Creating the Ultimate Back

Creating the Ultimate Back...

Back pains, aches, weakness and/or stiffness are just some of the most common problems our chiropractors see everyday. The vast majority of the population is expected to suffer with back pain at some point in their life. The majority of these are down to lifestyle and what we do on a regular basis, rather than having a significant accident. 

Do you want a back that simply doesn't hurt, or do you want a back
that is strong, flexible, healthy and allows you to do all the things you enjoy
doing and one that properly stimulates your nervous system which is required to help
regulate posture, muscle tension, pain thresholds and brain functions?

It is key to our chiropractors, that with everyone they see, it is explained just how many factors will effect your back. Some positively and some negatively. With out knowing what these main factors are, and how they will impact on you, you can't be expected to get the best results with your back, in the short term or long term. As the saying goes, "You don't know what you don't know."

We have seen how poor spinal health can have a significant impact on peoples lives, their health, their well-being as well as how it effects their family and work colleagues around them. We provide a service that will both help provide the necessary treatment you need as well as, and just as importantly, provide some guidance on the other areas that need to be addressed so that your back is not just pain free, but it is healthy, supple and strong so that you can continue playing on the floor with your kids, playing golf three times a week, have a good nights sleep, sit in a cinema without fidgeting, going for long walks and generally enjoying life.

The 4 Fundamental Pillars for Creating the Ultimate Back

Joint Alignment

Optimal ALIGNMENT of all spinal joints is essential, both mechanically & neurologically for a healthy spine.

Joint Mobility

Optimal MOVEMENT of all spinal joints is essential, both mechanically & neurologically for a healthy spine.

Joint Strength

Building STRENGTH in all the key spinal muscles in all positions is required for a robust and reliable back.

Healthy Tissues

All the spinal tissues need to be healthy and 'good quality' without damage or degeneration

The 4 Fundamental Pillars Explained...

1. Joint Alignment

The alignment of your joints, particularly your spinal joints will have a significant effect of how your back feels, moves and functions. There are certain curves you need in the spine, but curves going in the wrong direction and/or in the wrong places can be very detrimental. Mechanically, the way your joints are aligned will determined how forces and physical stresses are loaded and applied to your body. Abnormal alignment is likely to result in increased stress on the joints, discs, ligaments, muscles and nerves, just to mention a few and ultimately they are more prone to failure/injury/degeneration as a result. 

2. Joint Mobility (Flexibility)

Having optimal joint mobility or flexibility doesn't necessarily mean you need to be the next world gymnast but it does require each and every joint to be able to move fully through its normal range of motion. The emphasis on this page is about the spinal joints, however your extremity joints have the same principles.

Determining the mobility of each individual spinal joint is not something you can determine by yourself. You can get a general idea of your overall spinal flexibility (global mobility) but it unfortunately won't tell you which individual joints (segmental mobility) are moving normally and which may be moving too much (hypermobile) or too little (hypomobile). Similarly to joint alignment, your joint mobility plays a major role, both mechanically and neurologically in keeping your spine working properly. Normal movements of a joint are required to tolerate the many daily mechanically stresses and strains that are continually being applied to it. This in turn maintains normal function and plays its part in reducing the risk of injury. 

Interestingly your segmental spinal joint mobility does more than just keep your back working right, it is in fact neurologically linked to many other parts of your brain and body and plays multiple roles elsewhere. Normal joint mobility influences muscle tension, strength, balance and also influences pain perception and pain thresholds. Surprisingly, there are also neurological connections between the movement in your spinal joints and brain functions relating to learning, emotions, memory and your immune system.

3. Joint Strength

You don't need to be rippling with muscles to have proper joint strength. The majority of the strength your joints have come from the small muscles around them which you can't even see from the outside or looking in a mirror. Having strong well trained external muscles is likely to help in most cases but the key is in knowing how to train the deep spinal stabilising muscles, something many people unfortunately neglect. 

Strong spinal stabilising muscles are required for obvious reasons; they provide the strength to the joints so that when you perform certain movements you are less likely to injure yourself. It is too common nowadays for people to not regularly train these muscles and then combine that with a lifestyle of stress, poor posture and sitting for most of the day at desks, in the car or watching tv and you reach the inevitable consequence of de-conditioning/weakening of these muscles followed by injury and joint degeneration. 

4. Healthy Tissues

The quality of your tissue is a fundamental aspect of how well you can expect your body to work, how likely you are to suffer from injuries and pains and how long injuries will take to recover.

Relevant tissues include bone, cartilage, discs, ligaments, nerves (including spinal cord and brain), tendons, muscles, fascia, joint capsules, blood vessels, synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid in your joints) and the synovial membranes that line your joints. On top of those, the health of your internal organs can also play a role in back pain too.  

There is a normal rate of degeneration of joints over a lifetime but the lifestyle habits discussed on this page will go a long way to slowing and delaying this natural process. The more degeneration there is, the harder it will become to successfully keep your spine healthy, mobile and pain free. 

15 Requirements For The Fundamental Pillars

1. Daily Spinal MOBILITY Exercises

The aim of spinal mobility exercises are to help encourage and maintain full range of motion, joint lubrication and proper posture throughout the whole spine. All of these factors are gradually lost due to too much sitting, poor posture and not enough movement. The exercises also help in the natural healing process of damaged joints and in preventing spinal degeneration. These exercises need to be done regularly and consistently. Our chiropractors will go through these with you including which to do and which not to do based on your current back situation. 

