Advice Blog


As people start preparing for autumn runs such as the Cardiff Half MarathonSports Therapist and ex professional track runner, Gareth Warburton; who works from TWC and SMCC; says he cannot emphasize enough the importance of trainers in helping to prevent injury when running.
You should be swapping out your running shoes every 400 to 500 miles. This means if you average 25 miles per week, you need a new pair every four to six months. If you push beyond this mileage, you risk discomfort and possibly a long-lasting, debilitating injury. 

Running shoes wear out over time, and so does the support and shock absorption that they offer.

Things to keep in mind:
1. Keep track of monthly mileage
2. Check shoe tread
3. Check shoe absorption 
4. Any signs of pain (especially lower limb) it might be time to look for a new pair.

To find out more about Gareth follow this link to his website


Summertime 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…
Summer 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.
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.
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.









Summertime has arrived and with it the added need for us to take extra care of our necks, backs and spines to avoid pain and injury…


The arrival of sunshine means it’s time to pack away your winter jumpers and pull out your racket, trainers, clubs or trowel for a bout of summer activities and getting fit. However, a lot of sports activity can bring unwanted pain and discomfort, so be sure to follow these simple steps for a happy and safe summer of sport.


RUNNERS can avoid injury by regular stretching of the tendons and wearing good shoes with shock-absorbing features.


RACKET-SPORTS PLAYERS should be wary of playing through the pain of Tennis Elbow, which can come from any repetitive arm/hand movement of the thumb outwards and the palm upwards (i.e. twisting the right hand clockwise of the left hand anti-clockwise). Continuing to play will exacerbate the problem.


GOLFERS are particularly prone to lower back injuries. Graphite clubs and soft spiked shoes will help absorb the shock which can bring on back injury. Make sure that you warm-up before teeing off at each hole as your muscles may have stiffened on the putting green and waiting on the tee for your turn.  Use a repeated slow controlled version of your drive to warm up so that these particular muscles are warmed and stretched before they take the full force of the actual drive.


GARDENERS commonly suffer from aches and pains, but they can avoid lower back trouble by kneeling on one leg rather than bending from the hips, keeping the back hollow whilst digging and varying tasks throughout the day to avoid repetition injury.


DIY like gardening, is often done with vigour, but irregularly. When the sun is shining many will want to get on with the long list of DIY jobs that have piled up over the colder months. Enthusiasts often injure their back by inhabitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.  Remember this is a probably unusual activity for your body, so be kind!


The Pain of 'Tech Neck'

The Pain of Tech Neck

 Do you spend most of the day hunched over staring at the screen of your smartphone or tablet? This could be causing damage to your neck and shoulder joints.


Sarah Beer explains, “Tech Neck", as it is known, refers to the strain in your neck and shoulder muscles that develops as a result from excessively craning your neck down when you are looking at a phone or a portable tablet device.”


“Although many of us will use such devices when we are working throughout the day, there are ways to ensure that they don’t cause too much damage to your spine and neck joints. One key way is to make sure you limit the time you spend on such devices; it is advised that for every 15 - 20 minutes you spend on your device you should take a 3 minute break. This is due to the fact that it is easy for a posture to change when we hold a position for a long period of time, so really try to limit yourselves to periods of 15 - 20 minutes where possible.”


“Making sure you’ve got the right posture can also be crucial. Rather than hunching forward to look at your screen, sit up straight and bring your phone or tablet up to eye level. This will help keep your spine aligned rather than curved and should reduce overall strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. This may feel a little odd at first but it will soon become a natural fit. If you are in an office you may want to think about a tablet or phone holder as this will help to raise your electronic up to your eye line instead of you having to hunch over. This also applies to your computer screen. For most people, the computer screen is located below your natural eye line leaving your head and shoulders to naturally hunch downwards. By raising your computer screen to your eye level you will force yourself to keep your head in a more natural position”


Sarah also advises to do some small stretches to relieve the tension in your upper body. “Bend your neck to the right so that your ear moves closer to your shoulder. Relax and hold for 20 seconds. Return to centre, and then repeat the move to the left. Do a repetition of five. A further exercise is to do a simple chin tuck. Tilt your head down and tuck your chin into your neck. Hold for five seconds, and then look back up. Do a repetition of ten. These exercises will help release any tension that might be created due to excessive strain from hunching over”



Make sure to listen to your body. If you have any aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and upper back, it usually means something is not working properly.

