Health Blog

Best Sleeping Positions

Many patients ask what position is the best to sleep in for their particular problem. This often also leads to discussion on which are the best pillows and which are the best mattresses. Lets begin by looking at the body's natural curves- because the best position is usually one that supports these curves appropriately. On the drawing to the right it can be seen that there are three main curves in the spine when looked at from the side. The neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine) curve backwards and are called lordoses, while the mid back (thoracic spine) curves forward. Click on the links for a review on common postural distortions and scoliosis.   Sleeping in a position that supports these curves and maintains a neutral position would be ideal, however the condition and type of mattress you sleep on as well as the type of pillow you use will also influence this. Lets look at each position in turn.

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Treatment during Pregnancy

Pregnancy carries a range of experiences for new mums-to-be. Besides the joy of nurturing a new life, there are also the more uncomfortable experiences of back ache, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, swollen legs and nausea that needs to be endured. As her body changes, a woman will experience a shift in weight bearing position, a change in her posture and greater strain on her back and pelvis. All of these discomforts can be relieved through a range of therapies performed by our practitioners, ranging from acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, manual therapy, spinal manipulation and myofascial therapy.

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Retained Neonatal Reflexes

NEONATAL REFLEXES Infants are born with a strongly developed set of reflexes called neonatal or primitive reflexes. Experts believe that the purpose of these reflexes is survival based. Examples of these  include: The suckling reflex- where stimulating the lips or side of the mouth causes the baby to turn toward the stimulus and begin a suckling action The palmar grip reflex - where lightly stroking the palm, or placing a finger in the hand of the infant causes them to close it and grip strongly The Moro reflex - where a sudden backwards tilt causes the infant to throw their arms and legs outward Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex- when the baby is on its back, turning its head to the left causes the left arm to straighten and the right arm to bend (& vice versa) Galant Reflex - stroking along the spine causes a twitch in the back muscles on the same side Around six months of age, many of the reflexes begin to wane (or integrate) and are slowly replaced by postural reflexes, whose purpose is to allow independent movement of limbs from head movement; manipulation of objects by hand, to sit up, crawl and eventually balance on two legs and walk. The chart below (courtesy of Inspiral Paediatric seminars) shows a timeline of the transition from primitive reflexes to postural reflexes.  

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Low FODMAP diet

The FODMAP diet is considered to be one of the most effective diets in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder the developed world where it affects one in seven adults. It is characterised by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, wind and stool changes often swinging from diarrhoea to constipation. However, there is often no pathological change detected in bowel studies. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These substances are essentially all types of sugars or sugar alcohols. It should be noted that the typical western processed food diet contains a large amount of these sugars as added ingredients - examples include galactose, lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltilol. All of these types of sugars are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine, leading to fermentation, toxicity and gas production by bowel bacteria. Weakening and stretching (distension) of the intestinal walls by this digestive dysfunction leads to the symptoms of IBS. People with fructose sensitivity and lactose intolerance are more specific examples of the general FODMAP sensitivity found in some people and will also benefit from this diet, which was developed by a team at Monash University in Australia.   What foods are high in FODMAPs? Apart from processed foods mentioned, many of these sugars are found naturally, though in much smaller amounts. People who have developed IBS may be sensitive to fruits and vegetables containing FODMAPs, even though they were not sensitive previously. Some examples of foods are listed below: Fructans: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Onion, Garlic, Spring Onion, Leek, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Fennel, Chocolate Galactans: Beans and pulses Polyols: Stonefruits, Apples, Avocados, Blackberries, Lychees, Pears, Watermelons, Cauliflower and Mushrooms   A rule of thumb is that fruits, onions and vegetables of the cabbage family are to be avoided on the FODMAP diet as is lactose containing dairy food. Foods considered acceptable on the diet: Vegetables: bok choy, cucumbers, capsicum, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, yams, zucchini Fruits: bananas, berries (not blackberries or boysenberries), rock melon, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pawpaw, pineapple, rhubarb, tangerine, tomatoes Proteins: meats and fish all OK, nuts (except cashews and pistachios), seeds Grains: gluten free grains and their products, oats, quinoa, rice, tapioca Beverages: Water, coffee and tea. Avoid fruit juices. Dairy: Lactose free dairy products, hard cheeses, alternative milk products (soy, rice and almond milk)   Monash University has a website with further information on IBS and the FODMAP protocol: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

Vitamin B12

What is Vitamin B12? Vitamin B12 (Cobalamine) is a water soluble vitamin, first described by British physician Thomas Addison in 1855. He described a deficiency of this vitamin to be associated with macrocytic anemia (anemia associated with enlarged red blood cells); glossitis (tongue and throat inflammation); and neurological symptoms such as mental fatigue, memory failure, dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance and muscle weaknesses among other symptoms.

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