Hop into Health – the low down on back care with Dr Jay Miller

Today on Hop into Health, I chatted with colleague and friend Dr. Jay Miller.

Jay is a chiropractor and today we focused on chatting about back pain and next pains/headaches. Podcast here.

Q: What does a chiropractor do?

A: A chiropractor does 5 years of training at university 3 years as an under graduate and 2 years as a post graduate. And it is the speciality of manipulating muscle and bones to ensure 100% body alignment and recovery.

Q: What is the most common issue that people come and see you about?

A: Lower back pain for sure! Approximately 80% of people with have lumbar sacral pain at some point in their life with 60% going on to have a chronic issue and pain.

Q: Why are there so many back injuries?

A: As more people use technology and put their body through less movement and more sitting, their backs start to lose their strength. Many people have poor posture at the computer  with chair heights being either too high or low and computer screens not at the right height (your eyes should line up with the top of your computer screen).

People can also add strain to their necks and supporting structures as they protrude their chins to look forward. This puts a lot more pressure on the spinal cord which leads to neck stiffness and headaches.

Chemical imbalance and dehydration are important for muscles. As people consume lots of stimulants (energy drinks,  coffee, protein shake boosters) they alter their hormone state as well as dehydration and create pH changes (more towards acid) in their bodies.

It’s important to drink lots of water (1.5 – 2 litres a day) for a healthy body. This includes water and herbal teas only not fruit or vegetable juices, alcohol or any other drink. In fact for every cup of caffeinated drink you have you need an extra 500mls of water to balance the dehydrating effects of it.

Q: When should people see a chiropractor? Pain or before and when should they stop?

A: Pain is a late sign that your body is out of balance and needs attention. However this is when most people will come in to have their problem (now pain) sorted out. If they take pain relief only and don’t get the underlying cause of the pain sorted out, their body will start to heal in a poor way. Early intervention, settle down inflammation and regular checks while the body is healing.

Q: Do you often find that despite manipulation some people don’t get benefits?

A: The bodies’ homeostasis (perfect balanced state) is a combination of having balanced body, chemical and emotional systems. If one of these are out the person’s other aspects will suffer. For example, if you are low on testosterone (due to lack of exercise) you may stoop your shoulders, protrude your chin, slouch your lower back and develop back pain. This is further drop your moods and can lead to depression. Viewed in this way, our body is a culmination of many balanced areas.

This is another way of thinking about how to manage lower back pain. Maybe you haven’t exercised for a while and have gotten into the habit of driving into work, grabbing a coffee, working mostly through lunch breaks, or doing banking and other tasks indoors over your lunch break. To leave there on the back of another afternoon coffee and kit kat to collect the kids, or walk in the door to chores. Little exercise, little movement, poor eating, poor hydration and no stress outlet. This changes your hormones (chemical imbalance) which can affect your emotions and then affect your back and ability to heal.

Many people hurt their lower back doing simply daily tasks like twisting around in their cars to grab something, or bending over to pick socks off the floor. An injury is often an accumulative degeneration of the lumbar sacral area over time.

Q: What if someone doesn’t like that bone clicking sound when their neck is cracked? Is there anyway around that?

A: You can use other tools to trigger and release muscles that don’t involve clicking the neck. Just mention it to the chiro when you get there.

Q: What are some good tips for preventing neck pain and headaches?

A: 1. Drink plenty of water

2. Reduce stimulants like coffee, smoking

3. Move more. Engage in an exercise program even if it’s just walking

4. Make sure your computer height and chair height are not forcing your chin forward

5. Sleep with on a medium to firm mattress with one pillow only.

6. Act on pain by seeing someone when you first notice it and get regular treatments until the pain has resolved.

Q: What is carpel tunnel?

A: Carpel tunnel is when the muscles of the palm are not stretched outwardly. They are mostly in a flexed position (e.g. using a mouse, holding a pen) so the opposite movement which is to splay your hand , is good.

Thanks so much Jay for coming in. If you would like to see Jay as a chiropractor, I am happy to recommend him. Jay has treated me for shoulder injuries, pain pains and hip pains that stopped me running. His clinic is on Chevron Island, Gold Coast. If you would like help with the chemical and emotional side of your life, feel free to contact me through my Health Queen Clinic.

Next week I will be talking to 2 breathing experts, Nam and Devon on the importance of being able to breathe properly!