The effect of obesity on the body

The effect of obesity on the body

Obesity is, and has been for a long time, a hot topic. The stats on obesity are startling… The World Health Organisation (WHO) report that global obesity rates have tripled since 1975. In 2016, it was estimated that 1.9 billion adults were overweight across the world, with a third of those being obese (this stat rose to 2.1 billion in 2019). In that same year, 41 million children under 5 years of age were classified as overweight or obese. This is worrying stuff. But what is obesity, and what does it mean to be obese?

What is obesity?

Obesity (and being overweight) is defined by the WHO as “the abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”. Obesity is traditionally measured using a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing their weight by their height (in metres) squared.  A BMI which equates to 25 or over is classified as overweight… 30 or more equals obese. Due to the inability to distinguish gender and fat from muscle, the process is flawed. The Relative Fat Mass index (RFM) which takes into account someone’s gender, height and waist circumference is a more accurate tool in measuring someone’s fat mass and their risk of developing health problems from it.

Effects of obesity on the body

Now we know what obesity is, let’s explore what this means for the body. These are some of the known negative side effects of being obese:

  • Increased risk of numerous diseases: With obesity comes an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, stroke, respiratory conditions including sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallstones, menstrual issues, incontinence, many types of cancer, and mental illness (e.g. depression).
  • Increased risk of death: Being obese puts you at increased risk of death from all causes, but especially relating to cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart attack/failure).
  • Complications during pregnancy: Mother and baby are both at risk. Mothers are more likely to develop high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, as well as difficulties during labour and retaining weight post-pregnancy. For the baby, the risk of late fatal death increases, as does the risk for developing neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida).
  • Increased levels of pain: Evidence suggests obesity puts the body in an inflammatory state causing pain. Increased load on the joints leads to breakdown of cartilage which drives more inflammation. There is an increased rate of depression which exacerbates the pain experience as well. People then become afraid to move through pain and being sedentary means lack of movement through the joints, and they continue to degenerate. It’s a vicious cycle!
  • Poor quality of life: Obesity makes life hard. Carrying out everyday tasks becomes laborious. All of a sudden, hanging out the washing and cleaning the house or car can seem harder than they should do. It can also affect people’s desire to go out and be social. People who are obese are also at risk of developing undesirable body odour which can make social situations difficult.

The side effects of being overweight, especially obese, are many and very serious. It is simple… Being obese will increase your chances of serious disease and death, as well as impact your life negatively in many other ways.

It is daunting and challenging trying to lose weight. If you need help, please talk to us during your next visit here at [insert clinic name] and we will be happy to discuss options with you. We can work alongside your GP, or other health professionals, to help work out what the best and safest option is for you – getting you on the right track to a healthier, happier self.

References

  1. World Heath Organisation. 2020. Obesity. [Online]. Available from: https://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]
  2. Kobo, et al. 2019. Relative fat mass is a better predictor of dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome than body mass index. Cardiovascular Endocrinology & Metabolism. 8 (3). 77-81. Available from: https://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularendocrinology/Fulltext/2019/09000/Relative_fat_mass_is_a_better_predictor_of.4.aspx
  3. National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes. 1998. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Adults: The Evidence Report. National Institutes of Health. No. 98-4083. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
  4. McVinnie, DS. 2013. Obesity and pain. British Journal of Pain. 7 (4). 163-170. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590160/

NHS. 2019. Body Odour. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-odour-bo/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]

  1. ://journals.lww.com/cardiovascularendocrinology/Fulltext/2019/09000/Relative_fat_mass_is
    _a_better_predictor_of.4.aspx
    National Heart Lung and Blood Institutes. 1998. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification,
    Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obese Adults: The Evidence Report. National
    Institutes of Health. No. 98-4083. Available from:
    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/ob_gdlns.pdf
    McVinnie, DS. 2013. Obesity and pain. British Journal of Pain. 7 (4). 163-170. Available from:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590160/
    NHS. 2019. Body Odour. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-odour-
    bo/. [Accessed 01 Feb 2020]

Should I see an Osteo if I have headaches?

Headache

Hello readers! This month’s blog topic is one that millions of Australians (and billions around the world) can relate to. Have you ever had a headache? We’d be surprised if you said no, because a headache is one of the most common symptoms experienced by our species. Nearly everyone at some point in their life experiences a headache. If you or someone you know is part of the minority that has never had one, then come forth… Medical researchers will want to get their hands on you!

