Have you ever woken up from a great night’s sleep, and your body has felt stiff and awful?
It could have something to do with your posture while you sleep!
Unlike during the day, we don’t have active control of our posture during our sleep, so it is important to use a variety of tips and tricks to help maintain a neutral spine when sleeping.
What does a neutral spine look like when sleeping?
Very similar to standing upright.
3 smooth curves front to back, from base of head to top of buttocks; no side to side curves.
Should I sleep on my side or my back?
It doesn’t really matter providing you do it right!
When sleeping on your back:
A pillow under the head and neck (not under the shoulders).
It should be fat enough to support your head and neck, but thin enough not to bend your neck forward.
A pillow under the knees helps to support decrease the tension in the spine.
Arms comfortably by your sides, or resting on your tummy.
What about sleeping on my side?
When sleeping on your side:
A pillow under the head and neck (not under the shoulders).
It should be fat enough to support your head and neck, but thin enough so your neck doesn’t bend to the side.
A pillow between the knees.
It should be fat enough to keep your knees and feet hip width apart. This helps to decrease tension and twisting through the hips, pelvis and lumbar spine.
A pillow to stop you rolling over.
Hug a fat pillow – it helps to prevent twisting and tension through the shoulders, upper back and neck.
Prop a fat pillow behind your back, and rest onto it – it helps stop you rolling onto your back, and can help prevent tension in the mid-upper back and neck.
But I’m a tummy sleeper!
Tummy sleeping – it’s not ideal, but if it’s the only way you can sleep at the moment it will have to do!
Try sleeping with a pillow lengthwise under your chest, or horizontally under your tummy to help maintain a more neutral spine.
NO pillow under your head/face!!
Leave a question/comment on our socials; or at your next appointment, chat to your healthcare provider at Caring Hands Chiropractic. Wouldn’t you like to help your body feel more comfortable when sleeping by improving and finetuning your sleep posture, so you can wake up feeling good in the morning?
For more information on healthy sleep habits: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/blog-post/2020/improve-your-sleep-hygiene-for-a-great-sleep
Cary D, Briffa K, McKenna L “Identifying relationships between sleep posture and non-specific spinal symptoms in adults: A scoping review” BMJ Open 2019;9:e027633 doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027633
“Chapter 28: Digital human modelling and ergonomic design of sleeping systems” R. Sironi, C.E. Standoli, P. Perego, and G. Andreoni; “DHM and Psoturography” Ed: S. Scataglini, P. Gunther; Elsevier, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-12-816713-7
Images courtesy of PhysioMed LTD, sourced and adapted from: PhysioMed LTD., 2021. [online] Physiomed.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.physiomed.co.uk/uploads/guide/file/16/Physiomed_Sleeping_Posture_Digital.pdf>
Last week we talked about optimal levels of the various thyroid hormones; but how does it go wrong, and what are the consequences?
The Thyroid – who, what, where?
Hypothyroidism – low hormone levels
Hyperthyroidism – high hormone levels
How do these conditions occur?
There is a strong correlation between thyroid conditions and pre-existing conditions, particularly those of an autoimmune nature1 (including Diabetes, Lupus (SLE), Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, primary adrenal insufficiency).
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
+ special note on Thyroiditis +
Thyroiditis can cause both high and low thyroid hormone levels. Acute inflammation initially causes a ‘leak’ of hormones into the body’s circulation, causing symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. Over time the body attempts to compensate and decrease the levels of thyroid hormones in circulation, and the body downregulates thyroid hormone production/release. If the thyroiditis/inflammation persists this downregulation can progress to a chronically underactive thyroid and symptoms of Hypothyroidism.
How can I help myself?
Ensure you have a good balance of the essential nutrients required for thyroid function
Research also suggests that increased levels of inflammation and oxidative stress are also intimately involved in thyroid dysfunction5,6. Addressing drivers of inflammation processes (including gut dysbiosis, psychological stress, or environmental toxin exposure) may help to limit the risks of developing a thyroid condition.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “But My Bloods Are Normal.”
