Articles in Category: General Health

Dehydration and Its Effect on Your Body

on Monday, 21 January 2019. Posted in Massage, Newsletters, General Health

Dehydration and Its Effect on Your Body

The human body is comprised of approximately 60% water; when you think about your body as a whole, you can appreciate the importance water has for every function. Water is responsible for keeping organs and body systems working efficiently; therefore, it is important to ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water daily.

I know that, but why? That's a good question...

Your body loses water through day to day functioning, when you breathe, digest, sweat and menstruate. Physical activities, pregnancy or illness can also result in loss of water. Water maintains the health of cells, tissues and muscles and prevents things like dry eyes, nose and mouth. Numerous organs and their functions, which aren't necessarily obvious to you in regards to water levels, can be impacted significantly when water levels are insufficient. 

The heart and brain reportedly have a water composition of approximately 73%, so these significant organs can suffer greatly when you are lacking water. For the brain, hydration is essential because it sends signals to the body for basic movements and processes. There are also studies that show pain levels may worsen when dehydrated. It is unclear why, but when the brain is dehydrated, your body may feel an increase of pain in the form of headaches, muscle pain and back pain to name a few. The skin is your largest organ and is made up of 64% water. Kidneys and muscles are approximately 79% water with bones having a water composition of approximately 31%. 

Lower back pain and water:

Between each vertebra there are intervertebral discs; these discs can be described as soft jelly-like substances and they are composed of water. When you are dehydrated, these discs are not cushioning your movements as they should be and may cause, or contribute to pain in the lower, mid and upper back, as well as your neck. 

Some common signs of dehydration:

  • Darker coloured urine (medium yellow to brown)
  • Little to no urine
  • Thirst
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Constipation
  • 'Brain Fog'
  • Headaches

What can you do to stay hydrated?

It is all about lifestyle choices, foods we eat, particularly fruits and vegetables contain water and can aid in improving or maintaining hydration levels. Conversely, there are foods and drinks we consume that can contribute to dehydration such as, soft drinks, coffee, alcohol, fried foods, cured meats, salty and sugary snacks (including those food and drinks with artificial sweeteners).

Ideas:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day
  • If you don't like the taste of plain water, no worries! Try adding some lemon, lime or orange slices - one of my favourites is to add some fresh mint and a cinnamon stick
  • Enjoy herbal teas
  • Drink water before, during and after a workout
  • When you feel hungry, drink water, often thirst is confused with hunger and true hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water
  • Schedule your drinking - drink water upon waking, at meal times and when you go to bed. Perhaps drinking a small glass of water every waking hour could work for you

By Maharlia Kennedy

Remedial Massage Therapist

Dip Remedial Massage

Dizziness: What are the causes and when can Chiropractic help?

on Wednesday, 11 November 2015. Posted in General Health, Chiropractic

Dizziness: What are the causes and when can Chiropractic help?

By Jakob van Vlijmen

M Chiro, DC

 

There are very few complaints as difficult as dizziness. Even though most types of dizziness do not have a sinister cause, they can lead to certain risks. As you can all imagine, being in a car or on the top of a flight of stairs are dangerous places to become dizzy. The following article will discuss the different causes of dizziness, the different ways it can present and when a visit to the chiropractor can be helpful.

 

Light headed or vertigo?

Dizziness is used to indicate a sense of instability, movement insecurity or light headedness. The term vertigo indicates a sense of spinning or whirling when the patient isn't actually moving. Light headedness is usually caused by low blood pressure, especially when it comes on after getting up too quickly. Low blood sugar however can also be a cause. If you experience these kinds of dizziness on a regular basis it might be a good idea for you to discuss this with your GP.

 

The 3 systems involved in processing movement information.

To be able to explain the different causes of dizziness we will have to discuss some of the mechanisms responsible for our sense of balance, the ability to register movement and our sense of positioning. These are the 3 different systems we need to discuss:

 

The Eyes - Among other things we use horizontal and vertical lines within our surroundings to determine our position and register movement.

 

The Organs of Balance - Situated deep within the ear. These organs are specialised in registering movement, acceleration and the position of the head.

 

Proprioception - This is information concerning the position of joints, the length of muscles and the force exerted by muscles.

 

By gathering and analysing the information from these systems numerous of times per second our brains can determine if anything or anyone is moving, what needs to be done to achieve movement and if we are in a balanced position.

 

Perfect collaboration between the 3 systems is required.

It is important to realise that these 3 systems have to work together in sync to prevent problems occurring. For example, when you turn your head to the left, the balance organs in your left ear is moving backward relatively speaking and the one in the right ear is moving forward. At the same time the position of several neck vertebra change, certain muscles are active in order for you to perform the movement and the eyes are registering the change in your surroundings. As long as all the information that your brain receives aligns with each other things will go smoothly, but if there is a discrepancy in the signals the brain receives it can lead to dizziness.

 

Different types of dizziness.

With the use of this background information a lot of common causes of dizziness can be explained.

