve posture, stabilise core muscle groups, enhance health and prevent spinal disability. Just be sure to work within your limits and build up activity slowly and sensibly to enjoy the holiday season and summer’.
Some Quick Facts:
One in two (50%) who were personally injured taking on a home improvement project got hurt doing basic garden maintenance
Nearly one in four (24%) were put on the injured list while painting the inside of their homes
And nearly one in five (17%) blame routine home maintenance projects for their injuries
For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz.
2 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics March/April 2012, Holt et al The Effects of Manual Therapy on Balance and Falls: A Systematic Review
3 Haavik H, Murphy B. The role of spinal manipulation in addressing disordered sensorimotor integration and altered motor control. J Electromyogr Kinesiol (2012), doi:10.1016/j.jelekin.2012.02.012
SPRING IS THE PERFECT TIME TO “JUST START WALKING” SAY NEW ZEALAND CHIROPRACTORS
Date: 6th October 2015
The longer days and warmer weather are a perfect combination to take up regular exercise and even just walking more has a host of healthy benefits according to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA).
Chiropractor and NZCA spokesperson Dr Hayden Thomas explains: ‘Walking benefits all aspects of your health – from increasing your levels of vitamin D, improving the efficiency of heart and lung function, reducing circulating stress hormones, assisting spinal function, and helping with weight-loss. And it’s something nearly everyone can do to increase their fitness and wellbeing. As part of the Just Start Walking initiative from the World Federation of Chiropractic, a global non-profit organisation, we’re encouraging New Zealanders to think about making more journeys on foot.’
`We know that for every 20 minutes you spend sitting, it takes your spine about 30 minutes of standing or 5 minutes of walking to recover.1,2 Walking regularly will also help improve your immune system, blood and lymph circulation, enhance mood and energy levels, and help maintain good levels of bone density.3 What’s more there’s no gym membership fee to pay, you can do it with friends and you can walk anywhere, at any time.’
The Just Start Walking programme is for everyone but the NZCA recommends getting a spinal check-up with your family chiropractor prior to starting any new exercise regime. An NZCA chiropractor will evaluate your spine for joint dysfunction and analyse your posture for imbalances, two conditions which may predispose you to walking related injuries.
Some Tips on How to Get Started
2. Visit your local NZCA chiropractor for a spinal system check up
Commit to a nine week walking programme
Start slowly – set achievable targets to prevent injury and to motivate you
Find a friend or work colleague to walk with
Wear supportive footwear which is designed for walking
Warm up with gentle stretching exercises at the start and end of your walk
Drink plenty of water and have regular breaks and healthy snacks
Mix it up – walking different routes, at different speeds with different inclines
Log your goals/achievements on the ‘Personal Activity Calendar’
Enjoy your walking!
Just Start Walking is an initiative from the World Federation of Chiropractic, a global non-profit association which was recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a non-governmental organisation in January 1997. For more information and to download Your Personal Activity Calendar go to Just Start Walking New Zealand – NZCA
Dr Thomas points out: ‘Chiropractors specialise in helping people achieve proper movement and spinal function but also recognise the importance of supplying your body with the right ingredients so it can express itself at its optimum. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is an essential part of many body processes and the evidence is that majority of people in our modern world are severely deficient. Just walking outside in nature a little more would go a long way to countering this issue and many other problems of our modern lifestyle and environment.’
1) Restaino RM, Holwerda SW, Credeur DP, Fadel PJ, Padilla J. Impact of prolonged sitting on lower and upper limb micro- and macrovascular dilator function. Experimental Physiology 2015;100(7):829-38.
PAIN MEDICATION USAGE COULD BE CUT BY GETTING A BETTER BED SAY NEW ZEALAND CHIROPRACTORS
Date: 6th August 2015
New Zealanders could reduce their use of pain relief medication by purchasing a new bed and taking better care of their spinal health, the country’s chiropractors advised today.
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) says mounting research from around the world, including New Zealand, shows that poor quality sleep and spinal issues can lead to chronic pain and other conditions.
Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the NZCA explains: `Not only can a bad bed worsen your spinal health, the poor quality sleep you get from lying on a bad bed makes you feel any existing pain much more intensely. What can happen is that people rely more and more on painkillers instead of addressing their spine. One of the things a chiropractor will do when a patient presents with chronic pain is look at what is happening with the spine and discuss sleeping habits and conditions.’
A report on Sleep and Chronic Pain just published by the American Academy of Pain Medicine shows that sleep deprivation increases pain perception, saying ‘These findings highlight the importance of addressing sleep disturbance in patients presenting with pain symptoms.’
