The Canberra Times

Spinal Health WeekAdvertising Feature

Got neck or back pain? See a chiroAdvertising Feature

Pain in the neck: Spinal Health Week runs from May 23-29. The 2022 theme is Sore Neck? Consider a Chiro. Photo: Supplied

Back and neck pain is recognised as one of the leading causes of disability globally.

In the Global Burden of Disease study in 2010, neck pain ranked fourth highest in terms of disability and 21st in overall burden. Not surprisingly, neck pain (cervicalgia) constituted the top five back problem hospitalisations in 2017-18.

During Spinal Health Week running from May 23-29, the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) raises awareness of the causes and adverse effects of neck pain with the 2022 theme, Sore Neck? Consider a Chiro.

"Research shows that neck pain is a leading cause of disability in adults (reported by up to 20 per cent of adults), with many presenting for assessment," a spokesperson from ACA said.

"This clearly demonstrates the need to educate Australians about their choices for neck pain treatment and to consider chiropractic care as a suitable healthcare option.

"Implementing positive spinal health habits including good posture, sleep hygiene and partaking in regular stretching and exercise regimes are important factors in preventing neck pain.

"Chiropractors can offer advice and assistance to help you make appropriate lifestyle choices and reduce the risk of spinal health issues arising in the first place."

Chiropractors are seeing an increasing number of patients with what they call 'tech neck' or neck pain and posture damage caused by looking down at devices for extended periods.

Avid gamer James Brody, 17, was experiencing constant pain in his neck and back and decided to make an appointment with a chiropractor.

"I didn't realise how bad my posture was while I was gaming," he said.

"My chiropractor gave me spinal adjustments, tips on taking breaks and correct posture, as well as stretches I can do at home, and it has really helped."

By using various non-surgical techniques, such as specific spinal adjustments, manual therapy and low-force intervention, chiropractors offer a drug-free, hands-on approach to spinal healthcare.

Find a chiropractor near you by visiting chiro.org.au.

Take steps to reduce the wear and tearAdvertising Feature

If you're worried about wear and tear in your spine, or your hips, knees or shoulders, you're not alone. Wear and tear - or degenerative joint disease (DJD) - is one of the most common sources of pain and disability for Australians.

At Canberra Spine Centre, we have helped thousands of Canberrans with DJD to feel, move and function better through our Spinal Rehabilitation Program.

DJD is mostly caused by improper motion over time. Photo: Shutterstock

It's not aging

It's a common perception that DJD is caused by aging, but this really isn't true. If that were the case, DJD would be spread evenly throughout your body as you age.

The good news is, much of the DJD that people experience can be prevented or at least slowed.

DJD is mostly caused by improper motion of the joints over long periods of time, so all you need to do is create better motion.

Here are five things you can do to help:

  1. Increase motion where it has been lost. Joints such as the neck, lower back, hips and knees that are wearing out and tend to feel stiffer or have lost motion in one or more directions. Simple rotation exercises for the neck, done a few times throughout the day, such as while sitting at your desk, can go a long way toward helping prevent DJD. For the lower back, again, simple rotation exercises are a great way to improve motion and prevent DJD. Simply lay on your back, bend one knee up toward the chest and pull it to the opposite side and hold 30 seconds. Repeat both sides, twice per day.
  2. Build strength and stability. Weak or poorly coordinated muscles contribute to poor joint control, leading to DJD. One of the best movements you can practice daily is the squat. The simplest way to do this is to sit down to a chair. Just touch your bottom to the chair and then up again, moving your bottom backward in the first part of the movement.
  3. Walk more. Walking is a beautiful movement that takes almost every joint in your body through a healthy range of motion. As you walk, focus on making your stride both even and long. And on keeping an upright posture.
  4. Get up regularly. Sitting is the new smoking, even if you're not working. Get up every half hour, even if it's just for a quick stretch or to grab a glass of water. Doing something different will rest tissues under strain, exercise muscles, encourage circulation and also help your spine and nervous system work better.
  5. Create better control. Your nervous system controls and coordinates the movement of all bones, joints and muscles in every movement you make. This is called proprioception, or body position sense. Spinal misalignment can alter proprioception, leading to poor control, and damage such as sprains and strains, and DJD are often the result.

How do you create better control?

Having a nervous system that works properly helps improve your position sense.

Spinal misalignment is one of the most common sources of nervous system interference. When spinal bones no longer move through their normal range of motion, sensory information becomes scrambled, leading to poor control of the joints.

Correcting spinal misalignment can improve joint position sense.

How can chiropractic care help?

Chiropractors are experts in diagnosis and management of musculo-skeletal conditions. Typically, chiropractors approach the care of DJD in the same way as other conditions. Working on both the control system - the nervous system - as well as the local joint such as the hip, knee, or shoulder to restore normal control and motion. Rehabilitation exercises are generally prescribed to help you achieve a faster and longer-lasting result.

We are here to help

We are offering a spinal rehab consultation as part of Spinal Health Week. We can be reached on 6257 9400, and for more information about the spine and nervous system go to spinecentre.com.au