The list of headache types is as long as the distance between your shoulder and the tips of your fingers! Some types of headache are very common, others very rare. Some of the different types of headache include:

  • Tension-type
  • Migraine
  • Cervicogenic (i.e. something in the neck leading to pain felt at the head)
  • Eyestrain
  • Withdrawal
  • Dehydration
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (i.e. a problem with the jaw joint causing head pain)
  • Many others of non-serious and serious causes

The burning question

If you have been a headache sufferer for a long time, there is a good chance you have tried every remedy out there. Finding the solution is hard, but fear not, help is at hand! We regularly get asked “can you help me with my headaches?” The answer is always “maybe”, but there is a good chance we can. So why see an osteo over another medical professional? The short answer is we’re awesome! The long answer is we are experts of anatomy of the human body (4-5 years of study!), we sit and listen to you tell your story, we have excellent problem-solving and clinical skills, we have magically soft, caring hands, and we are highly trained to help people get to the bottom of their ailments, headaches included. Other medical professionals are also awesome, we just love the osteopathic philosophy of treating the person and the body as a whole.

What to expect from your osteo

The reason a person is in pain is usually down to many factors. It is therefore very important to get a full story from each patient that presents with a problem. This is where we shine. Your initial consultation will entail a very thorough questioning session where we ask you lots of questions about your current issue, the history surrounding it, and other questions relating to your medical, lifestyle and work history. From the word go, we will be painting a picture of what is going on with you. From the information you give us and the questions we ask, we will be ruling in or out which type of headache you could be experiencing.

Some types of headache have very specific features, and we may be able to come to a conclusion quite quickly. Other types may be less easy to recognise, but by the end of the questioning we will have a list of conditions in our mind that we need to test for. This is where we perform our clinical tests. Some of the more common types of headache are due to problems relating to the muscles and joints around the neck and head region, so we’ll ask if we can have a good feel of these areas. We’ll watch you move, then we’ll move you around, feel and compare between the two. We may need to test the nerves that give your head and neck their function, or we may need to take your blood pressure… Either way, we can do it all.

For headaches, we will be particularly interested in what your head, neck, mid-back, shoulders and general posture look and feel like and how everything moves together. We will always be looking at the bigger picture though, so if you’re wondering why we’re checking the levels of your pelvis or the length of your legs, it’s because we’re searching for every possible reason as to why your headache is occurring. After careful consideration and once we are happy with our diagnosis, we will sit and have a chat about what is going on and what the plan is to get you feeling good again. At this point we’ll get to work on your body using the many techniques we have at our disposal. We will also offer advice on any lifestyle changes you may need to make to ensure the headache is being attacked from all angles. A headache diary is often a suggestion so we can keep track of your headaches from week to week. However, this will be discussed in your initial consultation.

Sometimes a headache can be the sign of a more serious problem that we may not be able to help you with. If this is the case, we will ensure you are directed towards the right people for the job. This may entail us writing a letter to your GP with our findings and recommendations. Whether we treat or not, you will receive the highest level of care from us. We pride ourselves on it!

Final comments

If you or anyone you know is experiencing headaches, please pick up the phone and call us on 02 4655 5588. Now you know what we can do to help, we hope the next time you are asked the question “Should I see an osteo if I have headaches?”, your answer will be a solid YES!

P.s. We can even help with ice cream headaches (a.k.a ‘brain freeze’)… Our advice is simple—slow down and enjoy it! (we get how hard that is)

References:

  1. Migraine & Headache Australia. 2019. What is headache. [Online]. Available from: https://headacheaustralia.org.au/what-is-headache/. [Accessed 15 Jan 2020]
  2. Migraine & Headache Australia. 2019. Headache types. [Online]. Available from: https://headacheaustralia.org.au/types-of-headaches/. [Accessed 15 Jan 2020]
  3. Biondi, BM. 2005. Cervicogenic headache: a review of diagnostic and treatment strategies. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 105 (4). 16S-22S. Available from: https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093083

The benefits of fasting

Diet fasting

Hello everyone. Let’s have a chat about fasting. In the last few years, fasting has been gaining popularity across the world as a way of improving human health. Did you know that fasting has been around for centuries and centuries? Humans have been doing it since time began and animals do it too. So let’s see what all the fuss is about…

What is fasting?

Fasting is a total or partial abstinence from food. In simple terms this means that for a period of time a person will not eat any, or certain types, of food and drink. Fasting is carried out across the world for many different reasons including as part of religious ceremonies or rituals, as well as for health reasons.

Types of fasting

There are many different types of fasting. We’ve broken down a few of the more popular ones below:

  1. Water fasting — definitely one for the purists. This type of fasting involves drinking nothing but water for a set period of time with the aim of purifying the body and allowing our much-overused digestive systems a well-deserved break. This is apparently one of the hardest types of fasts to carry out.
  2. Juice fasting — this type of fasting involves only drinking fruit or vegetable juices for a set period of time. Somewhat easier than water fasting due to all of the juicy goodness you are getting from the fruits and vegetables.
  3. Intermittent fasting — this appears to be the craze at the moment! This type involves fasting t certain times or days in the week and having an unrestricted diet for the remainder of the time. There are a few different types of intermittent fasting. These include:
  4. Alternate day fasting — eating every other day
  5. 5:2 fasting — eating a normal diet for 5 days of the week and having a drastically reduced caloric intake on the remaining two days (the two days are not allowed to be consecutive days)
  6. Time-restricted fasting — eating only within a set time period, i.e. between 7am — 3pm with nothing but water outside of these times.