 

Labyrinthitis (inflammation of the balance organ) With Labyrinthitis one or both of the balance organs becomes inflamed, most often this is caused by a virus infection. The afflicted organ is sending abnormal or incorrect information to the brain that doesn’t correspond with the other balance organ and other systems. This cause’s severe acute dizziness often accompanied with nausea and vomiting, sometimes the patient also experiences deafness or tinnitus. The symptoms can be so severe that the patient becomes bed ridden as every movement aggravates the symptoms. No real effective treatment exists but luckily most symptoms subside after a few days, although full recovery can take several weeks.

 

Meniere’s disease is an affliction of the inner ear, in which both the hearing organ and the balancing organ are affected. Meniere’s disease causes dizziness, tinnitus and deafness. These symptoms can come in waves and can persist for any length of time from a few hours to days. In some cases the deafness can be permanent. Meniere is usually treated with medications, but the success the medication has varies greatly case to case.

 

Benign Paroxysmal Positional vertigo (BPPV) The balancing organ registers the position and movement of the head with the use of 5 fluid filled canals. Movement of the head causes these fluids to move which is registered by little hairs within the canals. BPPV occurs when tiny particles break loose and fall into the canals stimulating the nerves that detect head rotation. The brain receives the message that the head is spinning when this isn’t the case. BPPV usually comes on after a fast head movement and disappears after 15 to 30 seconds. BPPV usually comes on at a later stage in life after an ear infection or bump to the head. Your chiropractor will be able to determine if the dizziness that you are experiencing is indeed BPPV by taking a full history of your complaint and performing several tests. If you indeed have BPPV it can usually be treated successfully within 2 to 3 treatments. During these treatments your chiropractor will be moving the head in a very specific manner in an attempt to relocate the particles that have broken off. Of all forms of vertigo BPPV is probably the most easily treated.

 

Cervicogenic dizziness is dizziness cause by problems in the joints or muscles in the neck. As explained earlier the brain also uses the information from muscles and joints (proprioception). Injuries or movement difficulties to the neck can cause dizziness for that reason. A good example is dizziness as a consequence to a whiplash caused by a car accident. This kind of dizziness is often seen in a chiropractic office and usually responds very well to treatment.

 

Sinister Causes

Besides the relatively benign causes mentioned above dizziness can also be caused by more serious afflictions luckily this is rarely the case, however if your dizziness is continuous and present for long periods at a time, uninfluenced by movement and accompanied by other symptoms. Such as headache, vomiting, problems with your eye sight it would be best to visit your GP.

 

 

 

Exercise and Mental Health

on Monday, 03 July 2017. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

Exercise and Mental Health

By Emily Holzberger

B.ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys. Memb: ESSA

ACSA level 1 Strength and Conditioning coach, Sports Medicine Australia Sports Trainer, Level 1 Volleyball coach

 

Research has shown time and time again the significant influence exercise has on an individual’s mental health and well-being. Being physically active plays a major role in the prevention of mental health conditions.

 

Below you will see a figure demonstrating the link between physical activity and depression using the Centre of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Individuals who performed moderate or higher levels of exercise had a much lower score than those who performed no exercise, especially for women.

For individual’s with mental health conditions, exercise is crucial in helping to manage their condition; it should go hand in hand with psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. The reason for this is because of the wide range of benefits exercise and physical activity provides:

 

    • High levels of subjective well-being and improvements in mood (Biddle, 2000; Sharma 2006
    • Release of endorphins and serotonin post-exercise lead to improved mood and reduced depression and anxiety symptoms (Health Direct, 2016
    • Exercise has an ‘anti-depressant effect’ (Mutrie, 2000
    • Improves self-esteem and cognitive function (Callaghan, 2004
    • Leads to improved sleep (Sharma, 2006
    • Increases energy and stamina (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduces tiredness that can increase mental alertnesss (Sharma, 2006
    • Reduction in weight which may be necessary because of the weight gain commonly associated with anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication. (Sharma, 2006
    • Provides social interactions, and allows people to build social networks and communication skills. (Peluso, 2005)

 

The figure below clearly outlines the phenomenal effect exercise has on people with depression. The exercise group of participants had the highest rate of recovery and the lowest rate of relapse out of the three groups.

Professor Jorm, from the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, provides a good explanation of what often is the case for most individual’s with poor mental health;

"When people get a problem like depression or severe mental illness, it affects their motivation and enjoyment of life, and that can drive physical activity down. But there's also probably a reciprocal effect, in that when they exercise less, that seems to make [their mental health] matters worse."

 

This cycle can be very difficult to get out of, however by taking small steps people will be able to feel the benefits for themselves. Supervised exercise has been shown to have greater adherence rates than unsupervised sessions, especially for this population group (Courneya, et al., 2012). This may be a strategy people could use to get back into exercise.

 

Emily Holzberger, the Clinical Exercise Physiologist here at Institute of Sports and Spines has experience working with patients with mental health conditions. Through her experience Emily’s seen just how much exercise can do for a person’s mental health. If you think incorporating exercise into the management of your current condition or need help with motivation give her a call (3398 7022).