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

Bedding Myths

Written by Don Williams BSc, MChiro, ICSSD. on Monday, 21 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Ergonomics, Chiropractic

Bedding Myths

At this time of year, we find lots of people are thinking about new beds. It might be something to do with New Year's resolutions. For whatever reason, a new bed could be a good idea if your old bed is getting on in years.

I thought I might cover some of the myths and 'marketing hype' that we see in the industry.

Firstly, do I need a new bed?

How old is your current bed? Most modern beds will last 10 years. In fact, almost all new beds have a 10 year warranty. Usually, once the bed is getting over 15 years, or it has big furrows or stains, it is time to get a new one. 

How do I know if my bed is causing my back/neck pain?

Try sleeping in a spare bed. Are you better? Then go back to your bed. Is your back/neck sore again? We often find that patients start to question their own bed when they go on holidays and their back pain goes away. The bed could be the issue; however, it could also be a variance in the activities that you do in your normal life. Our tip, use this as an excuse for a weekend away. 

Non-Flip Mattresses

There is a tendency to see a lot of non-flip mattresses now. While I acknowledge that better quality materials and manufacturing can mean better mattresses, simple physics dictates that you only have one surface to wear out. So a one-sided mattress will last less time. It is cheaper to manufacture a non-flip mattress and marketing tells us it saves your back because you don't need to flip it. Our experience is the mattress will not last as long. Our suggestion... Always buy a flip-able mattress for the longest mattress life.

Pillow Tops

All the rage at present! A pillow top feels luxurious; however, this would be the greatest source of complaints about mattresses. The pillow top will generally wear out before the support characteristics of the mattress (furrows and ridges) and it seems this is very difficult to rectify or address through a warranty claim. The biggest issue with a pillow top is that if the bed is too soft, it is very difficult to make it firmer. The best solution is to buy a mattress without a pillow top and if it is too firm, then buy a great overlay. We normally suggest a gel infused memory foam overlay as they are cool, comfortable and when they wear out, it is simple to throw it away and get a new one.

'Latex is Hot'

Generally this is not the case. Good quality latex beds are core drilled and are a natural fibre. They breathe well and conform well to the body, meaning generally no pressure points. 

At Institute of Sports and Spines we stock and sell high quality memory foam overlays, latex mattresses and both memory foam and latex pillows.

If you think you need a new mattress, pillow or overlay, talk to us and we can recommend and let you trial them at the clinic to identify what is the best solution for you.

 

Spot Reduction

on Friday, 18 January 2019. Posted in Newsletters, General Health, Training and Performance

How Many Sit Ups Do I Need to Do to Get a 6 Pack?

This is a very common question we get asked here at Institute of Sports and Spines. The truth is that there isn’t a specific number of sit ups that would give any of us a six pack. Seeing results isn’t that simple.

There are claims that performing certain exercises targeting specific areas of the body can reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat in that area. This is known as spot reduction and has been disproved by a significant amount of scientific research.

Focusing all of your attention on a ‘problem area’ of your body will not result in fat reduction. You can definitely see improvement in muscular strength and even size when working on specific areas of the body but the amount of fat under the skin would have minimal change.

So how can I get rid of my belly bulge/thunder thighs/tuck shop lady arms?

It has been found that performing a combination of cardiorespiratory and resistance training is the most efficient way to reduce subcutaneous fat. When performing cardiorespiratory exercise we expend large amounts of energy (dependent on type of exercise). With regular resistance training (weight lifting) our muscles get more efficient and even at rest will be taking in energy (burning more energy).

It is also very important to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking - eating more foods from the 5 food groups, eating wholegrains, eating less highly refined carbohydrates, and drinking less alcohol and soft drinks.

Seeing results takes time and hard work, not 1346 sit ups. Consistency is key in achieving your goals and keeping your motivation on track is essential. Rather than focusing on a specific part of your body or a specific exercise, focus on making healthy lifestyle changes and you will get closer to improving that ‘problem area’.

 

Written by Emily Holzberger

Qualifications: B. ExSS Majoring in Clinical ExPhys.