Advice Blog


Sciatica

Sciatica is a commonly used term to refer to that sharp shooting pain down the back of your leg. It is, however, a symptom of an underlying cause, not a diagnosis itself. In this post we will explore some of the different possible causes of this uncomfortable symptom..

 

Many causes for sciatica are nothing to be concerned about and can be treated and generally ease with time, despite being uncomfortable and often painful. However, in some cases the cause for sciatica can be more sinister and require attention immediately.

If you’re experiencing sciatica in both legs, have a weakness or numbness in both legs that is progressing, have numbness in the saddle area (genitals), bowel and bladder changes, seek medical attention immediately.

 

Disc herniation

A common cause of sciatic nerve compression is when discs between the spinal vertebra herniate. In many cases this won’t interfere with the nerve roots exiting the spinal canal, and they may result in just lower back pain or be asymptomatic. However, If a herniated disc pushes onto a nearby nerve root, you will likely experience some nerve pain that will follow the path of this nerve. If this is in the low back, the pain commonly refers down the back of the leg via the sciatic nerve (S1). 

 

Disc herniations are most common in the bottom few spinal levels, so can also affect other nerve roots which will  cause leg pain in different locations. This allows us to diagnose which levels might be affected, alongside neurological testing of reflexes, sensation & muscle strength.

Spinal stenosis

The central canal of the spine can become narrowed and put pressure on the spinal cord, often seen in older age groups where the spine is more prone to degenerative changes. Often lumbar spinal stenosis is asymptomatic, but it can result in irritation of the sciatic nerve and cause leg pain too! 

 

In these cases leg pain is often worse with back extension,  prolonged standing and walking. Often progressing in its' intensity until you rest or bend forward. It is also called neurogenic claudication.

 

Symptoms are typically in both legs accompanied by lower back pain, with numbness and tingling present in the majority of patients. 

Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle runs from the bottom of your spine (sacrum) to your hip crossing the path of the sciatic nerve. In some people the sciatic nerve runs through this muscle, and in these cases, the sciatic nerve may be more prone to irritation.

 

If the piriformis muscle becomes overused, irritated or inflamed, it can compress the nearby nerve resulting in sciatic nerve irritation and the leg pain you may be experiencing. Typically patients experience:

  • Chronic pain in the buttock and hip area
  • Pain when getting out of bed
  • Inability to sit for a prolonged time
  • Pain in the buttocks that is worsened by hip movements

Sciatica Treatment

The good news is chiropractic care may be able to help. Sciatic pain and its causes are conditions that chiropractors are trained to treat and see regularly in clinic.

 

During a chiropractic consultation we will take a detailed case history, conduct a thorough physical and neurological exam to localise the cause of your pain. We will then work together to create a personalised treatment and rehabilitation plan. If needed we can also organise a referral for imaging or another appropriate care provider if chiropractic isn’t suitable for you at this time.

 

The classic chiropractic spinal manipulation is not always an appropriate treatment for our patients, especially those with acute disc prolapses. Below are some different techniques that our chiropractors might use to help you with your sciatica symptoms.

 

Flexion-Distraction

 

Flexion-distraction is a form of traction that gently mobilises and stretches your spine, gaping your vertebrae and opening up the spaces where the nerves are getting compressed.

 

As well as stenosis and disc herniations, flexion-distraction can be used to treat many other causes of lower back pain. It can reduce pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and can be helpful if you have sacroiliac syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis,  sprains, and strains. It's also very effective in treating muscle spasms or low back pain unrelated to a specific condition. The technique is gentle enough to use after spinal surgery and can be a safe therapy option for those who have osteoporosis.

In a study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers examined the effects of flexion-distraction manipulation on patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Study participants who received flexion-distraction manipulation as part of their treatment experienced a greater reduction of their painful symptoms than those patients whose treatment did not include the technique.

 

NCBI: Journal of Physical Therapy Science: Effects of Flexion-Distraction Manipulation Therapy on Pain and Disability in Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, 30/6/15

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500015/

Acupuncture/Dry needling

Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle, producing a variety of effects. It increases the body's release of natural painkillers, endorphins and serotonin, in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way that pain is felt. 

 

Modern research shows that acupuncture can affect most of the body's systems including; the nervous system and muscle tone.

This can be a useful tool to help patients struggling with neurological pain, and to relax muscle spasms.

 

Information obtained from the British Medical Acupuncture Society, cited 02/06/14

http://www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=79

To find out more about your sciatic pain and whether chiropractic treatment could help, book an appointment today.