It is with intermittent fasting where most of the scientific research has been carried out and health benefits have been widely documented.

Benefits of fasting

So, the big question is… Why fast? Below are some of the documented health benefits science has detected to date:

  1. Weight loss: It’s a great way of limiting calorie intake without having to be excessive. Fasting helps in the production of certain hormones which help to boost your metabolism. It has been seen to help reduce body fat whilst preserving muscle tissue.
  2. Reduces chronic inflammation: Studies have shown people who fast intermittently have reduced levels of inflammatory markers in the blood after one month. This could be great for a whole host of inflammatory conditions out there including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  3. Improves heart health: Current research shows benefits on the cardiovascular system including lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  4. Increases levels of Growth Hormone (GH: People who fast intermittently have been shown to have increased levels of GH after their fasting period. This hormone is important in growth, muscle strength, metabolism and aiding weight loss.
  5. Controls blood sugar: Promising for our type 2 diabetics out there, although larger studies are needed for this area of research as evidence is a bit mixed at the moment.   Watch this space!

There are also a whole host of other benefits starting to emerge from animal studies which could be bright for our human future when more research is carried out. These areas include benefits seen in brain function, delayed aging and prevention of cancer. This is exciting stuff!

We hope this has been a helpful insight into the world of fasting. If you are considering doing a fast yourself or would like more information, please get in touch and we’ll be able to point you in the right direction. It is always safest to consult a medical professional before attempting any type of fast yourself as there are certain conditions with which fasting is not allowed. Here’s to a healthier life 🙂

References

  1. Dictionary.com. 2020. Fast. [Online]. Available from: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fasting. [Accessed 08 Jan 2020] 
  2. Healthline. 2018. 8 health benefits of fasting, backed by science. [Online]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fasting-benefits. [Accessed 06 Jan 2020]
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. 2018. Intermittent fasting: suprising update. [Online]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/intermittent-fasting-surprising-update-2018062914156. [Accessed 06 Jan 2020]
  4. American Osteopathic Association. 2019. Intermittent fasting: can we fast our way to better health? [Online]. Available from: https://thedo.osteopathic.org/2019/01/intermittent-fasting-can-we-fast-our-way-to-better-health/. [Accessed 06 Jan 2020]
  5. British Institute of Osteopathy. 2020. What are the effects of fasting? [Online]. Available from: http://www.british-institute-of-osteopathy.org/articles/fasting.aspx. [Accessed 06 Jan 2020]

Student’s Elbow (AKA ‘Olecranon Bursitis’)

Sore elbow

This month’s blog is about a common elbow injury. Ever heard of student’s elbow? “But I’m not a student!” we hear you say. Well you don’t have to be to fall victim to this condition. Students elbow, or ‘Olecranon Bursitis’ is a condition where a small sack of tissue over the tip of your elbow becomes inflamed and swollen. The pointy bit of bone at the end of your elbow is called the ‘olecranon’ and the small sack which sits between the bone and the skin is called a ‘bursa’. The ‘itis’ part of bursitis simply refers to inflammation of that bursa.

What are the causes?

The most common way to develop student’s elbow is repetitive trauma to the tip of the elbow which slowly irritates the bursa and causes inflammation over time. Think of a student who sits for hours, day after day writing at a desk with their elbow resting on the table. The constant pressure on the tip of the elbow could be enough to kick things off. Anyone whose elbows are subject to repetitive pressure could develop this problem; plumbers and office workers are other good examples.

Other causes include:

  • A single blunt force trauma or fall onto the tip of the elbow
  • Infection
  • Having an olecranon spur (an extra small bony growth which rubs against the bursa)
  • Having an extra pointy olecranon (some peoples skeletons are just a bit different)

This condition may also develop as part of having another medical condition, such as Diabetes Mellitus, Gout, Rheumatoid Arthritis, HIV or alcoholism.

Signs and symptoms

So, what does student’s elbow look like? Signs and symptoms include:

  • A painful or (often) non-painful swelling on the end of your elbow
  • Pain with leaning on your elbow
  • Painful elbow movement
  • Restricted elbow movement (although this is often unaffected)
  • Redness, warmth and a fever (if associated with infection)

Will I need to have any tests done?

Possibly. As with all lumps on the body, your practitioner will want to rule out anything serious going on first. We ask lots of questions so we can paint a picture of what’s going on in our clinical head. Depending on your signs and symptoms, if you have a history of cancer or if infection is suspected, you may be directed to your GP for tests. This is to make sure you are receiving the best treatment in the best time frame. Your doctor may need to take a sample of the fluid inside the swelling to be sent off for lab testing. This will be able to tell us if infection is playing a part or not.