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Detox Your Home”
You may also like our July Healthy Living Blog posts featuring the topic “Gut Health”
Not feeling your optimal self? Please raise your health concerns with your health practitioner at your next appointment.
 Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Thyroid Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Testing & Treatment. [online] Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease
 Thyroidfoundation.org.au. 2021. The Australian Thyroid Foundation – Iodine Deficiency. [online] Available at: https://thyroidfoundation.org.au/Iodine-Deficiency
 Lee, S., Ananthakrishnan, S, and Pearce, E., 2021. Iodine Deficiency Guidelines: Guidelines Summary, Iodine Deficiency Prevention During Pregnancy. [online] Emedicine.medscape.com. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/122714-guidelines
 Brady, B., 2021. Thyroid Gland: Overview. [online] EndocrineWeb. Available at: https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-nodules/thyroid-gland-controls-bodys-metabolism-how-it-works-symptoms-hyperthyroid
 Metagenicsinstitute.com.au. 2021. Your Learning Hub | Metagenics Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/protocols/hypothyroidism
 Metagenicsinstitute.com.au. 2021. Your Learning Hub | Metagenics Institute. [online] Available at: https://www.metagenicsinstitute.com.au/protocols/hyperthyroidism
Should we be aiming for normal or optimal?
I’m sure we have all been to our GP before because we haven’t felt well, had some blood tests and been told ‘everything is normal, there is nothing wrong with you.’ This can be very frustrating and upsetting as the reason you went is because you know you just don’t feel right.
I had chronic fatigue syndrome that was set off by glandular fever in my late teens. I struggled with symptoms like severe fatigue, joint pain, random recurrent vomiting, recurrent infections, liver and spleen enlargement, platelet problems, chronically low iron, hair loss, weight gain……you name it, I probably had it. The worst bit of the whole thing was that a few times that I actually went to the Dr was because I honestly thought ‘I can’t feel this terrible and not be dying.’ I was told that nothing was wrong, ‘you just need to stop being lazy and do some exercise’, ‘you just need to sleep more’, ‘you are obviously lying about what you eat because calories in/calories out’ and ‘you’re in your late 20s and own your own business, you are going to be tired’…….I mean seriously.
The one thing that I found really interesting and frustrating throughout my journey is the ranges in blood tests. This month we are talking all things thyroid health so I’ll go into a bit more detail in a moment.
Blood test normal ranges are actually calculated from an average of everyone who has had a blood test in that particular pathology lab. WHAT??!! Noone has done a study on healthy people to figure out what a normal range is!! I was equally horrified, especially when most people only get bloods done when they are feeling unwell and this is who they are calculating the average off.
It can even be different for different countries – for example a normal B12/Folate range in Australia is >177 however in America it is 200-500 and Japan it is 500-13001. Are Australians really that different to Americans or Japanese people? Or are our ‘normal’ B12 levels too low?
When we look at thyroid labs the normal ranges and optimal ranges are as follows:
|Test||Normal Ranges (pmol)|
(Southern IML pathology)
(converted to pmol) 2
|Free T3||3.1 – 6.8||>4.9|
|Reverse T3||<250 pg/mL||10:1 ratio RT3:FT3|
My main point in this article is to really look into what your blood tests mean or find someone who can. After all, we want to be functioning at our optimal not just ‘within the normal ranges.’ Ask questions and don’t stop looking until you find an answer to why you feel the way you do.
If you have thyroid issues or suspect you do then have a read of Dr Amy Meyers book – The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, and Overweight — and How to Get Your Life Back
I have since found a wonderful GP who listens and actually takes me seriously. I have also had a couple of awesome naturopaths and chiropractors throughout the years that literally saved me. I’d still be sick and in bed if it wasn’t for them. I haven’t had a CFS flare for over 10 years and would say that I’m in complete recovery.
