Posts filed under: Nervous System

Sleep – Best Practices & Recommendations

The importance of sleep

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong chiropractors understand the important role sleep has on our health and wellbeing. It only takes a few sub-optimal nights of sleep to quickly see the downside sleep can have on our energy, mood and productivity. Reduced sleep quality also increases our sensitivity to stress and pain, increased injury risk and impairs immune system function.

Our Geelong chiropractors understand that getting sleep back on track is an important pillar in managing pain and function in the short term, but also in sustaining good health in the long term.

Here are some off the ways sleep helps us maintain good health and well-being:

  • Lowers stress sensitivity. Sleep makes you more tolerable and less sensitive to stress, which can help reduce muscle tension build up, clenching & grinding behaviours and much more.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can increase appetite and make it harder to lose weight.
  • Lower your risk of chronic diseases. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Improve your mood and cognitive function. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to experience mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Sleep also helps to consolidate memories and improve learning.
  • Protect your immune system. Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to get sick.
  • Reduce your risk of accidents. Sleep deprivation can impair your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This can increase your risk of accidents, both at home and on the road.

Getting your sleep back on track

Here are some best practices for a good night’s sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music. Avoid watching TV or using electronic devices in the hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with sleep.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Darkness helps to promote the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep. Noise and light can disrupt sleep, so make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible. A cool temperature (around 18 degrees celsius) is also ideal for sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine and alcohol can both interfere with sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, while alcohol can disrupt sleep later in the night.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise can help to improve sleep quality, but it’s important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime. Aim to finish your workout at least 3 hours before bed.
  • See a health professional. If you’ve tried the above tips and you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your health professional. There may be an underlying condition that’s interfering with your sleep.

Here are some additional tips that may help you get a good night’s sleep:

  • Nap during the day if you need to, but keep it short (30 minutes or less).
  • Avoid napping too late in the day, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Napping can reduce the build up of adenosine, which is responsible for helping us sleep.
  • Avoid eating large meals or sugary foods before bed. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel tired. This will help to prevent you from associating your bed with frustration and wakefulness.
  • If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try some relaxation techniques before bed. Aiming to calm your central nervous system, this could include deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

Following these tips can help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

References

  1. Vladyslav V Vyazovskiy (2015) Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep, Nature and Science of Sleep, 7:, 171-184, DOI: 10.2147/NSS.S54036
  2. Zachary A. Caddick, Kevin Gregory, Lucia Arsintescu, Erin E. Flynn-Evans, A review of the environmental parameters necessary for an optimal sleep environment, Building and Environment, Volume 132, 2018, Pages 11-20, ISSN 0360-1323, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2018.01.020.

7 Facts About Chiropractic That You May Not Know

Facts about chiropractic that you may not know | Chiropractor Geelong

1. Chiropractic is a holistic healthcare profession

This means that chiropractors believe that the body is a whole system and that all parts of the body work together. They also believe that the spine and nervous systems are the foundations of health and that by improving the function of the spine and nervous system, they can help improve overall health.

2. Chiropractic is a regulated profession

Chiropractors in Australia are regulated and licensed through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulating Agency (AHPRA), which also regulate other medical and dentistry professionals. In order to be licensed, chiropractors must undergo and pass an accredited five-year university program, meet ongoing education and experience requirments.

3. Chiropractic is safe and effective

Chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, and joint pain. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic.

4. Chiropractic is not just about cracking bones

While spinal adjustments are a common chiropractic technique, they are not the only one. Chiropractors also use a variety of other techniques, such as massage, dry needling, mobilisation, and exercise, to help their patients.

5. Chiropractors must undergo five years of university education

In Australia, chiropractors are required to have undergone an accredited five-year university program in order to satisfy regulatory and licensing requirements. During their studies, chiropractors undertake coursework in biology, neurology, orthopaedics, biomechanics, anatomy & physiology and more.

6. Chiropractors are not just for back pain

While spine-related conditions are often a primary reason people may seek chiropractic care. Chiropractors can also help with a variety of other conditions, such as headaches, migraines, TMJ disorders, joint pain, sciatica, and muscle tension.

7. Chiropractic is not a one-size-fits-all treatment

Chiropractic care is tailored to your needs, goals and resources available. Read about our Geelong chiropractors approach to treatment.