Treatment

The treatment of bursitis is very much dependent on the cause. If the cause is infection, then your GP will start you on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to fight it off and control the pain. Other treatment may include the use of ice or contrasting hot/cold bathing to help reduce the swelling. In severe cases, your elbow may need to be splinted or elevated in a sling. Elbow pads and changes to your general activities may also help to protect the elbow from further injury. Your GP may offer to drain the swelling (this is called ‘aspiration’ and requires a needle to remove the fluid), and this can help to provide relief by reducing pressure around the elbow.

Once clear of infection, or if you have a non-infective bursitis, then your superhero osteo can step in and work their magic. Abracadabra!

During the inflammatory process, swelling and pain may have affected how you use your arm. With pain, people often stop using that part of the body and swelling can affect the joint’s ability to move smoothly through its range of motion. This can have a knock-on effect on the muscles and other tissues which surround the elbow joint. Many muscles which cross the elbow and are involved in elbow movement also cross the shoulder and wrist to aid in their function. So, you can see how a problem at the elbow could affect the whole limb (and beyond).

Here at Completely Aligned, we will get to work at restoring full function to the shoulder, elbow and wrist. We will look at your spinal movements too to see if they have been affected. You can expect to be mobilised and massaged and we may also perform some lymphatic drainage techniques to help restore fluid movement through the limb (which may have stagnated during the injury process). Your biceps, triceps and other arm/forearm muscles may have shortened over time so we may perform some stretching techniques and will give you some exercises to do at home to back up what they do in the clinic room. If necessary, strengthening exercises may be given to reduce the risk of future episodes.

If your bursitis doesn’t resolve with the above treatments or keeps coming back, a decision may need to be made on whether the bursa should be removed surgically. This is called a ‘bursectomy’ and is usually a last resort. Extra pointy olecranons or spurs can also be treated surgically if needed.

Back to school… And work!

Now that the festive season is over, the kids will be back to school and the parents back to work. Normality resumes. Keep an eye on those elbows people! If you think you are developing an elbow problem (or any body part for that matter) then please call us on 02 4655 5588 and we’ll get working on it straight away.

References:

  1. Blackwell, JR. et al. 2014. Olecranon bursitis: a systematic review. Shoulder & elbow. 6 (3). 182-190. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935058/
  2. Lockman, L. 2010. Treating nonseptic olecranon bursitis: a 3-step technique. 56 (11). 1157. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980436/

Putting a stop to incontinence

Putting a stop to incontinence

Do you leak when you laugh? Its time to raise awareness for the 5 million+ Australians who experience bladder or bowel incontinence. Yes, it really is THAT common! This can be a very debilitating condition, but unfortunately, a lot of people suffer in silence through fear of speaking out, due to the embarrassing nature of the problem.

What you may not realise is that the majority of incontinence cases can be treated, and a lot of the time, stopped completely. So, to try and help break the silence surrounding incontinence, we are going to give you a little run down on what it is, who it affects, and some tips on what you can do to help.

WHAT IS INCONTINENCE?

Incontinence is the term used to describe the uncontrollable loss of urine from the bladder or faeces from the bowel. It ranges in severity from losing only a very small amount of urine, to a complete void of the bladder or bowel. If you’ve never experienced this, you can only imagine how distressing this must be. There are different types of urinary incontinence, including:

  • STRESS INCONTINENCE, where small amounts of urine leak due to small increases in pressure on the bladder during physical activity, or from coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • URGE INCONTINENCE, where you get an unexpected, strong urge to urinate with little to no warning. This is usually as a result of an overactive bladder muscle.
  • INCONTINENCE ASSOCIATED WITH CHRONIC RETENTION, where your bladder cannot empty fully, and you get regular leakage of small amounts of urine. There are many causes for this, including an enlarged prostate in men, or prolapsed pelvic organs in women, as well as medications and certain conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
  • FUNCTIONAL INCONTINENCE, where you are unable to get to the toilet, possibly due to immobility, or wearing clothes that are not easy to get off in time.

Faecal incontinence is when you have a lack of control of bowel movements and you may accidentally pass a bowel movement, or even pass wind without meaning to. This may be due to weak muscles surrounding the back passage (Unfortunately ladies, this is common following pregnancy and childbirth), or if you have severe diarrhoea.

TAKING THE STRESS OUT OF INCONTINENCE

For all those suffering in silence, it is time to speak out.  There is no need to be embarrassed, it is surprisingly common – and like we have already mentioned, help is out there! You may not need to look very far. Being your local Osteopath, we may be able to help.

The most common type of incontinence that we see and treat is stress incontinence. Although seen across both sexes, women are three times more likely to experience it than men. It is very common in women following pregnancy and childbirth (when the pelvic floor muscles get over-stretched, and sometimes even damaged), during menopause (due to hormonal changes) and in the elderly. It commonly affects men who have had prostate surgery.

