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stress management

Is your breathing technique causing Low back and Neck pain?

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Is your breathing technique causing Low back and Neck pain?

I’m assuming most of you think you know how to breathe.. I mean it’s simple enough, inhale exhale. But did you know that the way you breathe could be causing your low back or neck pain? Let me explain.

A “proper” diaphragmatic breath should look like the image below. As you breathe in, your stomach should be pushing out. As you exhale, the belly goes in. Now if you’re reading this, I want you to analyse yourself and see how you are breathing. Are you doing it correctly?

Diaphragmatic-Breathing-Feature_600x.jpg

Now how does breathing abnormally affect low back or neck pain?

Our diaphragm is a primary muscle that enables us to inhale and exhale. It also has attachments to the lumbar spine (L1-L3). When muscles are dysfunctional, their corresponding insertion points can also be dysfunctional thus causing pain.

One of the most common faults to abnormal breathing is chest breathing. That is, using muscles of the neck and chest (Scalenes, SCM, Pec minor) to get a good breath in. Now, do this over the course of many many years, these muscles are overworked. Overworked muscles can become dysfunctional which can lead to pain. If you are someone who uses their chest to breathe, there are methods to reverse this. Our chiropractors at Complete City Health can help you regain the normal pattern, and train your body to be optimised!

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Types of Stress

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Types of Stress

Everyone relates to stress and knows how debilitating it can be. Stress in small amounts is good for us, although high levels of chronic stress are known to be the leading cause for many conditions and diseases.

There are 3 types of stress:

  1. Emotional stress caused by worry from work, money, relationships and many other like factors.
  2. Physical stress from posture, certain prolonged habits like sitting, repetitive strains and others.
  3. Bio-chemical stress caused by dietary intake, medication or drug abuse and hormonal imbalances.

In order to stay healthy and keep the body in homeostasis or equilibrium we need to manage the stress placed on us. Best way to do this is develop healthy habitual routines for every day to reduce all three types of stress.

Emotional exercises: 5 minutes of daily meditation, silence or self-affirmations. There are plenty of helpful Meditation Apps out there, free to download.

Diaphragmatic Breathing will also help relieve tension and increase oxygen to the body.Perform this by: Place one hand on your side of ribs and the other on your tummy, take a deep breath thin through the nose and expand ribs laterally and tummy outwards, exhale and relax. Repeat 20 times.

Physical stress: daily postural exercises like shoulder retraction and neck extensions 3-5 times a day. See below stretches

Bio-chemical stress: Smoothies and salads daily are a great, quick and yummy way to increase fruit and vegetable intake, and with them your required vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which decrease inflammation and decrease the stress hormones.

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