Author: Priscilla Wan
Have you been feeling stressed lately? Do you experience anxiety and stress frequently? Maybe you should try yoga.
Yoga can help with posture and stretching of the muscles. By fixing your posture, it can help reduce chronic pain you may be experiencing.
What are the benefits of doing yoga?
Lots of activation of different muscle groups are required in order to hold a pose and this can strengthen them. Yoga is also a stress reliever and sometimes when you are stressed, your body tenses up and back pain can occur. By relieving stress, you can reduce the chances of back pain because you are no longer put much stress and tension on these muscles and strengthening the back muscles makes them stronger and able to support your spine.
Every individual is able to try out yoga as it can help improve flexibility and the poses can be easily followed. However, pregnant women should take caution when trying out certain yoga poses as it can be dangerous for the baby. You can also try out yoga poses at home after a 9-5 shift at work so commitment is not something you need to be worried about.
Many of us do not exceed the minimal intake of nutrients we need daily. Some of us consume too much sugar and fats that our bodies actually require and that can lead to health problems. Many individuals tend to lean towards dieting in order to lose weight and some individuals continue to stay on their current diet and exercise at the gym instead. Both of these situations may cause harm to your body even if you do not notice the changes. We always hear people telling us to eat healthy or go on a healthy diet but what does it consist of?
Firstly, there is the Food guide we can refer to. Taking the recommended servings in each age group and food group is a great start to help your body get what it needs for energy.
If you are not confident about the servings you are consuming daily, then why not learn to cook healthy meals at home? This way, it is easier to measure how many servings of each food group you are consuming and you tend to know more about the ingredients you are using while making a home-cooked meal. Cooking a meal at home also lets you head out to the grocery store and know the products you are buying and consuming. Some food products can be local while some are not. Some restaurants do not indicate where their source of food is coming from but some grocery stores indicate whether their source of food coming is locally or not.
Some individuals like to go on a diet to help lose weight and become healthier but they also avoid carbohydrates. However, carbohydrates are good for your diet and some are healthier than others. There are 3 types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fiber. Sugar has the highest glycemic index compared to all three carbohydrates, meaning it has the potential to raise your blood sugar level the easiest.
How can we incorporate carbohydrates into our healthy diet?
Our body uses glucose for energy and we get glucose from carbohydrates. This is why it is important to consume carbohydrates in our diet and not eliminate them in order to lose weight. We need to know which carbohydrates are healthy and good for us and which ones that are bad for us. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables are good for us. This is because there are not added sugar in these produce. When trying to take in starch, choose whole grains or legumes since they have a lower glycemic index and contain nutrients that your body requires such as B vitamins and fiber. Sugar is still important for your body to function but it only requires a small amount so limiting your sugar intake would be beneficial.
Scoliosis is a condition where the curve in your spine is abnormal. Normally, your spine has a natural “S” shape but individuals with scoliosis tend to have their spine curved sideways. From the posterior view, individuals with scoliosis will not have a straight spine but a slight C curve. Most cases of scoliosis are mild however some cases can be severe which can lead to health problems. The causes of scoliosis is still unknown but can be hereditary.
Who is at risk?
There are many factors that may contribute to scoliosis:
- Age: During puberty, signs and symptoms are most commonly diagnosed
- Sex: Girls tend to be at a higher risk than boys to develop scoliosis
- Genetics: As this condition is hereditary, individuals who have family members who suffer from scoliosis may have a higher risk of developing it
If you have a mild case of scoliosis, there should not be a high risk of complications. However, some complications may occur for this condition, such as lung and heart damage, and back problems. Surgery may be recommended if you suffer from severe scoliosis. Other non-surgical treatments include wearing a brace or just observations from a doctor for mild cases of scoliosis.
Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may not seem that obvious. One sign to look for is usually uneven hips or shoulder blades. It is always best to consult with a doctor to prevent a mild case of scoliosis into a more severe case!
Located at the back of your lower leg close to the heel lies the Achilles tendon. This tendon attaches the muscles at the calves to the heel bone for movement. At times, the tendon could become inflamed due to increased intensity of running or walking. When the Achilles tendon is inflamed, this condition is called Achilles tendinitis. This is most commonly found in runners or athletes. In most cases, non-surgical treatments are sufficient enough for Achilles tendinitis to be treated. If left untreated, your Achilles tendon maybe remain inflamed and it can lead to a tear in the tendon which may require surgical repair.
