Long Term Health

We're all searching for answers to the question, "How do I stay healthy for as long as possible?" Researchers keep finding key pieces to the puzzle, especially applicable to anyone who's reached the age of 40 and is looking to maintain their fitness in the coming decades.

The latest: A comprehensive review of research suggests lifting weights and eating more protein are two components to maintaining physical strength with age. This review study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that people who weight trained and consumed more protein increased muscle size and strength: 25 percent more muscle mass and 10 percent more muscle strength compared to subjects who consumed less protein, even though they also weight trained.

How much protein does the trick? According to the research review, approximately 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight on a daily basis – that's about 130 grams of protein for an 81 kg man. What about timing and protein type? The researchers found no difference in muscle size / strength based on whether subjects consumed protein before, during or after a workout, and all types of protein (solid vs. liquid; beef vs. plant, etc.) had a similar impact. It's also important to note that consuming more than the above was not necessarily better; protein consumption beyond 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight did not result in additional muscle size / strength.

New Recommendations for Low Back Pain

I welcome the new recommendations by the Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), as published on 14 February 2018 by Choosing Wisely Australia. These recommendations address the growing concerns over the prescription of pain medicines and spinal fusion surgery for lower back pain. Recent studies have demonstrated that an overwhelming amount of research reveals most pain medicines had little to no effect compared to placebos in treating lower back pain. GPs are now unlikely to recommend pain medicines in response to changes in major international guidelines for the management of lower back pain. 

The five recommendations by ANZCA are:

1.       Avoid prescribing opioids (particularly long-acting opioids) as first-line or monotherapy for chronic non-cancer pain.

2.       Do not continue opioid prescription for chronic non-cancer pain without ongoing demonstration of functional benefit, periodic attempts at dose reduce and screening for long-term harms.

3.       Avoid prescribing pregabalin and gabapentin for pain which does not fulfil the criteria for neuropathic pain.

4.       Do not prescribe benzodiazepines for low back pain.

5.       Do not refer axial lower lumbar back pain for spinal fusion surgery.

The highly respected American College of Physicians (ACP) low back pain guidelines recommend clinicians and patients should select nonpharmacological approaches for low back pain, several of which are commonly utilised by chiropractors. For example, for acute and subacute low back pain these recommendations include superficial heat, massage and spinal manipulation among other options where pharmacological treatment is not desired. For chronic low back pain, the guidelines recommend a range of nonpharmacological treatments including exercise therapies, rehabilitation and spinal manipulation.

Lay the Foundation for your kids

According to VicHealth our Children’s lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, with 4 out of 5 children (5–17 years) not meeting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Globally, today’s children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

By 2025, it is estimated that one in three Australian children will be overweight or obese. It is currently 1 in 4.

Participation in physical activity halves during adolescence as sport participation levels drop suddenly at around age 15.

Physically active children and youth are more socially active, have reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and perform better at school.

What can you do to encourage more activity in your children? As an active childhood can lay the foundations for an active life and an active life can mean a healthier, longer life.

Don't outsource your brain!

When I was at school in the 70’s, handheld calculators had just hit the mainstream – clunky and unwieldy, they still dramatically reduced the time it took to do simple calculations that previously I had struggled to squeeze out of a slide rule (who can remember what that was?)

 Now, scientists are recognizing that using convenience devices likes smart phones, tablets and laptops to do our thinking and remembering for us, risks underutilization of our intellectual faculties, which can result in sloshy or inadequate brain function.

 Top dementia researcher Dr. Frank Gunn-Moore of the University of St. Andrews School of Biology in Fife, Scotland feels that reduced mental acuity will be an unwanted side effect of our dependence on search engines and the expediency of web services.  “It’s important to promote good brain health and to do that -  is to use it, but these days we seem to outsource our brain to the Internet,” said Dr. Gunn-Moore. “If we want to know something, we look it up online rather than trying to recall the information from our memory.”

While no current studies propose a direct link between using online services and diminished thought power, a 2016 paper published in “Memory” did demonstrate that online access has altered the way we process – experimental subjects who had access to the Internet were more likely and quicker to default to those resources when asked to respond to simple questions, instead of first trying to think of the answers organically.

 This may be more habituation than laziness, but it has the same outcome – we are training ourselves to think less and Google more, robbing us of vital brain exercise that keeps us sharp and ready.

Are you in top shape for the Christmas festivities?

Father Christmas has been adjusted to get him through the Christmas rush so make sure you are in the best possible condition to really enjoy the next few weeks. 

May you and your family be blessed with good health and your home filled with happiness and joy in this festive season and the year ahead. Assisting in your health and well-being has been a privilege. We look forward to being able to do the same should the need arise in the years ahead.

We will be open with reduced hours over the next 2 weeks with normal hours resuming from Monday Jan 8th.

Wed Dec 27th – 4-6 pm
Fri Dec 29th  - 9-11 am
Wed Jan 3rd – 4-6 pm
Fr Jan 5th – 9-12am