In these uncertain times, we are all exposed to extra stress at the moment. Stress from not knowing what tomorrow will bring, will I have a job, will someone I know get sick.
We are often asked how we, as chiropractors are able to help with stress, and this is an interesting question; especially at the moment. To answer this question, we are going to look at the impact of the chiropractic adjustment (spinal manipulation) on heart rate variability (HRV). HRV simply put, will measure the intervals between heart beats, and give us information about our sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous systems. (1) We need a good balance between theses system for a healthy response. A low variability is associated with increased risk for chronic disease. (2)
When we are stressed, our nervous system goes into a sympathetic dominance which can lead to an increase in our heart rate, increased muscle tone (especially in the neck), but decreases our ability to concentrate. (3, 4)
But back to the main question at hand, how can a chiropractor help me and my body with stress? Well, there have been a number of studies looking into how adjustments to the spine can influence the autonomic nervous system (parasympathetics and sympathetics). They suggest that adjustments to the neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine) will increase our parasympathetic response, which in turn will help manage that stress induced sympathetic response. (5-8)
So, if you, or someone you know, is struggling with their stress levels, please give our office a call to see how we can help you.
1. Win, N. N., Jorgensen, A. M. S., Chen, Y. S., & Haneline, M. T. (2015). Effects of upper and lower cervical spinal manipulative therapy on blood pressure and heart rate variability in volunteers and patients with neck pain: a randomized controlled, cross-over, preliminary study. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 14(1), 1-9.
2. Thayer, J. F., Åhs, F., Fredrikson, M., Sollers III, J. J., & Wager, T. D. (2012). A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(2), 747-756.
3. Taelman, J., Vandeput, S., Spaepen, A., & Van Huffel, S. (2009). Influence of mental stress on heart rate and heart rate variability. In 4th European conference of the international federation for medical and biological engineering (pp. 1366-1369). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
4. Hjortskov, N., Rissén, D., Blangsted, A. K., Fallentin, N., Lundberg, U., & Søgaard, K. (2004). The effect of mental stress on heart rate variability and blood pressure during computer work. European journal of applied physiology, 92(1-2), 84-89.
5. Borges, B. L. A., Bortolazzo, G. L., & Neto, H. P. (2018). Effects of spinal manipulation and myofascial techniques on heart rate variability: a systematic review. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 22(1), 203-208.
6. Roy, R. A., Boucher, J. P., & Comtois, A. S. (2009). Heart rate variability modulation after manipulation in pain-free patients vs patients in pain. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 32(4), 277-286.
7. Giles, P. D., Hensel, K. L., Pacchia, C. F., & Smith, M. L. (2013). Suboccipital decompression enhances heart rate variability indices of cardiac control in healthy subjects. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(2), 92-96.
8. Shafiq, H., McGregor, C., & Murphy, B. (2014, August). The impact of cervical manipulation on heart rate variability. In 2014 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (pp. 3406-3409). IEEE.
Due to the continued updates with the COVID-19 virus, we are urging all patients to please self isolate if they are feeling unwell, so that we do not put other patients, our staff or practitioners at risk of infection.
At this time, it is very important to be boosting your immune system, so keep in mind we have supplements available which are top quality immune-boosting herbs and minerals which are able to be posted out to you, we have added free postage on products over $100. Stress also decreases your immunity, as such we are urging everyone to get some exercise, become aware and educated about the true risks of this infection and if you can get in for your adjustment to help manage stress, do so.
If you are feeling unwell or have recently travelled overseas, please let us know and we can easily change your appointment. We are implementing the advice from the Australian Government Department of Health as it's updated.
In the clinic, we have introduced additional cleaning, strict hand sanitising and alcohol based cleaning for all our reception staff and practitioners to use in between each patient visit, and ask that all patients wash hands or use hand sanitiser at the reception desk when they enter the practice. We have stepped up our usual cleaning practices by also disinfecting all surfaces and door handles constantly. Magazines and toys are being cleaned frequently but feel free to bring a book if you would like to take advantage of some quiet time to yourself if you arrive early.
As mentioned before one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our families at this time is to strengthen our immune systems and our bodies natural defences. This virus has been a great reminder of the importance of having good health and practising what we consider common sense good health practices.
It is a great time to focus on your health and try to keep as well and healthy as you can. Bump up your intake of fresh veggies and immune-boosting foods such as GARLIC, ONION, LEEK, TURMERIC, PARSLEY, BLUEBERRIES, FRESH BEETROOT AND BONE BROTH also ensure you are also drinking plenty of water and prioritise sleep. Good quality sleep is one of our best immune boosters! Also, limit sugar and alcohol which are both known to depress the immune system.