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4 Exercises for a Healthy Life

Exercise has benefits for nearly everybody. It is effective both as a treatment and for prevention of disease. Here’s four ways you can help yourself by getting moving!


Dancing Against Dementia

It’s thought that remembering steps and making split-second adjustments to your movements stimulates the brain’s ability to make new connections between cells. Music itself is believed to have a therapeutic effect, and the social interaction involved in dancing helps boost mental health.

 

Regular dancing is linked to a 76% reduction in the likelihood of developing dementia, according to US researchers, who studied the link between leisure activities and dementia risk.[1]

 

Dancing is also beneficial for dementia patients. A New Zealand study found that older adults with dementia appeared to have experienced an improved quality of life after exposure to music and dance. [2]

 

It doesn’t matter which step you do, so choose a dance type you enjoy, whether that’s waltz, salsa or something else. There are other proven mental health benefits of dance, including a reduced risk of depression and anxiety. Dancing also can affect your mood by raising levels of our natural feel-good hormones, dopamine and serotonin.

 

 

[1] https://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2016/04/04/keep-dancing-turns-good-brain/

[2] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808091401.htm


Cycling for Immunity

 

Cycling can hold back the effects of ageing and rejuvenate the immune system, a study has found.[1]

 

Scientists at the University of Birmingham found cyclists aged 54-79 produced more immune cells (T-cells), the production of which usually starts to shrink from your 20s. They also preserved muscle mass and strength with age while maintaining stable levels of body fat and cholesterol.

 

You can integrate it into your lifestyle, simply as part of your movement pattern. Regular moderate exercise is more beneficial than one big weekly workout, so it makes physical and economic sense to incorporate your bike ride into your everyday exercise.

 

 

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/08/cycling-keeps-your-immune-system-young-study-finds


Walking for Insomnia

A study has shown that moderately intense aerobic exercise, such as walking, reduces the time it takes you to nod off and increases the duration of sleep.[1]

 

It could in part be due to the release of anxiety-busting brain chemicals such as serotonin, and the rise and subsequent fall in body temperature that helps promote sleep. Walking outside in natural daylight also helps to set your circadian biological clock – your natural sleep-wake cycle, which controls the release of the sleepy hormone melatonin. And it’s not just great for a good night’s sleep. Walking helps to protect against cardiovascular diseases, cancer, bone-thinning osteoporosis, and dementia. It’s also good for our mental health to get outside and see gardens or green spaces, and walking can be sociable too.

 

 [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5093382/


Tennis for Osteoporosis

 

 

Regular weight-bearing activity, such as racquet sports, can help maintain bone density. Bone is a living tissue, which grows stronger with the force of our muscles pulling against it. Exercise can help delay the rate of age-related bone density loss. Osteoporosis is a condition where bone density and quality are reduced, and it affects more than two million women in the UK. After the menopause, when the protective effect of oestrogen on the bone is removed, there is often an accelerated rate of bone loss[1]. So playing tennis in later life is a great way to keep bones healthy. Another great reason to play tennis is that it can add 10 years to your life! It’s thought the social side of the game as well as the physical activity boosts longevity.[2]

 

[1] https://theros.org.uk/information-and-support/bone-health/exercise-for-bones/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30193744/

 

 

 

EXERCISE - THE NEW PRESCRIPTION

'New Year-New You', something a lot of us promise ourselves. There are so many benefits to exercise, whether it's starting by going for a walk or enhancing an existing programme. Read on for many of the benefits you may not have thought of.

 

Of course with anything new there is always the risk of injury, so read below for the BCA's top tips to avoid injury.

Tim Hutchful, British Chiropractic Association (BCA) chiropractor, comments: 

“It’s great to have the will and motivation to get fitter but bear in mind that exercise puts added pressure on our joints and muscles which could cause issues for your back and neck if not introduced to your body in a safe way.”

So how can you prevent these injuries? The British Chiropractic Association has given the following advice:

It’s All in the Prep
•    Before you begin any exercise programme check there are no medical reasons why you cannot commence the activity, particularly if you are not normally physically active. Consult your GP if in doubt.
•    A BCA chiropractor can advise you on how to approach a new exercise routine and tell you what signs to look for if you’re overdoing it.
•    Make sure you get the right attire for your chosen activity; clothes that are too tight or inappropriate could constrict your movement leading to injury.
•    Have appropriate footwear for the type of exercise you are doing – most specialist sportswear retailers will be able to guide you on this.
•    With all exercise, you need to warm up first.  Don’t go straight into it, start with lighter movements like walking or jogging to lessen the chance of muscle strain.