Dr Thomas points out: `With new research highlighting more risks associated with the increased use of opioids for pain, chiropractic associations around the world are urging patients and healthcare providers to consider first exhausting conservative forms of management such as chiropractic care and improved sleeping conditions.’
According to a recent report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons the increased use of opioid painkillers has led to unanticipated consequences such as a developed tolerance amongst some patients to the drugs and poor treatment outcomes for conditions such as work-related neuromusculoskeletal disorders, joint replacements and spinal surgery.
Dr Thomas notes: `These drugs numb the pain and may convince a patient that a neuromusculoskeletal condition is less severe than it is, or that it has healed. So instead of seeking advice on the causes of their condition from their healthcare professional, they may over-exert the affected region and delay the healing process or even cause more extensive or permanent injury.’
‘We should start by looking at all the other options first. Can we improve the patients’ sleep? New British research shows that more than half of us (55%) wait until our bed loses all firmness before changing it, more than one in ten (11%) adults have never replaced their mattress at all, and 16 per cent wait until they experience aches and pains before doing so. A visit to your local chiropractor for care and advice is the first step towards getting a good night’s sleep, conservatively managing pain and improving spinal function.’
Health care quality organisations now recognise the value of a conservative approach. Earlier this year, the US Joint Commission, which certifies more than 20,000 health care organisations and programmes in the United States including every major hospital, revised its pain management standard to include chiropractic care and acupuncture. Clinical experts in pain management who provide input to the Commission’s standards affirmed that treatment strategies might consider both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches.
 T.R Deer et al. (eds), Treatment of Chronic Pain by Integrative Approaches: the AMERICAN ACADEMY of PAIN MEDICINE Textbook on Patient Management, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4939-1821-8_16
GROWING PAINS MAY MASK SERIOUS CONDITIONS, WARN NZ CHIROPRACTORS
Date: 10th February 2015
The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association warns parents to be cautious about dismissing their children’s complaints as ‘growing pains’ and just a rite of passage, pointing out that the symptoms may indicate more serious conditions.
NZCA spokesman and chiropractor Dr Hayden Thomas says: `We should be really clear about this, kids should not have pain. It so often gets brushed off as just ‘growing pains’ but we recognise that pain can be a sign of a real developmental or functional problem, and in some rare occasions a more serious disease process – a clear signal that all is not well.’
The NZCA warning follows reports in the UK media about a young woman diagnosed in her teens with growing pains who actually had an unusual early form of cervical cancer. It is also timely with the back-to-school burden that heavy backpacks and long periods of sitting can place on the developing spine and body. Parents of children under regular chiropractic care report a reduction in ‘growing pains’ and improvement in function after chiropractic adjustments.1,2
Dr Thomas says: `Parents should consider taking their child to an NZCA member chiropractor for a check up to see if something is functionally or structurally amiss. Your chiropractor will adapt their techniques to suit the age and condition of the patient and may advise on other factors that can contribute to childhood pains such as hydration, proper muscular and skeletal development and nutritional deficiencies or stresses.’
Chiropractors are primary care providers who are trained to recognise other disease processes and will refer to the most appropriate healthcare provider if they suspect something more serious may be occurring.
Growing pains are cramping, achy muscle leg pains that may start as early as age three or four and may reoccur aged 8-12. They often occur in the late afternoon or evenings and may cause children to wake up in the night. They are probably not linked to growth spurts and appear to be more common after intensive physical activity or sports. They can be experienced for months or even years but eventually subside.
Dr Thomas says: ‘While it is unknown why growing pains occur, just because it may be common does not mean it is normal. Studies suggest that children who have growing pains may be more sensitive to pain, and more likely to have headaches and abdominal pain. Chiropractic care, along with home based interventions such as massaging the legs, stretching the leg muscles and placing a warm cloth or heating pad on the legs have all been shown to help.1,2,3
`We know that good posture is a key part of maintaining good spinal health, so we want to encourage New Zealanders to visit their chiropractor and make sure that everything is aligned and moving the way it should be. Your family chiropractor will be able to advise you on ways to improve your posture and ensure you have a healthier spine and a healthier spine is an important part of improved overall health and wellbeing.’
Dr Hayden Thomas explains: ‘The NZCA recommends having every member of the family checked by an NZCA chiropractor because regular chiropractic care can help the spine and nervous system to function at an optimal level, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. Doing the three-minute set of simple exercises recommended by Straighten Up New Zealand (SUNZ) 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 correctly 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, joints from becoming restricted and nerves from becoming compressed, irritated or fatigued.’
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 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 chiropractor.
For more information on the Straighten Up campaign, visit www.straightenup.org.nz. Further details on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association can be found at www.chiropractic.org.nz.