How can you tell if you are experiencing Achilles Tendinitis? Some symptoms may include:
- swelling at the back of your heel
- tight calf muscles
- mild ache, stiffness, and limited motion around the heel
As mentioned, Achilles tendinitis usually does not require surgery. Letting your Achilles tendon rest is important and taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation on that area. Wearing a brace to help relieve stress on the tendon can help with the treatment. The RICE method can be applied.
Everyone has heard of no slouching or have a good posture but what are the benefits of maintaining good posture?
Proper posture is when your body is aligned in a position where there is the least amount of stress on your ligaments, tendons, and muscles. There are three types of good posture: sitting, standing, and lying down.
Proper sitting posture consist of a straight back with your buttocks touching the back of the chair. The feet should be parallel and touching the ground with your knees bent at a right angle.
Good standing posture is when your ears, shoulders, hips, knee, and your ankle are lined up straight in a vertical line.
A healthy lying position is keeping the cervical spine in a neutral position.
What are the benefits of having good posture?
- Back and neck pain are reduced
- prevents muscle aches
- your muscles are able to work more efficiently due to reduced muscle strain
- decreases risk of arthritis
- vital organs are in proper position due to proper alignment of ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- protects spinal joints from injury
- helps with proper breathing which is important for your cardiopulmonary system for effective organ function
- provides a tall and slim appearance
What are the risks of poor posture?
- increased risk of experiencing back and neck pain
- abnormal muscle strain results in inefficient muscle movement
- problems with breathing and digestion may occur
- muscle tightness
- increased stress on the spine can result in subluxations
If you are experiencing muscle tightness or back pain, one important aspect to fix those problems could be your posture! Maintaining good posture can do wonders for your body and if you are constantly sitting down due to your job then try out these office stretches to help prevent muscle aches caused by prolonged periods of sitting.
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve which runs along from the lumbar vertebrae down to the leg is compressed. There are many reasons why sciatica occurs. It most commonly occurs due to a herniated disk or bone spur on the spine compressing onto the sciatic nerve. In most cases, the pain associated with sciatica can be fixed with non-surgical treatments.
Here are some exercises and stretches you can try to relieve sciatica pain:
- Reclining pigeon pose: This pose helps with opening up your hips by first laying down on your back then bring your right leg to a right angle. Bring the left leg up and rest your right ankle on the left knee and hold. This helps stretches out the piriformis muscle.
- Sitting pigeon pose: This pose is similar to the reclining pigeon pose but the starting position is sitting upright.
- Forward pigeon pose: This pose begins with kneeling on all four and then bringing the right ankle over the left knee, similar to the reclining pigeon pose.
- Knee to opposite shoulder: Starting in the supine position, bring one of your knee up to the opposite shoulder.
- Sitting spinal stretch: Sitting down with your legs straighten out then have your right leg, bent, and cross over the left leg lining up with the left knee. After, gently turn your body towards the right.
- Standing hamstring stretch: Have your right leg elevated near the hip level and slowly bend down to reach your toes.
These stretches can help reduce or relieve pain associated from sciatica and are convenient to do at home!
Do you sit in the office for 8 hours everyday? Overtime, sitting down for prolong periods of time may result in higher risks of heart and musculoskeletal problems. Take a moment and try these quick stretches and exercises that is perfect in the office work environment.
1.Walk around the neighborhood during your lunch break: If you’re starting in a new office, it is a good time to walk around the area to enjoy the sun and nearby parks. Letting your body walk around after hours of sitting down can help stretch and activate the muscle fibers.
2. Neck and Upper back stretches: Looking down or at the computer screen for long periods of time can put a lot of stress on your neck so trying out these few stretches for the neck and upper back can regain your focus.
3. Cat and Cow pose: This stretch helps with flexion and extension of the back muscles and spine by arching the back in and outwards while on your knees.
4. Stretch the legs: Standing up and bending to reach down to your toes can help with flexibility and stretching of the hamstrings.
5. Stretching the arms: This is a simple stretch that you can do while sitting in your chair at the office. All you have to do is raise your arms up, lock your fingers and pull up.
6. Stretching the hand and fingers: Squeezing a stress ball that help stretch out your fingers and activate the forearm muscles.
It only requires a few minutes to do these stretches at work so if you need to take a break, try and incorporate these into your day at the office!
Medial epicondylitis, also known as Golfer’s elbow, is a condition where the tendons on the inner part of the elbow are inflamed or injured. The tendons on this side are attached to the muscles that help bend the wrist and fingers. Inflammation of the tendon on the outer portion of the elbow is called Lateral epicondylitis or Tennis elbow. An individual with this condition will have pain or difficulty extending the fingers or bending the wrist backwards. Although they are commonly known as Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow, it does not mean only people who regularly play tennis or golf experience this. Normally, these conditions occur when that area is overused.