The pelvic floor muscles sit at the bottom of the pelvic bowl, spanning from the pubic bone to the tailbone (front to back) and from one sitting bone to the other (side to side). Imagine a tarpaulin stretched out with a person holding each corner and you kind of get the gist. When these muscles are strong, they help to support our internal pelvic organs (i.e. the bladder, bowel and the uterus in women) and wrap around the openings of the front and back passages, allowing us to control when we decide to do a number one or two. Following pregnancy for example, they may become weak and dysfunctional, and we can lose that ability to control voiding. It only takes something as small as a cough, or an activity like jumping or running (things many of us take for granted) that may cause a person to lose a small amount of urine.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP

The most important thing to point out is that not all types of incontinence will improve or resolve with just strengthening of weak pelvic floor muscles. So, it is very important to get an accurate diagnosis, because there will likely be other factors that need addressing too. For instance, losing weight, stopping smoking, and making other lifestyle changes are just as important in the management of these conditions, if relevant to the person of course. Some people may also require release of tight and over-active muscles.

Once you have your diagnosis, then strengthening may well be a part of your therapy. In order to strengthen, you need to know where the muscles are, and how to activate them. Below is a little step by step guide to getting a grip on those pelvic floor muscles (we don’t mean literally!):

  1. Get in a comfortable position – try sitting or lying on your back and take a few breaths to relax.
  2. Imagine you are trying to stop yourself from urinating mid-stream by squeezing for about a second. If this is not easy to feel, next time you are on the toilet emptying your bladder, have a go at stopping mid-stream and then relaxing again to finish emptying (don’t hold it for too long please – just enough to feel which muscles you need to use).
  3. Do the same as step two for the back passage – this time imagine you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind by squeezing.
  4. Do these quick squeezes 3 x 20 reps a day. Once you’re comfortable, you can do it sitting or standing. Make it routine… Do it when you’re brushing your teeth, eating lunch, or in the ad breaks of your favourite TV show.

These two contractions together form the basis of what you need to be able to do to begin your pelvic floor muscle training. If you struggle to feel this, then ask for help from your therapist. They will be able to help you perfect the activation of the correct muscles.

We hope you have found this blog interesting and helpful. If you, or someone you know is looking for answers to questions and advice on the management of these conditions, then please get in touch. We are ready to offer advice and/or treatment. 

References

  1. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. World Continence Week. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/events_calendar.php/482/world-continence-week
  2. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Laugh Without Leaking. [Online]. [Accessed 07 May 2019]. Available from: http://www.laughwithoutleaking.com.au
  3. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Key Statistics. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/key-statistics.html
  4. Milsom, I. and Gyhagen, M. 2018. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Climacteric. 22(3). 217-222. DOI: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1543263
  5. Continence Foundation of Australia. 2019. Pelvic Floor Muscles in Women. [Online]. [Accessed 08 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.continence.org.au/pages/pelvic-floor-women.html

Five tips for digestive bliss

Irritable bowel poor gut health

June is bowel cancer awareness month, so we’re here to give you tips on how to keep your digestive system healthy and reduce the risk of disease.

Whether you are a professional soccer player, a tradie or an office worker, a healthy digestive system is key to you being able to function and carry out your daily tasks. Our bodies break down the food we eat into energy and this is what allows us to kick a ball, drill a hole, or sit and type on the computer. Now, your digestive system will only work properly if you feed it the right stuff… So don’t expect to last the 90 minutes and be at the top of your game if all you do is gorge on deep fried or fast food. That’s just a fast track to the subs bench and unhappy insides!

Try out these little gems of advice to ensure your digestive system stays healthy, so you can give 100% every single day:

1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER: We’ll make this one nice and simple… Your body needs water for almost everything! From maintaining the health of every cell in your body, to keeping your blood fluid – you can see it’s pivotal for life to exist. Water is also needed for creating your digestive juices used to break down food and preventing digestive complaints like constipation.

2. EAT A HIGH FIBRE DIET: Fibre is basically all the parts of plant-based foods that we are unable to breakdown and digest. There are different types. ‘Soluble’ fibre (found in fruits, vegetables & legumes) helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and helps to control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. ‘Insoluble’ fibre (found in the skin of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads/cereals, and nuts and seeds) absorbs water helping to bulk out and soften our stools and aids in the regulation of bowel movements. Having a good mix is important to prevent diseases such as constipation, bowel cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

high fibre diet

3. EAT A PROBIOTIC: Probiotics are the bacteria found living in our gut. They are responsible for providing the ideal environment for getting the most nutrients out of the food we eat. They also protect us from the effects of nasty bacteria that may show their faces at different points. Without them, we wouldn’t exist. Sometimes our stores of bacteria can be put under threat, like when we are ill, stressed for long periods, or after a course of antibiotics. Having a poor diet can also be bad for them. Luckily, we can eat foods like probiotic or ‘live’ yoghurt and kefir daily to help keep our gut well-populated with these little soldiers.

4. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE: The benefits of exercise are endless! When you move, it helps to promote movement of food through your gut, which keeps everything functioning well and helps to reduce the risk of digestive problems like constipation. So, move every day because your gut doesn’t tend to go on holiday for days here and there. It is always working hard for you!

5. LIMIT INTAKE OF ALCOHOL AND SMOKING: Too much of anything is a bad thing, but the effects of too much booze and cigarettes on the digestive system are well documented. Heavy, long term intake may lead to conditions such as reflux, digestive ulcers, and possibly more severe disease such as oesophageal, stomach and bowel cancer.

Remember, you really are what you eat. Gut health is so important for you to do the things you want to do – work, playing with the kids, sports, everything! So don’t be surprised if your Osteopath or Acupuncturist throws in some questions regarding digestive health when they’re treating you. It’s much more than just muscles and bones. We will delve deep if we need to, to make sure you are at the top of your game.

References

  1. State Government of Victoria. 2014. Water – a vital nutrient. [Online]. [Accessed 03 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/water-a-vital-nutrient
  2. Nutrition Australia. 2014. Fibre. [Online]. [Accessed 03 May 2019]. Available from: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/fibre
  3. Webster-Gandy, J., Madden, A., Holdsworth, M. eds. 2012. Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  4. Enders, G. 2015. Gut – the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ. Melbourne: Scribe Publications
  5. Drinkaware. 2019. Is alcohol harming your stomach. [Online]. [Accessed 04 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/is-alcohol-harming-your-stomach/
  6. State Government of Victoria. 2019. Smoking – effects on your body. [Online]. [Accessed 04 May 2019]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/smoking-effects-on-your-body

Attention all new Mum’s!

Attention all new Mum’s!

Being a parent can be very challenging at the best of times. And especially if you’re a new mum. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first, second, or fifth child, being a new mum comes with a whole host of daily challenges. Your new little human requires all your attention – feeding constantly, changing eight nappies a day, bathing… Throw in another child, other family members, work, groceries (and the list continues) into the equation and it’s easy to see how life can be taxing on you and your body.

The good news is, we’ve devised a little self-help guide for new mums! Below we give you tips on how to be kind to your body and not put yourself at risk of injury, so you can give your little munchkin the attention they need.

FEEDING

You’re going to be doing a lot of this. Your new recruit requires constant nourishment to ensure they grow strong and stay healthy. And it doesn’t matter whether you breast or bottle feed, it’s likely you are going to be seated for long periods, looking down at your baby. This all leads to extra strain through your neck, back and shoulders. So, try some of these little gems of advice to help keep this process pain free:

  1. Get a comfortable, supportive chair – pick a chair that is going to feel good to sit in, but one you can easily get up and down from. If it’s too low, allowing you to slouch right back into, you’ll struggle to move yourself and your baby around without compromising your back.
  2. Keep your neck moving – feeding is a great time to bond with your baby. Eye contact is important but try not to spend the whole time looking down at a funny angle. Once your baby is comfortable feeding, it’s OK to break that eye contact every now and then to move your neck. Doing some light stretches will ensure you don’t end up with sore, overworked muscles.
  3. Consider a feeding pillow – these are great for taking the weight of your baby, so your shoulders and arms don’t have to. And they still allow you to have that important close contact.
  4. If you have a partner who can help feed, allow them to help regularly to give you a break. This tip is more for the bottle feeders of course, but it can make a huge difference.

CHANGING

It’s going to be nappies galore! This can mean a lot of bending over, so it’s important you look after your posture so your lower back doesn’t take all the strain. Try to avoid changing your baby on the floor in these early days. Ideally, get yourself a changing table. It means you can place your baby down on the table and change them at a height where you don’t have to bend forward and hold an awkward position. And of course, the same advice can be followed when changing your baby’s clothes. Look after that back, you’re going to need it!

OTHER USEFUL TIPS

The following tips are by no means any less important, so try to take these on where possible:

  1. Sleep when your baby sleeps: Getting those extra hours in when your baby is taking a nap is important to conserve your energy and reduce the risk of fatigue.
  2. Eat and drink well: It’s easy for the focus to turn to your baby, and rightly so, they are little and dependent on you. Remember though, you can’t look after your baby if you aren’t well. Eat for the health of you and your baby – lots of water and good nutritious food such as fruit and vegetables!
  3. Stretch: Especially your shoulders, neck and chest. Once baby comes along, our arms are always in front of us. Whether it’s holding, feeding, changing or playing, we’re usually a little slumped in our shoulders. Build stretching into your routine (like every time after baby feeds for example). We want to reverse the ‘slump’ position, so take your arms out wide, open up your chest and hold for 30 seconds (and repeat). Aim to do this three times a day (or whenever you get the chance!). Gentle shoulder shrugs and neck stretches can also help.
  4. Take time to relax: When the opportunity arises, get your partner, grandparent or friend to look after your newborn while you take a bath, read a book, or close your eyes for a little while. You deserve it, and it helps keep you sane and grounded during a very busy period in your life.