Our main priority is the health of our patients so if there is anything we can do to help you or your family in this time please get in contact with us. Please phone us if you need advice or want to ask any questions.
Chiropractors often see people with neck pain and tight shoulders! Many of them have recurrent neck pain, tight shoulders and chest, even after a massage, physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment. Sometimes we all miss out on the smallest but very important clue, breathing.
Breathing is something running in the background, you do not need to think to breathe. Your respiratory centre located in your brainstem controls your breath rate and the depth depends on your physiological state.(1) Primarily, the diaphragm is the muscle responsible for controlling the air pressure in your lungs to pull oxygen in and push carbon dioxide out from your lungs.
Looking at human anatomy, the nerve supply of the diaphragm originates from cervical nerve root C3, C4 and C5. Research showed patients who suffer from chronic neck pain were more likely to have problems with respiratory strength than patients without neck pain.(2)
When there is a decrease oxygen intake due to various causes such as weakness in our diaphragm, our intelligent system will recruit accessory muscles to help us get adequate oxygen into our body to maintain our homeostasis and basic functions.(1) These accessory muscles include the sternocleidomastoid(SCM), pectoralis major and minor, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, and serratus posterior superior.(1) In short, they are your neck and chest muscles.
Over time, accessory muscles can get overworked, fatigued and they become tight, as they don’t get to rest and recover while you are asleep because you are always breathing!
Taking care of the true cause of your neck and shoulder tightness rather than focusing on the end stage symptoms is the best tactic. Otherwise it is like you are looking at the muffler just because a car is blowing out smoke rather that looking at the engine.
We will look into some tips regarding how to breathe properly in the coming blogs. Stay tuned!
If this sounds like you or your loved ones, feel free to have a chat with one of our chiropractors and see how we can help manage your issues.
1.Tortora GJ, Derrickson BH. Principles of anatomy and physiology: John Wiley & Sons; 2018.
2.Dimitriadis Z, Kapreli E, Strimpakos N, Oldham J. Respiratory weakness in patients with chronic neck pain. Manual therapy. 2013;18(3):248-53.
Opioid use in Australia and internationally has been increasing rapidly over the last 2 decades (1). Usually it is associated with a long history of pain, and patients are looking for an answer to help address chronic or severe pain. Patients may be more likely to be given short-acting and weak opioids, but the proportion of people given strong opioids has increased over time (1). Do you or a loved one use any form of opioids? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.
“Rates of opioid use in Australia have remained high since 2013, with approximately 3 million adults using opioids and over 1.9 million adults initiating opioids each year.” (1)
The increased use has paralleled with increases in opioid-related morbidity and mortality, including dependence, hospitalisation and overdose (1). Chronic opioid therapy has been associated with constipation, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep disturbance, nausea, vomiting, fractures, HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) dysregulation, hormonal imbalance, menstrual cycle issues and other adverse effects (2)(3). All of these potential adverse effects is the risk that people take to try to help with the management of pain that is severe or chronic.
In a recent research article where a systemic review and meta-analysis was conducted, it was demonstrated that there is an inverse association between chiropractic use and opioid receipt among patients with spinal pain (4). So chiropractic users had much lower odds of receiving or requiring to have an opioid prescription. This indicates that chiropractic care may lower the need for patients to seek an opioid prescription for spinal pain management.
So if you want to find out if chiropractic care may help manage spinal pain for you or your loved ones, have a chat with one of our chiropractors to see how they can assist.
“It is better to try natural measures first when trying to address issues in regards to health”
When we think about our senses, we think of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. We have also talked about the importance of our vestibular (sense of balance) and proprioceptive systems. Believe it or not, we actually have another sense, interoception. Interoception can be broadly defined as the sense of signals originating within the body, and is therefore, critical for our sense of embodiment, motivation and well-being. (1)
So, in short, this is the sense that helps us identify things like when we are hungry, thirsty or go to the toilet. And just like our other senses, our interoceptive sense can be high or low.
What could it look like in our kids if they are hypersensitive to their internal senses? It may be the child that is having trouble concentrating in the class room because they are preoccupied with what is going on inside them. This can lead physical or emotional overreactions due to input from our interoceptive system into our emotional centres of the brain. (2-3)
At the other end of the spectrum, we can see kid that have an under-reactivity to their interoceptive sense, and they do not get the internal information about what is going on in their body. As a result, they may miss the clue to go to the toilet, or going may make them feel unwell so that they do not want to go. This in turn will lead to a child struggling to keep on top of their emotional well-being. (2-3)
If you would like to learn more about thee internal signals or how we help manage these internal signals make an appointment with one of our Drs.
