School bags are an essential aspect of the back-to-school process. Children will carry their bag the whole year, but the right – or wrong – backpack can have a much longer effect on your child’s health. Back pain is common in Australian children, particularly during adolescence. A heavy backpack increases the risk of poor posture and possible injury.
What to look for in a backpackThere are so many different styles of school bags available to purchase that it can become difficult to choose the right one. The style found to best suit children entering school and returning to primary school is an ergonomic backpack. Below are features that you should look for when purchasing a new bag.
Take the time to teach your child how to wear their backpack correctly, if unsure speak with your local osteopath.
“Carrying a backpack and sitting at desks all day can cause some stiffness in the back, neck and shoulders,” says Dr Patricia Thomas (osteopath).
“Encourage your kids to, where safe to do so, remove their shoes and play outside for a while when they get home. This will loosen and relieve their bodies and boost their energy after a long day of sitting postures at school, and after carrying heavy bags.
When inside, urge them to avoid chair postures or slouching on sofas, and instead allow them to adopt natural rest postures on the floor.”
Teach your kids to do a few slow gentle stretches whenever it is convenient.
Simple stretches for home:Shoulder shrugInhale and shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Hold then release and drop. Repeat three times.
Arm circlesWhile standing, stretch your arms out to the side. Slowly circle your arms forward for five rotations. Stop and circle your arms backwards for five rotations.
Torso twistStand with your arms loosely by your side and turn your torso to the right. Let your left heel come off the ground as you twist. Repeat for the left side, letting your right heel come off the ground as you twist. Repeat several times on both sides.
[original article published by Osteopathy Australia at https://goo.gl/RyJsjD]
What is Osteopathy? How does an osteopath think?
When I saw this amazing picture of a tree sculpture demonstrating the hidden young sapling uncovered in the mature tree it resonated with me.
In the human body, as it is in nature, our bodies grow & evolve over time from the embryo. The link to this perfect form remains, even though it's hidden from view.
As an osteopath , this is how we differ from other allied health professionals. We approach every patient as a whole person, not as a symptom or a disease. We look for that 'sapling' that is the health in each individual person and that is the platform from where we start.
"It is the object of the physician to find Health. Anyone can find disease"
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still Founder of Osteopathy
[posted by Dr. Paola Perin. Image and story from https://goo.gl/jXZNq9]
Not only does sitting at a desk for long periods hurt your neck & back but your breathing & concentration suffers too! Unfortunately with all the tech gadgets these days we're seeing more and more adolescents & children coming into the clinic with the 'shy turtle' posture as well. This is a fun, short video demonstrating just how this occurs.
[original article posted on The Huffington Post Australia at http://goo.gl/XRTaLa]
Yes, it's International Osteopathic Healthcare Week! It's a mouthful to say, but the message is important - Osteopaths treat more than most people think.
Has Osteopathy helped you? We hope so, and we'd love you to help spread the good word :)
Gemma Paech, Washington State University
We all suffer from too little sleep from time to time, some more than others. There are many possible reasons, depending on our age, genes and sleep habits; but another possible culprit is using technology before going to sleep.
A 2011 survey found nine in ten people use some form of electronics in the hour before bed. This ranges from playing video games and watching television, to using light-emitting e-readers, tablets and smartphones.
While many of these devices, especially light-emitting e-readers, seem harmless enough, the light they emit may affect our sleep patterns and leave us feeling tired the next day.
How does light affect sleep?
Light exposure can directly influence sleep and the timing of sleep by acting on our circadian timing system, also know as the body clock. Indeed, light is often used to overcome jet lag and can help shift workers adapt to their work schedule.
One way light exposure may impact sleep and our circadian timing system is by affecting the production of melatonin during the night. Melatonin is a “sleep” hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain.
Melatonin levels begin to increase around two hours before bed (around 9pm for someone who usually goes to bed around 11pm) to help initiate sleep. These levels remain high during sleep, before starting to decrease shortly prior to waking.
Exposure to light during the evening hours can inhibit the production of melatonin, so that melatonin production is shifted to later in the night. Using the example above, melatonin levels may only start to increase around 10pm, which may delay your sleep until around midnight.