2. Daily Spinal STRENGTH Exercises

The aim of spinal strengthening exercises are to help encourage and maintain muscular strength, endurance and proper posture throughout the whole spine. Spinal deconditioning commonly occurs with too much sitting, poor posture, not enough movement and lack of specific training. The exercises also help in the natural healing process of damaged joints and in preventing spinal degeneration. These exercises need to be done regularly and consistently. Our chiropractors will go through these with you including which to do and which not to do based on your current back situation. 

3. Minimise Prolonged Sitting

Prolonged periods of sitting has now become widely accepted as a leading cause of back pain. Sitting for hours at a time on a regular basis can lead to de-conditioning of spinal muscles, it stresses the spinal ligaments and increases the pressure on spinal discs. Any associated stiffness and hypomobilty (reduced spinal joint movement) that also occurs as a result of prolonged sitting increases the potential for degenerative changes to occur. Muscle function and the normal pattern of how muscles work together can be lost too.

4. Daily Cardiovascular Exercise

It is nothing new to say how important general exercise is for the health of your body and this includes your spine. Whether it's walking, cycling, swimming, dancing or one of many different forms of exercises, they all provide benefits. Raising your heat rate temporarily, helping to maintain a healthy weight as well as controlling hormone levels are some of the more common health benefits. More specifically for your spine, exercise helps improve bone density, circulation, joint mobility, soft tissue strength and stability, balance and has a major influence on stimulating the nervous system.

5. Learn & Use Correct Posture 

Posture is a very common source of problems, particularly for backs, necks and headaches. Knowing what correct posture is will help you to minimise stresses and strains that will otherwise accumulate in your joints and muscles. Knowing what to do is the first step, where as implementing what you know is not always so easy. Our chiropractors will be able to help give you suggestions on how to improve your posture quickly and simply. 

6. Maintain Healthy Weight

The weight we all carry has a strong link with the pressure applied to joints and the surrounding soft tissues, particularly in the lower back, hips and knees. Those carrying extra weight are more likely to experience problems with their joint function, mobility and it will impact on repair/recovery time following injuries. Finding the right exercises and making the right adjustments to nutrition will be key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

7. Regular Chiropractic Care

Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis can play a very important role in maintaining proper alignment and movement throughout your spine. Having a short course of treatment for a specific injury/pain is effective in many cases, however it will not provide the long term benefits that are obtained from regular care.  A regular chiropractic session (once a month to once every 3 months) will pick up problems as they begin to develop and will help to continually improve or maintain healthy joint alignment, movement, regulate muscle tensions and nerve function (especially if some of the other points mentioned on this page are not done consistently eg not having time to do you spinal exercises).

8. Proper Nutrition & Water

There are very strong links between the foods we eat and our health. Some foods are more associated with inflammation and joint pains where as other vitamins, minerals, fats and protein are important for building and maintaining strong bones, proper muscle contractions or nerve impulses. Some processed foods contain chemicals/compounds which will have a negative on your bones and nerves. Water is again important for many reasons including helping to keep the discs in your spine hydrated and helping muscles to stay clean from a build up of toxins. 

9. Supplements

Vitamin D, Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids and Probiotics all play a whole host of essential roles when it comes to health. Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones. Deficiencies are also know to be responsible for general musculoskeletal aches. Sunlight is the primary source for Vitamin D, which is not always that abundant everyday and many of us spend all day indoors. There are a few smaller food sources, however supplementing with a good dose of Vitamin D3 is something to seriously look in to. Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, play a role in the regulation of inflammation among others factors. Probiotics are particularly important when it comes to digestive health, which can be the cause of a number of health issues and gut health has strong links with the immune system too.

10. Sports Massage

As well regular chiropractic care, some people may chose to have additional treatments including sports massage to help maintain a healthy body. This is particularly  good for helping to alleviate muscle tension. 

11. Prescription Orthotic Assessment 

The structure of your feet can play a role in how your pelvis and spine work. Abnormal or asymmetrical forefoot and/or rear-foot angles, excess pronation, and flexor hallicus limitus are some of the conditions of the foot that can effect your gait and gradually over time can cause problems in your back. A biomechanical podiatrist should be able to evaluate your feet and prescribe any orthotic device that may be required to help improve your foot function.

12. Sleep

Sleep is important for many reasons when it comes to health and well being. When it comes to spinal health, small injuries and niggles are repaired when we sleep. Sleeping also allows time for pressure to be taken off the spinal discs allowing them to reabsorb water that is lost during the day. This helps to keep them plump and play their vital role in how your spine works. Your bed/mattress type, pillows and your sleeping position can also play a big role in spinal health. Ask our chiropractors for more information. Sleep has also been linked with bone density too. 

13. Stress Management

Stress, especially chronic ongoing stress is incredibly damaging. Stress hormones that stay in the body for long periods of time can negatively effect bone and soft tissue quality. We also tend to hold tension in our muscles when we are stressed, which often changes our posture (eg hunched shoulders) which will lead to neck aches and headaches. Exercise, meditation, counselling or making time for things you enjoy are some ways to help combat stress. Chronic stress will also increase your risk of developing a range of other medical conditions/diseases.

14. Eliminate Toxins

You may wonder how toxins can play a role in spinal health. Smoking, long term use of steroids and high alcohol intake have been linked with reduced bone density. Aspartame in foods have been linked with migraines and some metals have been listed to have neurotoxic effects (effecting how your nerves work). Trying to avoid artificial toxins, chemicals or compounds nowadays is very hard, however, knowing that they may be impacting on your health is important.

15. Manage Other Medical Conditions

It is very important to make sure any other medical conditions you have are addressed and managed correctly as these can have an impact on your joints, muscles and nerves too. Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and side effects of medications are some of the more common examples. 
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