1. For Living Longer – Jogging

 

A US study showed that adults over 65 who ran or jogged for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week were as healthy as young adults in their 20s.[1] This might not sound important, but your walking style is a key indicator of mortality, so the longer you can stay spritely on your feet, the longer and healthier your life should be. Meanwhile, another study found that light jogging (between 70-120 minutes per week) was linked to the lowest mortality rate compared to sedentary people and heavy runners - so little and often is key here. [2]



2:  For Improving Memory – Dancing

 

A study from 2017 found that all exercise can help reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, but dancing more than any other sport.[1] The study, which focused on adults in their late 60s who took part in a weekly dance class, found that all participants showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, which can be affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as more general age-related decline.
https://www.newswise.com/articles/new-study-jogging-keeps-you-young


 

3. For Back Pain – Active Therapies

 

Many GP appointments are connected to muscle and nerve problems- and these are often based in the back. If you suffer with back pain, you will know that it can affect your movement and sleep and leave you feeling quite low. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of gentle stretching.  Also, research shows that active therapies, such as chiropractic treatment, are a great option for managing back pain and to create optimal alignment, balance and symmetry. 


4. For Depression and Anxiety - Walking

Science agrees - walking outdoors has been linked to a reduction in stress and a boost in mood, particularly for those who have just been through a negative life event such as a serious illness or the loss of a loved one. Brisk walks have also been shown to help women deal with anxiety and stress that's sometimes associated with menopause. Movement helps your brain to release endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can reduce the perception of [pain as well as depression and anxiety. 


5. For Bone and Muscle Health – Weight Training

 

Experts are increasingly suggesting a bit of strength training goes a long way when it comes to better bone and muscle health. As we get older, we start to lose muscle mass, which can leave us prone to falls, as well as making it easier to gain weight. So think of strength training as insurance for your later life. While this could mean leading to lift lightweights, it can also mean strength exercises using your own body weight – such as sit-ups or squats. It’s really never too late to start. A study of 90-year-olds found that 12 weeks of strength training improved their muscle tone, ability to balance, general power and walking speed.

 

 

Don’t forget 150 minutes (just over 21 mins daily) is the minimum moderate exercise the NHS recommends for adults to stay healthy! And the best part is, it’s freely available to most of us, small things make a big difference. Movement is the new medicine!


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Sciatica Causes & Treatment

Sciatica is a commonly used term to refer to that sharp shooting pain down the back of your leg. It is, however, a symptom of an underlying cause, not a diagnosis itself. In this post we will explore some of the different possible causes of this uncomfortable symptom..

 

Many causes for sciatica are nothing to be concerned about and can be treated and generally ease with time, despite being uncomfortable and often painful. However, in some cases the cause for sciatica can be more sinister and require attention immediately.

If you’re experiencing sciatica in both legs, have a weakness or numbness in both legs that is progressing, have numbness in the saddle area (genitals), bowel and bladder changes, seek medical attention immediately.

 

The most common cause of sciatica is a lumbar radiculopathy, this is when the nerves exiting the spinal canal in your low back become compressed or irritated, but there are also causes for this cause, some of which are discussed below…

Disc herniation

Discs between the spinal vertebra can become herniated. In many cases this won’t interfere with the nerve roots exiting the spinal canal, and they may result in just lower back pain or be asymptomatic. However, If a herniated disc pushes onto a nearby nerve root, you will likely experience some nerve pain that will follow the path of this nerve. If this is in the low back, the pain commonly refers down the back of the leg via the sciatic nerve (S1). 

 

Disc herniations are most common in the bottom few spinal levels, so can also affect other nerve roots which will  cause leg pain in different locations. This allows us to diagnose which levels might be affected, alongside neurological testing of reflexes, sensation & muscle strength.

Spinal stenosis

The central canal of the spine can become narrowed and put pressure on the spinal cord, often seen in older age groups where the spine is more prone to degenerative changes. Often lumbar spinal stenosis is asymptomatic, but it can result in irritation of the sciatic nerve and cause leg pain too! 

 

In these cases leg pain is often worse with back extension,  prolonged standing and walking. Often progressing in its' intensity until you rest or bend forward. It is also called neurogenic claudication.

 

Symptoms are typically in both legs accompanied by lower back pain, with numbness and tingling present in the majority of patients. 

Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle runs from the bottom of your spine (sacrum) to your hip crossing the path of the sciatic nerve. In some people the sciatic nerve runs through this muscle, and in these cases, the sciatic nerve may be more prone to irritation.

