Articles in Category: Ergonomics

Musculoskeletal Development

on Thursday, 28 January 2016. Posted in General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Musculoskeletal Development

Musculoskeletal Development


When we are born we're usually around 50cm long. Once we're fully grown we have added another 115cm to that. It all seems normal and usually it happens without any issues, however there are very complicated processes at work that are influenced by so many factors. To name a few: hormones, exercise level, diet, and different pathologies.


Bone growth


At the end of your bone there is a disc like structure of non-ossified cartilage, this is the growth plate. By multiplying the cartilage the cells help expand the bone and this is how people grow. When we age, eventually all the cartilage ossifies and we stop growing.


Even though the growth plates have been ossified in adults this does not mean the bones are not operational. Bone is being broken down and relayed constantly throughout one’s life. The production of bone is being stimulated by Oestrogen a hormone this is the reason why the bone strength deteriorates in post-menopausal women.




The growth hormone is important for development and is made in the pituitary gland within your brain. The hormone causes longitudinal growth by stimulating the growth plates. The release of this hormone into your blood stream isn't a continuous occurrence but more a collection of bursts. These bursts happen at night two hours after you've fallen asleep. Besides sleeping, physical exercise has a positive effect on the release of this hormone as well.


In addition to the growth hormone, the Thyroid hormones and sex steroids (testosterone and oestrogen) play an important part in an individual’s growth. Sex steroids cause rapid growth during puberty, up to 12cm a year! But even in adults the growth hormone has a number of important functions. It’s important to the musculoskeletal system, bone density, metabolism and our wellbeing.


What are growing pains?


Growing pains are pains felt by children and adolescents at night on both sides of their bodies.


There are many different theories on what exactly causes growing pains. One such theory suggests that the pain is caused by the stretching of the muscles and tendons as the bones grow. As discussed previously we don't grow the same amount from one day to the next so the pain can be present during one night and gone the next. It is nothing to be concerned about, as a parent you can try to massage the area. If the pain persists however refer to a healthcare practitioner.


Chiropractic care and developing children


As you'll understand by now, there is a lot happening in your body during your youth. And we've only been discussing bone growth. Your muscles need to elongate at the same speed and that can lead to diminished coordination. This is mostly seen during puberty as this is when you grow the most. It is important for youngsters to be exercising lots, this best enables the body to adapt to all the changes, what is more you are training your motor skills.


It is important however that you exercise and move in the correct way, using the correct motor patterns. This is where chiropractic can help. By making sure that the joints can move freely, the muscles can function better, which, can optimise growth and prevent injuries. By treating problem areas, addressing faulty movement patterns and explaining certain preventative measures, chiropractic endeavours to help our youths move without pain and diminish the risk of injury so that playing sports remains fun!

Myth Busters: It's Important to Stretch before Exercise

on Thursday, 14 February 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Sporting Injuries, Ergonomics, Training and Performance

Myth Busters: It's Important to Stretch before Exercise

For many years it was believed that performing static stretches before exercising reduced your risk of injury. However research has shown that this is not the case.


Static stretching is a method of stretching where you gradually lengthen your muscles and tendons by holding your body in a certain position for approximately 30 seconds. An example of this might be a hamstring stretch (see below). This type of stretching is useful in improving flexibility and muscle function.


Stretch 1 

A study completed in Norway that had over 1000 participants found that there was little to no reduction in injury risk when stretching was performed before exercise. Research has shown that performing a warm up made up of dynamic stretches can increase body awareness, strength and neuromuscular control which reduces the risk of injury.

Stretch 2  Stretch 3

Dynamic stretching is a type of stretching where you gradually lengthen muscles and tendons and also warm them up by moving your joint through a range of motion similar to the activity you are about to perform. For example if you are about to go for a walk/run/cycle performing leg swings can be beneficial (see below).


Static stretching is still important to perform after you exercise. This can help in easing muscle soreness caused by Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which can occur 24-48 hours after an exercise session. It is a good idea to perform these stretches in your cool down, focusing on the areas of your body that you worked most.


