Spinal Exercises: How and Why?

Exercises should be a regular part of our daily activity and weekly routine. As a chiropractor, we always advise our clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle and physical activity is a habit that we constantly encourage.

There are many benefits such as healthy muscles, bones and mobile joints. It also helps us burn calories and increase endurance. Exercising also has immediate benefits such as better sleep at night, better skin and a better ability to cope with stress and the demands of daily life. In a long term perspective, exercising can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. All this leads to a reduce risk of dying prematurely and becoming obese.

A common question posed by clients is how often they should engage in physical activity, what is considered an intense exercise or something lighter and more casual. We is recommended that you engage in activities for at least 30-60 minutes a day for 5 days a week. We always remind clients that it is not necessary to exercise for an hour straight. Even a 10-15 minute session 4 times a day, is equally as effective.

When it comes to the intensity of exercising, if you are able to speak easily, it is considered a light to moderate exercise. It is good to try to raise your heart rate but again, it is not necessary. Having some light cardio and then moving to postural, spinal exercises is ideal. This prepares your muscles for exercises and keeps the blood flow active.

Another common misconception is that exercising should be intense and difficult from the start. Do not over stress your muscles and joints! This is how injuries occur! I always recommend that clients start at an easier pace and with lighter weights. As your coordination improves, so will your balance, overall muscles tonicity and movement patterns. This is a much better way to approach and start exercising.

A simple/basic workout routine for your spine can consist of
1. ‘Dead Bug’ exercise: same side and opposite side X 15 times
2. Bridging: hold for 30 secs X 3 times
3. Squats: 10 times
4. Planks: 30 secs X3 times
5. Side planks: 30 sec X3 times

This is a skeleton spinal workout routine for the most beginner of clients. You should try to do this set twice a day. As time goes on and as your form improves, you can slowly add weights, increase the number of repetitions and the intensity (how long you would hold a position).

If you have questions or would like to start exercising but have a concern regarding your spinal health and posture, you can always give us a visit. At Healthworks, we will love to help you find a routine tat suits you and your needs. Till then, happy exercising!

Spinal Exercises: How and Why?2019-06-25T08:48:21+08:00

Fall Prevention In Elderly

Fall can happen anytime and anywhere to people of different ages. However, as we get older, number of fall increases with age which resulting injuries and fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in US, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people aged 65 and older. A person who falls may subsequently experiences pain, hospitalization, surgical intervention, admission to a nursing home and develops fear of falling. Fear of falling will cause further functional decline in an already frail patient.

Why Patient Falls?

Normal walking requires muscle strength, balance and coordination to allow proper gait. Freely moving joints, muscles contracting at the right time with the appropriate strength is important to support the body for normal gait and balance. As a person ages, he/ she may experience stiffened joints, decreased in muscle strength, reduced proprioceptive input which results in loss of balance and eventually increase the likelihood of falls. The risk of falling increases with a number of factors.

Risk Factors

1. Gait and balance impairment
2. Reduced muscle strength
3. History of falls
4. Obesity
5. Depression
6. Dizziness
7. Arthritis
8. Visual impairment
9. Medication

Falls put you at risk of serious injury. Still, fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Instead, consider these lifestyle choices to prevent falling.

1. Understand Your Health & Medications
– Talk to your doctor about the side effects of your medications and over the counter drugs, as fatigue or confusion increase your risk of falling. Take medications on schedule.

2. Remove Home Hazards
– Take away boxes, electrical cords, phone cords from the walkway.
– Shift coffee tables, magazine racks to the corner
– Immediately clean liquid spills and grease of foods
– Use non-slip mats in bathtub or shower.

3. Use Assistive Devices
– Install handrails for both sides of stairways
– Install grab bars for shower or tub

4. Physical Exercise
– Physical activity can go a long way towards fall prevention.
– Activities such as walking, water aerobics, and taichi will help improve muscle strength which in turn help in reducing risk of falling.
– If you are worried that you might fall during exercises, consider seeing a physiotherapist for a thorough consultation and assessment regarding your current physical fitness. The physiotherapist will create a custom exercise program aimed at improving the muscle strength, balance, coordination and proprioceptive input.