 

If the piriformis muscle becomes overused, irritated or inflamed, it can compress the nearby nerve resulting in sciatic nerve irritation and the leg pain you may be experiencing. Typically patients experience:

  • Chronic pain in the buttock and hip area
  • Pain when getting out of bed
  • Inability to sit for a prolonged time
  • Pain in the buttocks that is worsened by hip movements

Sciatica Treatment

The good news is chiropractic care may be able to help. Sciatic pain and its causes are conditions that chiropractors are trained to treat and see regularly in clinic.

 

During a chiropractic consultation we will take a detailed case history, conduct a thorough physical and neurological exam to localise the cause of your pain. We will then work together to create a personalised treatment and rehabilitation plan. If needed we can also organise a referral for imaging or another appropriate care provider if chiropractic isn’t suitable for you at this time.

 

The classic chiropractic spinal manipulation is not always an appropriate treatment for our patients, especially those with acute disc prolapses. Below are some different techniques that our chiropractors might use to help you with your sciatica symptoms.

 

Flexion-Distraction

 

Flexion-distraction is a form of traction that gently mobilises and stretches your spine, gaping your vertebrae and opening up the spaces where the nerves are getting compressed.

 

As well as stenosis and disc herniations, flexion-distraction can be used to treat many other causes of lower back pain. It can reduce pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis and can be helpful if you have sacroiliac syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis,  sprains, and strains. It's also very effective in treating muscle spasms or low back pain unrelated to a specific condition. The technique is gentle enough to use after spinal surgery and can be a safe therapy option for those who have osteoporosis.

In a study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers examined the effects of flexion-distraction manipulation on patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Study participants who received flexion-distraction manipulation as part of their treatment experienced a greater reduction of their painful symptoms than those patients whose treatment did not include the technique.

 

NCBI: Journal of Physical Therapy Science: Effects of Flexion-Distraction Manipulation Therapy on Pain and Disability in Patients with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, 30/6/15

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500015/

Acupuncture/Dry needling

Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle, producing a variety of effects. It increases the body's release of natural painkillers, endorphins and serotonin, in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way that pain is felt. 

 

Modern research shows that acupuncture can affect most of the body's systems including; the nervous system and muscle tone.

This can be a useful tool to help patients struggling with neurological pain, and to relax muscle spasms.

 

Information obtained from the British Medical Acupuncture Society, cited 02/06/14

http://www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=79

To find out more about your sciatic pain and whether chiropractic treatment could help, book an appointment today.

The Perils of Parenting

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) are encouraging parents to straighten out their approach to back care as consumer research shows that 79%* of the UK population has suffered from back / neck pain  at some point in their lives – 61%* of those being parents.


The research also shows that over half (55%*) of parents’ back or neck pain has prevented them from lifting or carrying their child. 40%* of women said their back or neck pain had prevented them from carrying their child’s car seat or carry basket and 40%* of men said that back or neck pain had prevented them from playing with their child.

 

How to care for your back when parenting

Choosing a cot:

  • Find a cot which has sides that drop down to several levels, and a base that moves up and down. The less you have to lift and lean over to put your child into the cot, the better. A 'next to me' crib can ensure safe co-sleeping.
  • A 5kg weight at your chest equates to five times that amount at arms length! So when placing your child in the cot, keep them as close as possible to you. Remember, you will be doing this thousands of times! 
  • Fix the cot to the floor or wall as toddlers can rock the cot causing it to tip, and either injure your child or you as you run to stop it falling.

Feeding:

 

  • Whether breast or bottle feeding, find a comfortable posture. Your arms should not be bearing the baby’s weight, so use pillows to support your arms and shoulders.
  • It is not uncommon for mums and dads to get neck strain from checking that the baby is feeding properly. Keep looking up to give the neck a rest, or if it is really painful try using a mirror positioned so you can see. 
  • When looking down tuck your chin in to engage the core muscles of your neck.
  • Alternating feeding sides is a good idea when bottle feeding, as it evenly spreads any strain.  
  • Feeding a child in a high chair can place strain on your back. Sit as close as possible in front of your child and adjust the height of the chair so that you are not leaning too high or too low. 
  • Try different positions to best see which suits you and baby, and remember that will change as baby grows so keep experimenting.
  • If baby is struggling to latch initially when breast feeding your flow might be too fast so try reclining slightly or reassess babies latch is correct.
  • Try different formulas to see which suits baby best
  • If baby struggles with wind and colic and there is a family history of IBS, dairy or gluten intolerance, speak to your midwife or health visitor about specialised formula milk. If breast feeding consider excluding these from your diet to see if symptoms improve.
  • Ask your midwife or health visitor for advice as there might be local free groups you can join to help with positioning. In Cardiff contact the NHS Seren team who have weekly drop in clinics for weighing and positioning tips. 