We hope you’ve found our list of tips interesting and helpful. If you are ever unsure, have a niggle or need some further advice on breastfeeding, please do not hesitate to call us to discuss your needs and book to an appointment with Reena who is a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Osteopath with a special interest in helping new mum’s and babies navigate the early parenting period. Alternatively, you can access the online diary here to find a time that suits you and your baby.

References:

  1. Everymum – https://www.everymum.ie/baby/expert-advice-5-practical-posture-tips-for-new-moms/
  2. Womens Health Australia – https://www.womenshealth.com.au/prenatal-postnatal-posture

Living well with diabetes – It affects more of us than you think.

Living well with diabetes – It affects more of us than you think.

Are you living with Diabetes? It can be very overwhelming managing this condition, particularly in the early stages following diagnosis. We’ve put together a little fact sheet and given some tips on things you can do to manage your condition and live well with Diabetes.

WHAT IS DIABETES?

In a nutshell, Diabetes (or correctly named – Diabetes Mellitus or DM) is a condition characterised by increased levels of sugar in the blood, resulting from the body’s inability to either produce or correctly make use of a hormone called Insulin. Insulin helps move sugar (called ‘glucose’) in the blood into the cells around the body so we have energy to function. There are a few different types of DM:

  1. Type 1: The body does not produce enough insulin due to cell damage of the pancreas – the organ in the body that produces insulin.
  2. Type 2: The body is unable to sufficiently use and respond to the insulin produced by the pancreas.
  3. Gestational Diabetes: This form affects pregnant women who have no prior diagnosis of DM. This condition usually resolves after delivery of the baby.

Each form is treated slightly differently. Type 1 requires the person to take insulin, usually via self-injection. Type 2 can predominantly be managed through diet and exercise, but may require medication and possibly insulin, depending on how advanced the condition is. Type 2 is the most common form of the condition and what we’re going to focus on.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

The most common cause of Type 2 DM is a combination of excess body weight and lack of exercise. So it is fitting that one of the best ways to control your blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of complications (such as heart, kidney, eye and nerve disease) further down the line, is to reduce body weight and exercise regularly.

DIET

Dietary recommendations for people with DM are not too dissimilar to those for any other person. The following tips can be helpful to follow:

  • Eat regular meals and consume healthy snacks spread across the day
  • Eat high fibre, complex carbohydrate foods such as whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, beans, lentils, fruit and vegetables (i.e. foods that have a low glycemic index and won’t spike your blood sugar levels quickly)
  • Be mindful of the amount of fat you eat, especially saturated fats, found in takeaway food, fried food, cakes and biscuits
  • Keep alcohol intake low as a general rule, and ensure you have plenty of alcohol-free days
  • Keep energy balance in mind. If you consistently consume more energy than you burn off in a day, you will gain weight
Exercise Rigth
Diabetes

EXERCISE

It is recommended that people with Type 2 DM participate in both aerobic and resistance-based exercise regularly and consistently. These forms of exercise have been shown to improve insulin action and overall quality of life. And they help decrease blood pressure, heart complications, fat levels and risk of death.

Please remember that these are basic guidelines, and we always recommended that you seek help from a health professional such as your GP, DM specialist, or your local osteo before making any big decisions on diet and exercise to help manage your Diabetes.

References

  1. Diabetes Victoria – https://www.diabetesvic.org.au/diabetes-and-me?tags=Left-Mega-Nav%2FDiabetes%20and%20nutrition%2F&bdc=1
  2. American Diabetes Association – http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/?loc=ff-slabnav
  3. Harvard Health – https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/living-well-with-diabetes

Magnesium: A Necessity for 21st Century Living

Magnesium: A Necessity for 21st Century Living

Chronic Stress Depletes Magnesium

There is no escaping the pressures of modern life! You may be familiar with common stressors experienced by the majority of people, such as financial strain, relationships, pressures at work or school, toxins, diets high in processed foods, and constant Wi-Fi and screen exposure. The main
problem is that these assaults to your system are constant. Extended periods of stress can result in a loss of the important mineral, magnesium, at the time your body needs it most. Ensuring you have good magnesium levels helps make you a warrior during stressful times.

Are You Low in Magnesium?

Fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches and difficulty sleeping are common signs of magnesium deficiency in both adults and children. Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and mood disorders including anxiety, depression, and constant stress are all associated with poor body stores of magnesium. Talk to your Practitioner today about whether you have an increased need for magnesium.

Running on Empty – What Causes Low Magnesium?

