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The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

The Benefits Of Spinal Manipulation

Every day there are people who suffer with pain on a daily basis without hope of relief. GPs can’t do anything about it except control it with medications or try to stop it with expensive and often even more painful surgeries.

Spinal manipulation can often offer patients an alternative for treatment of back, neck, shoulder and even head pain when traditional therapies have failed.

What is Spinal Manipulation

Spinal Manipulation, also called spinal manipulative therapy, combines the moving and jolting of joints with massage, exercise and physical therapy. The goal of the therapy is to relieve pressure on your joints and muscles to improve nerve function, and reduce pain and inflammation.

Spinal manipulation is usually conducted in a licensed physician’s or a chiropractor’s office and is used to treat back, neck, shoulder and even headache pain. Some chiropractors also believe it can help other disorders such as menstrual pain and sinus problems.

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Does It Work?

There are two camps of people that appear when you discuss the success of spinal manipulation. There are those that swear by it and believe it works and then there are those that believe it is ineffective and dangerous. There are very few studies on spinal manipulation.

In 2007, one study found that spinal manipulation was moderately effective in easing chronic pain in the lower back lasting four or more weeks. Other studies have also shown it effective in treating pain in the neck as well. Still other studies have shown that spinal manipulation may result in mild to moderate adverse effects, though the incidences of these are unknown due to poor reporting.

In the end, your experience will dictate what you think about the treatment should you choose to try it to help relieve your pain.

Is Spinal Manipulation Safe?

When spinal manipulation is performed by a physician that is both trained and licensed to perform the procedures, it is considered safe. But like any treatment, there are risks and the potential for serious complications.

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Some of the most serious complications are herniated disks, compressed nerves, and in some cases it can cause a stroke or even death.

Spinal manipulation is not for everyone. People who have severe osteoporosis, are at risk for stroke, suffer from spinal cancer or have an unstable spine should not undergo spinal manipulative therapy as they are at an even great risk of experiencing potentially dangerous complications.

Because of the dangers associated with the therapy and the lack of proven long term benefits, it remains a controversial therapy today.

The Benefits of Spinal Manipulation

There are many benefits to spinal manipulation that can make it worth a trip to your local chiropractor.

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Pain Relief

The most obvious benefit is relief of pain. Spinal manipulation can almost instantly relieve some or all of your pain you are experiencing in your lower back, back, neck, head and shoulders. Some patients have even reported being pain free in as little as one visit to the chiropractor.

Improve Flexibility

Spinal manipulation can also help you improve your flexibility. If used along with exercise, you can strengthen your core muscles and improve your movement in your back, shoulders and neck. This will give you better flexibility and help you feel better at the same time.

Prevent Surgery

If you have explored all your options to stop your pain and your only alternative is surgery, then you may want to consider spinal manipulation as an alternative before you set foot into an operating room. In some cases, the therapy can reduce or eliminate your symptoms preventing you from having to go under the knife.

Reduce Dependence on Drugs

Finally, using spinal manipulation can help you reduce your dependence on prescription and over the counter pain medication. These medications often dull your mind, harm your internal organs and can even leave you hopelessly addicted to them in the process. All because you were in pain. Spinal manipulation can help you reduce your pain symptoms thereby reducing your need to take those prescription pain pills in the first place. Once you stop taking those pain pills, you will begin to feel better as you wont be in pain or in a fog because of the medication.

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Spinal manipulation is still a controversial treatment but for those of you that are in chronic pain and don’t want to undergo surgery that may or may not even work, it could be the answer to your pain problem. Before undergoing the therapy, however, be sure you talk with your doctor and chiropractor to see if it is right for you in order to minimize the risks associated with the treatment.

Featured photo credit: Alisha Vargas via flickr.com

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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