Prams/Pushchairs:

  • A pushchair or pram with adjustable height settings is ideal, as it can be moved to suit your own height, and that of anyone else who will be pushing it. 
  • You should be able to walk upright with a straight spine and hands resting at a comfortable height.  
  • A pram or pushchair must be one that is easy for you to put up and collapse. Try them out to check! You don’t want the mechanism to be too stiff or complicated to work or require you to press down hard with one foot at the back, as this is not good for your back. 
  • Check you can safely carry it once collapsed; some people find that the shape a pushchair collapses down to is in itself, difficult to manoeuvre!  

Carrying babies:

  • Carrying your baby as close as possible to your centre of gravity, across your back or front is best. 
  • A carrier/sling or papoose is a good option.  Select a carrier that ‘criss-crosses’ at the back, so baby’s weight is distributed more evenly, as opposed to across one shoulder. 
  • If carrying your baby without a sling or carrier or using one that is one sided, keep the baby’s weight close to your body and to your hip, with your spine straight, Swap sides regularly. 

Carrying toddlers:

  • For carrying a long way, a backpack carrier is best as it distributes the weight evenly across your back. Make sure you have the shoulder straps firmly tightened and click the waist strap into place. There are carriers that take the weight onto the hips, but make sure you use them with your spine straight. 
  • Encouraging toddlers to do as much as possible for themselves as appropriate, such as getting into the car seat, will save your back a lot of stress! 

 

In the car:

  • When putting your baby into the car, hold the baby close to you as you move towards the vehicle. Keep your back straight and only bend your knees when you have got as close to the car seat as possible. Only at this stage should you reach out to put the baby in the seat.
  • If you’re carrying the baby in a chair, rest the chair on the edge of the car seat before bending to manoeuvre it into position within the car, keeping your knees bent and back straight.  
  • Don’t try to reach out too early and avoid bending from the waist by using your knees and hips.

Playing:

  • Get down to your child’s level, rather than bending over.  If sitting on the floor to play with your baby/toddler, try sitting on a cushion to help support your back and keep your back straight. 
  • Avoid spending too long kneeling down as this can put pressure on the knees. If you are kneeling, keep your back straight.
  • Change position regularly.  
  • Don’t bend to pick up toys, bend your knees. Watch your child and observe the natural squatting posture they use to pick things up!

 

General Posture Advice:

  • The fitter you are and the more muscle tone you have the less likely you are to injure yourself. Talk to your chiropractor, GP or other healthcare provider for advice on exercises to develop your core strength.  
  • Use a rucksack style bag is best as you can spread the weight evenly across your back. Check the straps are tightened so that the load is held against your back.  
  • Avoid high heels and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  If you have children already, it can be difficult if they need lifting and carrying. 
  • Always lift with your spine straight and bend knees to avoid leaning, stretching or bending.  Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can all help to keep your back in line. 
  • Do not sit for prolonged periods, take a regular break and, when sitting, let the seat take your weight and, if possible, keep as much of your body in contact with the chair so that your whole body is supported. Knees should be lower than your hips.

Back To School

 

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is urging parents to think about their children’s posture as part of the preparation for the new school term. Whilst stationary and school books are important, it’s how your child carries them that can have the most impact on their health. 

 

According to research from the BCA:

  • over a third (33%) of parents say that their child has suffered from back or neck pain in the past and, whilst back pain can be caused by a number of different factors, overloaded school bags are a common trigger.
  • Nearly a third (31%) of children carry a one-strapped bag which can cause a number of problems due to the weight being loaded to just one shoulder.
  •  16% of parents admitting to never checking their child’s school bag

The BCA is calling for more parents to keep an eye on what their children carry around with them on a daily basis.

 

Tim Hutchful, BCA chiropractor, comments: 

 

“Making sure your child doesn’t suffer from back or neck pain this autumn term can be as simple as checking they aren’t carrying around heavy items with them unnecessarily and that they carry their school bag correctly." 

 

“I see an increasing number of young people complaining of back or neck pain and often it’s due to the weighty bags they carry. As youngsters have more belongings than ever before, like mobile phones and tablets, there’s a tendency for them to overfill their bags but, by doing these two basic things, you could be helping them avoid painful back problems”.

 

TOP TIPS:

 

•    Keep it light – make sure your child is not carrying any unnecessary excess weight - check that all the items in their bags are essential for the day’s activity.

•    Check it out – make sure you know what your child is taking to school with them every day as they may be carrying heavy items with them unnecessarily. 