If you are in a similar situation to what I was, please don’t give up and if you’d like a referral let me know.
Did you know we are made up of a combination of human cells and micro-organisms?
This is known as your microbiome.
Just focusing on the bacterial side of our microbiome of which most are beneficial to our health and wellbeing and a small number (if allowed to heavily populate) can cause disease. However having the right gut balance of bacteria can be linked to numerous health benefits including; weight loss, improved digestion and enhanced immune function.
If our gut microbiome gets out of balance through a variety of different means, sickness and antibiotics are some examples, probiotics are recommended. You can either get your probiotics through supplementation (which we stock here and the chiropractor can recommend whichever one suits your specific needs), or through some foods. The probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh and kimchi.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Prebiotics, probiotics and immunity.”
If you would like more information just ask at your next appointment.
Feature Image credit: Flo Leung
Did you know that some researchers consider the gut to be our second brain?
While it can’t help you compose a Grammy award winning song, or do your tax return, our gut has a large role in nearly every aspect of our health – from physical health to mental health!
Maybe you’ve felt “butterflies” in your stomach, or felt your mouth water before a tasty meal? That’s the link between your gut and your brain!
The physical health relationship may be the more obvious of the two. Our bodies require a wide variety of nutrients and energy to function healthily, and they’re supplied by the foods we eat each day, which are broken down and absorbed by the gut before entering the bloodstream and travelling to the rest of our body.
The connection between the brain and the gut is known as the Brain-Gut Axis, or the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS consists of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells which line your gastrointestinal tract from oesophagus to rectum1.
This superhighway of nerve cells allows constant neural, chemical, and hormonal messages to be sent between the gut and the brain providing feedback about hunger and nutrient status, hormone levels, pathogen and disease states and allows control and regulation of vital gastrointestinal functions such as digestion, immunity and inflammation1,2.
The ENS consists of over 500 million neurons. That’s 1/200 of the number of neurons in the brain and five times as many neurons as in the spinal cord1.
A second relationship also exists between the gut and mental health, one that involves neurotransmitters (NTs) specifically serotonin (our happy chemical), and dopamine (our reward chemical). Unlike conventional thought, recent research has shown that more than 90% of our serotonin, and 50% of our dopamine lie within the gut, and NOT the brain!
This is a huge revelation! If our gut is unhappy (from illness, stress, poor nutrition for example) it enters a state of inflammation, and releases biochemical signals which effectively ‘spread’ inflammatory markers throughout the whole body, including the brain. This creates a state of oxidative stress, and can ultimately lead to mood changes and dysfunction, and physical and mental ill health3.
Ways you can improve your gut health yourself.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Prebiotics, Probiotics and Immune Health.” A look into improving your gut microbiome health.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Allergy or intolerance?” A further look into the role the gut can plan on various aspects on your health.
For a more detailed look at the role gut health, inflammation can play on mental health have a read of “Inflammation, the hidden cause of depression” Press HERE
The spinal research foundation has a 2 part series on the gut-brain axis, which can be found HERE
The Stress Series, part 5: Stress, Chiropractic and the Gut Brain can be found HERE
Feature Image credit: Coolgraphic/Shutterstock
This month is all about gut health. I’m sure we have all experienced issues with our gut at one time or another.
Many people now suffer from food intolerances and chronic gut issues. I truly believe this is due to our high stress lifestyle and poor diet – and the research agrees3.
There are many ways we can help to begin to heal our gut. If you have gut issues, I would always recommend you see a health practitioner (GP, chiro, naturopath, nutritionist) who has training in this area.
