Health Benefits Of Hugging

Today is National Hug Day.

There are so many benefits to our health, lifestyles and well-being.

Of course make sure you get permission from those who want to give a hug.

Hugging reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and if found in large quantities for long periods of time in the body, can be quite destructive.

Most people tend to be living stressful lives, so have high amounts of cortisol in their body. A hug from a loved one for a few minutes can help balance the cortisol to normal levels.

Linked to that, studies have found hugging can reduce high blood pressure.

Another benefit is reducing anxiety. I have seen a trend in members of our local community with ever increasing levels of anxiety. A hypothesis for one of the causes is that nowadays there is more of a taboo with physical touch, and we are losing our sense of touch with one another.

See who you can go and give a loving warm hug too, and let me know in the comments.

How To Help Lower Back Pain

If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering with some sort of lower back pain and it just so happens to be at a time with it’s rather difficult to get hold of a health professional, such as on the weekend, during a national holiday, or when abroad in a remote area.

There are a few things you can do in the interim until you are able to get to a health professional. Remember this is not a fix, but just a simple way to potentially help you through the uncomfortable period.

Even if it starts to feel better it’s still worth taking the time to seek professional advice to be fully sure.

  1. Avoid Aggravation

The first thing you must do is avoid anything that aggravates the pain. Although some general advice says to keep active, if that particular activity is aggravating your symptoms then stop – this is NOT a no pain, no gain scenario (quite the opposite)

  1. Calm The Fire

Most of the time a lot of pain is due to inflammation. That means it’s hot and red, so we need to cool it with ice. Of course make sure you wrap the ice in a thin towel otherwise you may end up with frost bite on top of all the other problems you already have going on.

WIth an area that is inflamed, it’s “flame-atory” meaning it’s hot, so applying heat can potentially add more fuel to the fire.

If it was just muscle tightness then it may be suitable to apply heat – however the real question then becomes “Why is that muscle tight?”

So if you’re unsure go for the ice. The other advantage is your nerves don’t work very well at low temperatures anyway, so this can help give some comfort and relief by dulling the pain.

How To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain

What is the best solution to get rid of your lower back pain?

Well let’s think about this logically. See a lot of people nowadays are talking about back pain as if it were a disease or condition in itself. Often they claim to have a cure for lower back pain.

Back pain, or any pain for that matter, is not a condition, it’s a symptom of the condition. So by removing or reducing the symptom does not mean you have removed the cause.

The way to remove the cause is to create a healthy environment in which health can thrive. Optimal healing allows the body to heal itself.

There are a number of things in the body that could cause lower back pain. The most common is the musculoskeletal system (i.e. the muscles, joints, nerves, ligaments and tendons).

Organs can also cause pain in the area.

One of the first things that a professional chiropractor or osteopath will do is conduct a detailed case history. This helps find out the story of how the patient got to this point. It also gives some detailed information about the nature of the symptoms, which all add up to providing valuable clues into why these symptoms have started.

If suitable,then the patient may require some special clinical tests to determine what specific parts of the body are causing the symptoms (notice how we’re still only talking about symptoms, not the condition yet).

It’s also extremely important to consider WHY those tissues have been affected in that way. It may be that there are some lifestyle choices that patients have made, which has gradually led them to this point.

That is the only way you can naturally create optimal function in the body, allowing it to heal itself and achieving true health. This is my definition of health: “The body’s ability to heal”.

The better the body can heal, the better it can be in it’s optimal function.

Lower Back Pain When Bending

If you are suffering with lower back pain when bending there are a number of different structures that we need to be looking at, addressing and potentially be concerned about too.

When we look at a typical spine, it is made up of bones called vertebrae. In the lower back (lumbar spine) there are a total of 5 vertebrae.

The bumps on the back are called spinous processes. These are what you can see or feel when you run you hand down the back. Near these spinous processes are the joints which allow the vertebrae to articulate with each other. These joints are called facets.

In between the vertebrae are the spinal discs. We want these to be nice and spongy to allow for efficient shock absorption from any movements of activity.

When bending the lower back, these discs can get more compressed, which can cause them to bulge if there is already a problem there. This bulge can potentially pinch the nerves as they are exiting the spine.

Pain can also be caused by the stretching of the capsule around the facets if bending forwards. These facet joints can get inflamed, and if they get inflamed to the point where they start pinching on nerves they can also add to pain.

Softer structures in the area such as ligaments and muscles can get stretched when bending. If they are tight due to an injury or poor posture the pain may be an indication of requiring some guided lifestyle changes.

So as you can see there is not an easy fix such as performing a stretch or sitting a certain way to “cure back pain”. As I always say, pain is a symptom indicating that there is a problem. It’s the cause that needs to be addressed to remove it.

Art Of Giving Up

Today is typically when most people give up on their New Years Resolutions and goals.

Most of the time, the reason for this is because they have realised that what they wanted is much harder to achieve than simply dreaming up a reality that would simply be nice to have.

Take this opportunity today to reevaluate your goals, see if you really want it, and more importantly WHY… this is a game changer for achieving your goals.

Paget's Disease

If you are going to get Paget’s Disease, I’m afraid it’s one of those conditions that is very difficult to avoid.

When it affects the bone, it affects it’s regeneration. Commonly it can affect your skull, pelvis, or tibia.

Some complications that may occur are loss of teeth, problems with vision or the heart.

Scoliosis

So do you have Scoliosis?


Chances are – Yes!

Most people tend to have a scoliosis. So why is no one talking or doing anything about it except me?

A scoliosis is a sideways curvature in the spine. The degree of curvature depends on each individual and how much it is affecting their function. You can find this out by visiting a professional, such as a chiropractor or an osteopath.

Not a single one of the patients that have visited my clinic have ever had a perfectly straight spine – irrespective of their symptoms.

Poop Better 💩

If you have ever suffered from constipation you will know how uncomfortable it can be. Especially if it has been there for a long time, it can be very horrible and potentially dangerous for your health too.

Things that can help are to have a high fibre diet or staying hydrated to help move the contents of your bowels more efficiently.

However we have to also consider mechanical challenges too.

Ski Exercise

If you are going on a ski trip, you need to make sure that you do this exercise to prepare for the break but also for when you are out on the slopes.

When skiing you have to wear these chunky ski boots. The muscles that operate your foot and ankle do not get used very much during skiing due to the stability that is provided by the ski boots. This means that those muscles may waste and weaken, which increases the risk of injury to the area.

https://youtu.be/J8ddh8IHr74

To help counter this muscle wasting, stand on one leg, and gradually increase the time you spend standing like this. Swap sides so both legs can get trained up. Ideally you want to start this a few weeks before your ski trip and continue whilst enjoying the vacation.

This will activate or reactivate those muscles to maintain their strength and function.