What does the research say?
A study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows just how much light-emitting electronic devices may affect sleep.
In this study, a group of 12 healthy adults lived in a controlled environment for two weeks. All individuals tested two conditions: reading from a light-emitting e-book and reading from a printed book in a dim room prior to going to sleep.
Researchers measured participants' sleep, plasma melatonin levels, and subjective sleepiness and objective alertness during the evening and the morning. Not surprisingly, researchers found that using an e-book in the evening suppressed melatonin levels by more than 50%. To compare, in the printed book condition there was no suppression of evening melatonin.
On the night following the e-book condition, participants' dim light melatonin onset(when the body starts producing melatonin during dim light conditions) occurred more than 1.5 hours later than when participants read the printed book.
The study also showed that participants took nearly ten minutes longer to fall asleep and had less REM sleep in the e-book condition compared to the printed book condition.
People who use light-emitting e-readers are more alert in the evenings but sleepier in the mornings. James Darling/Flickr, CC BY-NC
Participants also reported feeling less sleepy and were more alert in the evening in the e-book condition compared with the printed book.
This was the reverse in the morning with participants reporting feeling sleepier when they had been reading from the e-book the previous night. Not only did participants wake feeling sleepier, but it took them longer to “wake-up” and attain the same level of alertness as the printed book condition.
Given that participants were simply reading, an activity most people would classify as relaxing, the fact that the e-book has an alerting effect shows just how much light alone can influence sleep and sleepiness. Indeed, previous research has shown that bright light exposure can have an alerting effect.
Activities such as playing a game, sending text messages or even checking emails, which may also have an alerting effect, may have an even greater effect on sleepiness and alertness in the evening. This may make it harder to “unwind” before sleep and may delay sleep time further.
All of the above findings have a similar theme: a delay in melatonin, reduced sleepiness in the evening, and a longer time to fall asleep, all result in a later sleep time. As most people need to wake at a similar time each day, this then results in a decreased sleep duration and increased difficulty in getting up in the morning.
Texting and emailing make it harder to unwind before bed, adding to the sleep delay. Surat Lozowick/Flickr
In the long term, this may also lead to more serious conditions such as sleep onset insomnia, delayed sleep-phase disorder (where your body wants to go to sleep and wake up later) and chronic sleep deficiency.
These issues may be more prominent in young adults, adolescents, and children who are more likely to use electronics in the hours before bedtime.
So what can we do?
The most obvious thing to do is to reduce the use of light-emitting electronic devices prior to bedtime, or at least within the hour before sleep.
For adolescents and adults who are more reluctant to stop using electronic devices, there are some applications that can alter the amount of blue light that is emitted. Blue light suppresses melatonin production and can directly impact sleep, so reducing the amount of exposure in the evenings may help to allay the negative effects of light on sleep.
But it’s probably not a good idea to rely on these applications too heavily, as the possible benefits or effects on sleep have not been investigated.
My advice would be to buy a book or opt for an e-reader that doesn’t emit light. Try to reduce the amount of light you are exposed to in the evenings. Who knows, you may even find it more relaxing!
Gemma Paech, Postdoctoral research fellow, Sleep and Performance Research Center,Washington State University
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
By Dr. Sarah Brooksbank, KOC Osteopath
Often the pain we experience in everyday life can be traced back to our posture.
Our bodies are made up of four natural and protective spinal curves; these are the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral curves.
The curves are protective and develop to balance the load through the spine and allow shock absorption. Unfortunately in today's society many of the tasks we complete each day tend to create postural decompensation. Over time, poor ergonomics during desk work, driving, cleaning, cooking etc. can cause changes in the natural spinal curves. These changes then alter the load through the spine and can create compression of joints, discs, nerves and blood vessels which can lead to pain.
Maintaining good desk ergonomics and being mindful of posture when completing other activities of daily living as well as performing simple stretching and strengthening exercises can help correct spinal alignment and reduce pain. There are many exercises that can be performed at the desk and/or at home which can help postural alignment. The good news is these exercises don't take a long time to complete and are effective for both current pain relief and future pain prevention.