•    Choose the right bag - a rucksack is the best option as long as it is carried over both shoulders and the straps are adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed. If your child has a one-strapped bag, make sure they carry it across the body and alternate which shoulder they carry it on.

•    Footwear is key - Make sure your child has good footwear; soft-soled shoes that are supportive and have a good grip will make it easier for the child to carry a school bag.

 

For more specific advice please consult your chiropractor or physical therapist.

Work Station Ergonomics

Ergonomics : Tips to help you at home!

With an increase in the number of people working from home we have seen a surge in problems related to our patients home setup.

 

Many people find themselves using a computer for a large part of the day, and during these difficult times it's happening even more so.

 

Incorrect workplace design and layout can contribute to work related injuries (such as repetitive strain injuries), whilst correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing, and good desk posture can help you stay comfortable.

 

 

Quick Top Tips

  • Take short frequent breaks, we're built to move. Many working from home are missing the mini-breaks they had working in an office environment, less distance to the kettle! 
  • Set an alarm/timer every 30 minutes to remind you to change position and correct posture.
  • Build postural stretches and exercises in to your daily routine.
  • Mix up your tasks during the day to use different muscle groups. 
  • Consider a standing desk to help vary the pressure on different parts of your body
  • Those using laptops consider having a separate monitor or wireless mouse and keyboard so that you can position all well. 
  • Reduce screen time by listening to audio books or podcasts during your spare time, instead of watching TV or using phones.
  • If you aren't able to access a computer chair remember to support your lower back with extra cushions.
  • When choosing where to set up consider appropriate natural light, screen glare, and sight line. Ideally position somewhere you can occasionally look in to the distance to reduce eye strain (so not facing a wall or with sunlight directly behind you).

As home working seems likely to continue long term, more patients are considering investing in their own desks and office equipment. For our suggestions on how to set up your workstations, equipment ideas and more, please read on below.

 

 

Desk

  • Consider investing in a variable height desk to allow you to easily vary your posture without having to interrupt your work or meetings.
  • Variable height desks allow for bespoke adjustments to suit your height, so can eliminate the need for footstools and ensure optimal positioning for you.
  • Make sure you have plenty of space to work with so that you are not cramped (see document holder below).

Chair

  • Ideally, use a swivel chair with wheels or glides to allow easy chair movement.
  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor or, if this makes your chair too low in relation to the desk, use a footrest. 
  • Your position when sitting, your knees should be about level with your hips, and the seat of your chair should not press into the back of your knees. Your spine should be against the back of the chair and your shoulders relaxed back and down.
  • If your chair can’t be adjusted so that your back is straight, place a cushion between the curve of your lower back and the back of the chair.

 

Monitor

  • Position the monitor should be roughly an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at eye level or just below so that you look down at a slight angle to your work.
  • If you wear bifocals, position the monitor lower than normal to compensate for needing to look through the bottom of your lenses. Raise your chair until you can view the monitor without tilting your head back. This may mean that you have to raise the keyboard and use a footrest. Alternatively when working at the computer, use a pair of single-vision lenses with a focal length designed for computer work.

 

  • Reduce glare and reflections, by ensuring neither you or the monitor face the window. Tilting the monitor slightly downwards can help with glare, and adjust the monitor’s brightness to a comfortable level.
  • Remember to rest your eyes every 30 minutes or so, by looking away into the distance.

Keyboard

 

  • Arm position should be such that you are able to have your forearms close to horizontal and your wrists straight when using the keyboard, and your elbows close to your body. 
  • Align with the monitor and directly in front of you, so that you don’t have to twist or rotate to use it.

 

  • Put reference documents either between the monitor and the keyboard or directly alongside the screen in a document holder so the keyboard is not pushed too far back on the desk, disrupting your posture.
  • The keyboard should not be so close to you that your wrists rest on the sharp edge of the desk.

Mouse

  • Consider using an ergonomic mouse to better align you shoulder and reduce strain on your arm and neck.
  • Position your elbow close to your body to help with arm and shoulder alignment and reduce strain.
  • The mouse should fit the size of your hand so that it is comfortable to work with. 
  • Your wrist should be in a neutral position (minimal bend in any direction at the wrist) when you use the mouse, and your fingers should be able to rest on the push buttons between actions. 
  • If possible position the mouse on the desk so that the weight of your arm is supported by the desk. 

