top of page

MIDLIFE JOY CONVERSATION WITH ELVIE RAFAEL FROM LIFE CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC IN ESSEX


20th January 2024 by Nina Garcia


Q1. Nina: Who is a chiropractor and what does he focus on?


Elvie: Chiropractors deal with conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, essentially the joints and muscles of the body, with a special focus on the spine. Chiropractors are a real cross over between mainstream and alternative medicine.  They undergo masters level university education, meaning they are primary healthcare professionals.  This means they have the knowledge required to be the first port of call rather than being referred by another health care professional.  Allowing them to safely give a diagnosis as well as take and analyze x-rays and know when patients might have a serious underlying condition requiring onward referral.  Their diagnostic ability might be in line with the medical profession but their treatment approach is a natural one.  Chiropractic treatment consists primarily of chiropractic adjustments, a form of manual manipulation.  In our clinics this is often combined with massage therapy and rehab exercise programmes.  


Q2. Nina: I have read on your website that during the initial consultation the chiropractor does “spinal manipulation”. What would that mean to our readers?


Elvie: Spinal manipulation is one of our main forms of treatment.  It is totally natural and carried out by hand.  Spinal manipulation also known as adjustments involve the chiropractor finding the restricted joint and applying pressure and movement in a specific direction to the joint.  There can often be a clicking or popping sound.  This releases the joint, reducing pain and restoring motion.


Q3. Nina: I love busting the biggest misconceptions about midlife and yoga. Are there any misconceptions about chiropractic care that you have come across?


Elvie: One misconception we come across (like many other therapies) is that you go to a chiropractor when you are in pain.  Although we provide immense pain relief for many of our patients, the real power is when people choose chiropractic as part of their wellness routine and we can help them look after their spine and posture for the long term.


Q4. Nina: How can chiropractic care complement the yoga & mindfulness practices for midlife women?


Elvie: Our patients who practice yoga regularly report that chiropractic assists the symmetry of their yoga practice as well as overall flexibility and enhances their mind body connectivity.


Q5. Nina: Can you share a success story of a midlife woman who has benefited from chiropractic care alongside her yoga practice?


Elvie: One patient that springs to mind was suffering from a long standing shoulder injury that was hindering her desire to improve her overall health through yoga.  She was frustrated by her inability to progress due to shoulder pain and restrictions.  In this case we used a combination of chiropractic adjustments to the shoulder, mid back and neck, deep tissue massage therapy and shock wave therapy to break down the old scar tissue.  Her range of motion will never be 100% symmetrical but is much improved, she is pain free, has been able to continue to practice yoga and progress at a rate she is satisfied with.


Q6. Nina: In one of your blogs, it’s mentioned that poor posture is one of the most common problems that patients are suffering from. So, can we talk about how stress impacts spinal health and what tips you can give to our readers to alleviate the symptoms of pain or discomfort. 


Elvie: Stress has a massive impact on spinal health just as it does on all aspects of health.  Stress increases your perception of pain and can reduce your desire to move, movement is key to long term spinal health. When it comes to an acute episode of pain or discomfort the first tip is not to panic.  Especially if it is a relapse of a problem you have had in the past and you know the cause then there is nothing worrying going on and it will improve.  Practical tips we give are to apply ice every hour for ten minutes to reduce the immediate inflammation.  Movement within tolerance is key.  Don't stay completely still but don’t do movements that directly aggravate. Gentle walking is ideal.  For low back spasm gentle cat cow and childs pose should be your first port of call.


Q7. Nina: Our readers often experience changes in flexibility and joint mobility that we address during yoga practice. Can we expand a bit and talk about specific techniques or exercises from the chiropractor’s perspective that our readers could benefit from?


Elvie: Chiropractic adjustments themselves are our approach to maintaining joint flexibility and mobility.  As opposed to when people may ‘click’ their own joints they are usually just releasing the same spot every time.  We identify the joint that really needs to move better and adjust that specific joint, restoring mobility and flexibility.  In terms of exercises we really support yoga as a way of maintaining joint mobility and flexibility.  When we devise an exercise programme this is often focused on the rehab of small muscles which act to give support and stability to the joints once they are moving freely again. 


Q8. Nina: The questions sent by our readers prior to our conversation: “What are the best exercises for osteoporosis that are quick and easy to do”, and also: “What should I do to maintain optimal health bone”?


Elvie: If you already suffer from osteoporosis there are many things you can do to help but you must be careful not to carry out high impact activities which involve jumping, heavy jerky movements or twisting as these can increase risk of fracture.  The following can be done easily at home, have a piece of furniture near by for support and aim for 3 reps of 12:


  • Standing on one leg for balance, one minute per foot if possible

  • Squats for thigh and buttock strength

  • Biceps curls using light dumbbells or resistance band

  • Shoulder raises using light dumbbells or resistance band


Diet and physical activity are key to preserving bone health.  A healthy varied diet rich in Vitamin D and K, including daily protein and a variety of colourful veg is a great place to start. We have just started stocking some amazing high quality Vitamin D and K3 supplements from inhealthsuplements which I can not recommend enough. Daily physical activity including weight bearing and strength training are power houses of bone health.  As is maintaining a healthy stable weight.   


Q9. Nina: Following on your recent social media post, if someone experiences that “annoying niggle”, which is tight shoulders, what hack would you give to feel better?


Elvie: If your shoulders are tight check you are not focusing too much on chest exercises and are including enough posterior chain strengthening exercises too, if you are practicing yoga you're covered.  Regular breaks from working in front of any form of screen are paramount, gently roll shoulders down and back, bring your hands to your ears with elbows out, bend your spine forward and back and from side to side and rotate each way or just take a break and move in any way you can!!! 


Q10. Nina: This conversation is about sharing practical steps that our readers can take away and instantly apply to their daily routine so they can fully experience the joy & ease in midlife. So any closing thoughts for our readers? 


Elvie: There are anatomical and physiological changes in flexibility that we see in many patients as they move into midlife and the absolute best way to manage these changes is through movement.  Our job is to keep our patients' joints mobile and pain free in order to facilitate them moving their entire body in a way that they enjoy, helping them be happy and healthy.  


Elvie: Thank you so much for taking an interest in a chiropractors perspective. It was really enjoyable to take part and I hope your readers find it interesting.


Comentarios


bottom of page