The decision to see a chiropractor is one that can bring with it a range of benefits to your health. Not only can chiropractors directly apply treatment to physical problem areas in your body, but we can also advise you in a number of lifestyle areas to enable you to benefit maximally from the chiropractic care you are receiving. While you certainly stand to benefit from the primary treatment itself, the following are a few things you can do to ensure you improve as much as possible.
(1) Keep your appointments
It may sound obvious, but as we get busier in our hectic lifestyles, there is often a tendency to put ourselves and particularly our health last. “I’m too tired to go to the gym after work”, “I don’t have time to meditate” or “I’ll try to come in for an appointment next week instead of this week” are phrases we can use all too often. There is never a gun to your head to force you to do anything, but just like regular exercise or healthy eating, the people who commit to doing it regularly are the ones who get the best outcomes.
(2) Ergonomics and Posture
The few minutes that you spend with your chiropractor unfortunately isn’t going to be able to override spending 10 hours a day six days a week slouching over the computer or looking down at your phone. Making a conscious effort to maintain good posture can remove unnecessary strain from your musculo skeletal system and help speed up your recovery. Many people have even arranged with their workplace to have a standing desk or an onsite ergonomic assessment. You can speak to your Adelaide chiropractor about which methods are available to maintain better posture.
(3) Stay Active
In the old days, bed rest was often prescribed by doctors for people who had back problems. This has been comprehensively disproven and is actually detrimental to people. Modern evidence strongly recommends that people keep up as much physical activity as they can while they are recovering from their injuries, as well as afterwards to prevent deconditioning of the muscles which support the body.
(4) Limit Sitting
There is a saying in the industry that says “Sitting for the spine is like sugar for the teeth”. Many studies have demonstrated the negative effects of prolonged sitting on the lumbar spinal discs and the sacro-iliac joints, as these are placed in unnatural load bearing positions during sitting. We also know that sitting and inactivity for prolonged periods of time can weaken the supportive muscles of the spine, like the multifidus muscle, which then predisposed the person to chronic lower back pain. The Australian Physiotherapy Association even ran a memorable advertising campaign recently saying that “Australia’s biggest killer is lurking in your loungeroom”
This dramatic video compares the number of deaths from terrifying Australian wildlife and obesity related illness (made worse by sitting too much instead of exercising). We often advise our patients to limit sitting to 90 minutes at a time if you have no choice but to sit at work, and break up sitting periods with a toilet break, or grabbing a drink or going for a walk.
(5) Eat Healthy
Healthy eating can benefit your chiropractic care in a number of ways. Keeping to a healthy weight will reduce the physical stress on your joints, especially the weight bearing joints like the spine and the hips. Getting the required healthy fats can support the brain, as well as the fatty insulation coating around your nerve cells, allowing them to communicate and regulate your body efficiently. Minimising processed carbs can reduce systemic inflammation throughout the body, which can in turn regulate the pain you experience in the muscles and joints.
(6) Specific Exercises
Your Adelaide Chiropractor can assess your specific conditions and recommend a series of simple exercises designed to improve mobility and posture, stretch joints and muscles that are not allowing correct movement, strengthen the core of the body to better support the spine and pelvis and improve overall coordination. Performing these exercises diligently is the “homework” you can do in between your visits to the chiropractor to help you to maintain your adjustments in a more stable fashion.
(7) Ask Questions
Remember that your chiropractor has completed at least 5 years of university study and spent many years in clinical practice to know what they know. We don’t expect you to absorb all of that knowledge in 2-3 visits to the chiropractic clinic. If you can’t remember the exercises you have been shown, or which foods you should avoid, or how to watch your posture at work, please ask your chiropractor to go through them with you again, as many times as you need until you are confident that you are applying the principles correctly.
Your chiropractor will do the best they can to help you by providing specific adjustments to your spine. You can play a role in your chiropractic care that is just as important, by practising these simple lifestyle concepts in combination with your treatment.