There are however some things we can do at home to help improve our gut health:
Varied whole food diet
This helps us to have a diverse gut microbiome. This has been shown to be important in the reducing the incidence of issues such as allergies and autoimmune conditions1. There is testing that you can get done that can look at the bacterial diversity of your gut. I had one done a few years ago, and interestingly I had very low numbers of a bacteria that (if you don’t have enough) has been linked to allergies. I suffer from seasonal, environmental and food allergies which were set off by some antibiotics I required in my early 20s. If your interested in this kind of testing please ask us for a referral.
Reducing stress allows our body to get out of the sympathetic part of our nervous system (fight or flight) and into our parasympathetic part (rest and digest). If we are stressed the body shunts blood away from internal organs to the arms and legs so you are ready to fight or run from the ‘tiger’. Unfortunately, the tiger is now more likely to be a full email inbox or traffic2. There are loads of great apps and guided meditations out there and you don’t have to be meditating for hours, even 10 mins per day will make a difference to your health.
Chew your food
Next time you eat take notice of how many times you chew your food before your swallow it. As Dr Libby says: Your oesophagus doesn’t have teeth. Swallowing huge bits of food puts stress on your stomach to try to break it down.
Including bone broth, gelatine and collagen in our diet
Many gut issues come from having ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut means that tiny particles of foods can penetrate the gut wall and make it into the bloodstream. As they are not supposed to be there the body can treat them as an invader and then we can become sensitive to this food. Collagen and gelatine appear to help to ‘reseal’ and nourish the gut lining to promote a nice healthy thick mucous layer to stop particle crossing into the blood. The research on this is still emerging. I use loads of bone broth and collagen daily. I have collagen protein in my morning smoothie and bone broth in the majority of my cooking. I have noticed a significant improvement to my allergies since I’ve started this.
There are loads of great recipes out there for bone broth. I hate the smell of it cooking so I use the Nutra Organics dehydrated one. Also have a look at gelatine gummies if you or your kids like lollies. Make sure you source your collagen, gelatine and bone broth from organic, grass fed sources where possible.
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Allergy or intolerance?”
 Meaney, Michael PhD Stress and Disease: Who Gets Sick: Who Stays Well Cortext Educational Seminars Fall, 2001.
Gotcha! You thought I was going to write about magic mushrooms……well we may not be talking Psilocybin but some of the traditional Chinese and Japanese medicinal mushrooms are pretty magical.
The Chinese and Japanese have been using mushrooms as medicine for thousands of years.
I had my first experience using these a few years ago. I became very ill with pneumonia and pleurisy and although I took a course of antibiotics it wasn’t shifting. I thought before trying more antibiotics I would try some Turkey Tail mushroom. I felt like it was a miracle at the time, as after 24hrs I was feeling significantly better.
Since then, I use mushrooms everyday to help improve my overall health. I used Reishi throughout my pregnancy to help with my immunity (I was pregnant through the worst of COVID and still working with the public) and the Chinese believe that Reishi babies are calm babies….not sure if it’s coincidence or not but my son is super chill. Post birth I’ve still been using Reishi and have added in some cordyceps which is said to help rebuild the blood, and I do find that I notice if I forget.
Please talk to a health professional before starting any new supplements – especially while pregnant or breastfeeding. Results will vary from person to person.
Now I’ve spoken about my experience, let’s dive into the individual mushrooms and what they can be used for.
