We strive to improve various aspects of our personal lives – by adjusting our diets, managing our time to include physical exercise, creating a home environment to lower stress, and nurturing relationships – in an effort to improve our health and wellbeing. And then … we go to work.
Too often, work is a huge source of physical (eg. poor sitting posture), emotional (eg. deadlines, toxic work colleagues) and even chemical (eg. poor food choices at work lunches, alcohol or caffeine) stresses. These all create a load to which your body and mind, via its nervous system, has to adapt. When you experience more stress than you can handle, this leads to a failure to adapt, followed by breakdown, which we think of as injury and illness.
Does it have to be that way? How can we transform a boiling cauldron of grey toxic poison into a soothing warm bowl of chicken-soup for the body and soul? Change starts with oneself. What do I mean by that? Well, we could talk about all the things that need to change outside of yourself to make your work life better – a nicer boss, less toxic work colleagues, better desk chairs, etc. But as the saying goes, start by looking in the mirror when you want to change your world. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re already well down the path of self-improvement.
At Canberra Spine Centre we want to help you take it to the next level: transforming your experience of the workplace into one that fits your goals for health and happiness.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
The most common reason people come to visit our office is for the relief of pain – whether that be headaches, neck or lower back pain, shoulder, arm or leg pain. We can help most people get back to feeling great. But something extra happens under chiropractic care that most people are not expecting. As the spinal motion and alignment improve, so does the function of the nervous system it protects. Anyone familiar with basic anatomy and physiology will know that the nervous system controls and coordinates the function of ALL tissues and organs in the body, not just the muscles, skin and bones on the outside. Thus, improvement in nervous system function leads to changes in many aspects of health. Patients regularly report improvements in digestion, sleep, mood, energy and immune function as their spine and nervous system function improve.
So, if your spine and nervous system are not in great shape, it can affect many aspects of your life, including how you handle those stresses at work, as well as how you may create more of your own stresses. But more on that later.
Chiropractic care goes to the root of the problems. At Canberra Spine Centre we pride ourselves on a holistic approach that seeks to help restore health by restoring proper bodily function, rather than just treating the symptoms.
Our chiropractors are also prevention oriented. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or ill health, we want to find the source of the problem and return the function to normal. To prevent yourself from sliding back to where you were, and to help you stay well, we help each patient develop healthier daily habits. We believe that the best approach in health care is to find the source of the problem, correct it, allow the body to heal itself, then support with better habits.
Helping you cope with stress:
As I alluded to earlier, having a properly functioning spine and nervous system not only helps to raise your level of health directly, but also indirectly, through the choices you make, and how well you adapt to stresses in the environment.
Let’s start with the poor choices. Everyone knows that when you feel poorly, you tend to make poor health choices. Think of the tub of ice-cream you chow down instead of a healthy salad, or sitting on the couch watching TV instead of going out for a walk. In the workplace, when you are not at your best health-wise, you may choose to sit at your desk over lunch instead of getting out for a quick walk. If you are feeling tired more easily, you might drink more coffee to keep yourself going, and pay later with poor sleep, digestion and metabolism. These are just a couple of examples.
Now to explain the adaptation to stresses. As I mentioned earlier, your nervous system is your prime controlling and coordinating system for your ENTIRE body. One of its main functions is to help you adapt to an ever changing environment. When the spine and the nervous system it protects is functioning properly, you are more able to adapt to stresses. A simple physical example is being able to cope with more lifting and bending, such as gardening on the weekend. What about emotional stresses? They too, can contribute to breakdown and poor health in the body. When your nervous system is functioning well, you also cope better with these types of stresses. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling poorly, you tend to be more irritable, cope less with heavy demands, and become upset more easily? At Canberra Spine Centre, our patients commonly report better sleep, better ability to relax, less depression, less irritability, and better cognitive function as their spine and nervous system improves. In the workplace, this often means that you are less likely to react to unkind comments, will cope better under pressure, and generally be more productive. Can you see how this contributes to a better workplace experience for you (and probably your colleagues, too)?
Without a healthy, properly functioning spine and nervous system it is unreasonable to expect the rest of the body to function properly.
Chiropractors specialize in detecting spinal problems. These are called vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations are misaligned or poorly moving segments in the spine that can cause local and distant nerve-related effects as well as local degenerative effects in the spine. Chiropractors improve motion in these areas using gentle and safe manipulations of the spine, called chiropractic adjustments. The positive results of this treatment can have far reaching effects, due to the far reaching domain of the nervous system.