Chiropractic Awareness Week


People in Wales are encouraged to stay active this Chiropractic Awareness Week



British Chiropractic Association (BCA) discovers half of people in Wales fail to prevent or manage back pain


This Chiropractic Awareness Week (8th – 14th April), the BCA is encouraging people in the Wales to keeping moving, after finding that 40% of people in Wales don’t take any steps to look after their back health.


The findings come from a survey conducted by the BCA, which unearthed that 25% of people in Wales don’t take any action when they experience back or neck pain and 10% wouldn’t seek help from a health professional if they were experiencing these issues.


Chiropractic Awareness Week aims to educate people about the easy ways they can avoid or alleviate back pain, which over of the nation suffers with. Regularly changing posture and remaining seated for no longer than 30 minutes at a time are just a couple of the simple ways to prevent or reduce pressure on the back.


According to the BCA’s survey, when it comes to back and neck pain, they found that people in Wales:

  • 40% don’t take any steps to look after their back health
  • Only 60% have taken preventative steps to protect themselves from developing back or neck pain
  • 80% have experienced back or neck pain
  • 10% wouldn’t seek help from a health professional for back pain and,39% would wait a month or longer
  • Only 14% would make changes to their daily routine if experiencing back or neck pain
  • 28% choose their mattresses bases on price, rather than comfort



Local chiropractor, Sarah Beer from TWC in Whitchurch, commented on the findings:

“There are so many people in Wales living with neck or back pain because they don’t know what preventative steps they can take, so we want to shine a light on the simple changes which can help. Chiropractic Awareness Week is designed to educate everyone on the best ways to prevent and tackle back or neck pain, from changing up your posture when sat at a desk, to sleeping on the right mattress.”


“Easy changes to your day-to-day life can make a significant difference, but if your pain doesn’t reduce or is prolonged, you should always see a health professional for further guidance.”

The BCA’s top tips for keeping on top of neck and back pain include:


Keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body, while keeping you mobile! 


Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. When at work, also make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.

Other things which people can bear in mind include:

Lifting and carrying: Remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items. Face in the direction of movement and take your time. Hold the object as close to your body as possible, and where you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.


Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every 7 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you. If you share a bed and require different mattress types, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.



Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of three-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.

Six Benefits of Strength Training for the Over 50s

If you thought strength training was only for young people – or only for men – think again.

Strength training can have fantastic benefits for men and women of all ages, and is actually more important as we get older.

Strength training doesn’t necessary mean lifting huge weights or building big muscles. It can do, if that’s what you’re looking for. But it can also involve using lighter weights for a higher number of repetitions, using weights machines at the gym, going to a strength training exercise class, or just doing bodyweight exercises. This means there’s a type of strength training that can work for everyone. And all can be helpful!

Here are some of the specific benefits you can get from strength training.

  1. Keeping your bones strong

We can naturally start to lose bone density from around age 35 onwards. So, as we get into our 50s and beyond, we have an ever-increasing risk of weak bones and osteoporosis – a condition that affects around three million people in the UK1.

Women in particular can see a dramatic drop in bone density at menopause, because they lose the bone-protecting effects of oestrogen. But men are not exempt and can have osteoporosis too.

Weight-bearing exercise and especially strength training can help stop bone loss – and may even increase bone density, even after menopause in women2. This is because the action of muscles pulling on bones stimulates our bones to become stronger.

  1. Reducing risk of falls and injury / maintaining independence in old age

We naturally lose muscle mass and strength from our 30s onwards, too.

But why should this be a problem?

Well, we don’t only need good muscle strength to lift heavy things. We also need it to keep our body stable and to avoid falling over or getting injured. Falls can have especially serious consequences in older people, even causing permanent disability. And we need muscle strength to help us move as we want and go about all our daily tasks, whether it’s walking to the shops or getting up from a chair – in other words, being able to look after ourselves.

So, strength training and keeping our muscles strong can help us live long, healthy lives and stay independent into old age.

  1. Improving body shape and preventing weight gain

Strength training helps to tone all our muscles and keep us looking fit and healthy. And by maintaining muscle strength, we’re also less likely to gain body fat.

  1. Improving testosterone levels in men

Testosterone naturally starts to drop in men from around age 35 to 40, by around 1 to 3 per cent per year3. And by late 40s or early 50s, men can start to experience symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, weight gain (especially on the belly), fatigue, low mood or depression and poor sleep. This is sometimes known as the ‘male menopause’.