· Increases immune function and a potent antioxidant1
· Modulate the microbiota of the intestinal tract, and have been heralded as effective prebiotics2
· Antibacterial and Antiviral5
· Powerful adaptogen and considered the ‘mushroom of immortality’
· Traditionally considered good to support the immune system, relieve stress, strengthen the spirit, calm the mind and promote peaceful sleep. (SuperFeast)
· Enhance immune function4
· Considered a life-enhancing herb in the Taoist herbal tradition
· Traditionally used to increase blood oxygenation and cultivate Jing – the primordial energy living in the kidneys. With increased Jing, we experience improved core energy, cellular performance, endurance and reduced recovery time (SuperFeast)
Turkey Tail (Coriolus)
· Increases immune function and a potent antioxidant1
· Modulate the microbiota of the intestinal tract, and have been heralded as effective prebiotics2
· Used by Taoists to cultivate a robust immune system that is able to combat pathogens, turkey tail is also beneficial for boosting Qi (Chi), supporting bone health, toning the liver, and improving gut health. (SuperFeast)
· Immune stimulating6
· Could be helpful in inhibiting the influenza virus7
· Considered the ‘elixir of life’ by Japanese elders
· Traditionally considered good for the cardiovascular system, blood vessels, respiratory system and liver (SuperFeast)
I use Metagenics super mushroom, SuperFeast or Host Defence (which you can get from iHerb). Caring Hands Chiropractic stocks Metagenics and a small range of SuperFeast products.
And as always, please consult a healthcare professional before starting a new supplement. Results will vary from person to person.
 Zjalic S, Reverberi M, Ricelli A, et al. Trametes versicolor: a possible tool for aflatoxin control. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2006;107:243-9.
 Pallav K, Dowd SE, Villafuerte J, et al. Effects of polysaccharopeptide from Trametes versicolor and amoxicillin on the gut microbiome of healthy volunteers: a randomized clinical trial. Gut Microbes. 2014 Jul 1;5(4):458-67.
 He YX, Du M, Shi HL, et al. Astragalosides from Radix Astragali benefits experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL /6 mice at multiple levels. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 24;14:313.
 Belwal T, Bhatt ID, Indra D, Dharambir K, Sak S, Tuli HS, et al. Nonvitamin and nonmineral nutritional supplements. USA: Academic Press; 2019. P. 527-37.
 Reis FS, Martins A, Vasconcelos MH, Morales P, Ferreira IC. Functional foods based on extracts or compounds derived from mushrooms. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2017 May 19;66:48-62. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2017.05.010.
 Zhang M, Cui SW, Cheung PCK, Wang Q. Antitumor polysaccharides from mushrooms: a review on their isolation process, structural characteristics and antitumor activity. Trends Food Sci Technol. 2007 Jan;18(1):4-19 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2006.07.013.
 Kuroki T, Lee S, Hirohama M, Taku T, Kumakura M, Haruyama T. Inhibition of influenza virus Infection by Lentinus edodes mycelia extract through its direct action and immunopotentiating activity. Front Microbiol. 2018 May 29;9:1164. doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01164.
Most of us have heard of antibiotics, and their role in the medical world in treating the ‘bad bacteria’ which may cause infections and serious health complications.
But if ‘bad bacteria’ exist, do ‘good bacteria’ exist?
The answer is YES!
Our body has thousands2 of different types of good and bad bacteria (and other microflora) which is known as our microbiome.1
Probiotics are the ‘good bacteria’ in our bodies, and help to maintain a healthy balance in our microbiome.
Prebiotics are the building blocks which help keep our levels of ‘good bacteria’ stable.
Maintaining the health of our microbiome is crucial to the function of numerous aspects of our body’s daily activities; including nutrient metabolism and energy production, facilitating optimal neuroendocrine function (the body’s communication system), maintaining cardiovascular health, and a developing and maintaining a strong immune system.2
Signs of poor gut microbiome health may include:
– Altered immune system functions | Allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, hay fever, sinusitis, frequent/recurrent colds
– Irritable bowel | Constipation, diarrhoea or fluctuating between the two
– Pain and/or bloating with eating, a ‘gassy’ system (frequent burping or farting)
– Fatigue | Poor concentration, low motivation
You can help maintain the general health of your microbiome by ensuring you eat a wide variety of fresh foods.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods (like yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi)
Prebiotics are found in high fibre foods like fruit and veggies, and can also be found in onions, garlic, soybeans, and whole grains.1, 3
Sometimes a wide variety of natural foods isn’t enough to maintain or restore a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria; such as when you are feeling stressed, run down, or overworked; or after taking antibiotics. For this reason Caring Hands Chiropractic stocks many of the Metagenics practitioner only Probiotics Range, which are clinically proven2 to help manage gut issues (like constipation, bloating and pain), and to establish, maintain and/or improve your immune system health.