The chiropractic profession has been slow to accumulate research into the effects of chiropractic care improving overall health and wellbeing. There are several reasons for this, among them that we are a small profession with little funding from government and pharmaceutical companies to pay for our research. This is slowly changing, with some quality research emerging that is starting to show what chiropractors have known for over a century – altered spinal motion prevents the nervous system from helping the body to maintain and heal itself, and restoring this motion restores this ability. For now, however, most the of the research concerns the tip of the iceberg in terms of what chiropractors help our patients with – mainly back and neck pain and headaches.
Relieving back pain is one of the benefits of receiving chiropractic adjustments. Studies of lower back pain show that receiving chiropractic adjustments can be extremely beneficial to the healing process. One study showed that patients receiving chiropractic care were 17% more likely to recover within three weeks than other patients (Annals of Internal Medicine 1992;17:590-8).
Another study indicated that chiropractic treatment, with regard to significant long-term benefits, compares favorably with medication and acupuncture. They tested for 7 different types of outcomes and found that, “5 of the 7 main outcome measures showed significant improvements compared with only 1 item in each of the acupuncture and the medication groups.” (Journal of Manipulative & Physiologic Therapeutics 2005;28:3-11.)
Not only back pain was aided significantly by chiropractic care, studies such as the one reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 197; 314:1320-5) show that shoulder girdle pain healed significantly faster with chiropractic adjustments. Many other studies show the chiropractic care significantly speeds the recovery of elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle pain.
Chiropractic: A safe alternative
You can avoid the harmful side effects associated with common, over-the-counter painkillers by treating the source of pain, and not just the symptom of pain (see our blog post, Painkillers Are Killing Us).
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil®, Motrin®, and Orudis®, are commonly recommended for the treatment of aches and pains including back and neck pain, migraine and tension headaches. However, they are not without risks despite their easy access and public acceptance.
One important study showed that chiropractic therapy for neck pain was much safer and effective compared to the use of NSAIDs. It stated that, “the best evidence indicates that [chiropractic neck adjustments] for neck pain is much safer than the use of NSAIDs, by as much as a factor of several hundred times. There is no evidence that indicated NSAID use is any more effective than [chiropractic adjustments] for neck pain.” (Journal of Manipulative & Physiologic Therapeutics 1996; 18:530-6.)
Let Canberra Spine Centre Be Your Workplace Health Coach
Improving your overall health is the first step to a healthier, positive workplace experience. Identifying and correcting health hazards at work is the next step. Depending upon your work place, the potential harm in your daily work environment can vary widely.
One important factor that you can examine is the ergonomics of the work place. That is, both the equipment used and the postures associated with your particular tasks, especially where highly repetitive movements are involved. Proper posture and lifting methods are an essential factor in avoiding injury and maintaining a healthy work place. The chiropractors at Canberra Spine Centre regularly perform office and workplace assessments for Canberra businesses, large and small. They can help make recommendations to improve your office or workplace ergonomics, thereby helping you and your colleagues avoid unnecessary injury.
Other harmful environmental factors to be considered are lighting, ventilation, noise control, and easy access to healthy hydration and food. As health professionals, we can advise you on these aspects also.
Ask the professionals at Canberra Spine Centre about your work environment. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have about how you can make improvements that could make a big difference to your health and that of your colleagues as well.
Spread the Word!
Don’t keep your success to yourself. When your moods, energy levels, and ability to get through the day show marked improvement at work, others will notice.
Share the secret of your success with your workmates. When they start improving the quality of their lives at work the affects of improved health of the office can snowball! Everyone can benefit from each other’s success.
Imagine a work environment with less complaining, griping and absenteeism – one where people are talking about how good they feel, happy to take on extra work when help is needed, and being more productive.
Company Wide Consultations to Spread Wellness?
Your colleagues may benefit from a consultation by one of the chiropractors at Canberra Spine Centre. We can visit your work place to see what kinds of changes can be easily implemented to improve employee health and productivity. It can’t hurt to ask.
At Canberra Spine Centre, we offer a holistic, non-invasive treatment for back pain and many other health problems. Our thorough consultation helps us find the source of your health issues so that we can target those and provide a tailored solution for improving your nervous system function and health.
Call today (02 6257 9400) to receive our special offer for a thorough examination and a consultation.