Combining osteopathic treatment to reduce soft tissue tension and help improve joint range of motion as well and completing specific postural exercises at home can help get your body back on the right path.
The type of pillow that you need will generally depend on what position you sleep in.
Generally there are only two positions that are recommend for sleep.
The most recommended position is side sleeping
The way to measure the right height pillow is to lie on your side and to make sure the spine is in perfect alignment. The pillow must not cause the neck to tilt too much upwards or downwards and should allow for minimal pressure being exerted on the spine, neck and shoulder muscles.
The two primary factors to look at when choosing a pillow are:
1) The broadness of the shoulders (i.e. frame size of person)
2) The softness of the bed. If bed is very soft then shoulders will sink in and a lower pillow will be required. If bed is very firm then shoulders will not press into the bed so much and a higher pillow may be required to support the neck.
The second accepted position for sleeping is on the back
If purely a back sleeper then a lower pillow is the right way to go. You will just need something that supports the curvature of your neck in order to perfectly align the necks progressive curve. The softness of the mattress will play a slight part in deciding a back sleeping pillow but not as much as for side sleepers.
Back and Side Sleepers
If you are a back and side sleeper then we recommend finding a pillow that fits for side sleeping but is of a softer density so that when they roll onto their back the pillow will not cause undue pressure to the neck.
Many people do sleep on their tummy but the consensus is that this should be avoided as it will place unnecessary pressure on the lower back during rest. There will also be undue strain on the neck which may cause damage over the medium to longer term.
Some other hints
Other important factors to consider are if there are any other conditions either pre existing or preventative that need to be factored in. Also the length of time the user is in bed should be factored in when choosing a pillow as other supports may be required.
Most importantly whichever pillow you choose it must hold its shape during the night so as to give you the support that you are after for the whole night. For this it is recommended that pillows should have a good density (weight) to them to make sure they last the distance required.
[This information was supplied by our friends at Therapeutic Pillow Australia - we stock their products, and our Osteopaths can match you with the right pillow]
Recent German studies showed that osteopathic treatment can be beneficial for women suffering from primary dysmenorrhoea.
The studies involved 60 women aged between 14 and 33. Only those who were diagnosed with primary dysmenorrhoea by their GP participated in the study.
Six osteopathic treatments over a period of three menstrual cycles were conducted on a group of women. At each treatment session, researchers tested dysfunctional structures and treated based on osteopathic principles. The average pain intensity (API) during menstruation decreased in the osteopathic group by 50%.
During the research the most frequent dysfunctions and pains were observed in the area of the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm and lumbar spine.
Pain is considered to be a normal symptom during periods, however excessive period pain is called dysmenorrhoea and is considered to be abnormal.
Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to painful periods in the absence of any underlying pathology, while secondary dysmenorrhoea is painful menstruation associated with a pelvic pathology, such as endometriosis . Dysmenorrhoea is a very common problem and can occur in up to 50% of women. Several studies suggest that severe period pain is associated with absence from school or work and restricts other activities of daily life.
A study of 1000 girls aged 16-18 years in Canberra found that 21% of the girls had severe pain with periods and 26% had missed school because of period symptoms .
Primary dysmenorrhoea is commonly treated by simple analgesic, however pain relief may be inadequate for some women, or side effects may not be well tolerated.
Studies suggest that between 30-50 percent of the adult population use some form of complementary medicine including osteopathic treatments – a combination of traditional methods and modern scientific philosophies.
An osteopath will make sure that there are no restrictions in the movement within the joints of the spine and pelvis, which can lead to period pain, release any tension from the muscles of the spine, pelvic floor and pelvis, which in turn will improve the blood and nerve supply to the organs. They can also treat any muscular restriction of the uterine walls so as to help reduce cramping.
Osteopaths can also help to prepare exercise and stretching programs, and provide advice on posture and stress management for improved general health and wellbeing
[originally posted on CNN iReports: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1235595]
We are lucky to have some very experienced and caring Osteopaths at our clinic.
With a long list of credentials, you can find out more about them here.
At Kew Osteopathic Clinic we post regular updates with useful Health information, exercise tips, opinions etc.
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