Figure 1: the Metagenics Probiotic Range
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Can allergens and irritants impact the health of the body?”
Have a chat with the team at Caring Hands Chiropractic about what lifestyle and dietary modifications may benefit you and your family.
Feature Image credit: Antoine Doré
Most of us have probably heard of the liver and how it helps breakdown any alcohol we ingest. And whilst this is true it has so many more functions to perform.
Without a functioning liver a person cannot survive. This essential organ is involved in over 500 vital functions. Some of its many functions include:
Converting carbohydrates to glucose (for instant energy) and converts glucose to glycogen (stored glucose).
Amino acids are sent to the liver for the production of hormones.
Filters blood – All the blood leaving the stomach and intestines passes through the liver, which removes toxins, by products, and other harmful substances.
Regulates blood clotting – Blood clotting coagulants are created using vitamin K, which can only be absorbed with the help of bile, a fluid the liver produces.
Resists infections – As part of the filtering process, the liver also removes bacteria from the bloodstream.
Stores vitamins and minerals – The liver stores significant amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12, as well as iron and copper.
This organ is vital to the body’s metabolic functions and immune system.
Here are some key things you can do to help it function optimally:
Press HERE to read our Healthy Living Blog post “Detox your home.”
Talk to your health practitioner today for a personalised detox program.
Andropause is a syndrome associated with “a decrease in sexual satisfaction or a decline in a feeling of general well-being associated with low levels of testosterone in older men.”1
Symptoms to look out for are similar to Menopause; including loss of muscle mass and strength, increased body fat deposition, depressed moods, loss of bone density (Osteoporosis)2, changes in sexual habits – loss of libido, onset of morning erections, and/or erectile dysfunction.1
Menopause is a decrease of the ‘female hormones’ (ie Estrogen and Progesterone) in women.
Andropause is a decrease the ‘male hormone’ (Testosterone). These levels can decline at a rate of approximately 1% per year.4
So how can the team at Caring Hands Chiropractic help?
We are experienced with the holistic management of several conditions (including inflammatory arthritis, obesity, and metabolic syndrome). These conditions have been identified as potential risk factors for Andropause.3
Inflammatory arthritis are types of arthritis which involve the immune system (e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal body fat, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Joint pain, inflammation, and dysfunction can lead to decreased levels of physical activity, and subsequently increased levels of obesity, altered metabolic processes, and changes in cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels – all risk factors for Andropause.
Chiropractic care focuses on improving the function of the joints, nerves, and muscles and minimising pain, dysfunction and immobility. Treatment and results will vary from person to person with the emphasis being on promoting a healthy lifestyle. This in turn may moderate some of the risk factors associated with Andropause.
Likewise appropriate supplementation may help to support the healthy functioning of various processes in the body, from pain and inflammation control; to improving hormone function and stress management pathways.
For more information individualised to your specific case, just ask the friendly team at Caring Hands Chiropractic at your next appointment.
 Singh, P., 2013. Andropause: Current concepts. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 17(9), p.621.
 Rate and circumstances of clinical vertebral fractures in older men.Freitas SS, Barrett-Connor E, Ensrud KE, Fink HA, Bauer DC, Cawthon PM, Lambert LC, Orwoll ES, Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Research Group. Osteoporos Int. 2008 May; 19(5):615-23.
 Review: Late-onset hypogonadism. Bassil N. Med Clin North Am. 2011 May; 95(3):507-23, x.
 The relative contributions of aging, health, and lifestyle factors to serum testosterone decline in men. Travison TG, Araujo AB, Kupelian V, O’Donnell AB, McKinlay JB. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Feb; 92(2):549-55.