Who are affected?
Not only golf and tennis players are affected, many individuals who overuse their forearm by bending the wrists can be affected too. Tennis elbow is common in adults between the age of 30-50. Individuals who are plumbers, cooks, or carpenters are more at risk for developing this condition due to overworking of the muscles and inflaming the tendon. For individuals who garden, shovel or play golf frequently may be at higher risk of developing medial epicondylitis as these actions mainly require the use of flexor muscles in the forearm.
For Tennis elbow, symptoms include:
- pain radiating from outside of the elbow down to the forearm
- tenderness on the outer part of the elbow
- weak grip or weakness in forearm
- pain is present when gripping
For Golfer’s elbow, symptoms include:
- pain and tenderness on the inner part of the elbow extending to the inner forearm
- weakness in hands and wrists
- numbness or tingling sensation in the ring and pinky finger
Normally, treatments for both medial and lateral epicondylitis are non-surgical. The most important treatment for these conditions is to rest or reduce the amount of strain on the tendon and muscles surrounding the elbow. This treatment may require wearing a brace or splint. Other treatments available are ice, stretch, or physical therapy. Taking anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce inflammation and pain in that region.
If these conditions worsen or do not show any improvement, then seeking medical attention from a doctor is highly recommended.
Spondylolysis is a condition where there is a fracture at the vertebrae while Spondylolisthesis is the term used when one of the vertebrae slips out of alignment which may affect the spinal nerves. In some severe cases, if the bone is fractured too much, it can lead to the slippage of the bone. This injury is common in young athletes who often have chronic stress applied to the lower back.
As mentioned above, this is a condition when a fracture has occurred on the vertebrae. The vertebrae consists of 24 bones stacked on top of each other producing your spine which contains the thin but crucially important spinal cord. The fracture mostly occurs at the weakest area, pars interarticularis, which is the thin part of the vertebrae connecting the upper and lower facet joints. One of the most common area in the vertebrae for these fractures to occur is in the lumbar region, mostly at the fourth or fifth lumbar vertebra.
This condition is more prone to occur if you already have Spondylolysis. When the pars interarticularis portion of the vertebra is damaged or separated, it can lead to slippage of the vertebra in the forward position and causes pinching of the spinal nerves that affects other regions of your body. This commonly occurs at the lumbar region, where the “S” curve is prominent and most of the stress occurs at this region.
Some symptoms may not occur if the cases are mild for both Spondylolysis and Spondyloisthesis. During mild cases, the condition is normally determined when looking through an x-ray. Symptoms of these conditions include low back pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, and difficulty standing or walking.
For Spondyloisthesis, numbness or tingling sensation can occur as there is impingement of the spinal nerves due to the shift in the vertebra.
The goal of these treatments is to reduce pain, allow the fractures to heal so the individual can return to daily sport activities without major complications. There are two surgical and non-surgical treatments for these two conditions.
Non-surgical treatments include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical Therapy
If these non-surgical treatments do not help then the doctor will recommended surgical treatment on the vertebra.
Always stay safe when playing sports to reduce the risk of developing Spondylolysis and Spondyloisthesis. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, make a quick appointment with one of our practitioner here at Rupert Health Centre as your vertebrae physically functions to protect your nerves, not to cause damage to them!
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder, occurs when there is pain or discomfort at the temporomandibular joint located between the jaw and temporal bone of the skull. This joint acts as a sliding hinge that executes jaw movements such as talking, eating, and yawning by using the jaw muscles.
The causes of TMJ disorders can be hard to diagnose because there are many contributing factors causing discomfort to that area. These include:
- Dislocation of the jaw joint
- The disk found at the joint is out of alignment
Some symptoms you may experience when you have a TMJ disorder are:
- pain or tenderness at the jaw joint
- aching around your ears
- difficulty chewing
- locking of the jaw
- aching shoulders
There are many treatment options to consider if you have a TMJ disorder. Taking anti-inflammatories or pain relievers can decrease the amount of pain you are experiencing. If one of the underlying causes for your TMJ pain is due to grinding at night, your doctor may suggest a mouth guard to prevent build up of stressed caused by teeth grinding at night. Taking a break from chewing and eating softer foods can help relieve some pain so there is less stress on your jaw muscles. Some soft tissue therapy has been known to help relieve some pain with this condition. There is also surgery to help with TMJ disorders however it is not suggested unless other treatments are not helping or it is affecting your daily living.
Many doctors can help you with your TMJ disorders and suggest treatment options appropriate for your condition. Seeing a dentist, family doctor, or even a chiropractor can help with your TMJ pain.