There are many different factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency. These include:

  • Inadequate intake from foods.
  • Continual stress. As increased levels of stress hormones diminish precious magnesium stores, this can lead to a vicious cycle of magnesium depletion, making it even harder to cope.
  • Caffeine, alcohol and certain medications. These increase the loss of magnesium through urination

The Many Benefits of Magnesium

Being the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, magnesium plays many roles in supporting your health. It helps dampen the effects of stress hormones to promote calming sleep, as well as relaxing muscles and reducing cramping. Magnesium protects your brain from memory loss, improves mood, concentration and learning, and lowers anxiety helping keep you stay calm during stressful times. However, that’s not all this mighty mineral helps with! Magnesium also improves blood sugar control, which can positively impact weight, reduce sugar cravings and support energy levels.

Magnesium Fuels Your Energy

When you become stressed, it affects you right down to your core, even causing damage at the cellular level by allowing energy molecules to leak from the cell. These energy molecules are needed for every function in the body; without energy your body’s ability to cope with stress is hindered, resulting in fatigue and other symptoms. But thanks to your cells’ instinctive ability to adapt to perceived stressors, the body uses magnesium to boost energy production, supporting good health and increasing your energy levels.

Daily Protection Against Stress

Utilise the following tips to shield your mind and body from stress and conserve your magnesium: Reduce caffeine to a maximum of 1 cup per day. Increase your consumption of magnesium rich foods e.g. spinach, dark chocolate, avocado, almonds, pumpkin seeds and black beans. Minimise your intake of high sugar and processed foods low in nutrients. Get a good night’s sleep. This will assist your body in repairing tissues and reducing inflammation caused by stress. To improve sleep quality, ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet; and unplug from electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, computer, and TV) 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. Exercise regularly to reduce the negative effects of emotional and physical stressors on health.

Choosing the Right Type of Ammunition

We can help recommend an appropriate magnesium for you if stress is weighing you down. Look out for magnesium bisglycinate in particular. This type of magnesium is superior to many other forms as it is well absorbed, gentle on the digestive tract and provides a calming effect. A necessity for 21st century living, magnesium will improve your resilience to the stressors of modern life. So talk to us today on how you can reduce stress using Magnesium!

Magnesium rich foods
Examples of Magnesium rich foods

Content reproduced with permission from Metagenics, 2019.

Raising awareness for healthy hips

Raising awareness for healthy hips

Healthy Hips week is here (1-7 April)! So, to raise awareness for all the good work Healthy Hips Australia do for people diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, we’ve written a little blog to bring you up to speed on what Hip Dysplasia is, what to look out for and what can be done about it.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the ball and socket part of the hip joint do not fit properly together in their normal position. The main cause is a combination of loose ligaments around the joint and abnormal growth or development. The severity of this condition can vary from mild dysplasia, to severe abnormal development where dislocation of the hip may occur. The condition is also referred to as Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), congenital hip dysplasia, and has many other names too.

Who does it affect?

A hand holding a baby

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As many as 1 in 6 full-term newborn babies have some form of hip instability at birth, and it tends to affect females more than males. However, it is not always present at birth, hence the ‘developmental’ part of the name. Risk factors for developing this condition include:

  • Incorrect swaddling techniques
  • Being a first born
  • Having family history of the condition
  • Breech positioning inside the womb

What are the signs and symptoms?

There are a wide variety of signs and symptoms for Hip Dysplasia. Depending on when you are diagnosed, you might experience:

  • Clicking or clunking when moving the hip
  • Uneven thigh or buttock skin creases
  • Uneven leg lengths
  • Weight-bearing to one side when sitting
  • Avoidance of weight bearing altogether
  • Limping or pain when walking
  • Walking on tip-toes on one side
  • Legs that are difficult to spread apart

What can be done about it?

Screening at birth, and in the weeks and months that follow, is the best way to reduce the risk of developing this condition, and its potential complications later in life. You should allow for your baby’s legs and hips to sit in their natural position where possible (i.e. knees bent and turned out at the hips). Try to avoid swaddling, as this restricts leg movement, and any car seats or carriers that bring your child’s legs in together at the knees.

In cases where Hip Dysplasia is present, there are a few different types of treatment, which include harnessing or bracing for milder cases, or surgical correction in more severe cases (i.e. dislocation).

One of the biggest side effects in adults is hip osteoarthritis, so from the teenage years and up, some cases may be considered for corrective surgery to avoid the risk of this developing later in life.

If you are worried about your child’s hips, or even your own, then contact us, your trusted Osteopath. We will take you through an assessment and advise you on your best course of action. This may include referring you on for further investigation, prescribing you strength and flexibility exercises to help you manage your condition, or other treatment. Whatever you need, we’ll help you or your loved one get back to doing the hippy hippy shake in no time!

Reference:

  1. Healthy Hips Australia. http://www.healthyhipsaustralia.org.au/education-training/what-is-developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/
  1. International Hip Dysplasia Institute. https://hipdysplasia.org/adult-hip-dysplasia/adult-diagnosis/

Yang, S. et al. 2019. Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip. Paediatrics. 143(1).