Helpful Articles from Connect Chiropractic

From Stress to Success – A Chiropractor’s ‘Exam Cheat Sheet’

melbourne chiropractor for adolescents

Calling all VCE and Tertiary students! Your final exams are nearly here and I’m sure you (and your parents) are feeling the stress!

Dr Nicole Hudson, Principal Chiropractor, and owner of Connect Chiropractic, provides treatment and advice for teenagers (and adults) during intense study and exam periods. Through her many years of clinic experience, she has come to recognise that students often need help with muscular aches and pain, brain fog, fatigue, and sleep disturbance – all common symptoms of stress.

Connect Chiro Case Study

Emily (17), Springvale, South-East Melbourne

Dr Nic explains,

“About a year ago, Emily started to feel pain in her neck and shoulders, which got worse when she studied for long hours at her computer. It got to the point where she had to stop studying altogether and sit with a hot water bottle on her shoulders and back. She decided to call Connect Chiropractic for help.

When I first met Emily, she was spending long hours on her computer, studying and doing practice exams. She was less active than she used to be and had developed a lot of muscle tension in her neck, shoulders, and back. Once I started adjusting Emily, it became clear to her that her problems were caused by poor posture habits from hunching over her computer for long periods of time. The chiropractic adjustments helped to relieve Emily’s tension, and the exercises and stretches that I recommended were helpful for her to easily do at home when taking study breaks. 

Emily was relieved of her pain and, because it didn’t preoccupy her mind, she could concentrate better and her sleep improved.” 

The Mutual Relationship between Posture and Stress

Over the years, Dr Nicole has treated many teenagers like Emily, who suffer from muscular pain caused by bad posture and stress. Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that:

“In 2020-21, 15% of Australians aged 16-85 years experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-34 years experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress, more than twice the rate of those aged 65-85 years (9%).”

Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Students’ symptoms often worsen when they focus on their upcoming exams, then become exacerbated by long hours of study and computer-usage. The pain they experience then causes more tension and stress, and the relationship between posture and stress continues to cycle.

Shake It Off

It is important not to sit at your computer for too long. Set a reminder on your mobile or laptop to get up and stretch every 30-40 minutes or so. 

Chiropractic care can be highly effective for relieving many symptoms related to stress – and this can make a difference in your end-of-year-exams performance.

Chiropractic Adjustments

  • Improve sleep and increase energy
  • Encourage meaningful rest and relaxation
  • Reduce muscle tension and stiffness in the back, neck and shoulders
  • Eliminate or decrease the intensity and frequency of headaches or migraines
  • Alleviate pain throughout the body
  • Increase the production of positive-feeling hormones
  • Lower the stress hormone (cortisol)
  • Improve posture and breathing
  • Restore optimal function to the nervous system
  • Improve cognitive function such as memory and recall.

Dr Nicole’s Advice for Exam-stressed Students

  • Set up a good ergonomic workstation:
    • Ensure you have an adjustable chair that is supportive in the lower back and encourages you to sit upright
    • Your chair needs to be the right height for you and your desk
    • Your computer screen should be in front of you and at eye level. If it is too low, put it on a box or stand.
    • Be aware that the worst study posture is when you sit hunched up on your bed or on a low couch.

  • Ensure you have good lighting in your room or study space

  • Blue light radiation emitted from your computer screen can cause eye irritation, tiredness, pain and inflammation, and restlessness when trying to unwind before sleep. To prevent eye strain and fatigue caused by your computer screen:
    • Ensure your computer blue light is turned down
    • Invest in a “Blue light lens” which filters the radiated light

  • If you work on a lap-top, it may be helpful to get a docking station, external key-board, and mouse as these encourage good study posture.

  • Exercise is vitally important during exam periods. A quick 30-minute walk or run will help to relax your muscles, oxygenate your lungs, and clear your mind.

  • Getting enough sleep is a top priority! Use a quality pillow to support your head and neck. Being comfy makes all the difference!

  • Nourish your body with natural foods and minimise sugary and highly-processed foods.

  • Stay well hydrated with water. And, although it may be tempting when you’re trying to stay awake and focused, avoid drinking too many caffeinated energy drinks as they can negatively affect your sleep.

  • Keep up your regular chiropractic adjustments to ensure your body and brain is working at their best.

Strengthen your Body and your Mind

At Connect Chiropractic, we offer individually-tailored exercises and stretch programs which can help to strengthen your posture and core stability. This creates a positive impact in all areas of your life, and certainly gives you a much-needed boost when exams are looming.

Good study habits and regular chiropractic care can help you manage the stress and anxiety that comes with the pressure of exams. And, if you see your parents stressing out, let them know that help is at hand for them, too! Imagine how it could feel if everyone’s tension and worry could be supported naturally and with ease.

Discover how chiropractic care can make a difference in your study routine and overall wellbeing. Schedule a consultation at Connect Chiropractic today!

Dr Nicole Hudson

Principal Chiropractor | Connect Chiropractic

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