Looking for a chiropractor in Geelong?

References

  • Roland Bryans, Martin Descarreaux, Mireille Duranleau, Henri Marcoux, Brock Potter, Rick Ruegg, Lynn Shaw, Robert Watkin, Eleanor White,
    Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 34, Issue 5, 2011, Pages 274-289, ISSN 0161-4754, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008.

Improve Your Sleep With These 3 Tips

How to improve your sleep

Sleep is essential for our physical, mental and overall health. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can experience fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and an increased risk of workplace and exercise-related injuries.

There are many things we can do to improve our sleep quality, in this article our Geelong chiropractors will highlight some of the advice we often give our clients wanting to improve their sleep.

Read our more extensive sleep article here, where we cover my strategies to optimise your sleep quality.

Daily sunlight exposure

Sunlight helps to regulate our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. When we get enough sunlight during the day, it helps us to feel more alert and awake, while preparing our body to wind down in the evening. Try to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure each day, especially in the morning.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol later in the day

Caffeine and alcohol can both disrupt sleep, in particular the slow wave sleep phases of deep and REM sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, but can also reduce our time spent in these restorative phases of sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but it can also disrupt our slow wave sleep and reduce the overall quality of our sleep. If you’d like to optimise your sleep quality, it’s best to avoid caffeine and alcohol approximately 10 hours prior to sleep.

Regular exercise

Exercise can help to improve sleep quality and help facilitate our sleep-wake cycle. Important to note that exercising too close to sleep can have a negative affect on sleep quality. Exercising earlier in the day is preferential or at least 4-6 hours prior to sleep.

References

  1. Pei-Yu Yang, Ka-Hou Ho, Hsi-Chung Chen, Meng-Yueh Chien,
    Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review, Journal of Physiotherapy, Volume 58, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 157-163, ISSN 1836-9553, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1836-9553(12)70106-6.
  2. Daniel Freeman, Bryony Sheaves, Guy M Goodwin, Ly-Mee Yu, Alecia Nickless, Paul J Harrison, Richard Emsley, Annemarie I Luik, Russell G Foster, Vanashree Wadekar, Christopher Hinds, Andrew Gumley, Ray Jones, Stafford Lightman, Steve Jones, Richard Bentall, Peter Kinderman, Georgina Rowse, Traolach Brugha, Mark Blagrove, Alice M Gregory, Leanne Fleming, Elaine Walklet, Cris Glazebrook, E Bethan Davies, Chris Hollis, Gillian Haddock, Bev John, Mark Coulson, David Fowler, Katherine Pugh, John Cape, Peter Moseley, Gary Brown, Claire Hughes, Marc Obonsawin, Sian Coker, Edward Watkins, Matthias Schwannauer, Kenneth MacMahon, A Niroshan Siriwardena, Colin A Espie, The effects of improving sleep on mental health (OASIS): a randomised controlled trial with mediation analysis, The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 4, Issue 10, 2017, Pages 749-758, ISSN 2215-0366, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30328-0.

Clenching Or Grinding Your Jaw? How To Help

What causes us to grind or clench? | TMJ Chiropractor

Jaw clenching or grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, can be a common yet problematic issue when managing TMJ and facial pain. Bruxism can be further distinguished as sleep bruxism, awake bruxism and non-specified bruxism. In order to effectively relieve and manage jaw clenching or grinding, we must initially understand the underlying cause of the behaviour. At an individual level, certain personality traits, such as those with high stress sensitivity or anxious traits, are more likely to develop TMJ pain associated with bruxism.

While bruxism can be chacterised as clenching our teeth during the day or grinding our teeth during our sleep, these behaviours are clearly an effect or output of a wound up or heightened state of nervous system activity. For example, have you ever noticed when you are under significant stress, no matter the origin, that you find yourself more likely to clench, hold tension through your jaw, neck or shoulders?

In summary, it’s important to understand this concept, teeth or jaw clenching and grinding is likely an output or an effect of a heightened central nervous system state. In order to effectively manage it, the underlying nervous system state needs to be considered in the overall management. This is why our Geelong TMJ chiropractors take a holistic and comprehensive approach to the assessment, diagnosis and management of TMJ disorders related to grinding and clenching.