Exercise is a key way to help maintain testosterone levels as men get older. But not all exercise is equal! Strength training with heavy weights has been found to boost testosterone levels in men directly after exercise3. On the other hand, endurance-type exercise such as long-distance running or cycling may lower testosterone levels in the long run.

  1. Reducing risk of diabetes

Strength training seems has been found to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, too5. This may be because muscle helps the body to take glucose (sugar) out of the blood and store it6. So, good muscle mass means better blood sugar control.

  1. Supporting memory and cognition

Strength training and maintaining good muscle mass may help to keep our brain sharp as we get older and even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

One study on 37 elderly women found that 12 weeks of strength training three times a week improved their cognitive capacity (memory, reasoning, learning, etc.) by 19% compared to a control group that did not do the training.

Is the cold weather making your back pain worse?

Do you think your back pain gets worse in winter?

Did you know… Those who suffer with chronic back pain might notice it gets worse during autumn and winter.


In fact… Although there’s not much scientific evidence that shows a link between chronic pain and humidity, temperature changes and wind speed, weather changes can affect those, who suffer with joint pain conditions, especially arthritis and osteoarthritis.


Did you know… The most commonly accepted reasoning is that with colder temperatures comes lower air pressure, that can cause joint tissues to expand—further worsening joints already prone to swelling and tenderness


If cold weather worsens your pain, you can prevent it yourself and combat it with these three simple steps:


1.    Heat therapy


Including heat therapy in your daily routine can help to reduce stiffness and boost healing through increased blood circulation. Try applying a warm towel or a heating pad to your painful area for about 20 minutes for temporary pain relief. You can also go for over-the-counter heat wraps


2.    Water Therapy


If you like swimming, try to visit heated indoor pool with hot baths, Jacuzzis and saunas a few times a week for almost instant relief from your pain


3.    Stay active



As tempting as it is to just stay on the sofa during winter evenings, it is crucial to keep your spine mobile and stay active. If your pain is too severe to go to the gym, try long walks with hiking poles or Pilates at home

Christmas 2018

'Tis the season to be jolly'

As Christmas day is fast approaching, we are all hitting the shops to buy special gifts for our loved ones.


British families will spend an average £821.25 on gifts, food and drink and decorations, up 1.3 per cent on last year and 54 per cent more than the European average of £532, according to figures from VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).


However all this shopping can be both physically and emotionally stressful, resulting in head, neck and back pain. 

Why now?

Here at The Whitchurch Clinic, we do see an increasing amount of patients with back, neck and shoulder pain during the festive period.  


The most common reason for this is due to carry large heavy bags and poor posture when sitting for long periods of time.  These both add extra strain on the joints, ligaments and muscles in your back and shoulder which can lead to an episode of pain.


Top tips to avoid back pain this Christmas

We have put together some tips in order to avoid back and shoulder pain this Christmas:

  • Wear sensible shoes - to avoid any abnormal stresses through the lower back.
  • Avoid carrying heavy bags, including a hand bag - check your hand bag before leaving and only carry the essential items required.  Spread your shopping into different bags to lessen the weight, and try to have an even amount on each side.
  • Park Nearby - try to park as close as possible to the shops, to limit the amount of time that you are carrying bags.  Also try to make regular trips back and for of the car to reduce the amount of bags carried at one time.
  • Take your time and plan your journey - allow your self plenty of time and make a list of the places you need to visit. This will not only reduce the amount of time that you spend shopping, but will help to reduce down your stress levels.
  • Take regular breaks - if shopping on foot, try to take regular breaks on benches etc to give the body a rest and to ease the loads.  If shopping online, take regular breaks every 20-30 minutes away from the computer.  Try to stretch out tired and sore muscles to encourage activation and loosen up the area. 
  • Be conscious of your posture - take time to look at your posture when walking or sitting.  If walking try to maintain a neutral pelvis and stand tall.  If you sitting for long periods ensure that you back is fully supported and you are not leaning to one side.  Make sure that you are not slouching or dropping the shoulders forward.
  • Breaking it up into stages - avoid doing anything in one go such as shopping, putting up the decorations or cleaning the house.  Try to break them up in stages and get help with heavy items.  Carrying these out in one go can cause the muscles to fatigue and taking awkward movements which can result in you straining the muscles, ligaments or joints and hen resulting in pain.  
  • Keep active - Christmas is about of time of relaxing, however keep yourself moving about often.  Try to do 30 minutes of light exercise every day to keep your body supple.