Laptops and Tablets

 

 

Laptops were designed for short term or mobile use; however, this portability means that people often use them at an unsuitable work height and this may result in discomfort over a long period. There are several ways to address these problems such as

 

 

 

 

  • Docking the laptop into a desktop computer at a suitable workstation.
  • Connecting the laptop to stand-alone equipment such as a separate screen, keyboard and mouse. 
  • Transferring your information onto a desktop computer if working for long periods. 
  • Use on a desk where possible with a suitable chair.
  • If on lap use a tray over a cushion to elevate the laptop, and the tray will insure the fans aren’t blocked.

Avoiding Injuries When Running

Spring is here and with it, for many comes the desire to don a pair of trainers and hit the road for a run.

Here’s how not to make it a troublesome one for your joints and muscles…
 

Spring brings warmer weather and longer days, which is a great incentive to keep on running for longer than usual and push your body that little bit more. Of course reaching your goal is good, but pushing your body too hard might result in unwanted injuries.

 
You should always listen to your body’ natural resistance and follow these tips for a safe and effective wind down after your run:
 
Don’t Stop Moving
Keep gently mobile right after your run. Try regular walking for 5-10 minutes; it might be the last thing you feel like after running a few miles but remaining static should be avoided at all costs to avoid injuries.
 
Ice
Applying ice to specific injuries such as problems with joints is highly recommended. This is most effective when the ice is applied immediately after a run but still works when applied a few days following.
 
Heat
Taking a hot bath after a long run is ideal for strained muscles. It also helps with overall rejuvenation and relaxation, which is often needed after a strenuous or draining stretch.
 
Food For Thought
What we put in our bodies pre and post run is particularly important. Snack regularly, ideally on something that is high in carbohydrates, low in fat, which contains some protein; for example, a tuna sandwich is ideal. Ensuring you drink lots of fluids is also another very important factor for runners to remember. Water is of course an excellent choice when it comes to keeping well hydrated but there are plenty of other options out there, too, such as sports drinks and gels. Remember: after finishing your run, rehydrate as soon as possible, preferably within the first hour and always refrain from drinking alcohol until fully rehydrated.

Avoiding Mishaps when Gardening

Gardening

 

Gardening – Don’t overdo it with the spade or trowel!

 

 

As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, there is a risk that gardeners may injure themselves. What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips from the British Chiropractic Association.

Gardening

 

Gardening – Don’t overdo it with the trowel!

 

As a nation, we love our gardens and spend a considerable amount of time and money on them. As we rush to get those jobs in the garden done, there is a risk that gardeners may injure themselves. What everyone wants is to be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy sitting in their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labours come summer time, so here are some helpful tips from the British Chiropractic Association.

 

Clothes

 Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.

 

Warm Up 

 Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into heavy garden work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

 

Using a ladder

·         When using a ladder or steps, make sure you are always facing it, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.

·         Rather than leaning or reaching, move the ladder or step regularly to keep up with where you are

·         Any kind of ladder must be firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else there to keep an eye on things.

 

Clever pruning

·         Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.

·         Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.

 

Take a break

·         Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and make sure you take regular breaks. Be clever with the paving

·         If laying a patio, keep the slab close to your body and bend your knees; it is sometimes better to bend one knee rather two, as your supporting leg gives you a position of strength.

·         If using railway sleepers, two people will probably be needed.

 

Plan ahead

·         If you are planning a trip to the local DIY store to buy heavy items such as cement or gravel, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry.

·         If you do buy heavy items, use a trolley and if on your own, ask an assistant at the store to help you.  If buying things like compost, sand or gravel in bulkier amounts, shovel the contents of the large bags straight into smaller containers or wheelbarrow from the back of the car.

·         Don’t lift with your arms straight out, keep the elbows bent and to your side to minimise the stress on your back.

·         If having items delivered, have them unloaded as close to where you need them as possible; this will save the effort of moving them again.

·         A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move these sorts of materials around, especially if you have lots of patio pots to move around as well.

 

 

Courtesy of British Chiropractic Association

Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of you

 

When it comes to good physical and mental health, it's not a big surprise that research has shown January is the worst month of the year. All contributed to by the days being short, cold, and wet (let's not forget the come down from the festive period), and the summer feeling so far out of reach.

 

This January we wont let these feelings get to us, the tough year that was 2020 is finally behind us and we are looking forward to a better a new year, with hope and a chance to start a fresh. 

Exercise

There have been constant challenges affecting our ability to get in to our usual routines with lockdowns and gym closures, BUT there are still so many ways to get active again. So, how can we build ourselves up to become active again? 