Here's what our Geelong TMJ chiropractors recommend for reducing grinding and clenching behaviours

-Understand your triggers-

Do you ever notice that when you’re under significant stress, whether that be with work, family or any other potential stressor for that matter, that your clenching or grinding becomes more noticeable?

If this is you, chances are you have an underlying nervous system cause of your clenching or grinding.

You don’t know what you don’t know, better understanding your triggers, traits or behaviours when exposed to certain stressors in a good start in managing this long term.

 

Manage your triggers

By managing, I don’t mean trying to control every single stress that gets thrown our way because that never really ends well. Instead, learning to better manage how we respond and ultimately allow these stresses manifest is far more realistic.

Mindfulness-based, non-sleep deep rest (NSDR) strategies have shown to promote a calming and pacifying effect on our central nervous system.

 

-Improve your awareness-

Watch the video to see what our Geelong TMJ chiropractors recommend for improving jaw and muscle awareness.

-Promote better jaw muscle and joint function-

In this video, our Geelong TMJ chiropractors discuss an easy-to-implement exercise to promote better joint and muscle function.

References

  1. Zheng B, Ma J, Wang X, Pu Y, Sun H, Su Y, Yang Q, Lu S, He H. A review about risk factors for bruxism in adults. anxiety. 2022 Mar 1;4(3):33-8. doi: 10.25236/FMSR.2022.040306
  2. Demjaha G, Kapusevska B, Pejkovska-Shahpaska B. Bruxism Unconscious Oral Habit in Everyday Life. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2019 Mar 14;7(5):876-881. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2019.196. PMID: 30962854; PMCID: PMC6447347.
  3. Ronald E. Goldstein, Wendy Auclair Clark, The clinical management of awake bruxism, The Journal of the American Dental Association, Volume 148, Issue 6, 2017, Pages 387-391, ISSN 0002-8177, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adaj.2017.03.005.

Better Results, Faster, With Multi Modal Chiropractic Care

What is multi modal Chiropractic care?

At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong chiropractors often hear that we are quite distinct from other health practitioners in the way we assess, treat and manage a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. We are commonly referred to as multi-modal chiropractors, meaning, we use a variety of methods to achieve optimal outcomes in pain relief, better movement and function for our clients. Whilst we incorporate traditional chiropractic care, we also utilise a variety of soft tissue therapies, dry needling, exercise and rehabilitation methods.

Our Geelong chiropractors understand no two people are the same, having a skillset of different strategies have enabled us at Empowered Health Chiropractic to effectively treat not only the problem at hand, but most importantly, each person individually and specifically.

Our techniques have helped our clients with low back painneck painheadachesTMJ painshoulder painsciaticadizziness & vertigo and more.

Male Geelong chiropractor performing manual chiropractic treatment to female client

Manual chiropractic adjustments

Our aim with manual chiropractic adjustments is effective pain relief and quick improvements in joint and muscle function.

Often used as part of an overall management plan, in conjunction with other soft tissue therapy, exercise & rehabilitation.

Education

Education is essential to not only better understand your condition but also the causes underlying it.

This is important in the short & long-term when managing your condition between treatment and independently.

Knowing what lifestyle & activity modifications to make specifically to you, can allow your body to get back on track quicker.

Dry needling & other soft tissue therapies

Dry needling is another effective strategy we employ to reduce myofacial pain and promote better muscle function.

This may be in the form of traditional massage techniques, dry needling, active release technique (ART) and more.

Exercise & rehabilitation therapy

Our ultimate goal at Empowered Health, is to get you moving, feeling and functioning at your best long term.

An essential pillar of sustaining our outcomes is through home-care, strength and movement training.

Our Geelong Chiropractors want you to be feel empowered over your health condition, allowing you to take back control of your life.

Chiropractic spinal rehabilitation and exercise therapy

Questions?