Ever wondered why kids go through those notorious toddler tantrums or terrible two’s… It is actually very important to experience those toddler tantrums as you will soon realise.
To gain a better understanding of why we go through the toddler tantrums, you should know about different areas of the brain. We have 2 brain hemispheres… Left and Right.
The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also helps us perform tasks of logic including science, maths and is largely responsible for language processing, for speaking and fine motor skills. The right side of the brain is responsible for the left side of the body. It helps with emotional recognition/expression, facial recognition, visual imagery and spatial awareness.
Between ages 1-3, blood flow to the brain is more dominant in the right hemisphere and after 3 years, this dominance shifts to the left hemisphere . The development of our brain in early childhood appears to correlate with emergence of functions of the dominant brain hemisphere, which is initially the right side (responsible for our emotional expression and regulation) and then in the left hemisphere.
So it is really important to go through the emotional ups and downs (within reason) up to 3 years of age as it is integral part of our overall brain development. The early years of human development help establish function of the brain and stressful experiences in early life can affect these different stages of development.
Different stressors can include physical, chemical, environmental and emotional stresses. If you are worried that stress could be affecting your child’s development, book in with Little Sprouts today so we can assess and help your child reach their fullest potential.
 Hugdahl, K. (2013). Visual-spatial information processing in the two hemispheres of the brain is dependent on the feature characteristics of the stimulus. Frontiers in neuroscience, 7, 10.
 Chiron, C., Jambaque, I., Nabbout, R., Lounes, R., Syrota, A., & Dulac, O. (1997). The right brain hemisphere is dominant in human infants. Brain: a journal of neurology, 120(6), 1057-1065.
 Mustard, J. F. (2010). Early brain development and human development. Encyclopedia on early childhood development, 1-5.
We believe most chiropractors get asked about leg length discrepancy, uneven pelvis, and shoulders.
There are two types of leg length discrepancy(LLD). (1) Firstly, true leg length or structural leg length discrepancy. It pretty much explains what it is. It is the measures of both of your lower limbs and one of your long bones is shorter than the other. For example, a traumatic event or fracture can result in different leg lengths.
Secondly, false leg length or functional leg length discrepancy. This is often caused by abnormal muscle tone in the lower limb or abnormal joint function. (1) Our pelvis has strong muscles, tendons and ligament to support the sacroiliac joints and hip joints. Pelvis dysfunction is likely to present when the muscles supporting the left and right of our joints are imbalanced or not activating properly. Some risk factors include weak core muscles, sitting crosslegged, kicking a ball with predominately one foot, always riding on one side of your scooter and shifting your center of gravity due to previous injury or pain (eg. knee pain). Be creative you can think of more than these!
Research has shown a strong link between LLD and degenerative joint disease! (1) Since most of LLD cases are very mild and sometimes difficult to notice, our bodyweight might have subtly shifted and become imbalanced. In other words, we might be putting more weight through one side of our body. Over time we observe the difference from the bottom of our shoes. What do you think might happen to your joints in the long run?
Being left-right balanced is ideal, but we would like to reassure you that no one on earth is ideal. We have dominant hand, left lungs have two lobes and the right lungs have 3 lobes. Yet, we would like to be as close to ideal as we can.
If you find your shoes or any pair of shoes at home are wearing out quicker than the other side, chat with our friendly staff members and chiropractors and see how we can help manage your concerns!
Migraine is common, in a survey of Australian chiropractors more than 50% of chiropractors manage migraine patients ‘often’. (1) Sometimes it may be only for a short time, but for some migraine sufferers it can be quite debilitating. In the US, 91% of migraine sufferers experience migraine-associated disability. (2-4) Do you or a loved one experience migraines? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.
“86% of people with chronic migraine in Australia report moderate to severe disability from migraines” (5)
Migraine is associated with a substantial burden, and people with migraine feel the impact in their day to day lives (5). Ineffective acute treatment and overuse of acute migraine medication has been shown to be a risk factor for migraines to develop into a chronic issue. Obesity, depression and stressful life events are also other risk factors (6).
In a recent research literature publication where a systemic review and meta-analysis was conducted, the preliminary results found that spinal adjustments may be an effective therapeutic technique to reduce migraine days and pain/intensity (7).
If you want to find out if chiropractic may help manage migraine for you or your loved ones, have a chat with one of our chiropractors to see how they can assist.
“When you are functioning at your best you are able to better perform in all aspects of your life!”
1.Adams J, Lauche R, Peng W, et al. A workforce sur- vey of Australian chiropractic: The profile and prac- tice features of a nationally representative sample of 2,005 chiropractors. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17:14.