 

  • Start walking - Getting active again doesn't always require you to sign up to a gym or or to run for miles on end. Start with 15-20 minutes per day or do a 1 mile routine around your village. For some needed motivation you can create a playlist to listen to, or an audio book, or even use the time on your walk to do your phone calls. 
  • If you are working from home, stand while doing so, if you have those facilities, or have regular breaks. Once or twice a day use a break to do some form of exercise or use that time to go outside. Fresh air is great for the lungs! 
  • Couch to 5K is great way to ease yourself in to running, and great for beginners. We have had many patients who have discovered a love for running using this programme which gently builds you up over a 9 week plan that be adapted to suit you. There are many Apps to help track your progress and guide you. The NHS have a great app, complete with podcasts and a trainer who tells you when to start and stop: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/ 
  • Live online exercise classes & video PT sessions have bought the gyms to our homes. Better than a DVD, that we may or may not do, these sessions are live and booked in which gives us a level of commitment to dedicate time to exercise. You also save time with travelling to and from the gym! Working closely with local personal trainer Richard Ford, we have seen our patients kept motivated and benefit from his continued online support, work out sessions, and nutritional plans through these tough times. For more details visit :https://integrafitness.co.uk/

Once restrictions are eased there will be even more for you to do!

Stress

How can we relax and alleviate some stress?

 

Watch a light hearted/funny movie or even some videos - let's face it, who doesn't like watching funny cat and dog videos.

 

Do something you enjoy, whether that's getting lost in a good book, drawing, painting, walking etc. It doesn't matter what it is, just find some time in your day to do it. It may spark some old habits you once enjoyed!

 

Switch off from your work life - once the time comes at the end of your working day, turn your laptop, emails or your phone off. Separate yourself from it to give you that time to focus on you.

All of these things contribute to your mental health and overall wellbeing to make you feel better, so if you are feeling low..

 

Talk to someone, as 'another problem shared is another one halved' as they say.

 

Reach out to others who you may feel needs some support and you can always do this virtually or over the phone - please do not be afraid to reach out! 

 

Although talking therapies, counsellors and hypnotherapists may not be providing face-to-face appointments, they are still supporting patients via video sessions.

 

Our Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist Sue Pitman DHP, HPD, MNCH(Reg) is here to help, for more details please visit her page: https://www.thewhitchurchclinic.co.uk/twc-other-therapies/hypnotherapy/


Make Inside Feel Better

The Public Health Sectors are launching the 'Better Health - Every Mind Matters' campaign to support the nation's mental wellbeing with the encouragement that 'When things aren't so good out there, make inside feel better'. The campaign is being supported by the NHS, local authorities and a range of mental health charities, health organisations, as well as other charities and commercial sector partners. 

They have very helpful information and advise about anxiety, low moods, stress, sleep and others. 

 

To find the information you may need on The Every Mind Matters Platform, please click the image below.


Shockwave Therapy - Patella Tendinopathy

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Patellar tendinopathy (Sometimes known as jumpers knee) is a common soft tissue injury which can cause pain in the tendon below the knee cap (patella). The patellar tendon is important as it joins the thigh muscles (quadriceps) to the shin bone via the patella.

You may be more likely to have the condition if:

  • Repeated stress on the patellar tendon
  • Overweight individuals
  • A sudden increase in body weight
  • Tightness of leg muscles
  • Weakness in thigh muscles
  • Changing activity levels or progressing too quickly
  • Inappropriate footwear
  • Exercising on hard surfaces

 

What are the symptoms of Patella Tendinopathy?

 

Symptoms normally appear gradually, but can also develop after a bump to the knee. Pain and tenderness are the most common symptoms, localised to the front of the knee. Some people can experience tightness or weakness in leg muscles (quadriceps).Stiffness in the knee can often occur– especially in the morning. Some people can also have mild swelling around the knee

 

 

How can Shockwave Therapy help? 

Shockwave Therapy uses a machine to deliver low energy sound waves through your skin to the injury point. It is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for Patella Tendinopathy and has been shown to accelerate healing and reduce pain for patients. 

 

How does it work?

  • Increases blood flow to the surrounding tissues
  • Triggers healing processes caused by Stem Cells
  • Reduces the action of certain nerve fibres, thus lowering pain

Are there any risks?

  • Following the treatment, you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area. These side effects should resolve within a week and before your next treatment.
  • There is a small risk of tendon rupture or ligament rupture and damage to the soft tissue. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have deemed this procedure to be safe. For this reason, every patient will be monitored before and after the treatments to discover how successful the outcome is.
  • Studies have shown there is UP to 80% chance that it will be effective.

For more information on how shockwave works & studies showing its' effectiveness as a treatment visit the EMS website:

https://www.ems-dolorclast.com/radial-shock-wave-therapy

https://www.ems-dolorclast.com/studies-library