Here in Healthworks, our physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment and design a comprehensive exercise program for you. If there are any queries regarding this article, feel free to contact us at 018-9828539/ 03-6211 7533 or drop us an email at contact@myhealthworks.com.my

Fall Prevention In Elderly2019-06-25T02:26:57+08:00

Coffee And Health

Each morning, millions of Malaysians would anticipate the day’s activity with a cup of coffee. Many that I have known, depend on coffee for its boost in energy levels and most importantly, to stay alert throughout the day. Coffee has been with us since centuries ago, and has been the most consumed beverage in the world with almost 500 billion cups consumed annually. Coffee is a complex mixture of chemicals, and is the main source of caffeine in many populations. However, it also contains thousands of different chemicals, including carbohydrates, lipids, nitrogenous compounds, vitamins, minerals, alkaloids and phenolic compounds.

Researchers have discovered that there are many other health benefits than just boosting energy levels and staying alert. Caffeine is major component of coffee and is the reason behind its popularity.  It is one of the most consumed psychoactive drugs worldwide.  It is primary function is to inhibit drowsiness by inducing stimulatory effect to the brain. Similarly, it has a protective effect on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease. A Finnish study found coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life compared with those drinking no or only little coffee and that the lowest risk of dementia was found in people who drank 3 to 5 cups per day.

Coffee beans contain phenolic antioxidant compounds. Chlorogenic acid is one of the major strong antioxidant compounds in coffee. It is observed that medium roasted beans have the maximum antioxidant activity. It helps by stopping or limiting the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that we face every day either through chemicals our body produces by turning food into energy, environmental toxins, like tobacco, alcohol, and pollution ultraviolet rays from the sun, tanning beds or substances found in processed food. These radicals are responsible for the aging of our bodies and may play a part in diseases, like cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Moderate consumption of coffee may aid in preventing certain cancers. A review of epidemiological evidence for associations between coffee consumption and cancer suggested a strong and consistent protective association for hepatocellular and endometrial cancers, a borderline protective association for colorectal cancer, no association with breast, pancreatic, kidney, ovarian, prostate or gastric cancer and a weak association with increased risk of bladder cancer with heavy coffee consumption in some populations and among men.

Furthermore, caffeine has also been observed to aid in the reduction of low back pain. Like adenosine, it has the ability of blocking up receptors responsible for neuropathic pain, nociceptive and inflammatory models. Despite this, there is no change in the release of dopamine (pleasure) and therefore does not have abuse potential like other adenosine blocking agents, such as cocaine.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact us at 03-6211 7533 or contact@myhealthworks.com.my.

Coffee And Health2019-06-24T09:44:09+08:00

Low Back Pain Series – Part 1: It’s on the rise!

Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide, particularly among the elderly population. However, it can affect people of all ages. In Malaysia, the older population is expected to increase from 4% in 1998 to 9.8% in 2020. Low back pain is expected to increase among this age group. Globally, years lived with disability as a result of low back pain has increased by 54% between 1990 and 2015. This is mainly due to an increase in population and ageing, especially in low-income and middle income countries.

Disabling low back pain is represented excessively among individuals with low socioeconomic status. Many people that are experiencing low back pain for the first time have a quick recovery, yet re-occurrence is common. However, in a minority of individuals low back pain becomes persistent and disabling due to the initial high pain intensity, psychological distress and accompanying pain at multiple body site

It is almost impossible to identify a specific nociceptive cause for lower back pain as only a minority have well understood pathological causes such as a vertebral fracture, malignancy or infection. Individuals with physically demanding jobs, physical and mental comorbidities, smokers and obese individuals have a higher probability of being diagnosed with low back pain.

As I mentioned, the incidence of low back pain among the population is predicted to increase over the coming years – early prevention and education is crucial to limit the impact. Chiropractic care is a scientifically proven treatment for low back pain. At Healthworks we provide an integrated care approach in which chiropractors, physiotherapist and fitness trainers work hand in hand to ensure that you receive the most holistic care for your low back pain. We put lots of importance on maintaining the health of your spine and prevent it from future diseases.

Stay tuned for the next section of this low back pain series, in which I will dig deeper into the common causes of lower back pain.

Till then, don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@myhealthworks.com.my or 018-9828539 for further enquiries.

Low Back Pain Series – Part 1: It’s on the rise!2019-06-02T01:43:56+08:00
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