So if you’ve been doing static stretches as part of your warm up at the gym or on the field maybe swap it for some dynamic stretches and save the static stretches for your cool down.


If you would like to learn or know more about what stretches are most beneficial for you as an individual get in contact with Emily our Exercise Physiologist here at Institute of Sports and Spines!



Written by Emily Holzberger

Qualifications: B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys.   


Resource: ABC Health and Wellbeing, 2014


Sitting at your Desk

on Monday, 21 December 2015. Posted in Ergonomics

Sitting at your Desk

Sitting at your Desk

You probably have seen it talked about recently, in the media or on Facebook: working upright is supposed to be healthy but why? This article will discuss the reasoning behind this claim and why getting out of that chair is so important!


Let's start with discussing how much we actually sit in a day. We get out of bed and sit down for breakfast. Then we sit in the car to drive to work where most of us sit down for a few hours until it's time to go home. We get in the car, drive home have dinner and sit down in front of the television to relax. Some lucky few have a job that doesn't require them to sit the whole day and there are some that even cycle to work. However, this isn't the Great Kingdom of the Netherlands so there aren't many that cycle to work and it’s not very well catered for. This is why Australia's population is getting fatter by the minute. Research has shown that, on average, people sit between 7.5 to 15 hours a day! Additional research has also shown that it doesn’t matter how much we work out in the gym or on the pitch we can't undo the damage done from sitting for extended periods of time.


Why sitting is bad for your back
S Shape Spine

Curves are a normal part of the spine's structure. Looking at the spine from the side several curves can be seen. From this angle, the spine resembles an 'S' shape.


These curves enable the spine to distribute the load evenly. Maintaining a good posture means actively maintaining that S curve in your spine. This becomes quite difficult during a long road trip or after being seated behind a desk for an extensive period of time. We usually start out pretty good, but before you know it we're hunched back in our chair or bent forward over that book or phone.


During any body position there will be some loading on the intervertebral discs (1) and vertebral bodies (2) of the spine. Research has shown this pressure to be the least when we lie on our backs and the highest when we are seated, almost twice as much as when we're standing!


When people sit for extended periods of time their pelvis shifts and their lower back ends up in a C shape as opposed to the S discussed earlier. This increases the pressure even more and stretches the back muscles and ligaments which can cause further pain and discomfort.


Not just sitting in a bad posture, but also sitting for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your spinal health. Our intervertebral discs lack their own blood supply. They have their nutrients supplied to them by movement in the spinal column. This means that if we remain seated for a long time, we are starving our intervertebral disc. This will lead to degenerative changes in these segments, which are irreversible. As a consequence the spine has decreased in strength even low loading now has the potential to cause pain.


Other health issues caused by sitting
Research has shown that besides the effect on the back, prolonged sitting can cause all sorts of other health problems. Various research papers have shown that prolonged sitting is bad for your mental health and it increases the chance of diabetes.


Furthermore, the chances of cardiovascular problems increase as cholesterol levels and blood pressure rise. The researchers also saw an increase in different types of cancer due to sitting for extended periods of time. Namely, bowl cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer. The risk increase per 2 hours was 8% for bowel cancer, 10% for cervical cancer and 6% for lung cancer. People who sit extensively tend to have a lower life expectancy.


All this research shows that we need to drastically rethink our attitude towards sitting. Especially since, as we've earlier discussed, you cannot undo the damage done from sitting all day by spending an hour or two in the gym. This is why many companies have started to invest in standing desks. These desks can be worked on in a seated as well as a standing position, this way you can stand up and continue your work standing when you want to. If such a desk is not available to you, try and stand up when you're on the phone or go for walks during your lunch breaks, this will help decrease the time you spend sitting down. And if you want to help your colleagues be healthier as well, suggest having standing meetings as research has shown that this leads to more creativity, greater cooperation and faster decision making. And who wouldn't be interested in that!? So tomorrow at work change your workstation and get up from that chair!