    References

    1. D. Scott Kreiner, Paul Matz, Christopher M. Bono, Charles H. Cho, John E. Easa, Gary Ghiselli, Zoher Ghogawala, Charles A. Reitman, Daniel K. Resnick, William C. Watters, Thiru M. Annaswamy, Jamie Baisden, Walter S. Bartynski, Shay Bess, Randall P. Brewer, R. Carter Cassidy, David S. Cheng, Sean D. Christie, Norman B. Chutkan, Bernard Allan Cohen, Simon Dagenais, Dennis E. Enix, Paul Dougherty, S. Raymond Golish, Padma Gulur, Steven W. Hwang, Cumhur Kilincer, Jeffrey A. King, Adam C. Lipson, Anthony J. Lisi, Richard J. Meagher, John E. O’Toole, Paul Park, Murat Pekmezci, Daniel R. Perry, Ravi Prasad, David A. Provenzano, Kris E. Radcliff, Gazanfar Rahmathulla, Tom E. Reinsel, Robert L. Rich, Daniel S. Robbins, Karie A. Rosolowski, Jonathan N. Sembrano, Anil K. Sharma, Alison A. Stout, Christopher K. Taleghani, Ryan A. Tauzell, Terry Trammell, Yakov Vorobeychik, Amy M. Yahiro, Guideline summary review: an evidence-based clinical guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain, The Spine Journal, Volume 20, Issue 7, 2020, Pages 998-1024, ISSN 1529-9430, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2020.04.006.
    2. Steven Z. George, Julie M. Fritz, Sheri P. Silfies, Michael J. Schneider, Jason M. Beneciuk, Trevor A. Lentz, John R. Gilliam, Stephanie Hendren, and Katherine S. Norman, Interventions for the Management of Acute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Revision 2021, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2021, 51:11, CPG1-CPG60
    3. Nowak, Zuzanna, Maciej Chęciński, Aleksandra Nitecka-Buchta, Sylwia Bulanda, Danuta Ilczuk-Rypuła, Lidia Postek-Stefańska, and Stefan Baron. 2021. “Intramuscular Injections and Dry Needling within Masticatory Muscles in Management of Myofascial Pain. Systematic Review of Clinical Trials” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9552. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189552

    TMJ Pain And How Chiropractic Care Can Help

    What is TMJ pain?

    The temporomandibular joint, otherwise better known as the TMJ, is the articulation between the temporal bone of the cranium, the disc and the condyle of the mandible. This paired joint comprises of two key motions, rotation and translation, both of which allow the mouth to open and close. This functional relationship is important in allowing us to chew, talk or yawn without much of a thought.

    However, sometimes our TMJs can become painful or symptomatic, this is often referred to as a TMJ disorder. These symptoms can be of arthrogenic (the joint, disc etc) or myogenic (muscular) in nature. However, often these two are paired in a large portion of TMJ disorders, especially when they are chronic or ongoing.

    There are factors which have shown to increase the likelihood of developing a TMJ disorder. Some of these factors include habitual clenching, grinding, occlusal issues, central nervous system sensitivity and more.

     

    How do you assess the TMJ?

    Thorough history of the TMJ pain (I.e. When it started, type of symptoms, aggravating factors etc)

    Comprehensive examination, viewing posture, TMJ motion, occlusion, palpatory findings, pain mapping and more

     

    How do you treat TMJ disorders?

    Similar to how you would treat other painful joints and muscles

    Manual therapies, may include dry needling, specific joint manipulations, mobilisations and soft tissue therapy

    Progressive exercise and rehabilitation plan to promote better muscle and joint function

     

     

    Low Back Pain & Chiropractic Care

    Can Chiropractic care help with Low Back Pain?

     

    Acute and chronic low back pain with or without sciatica are common presentations to Chiropractic care in Australia. Recently updated guidelines have suggested that sufferers need to be screened for poorer outcomes or less likely to recover quickly, self-management is important for all sufferers and a combination of manual therapy and psychological therapy should be incorporated. 

    Chiropractic care is equipped to effectively see and manage low back pain with or without sciatica. Chiropractors have undergone five years of education and training to diagnose, treat and manage low back pain with or without sciatica

    At Empowered Health Chiropractic, our Geelong Chiropractors are trained to accurately assess and diagnose low back pain conditions, while also providing a comprehensive treatment and self-management plan to get you moving, feeling and functioning better. Some treatment approaches our Chiropractors might use include adjustments, mobilisations, soft tissue therapy and graded exercises to get you back on track. 

    If you need help with low back pain with or without sciatica, please contact us on 03 4250 9865 or alternatively, you can book an appointment online.

    Bernstein I A, Malik Q, Carville S, Ward S. Low back pain and sciatica: summary of NICE guidance BMJ 2017; 356 :i6748 doi:10.1136/bmj.i6748

    Male Geelong chiropractor educating and discussing with female client