2. Hu XH, Markson LE, Lipton RB, Stewart WF, Berger ML. Burden of migraine in the United States: Disability and economic costs. Arch Intern Med. 1999;159:813-818.
3. Lipton RB, Bigal ME, Diamond M, et al. Migraine prevalence, disease burden, and the need for preven- tive therapy. Neurology. 2007;68:343-349.
4. Lipton RB, Stewart WF, Diamond S, Diamond ML, Reed M. Prevalence and burden of migraine in the United States: Data from the American Migraine Study II. Headache. 2001;41:646-657.
5. Benhaddi, H., McCabe, S. and Lau, D.T., 2019. 070 Burden of migraine is australia: a systematic literature review.
6. May, A. and Schulte, L.H., 2016. Chronic migraine: risk factors, mechanisms and treatment. Nature Reviews Neurology, 12(8), p.455.
7. Rist, P.M., Hernandez, A., Bernstein, C., Kowalski, M., Osypiuk, K., Vining, R., Long, C.R., Goertz, C., Song, R. and Wayne, P.M., 2019. The Impact of Spinal Manipulation on Migraine Pain and Disability: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 59(4), pp.532-542.
Symptoms like pain appear when something in your body is hurt or dysfunctioning. With many disease types a lot has to happen before you feel symptoms. Sure, you could break a bone or accidently cut yourself and you would feel instant pain but there are a lot of other diseases and issues that take a long time to manifest as pain or ill health. Some of these are heart issues, cancer and diabetes. These diseases take a longer time to develop and manifest, and if we can catch these things earlier there are much easier ways of dealing with them before they take a great toll on our health.
Early detection of reversible causes is desirable as they may be remediable and their treatment can prevent permanent dysfunction and disability (1).
Here are some simple tests to gain a window into your nervous system – the system that helps control your whole body. What we are showing here are a few easy tests to get a picture of how well a part of your nervous system is functioning. Specifically we are looking at proprioception. Proprioception is a deep sensation that arises from the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints (1). This information essentially tells us where we are in space.
Central postural control (equilibrium) is dependent on input from three peripheral modalities: vision, vestibular apparatus (balance centres in our ears) and proprioception (joint sense and sense of position). Disturbance in any one of these modalities can be compensated for (completely or incompletely) by input from the other two systems. Therefore when we close our eyes and do the following tests we cannot rely on our vision to compensate. This allows us to more clearly test our positional sense and the way in which our nervous system transmits this information.
Romberg’s test is considered positive if there is significant imbalance with the eyes closed or the imbalance significantly worsens on closing the eyes (if imbalance was present with the eyes open). Normal individuals also tend to sway to some extent on closing their eyes. Low normal performance consists of the ability to stand heel-to toe, with eyes closed, for six seconds. Young adults should be able to perform this test for thirty seconds but performance is reported to decline with age (1).
In one of our recent blogs, we started talking about the rates of depression in pregnancy and post-natal depression including some of the implications of depression during and after pregnancy. Some of these risks included pre-term delivery, preeclampsia (high blood pressure), and birth difficulties. (1)
Following on from this, a recent study conducted in Victoria looked to see if it were possible to predict sleep problems for infants in the first year of life. They concluded that poorer prepartum and postpartum maternal mental and physical health; including poorer physical function, increased emotional problems, and decreased energy and vitality; were associated with reports of persistent severe infant sleep problems. (2)
Furthermore, maternal depression and anxiety has been associated with poorer right white frontal microstructure in 1-month old infants. This area of the brain is important for self-regulation needed for sleep. (2)
Cook et al. states: “Maternal prenatal stress alters melatonin levels, reducing generation of the circadian rhythm in the foetal adrenal gland, which is vital for the development of infant sleep, and potentially limiting foetal growth… Maternal prenatal depression raises free cortisol levels which in turn increases infant cortisol levels. Higher infant cortisol can result in poorer infant sleep quality and more frequent waking.” (2)
This does become a vicious cycle, as your child sleeps less, so do you. Lack of sleep can increase fatigue, depression and anxiety, which promotes the poorer sleep patterns in infants! So, for expecting mums, planning mums, and new mums; getting on top of your health will make a difference on the outcomes not just for you, but also for your infant and his or her sleep.
 Leung, B. M., & Kaplan, B. J. (2009). Perinatal depression: prevalence, risks, and the nutrition link—a review of the literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(9), 1566-1575.
 Cook, F., Conway, L., Gartland, D., Giallo, R., Keys, E. and Brown, S., 2019. Profiles and Predictors of Infant Sleep Problems Across the First Year. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
The Drs and Staff of Little Sprouts Chiropractic