'I have overdone it'

If however the above advice is too late or you are currently in a pain episode, we at The Whitchurch Clinic are here to help.


Our Chiropractors, Andrea and Sarah can help by:


  • Soft tissue massage
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Acupuncture/dry needling
  • Spinal manipulation/mobilisation
  • Home exercises/stretches
  • Ergonomic and postural advice

Other treatments that may be benefit and are available at TWC:

  • Hypnotherapy for stress management and help reduce tension
  • Deep tissue massage to help release trigger points or provide relaxation
  • Diet advice 

As with any new symptoms it is always important to visit your GP or chiropractor to rule out any other disorders before reaching a diagnosis yourself.


Buying a New Bed/Sleeping Position

A question that frequently comes up in clinic: What mattress do you recommend? Now the British Chiropractic Association have released this video as a guide to help patients on their way to finding a good mattress and sleeping positions.

Sleeping Positions

We all have our favourite sleeping positions, but some may be doing more harm than good. People who find it difficult to get comfortable don't have good quality sleep, as they are tossing and turning into weird and wonderful positions!


Patients often come to see me with pain they have woken up with, or they're not quite sure how it started through the day. Very often this is caused by the way they have slept. This image illustrates some of the most aggravating positions that we can sleep in (front being the worst), and some options if you have back pain to keep you comfortable.




REMEMBER DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! This helps us keep our muscles and joints hydrated and therefore pain to a minimum.


AVOID SLEEPING ON YOUR FRONT! A lot of front sleepers present to us in clinic with chronic problems as it’s difficult to maintain a neutral spine position.


Sleeping on your stomach forces your head and spine into an unnatural position, and staying in this position for hours on end is not good for your back or neck and can result is significant discomfort and restless sleep. Patients have seen great results from trying to change their habits.


As I always say you can't control what you do in your sleep (especially snoring!) and it is hard to change the habit of a life time, but we can try and set up in a good sleeping position to avoid it.



This image shows how the spine and pelvis position can be distorted without the appropriate support or positioning

This gives an idea of optimal positioning for whole body, with a pillow used between or under the legs for support


*Some patients tell me they find it hard to keep a pillow in place so suggest trying a longer body pillow or small folded quilt. This is especially good for front sleepers who want to avoid rolling.


These illustrations demonstrate how an incorrectly placed pillow can stress the neck.

On your back you need fewer pillows than on your side so if you change from on position to another bare this in mind. We are also all different shapes so the amount of support we need varies from person to person.


If you're a back sleeper I recommend using one pillow, thickness depends on the depth of your natural curves, and pull the lower corners around your lower neck so the pillow is no lower than your shoulders.


For side sleepers, or those who tend to end up in this position, you need plenty of support so try two pillows, again the depth required depends on the width of your shoulders. Ensure you are not at the edge of the pillow and the lower front corner is pulled down to your shoulder and around the cheek. This will prevent you head dropping or rotating which can irritate the neck or lead people to sleep on their front.



Backcare Awareness Week 2018

Backcare Awareness Week

October 8th - 12th 2018


New research reveals back pain trends in Wales


This BackCare Awareness Week (8 – 12 October), a local chiropractor offers simple, effective advice for preventing back or neck pain, in light of new research revealing people in Wales are experiencing this pain more frequently.


The consumer research, undertaken by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA),analysed trends in back and neck pain over the last five years. The findings showed the proportion of people in the region experiencing pain each month has risen from 60% to 65%.


The most common triggers for back and neck pain, which affects 80% of people in Wales, have also changed.


The number of people who blame technology (such as computers or game consoles) for their back pain has increased significantly, from 7% to 14%. Furthermore, the number of people pointing to their job as the cause of their discomfort has risen and now affects a quarter (25%) of the local population.



The most commonly cited trigger for back and neck pain in the region remains lifting and carrying heavy items, for the fifth year in a row. 

Our say at The Whitchurch Clinic

Sarah Beer from The Whitchurch Clinic and member of the BCA comments on the findings:


“I think many of us will agree that the increasing numbers of people experiencing back or neck pain each week are concerning, especially given how simple it can be to protect ourselves from some of the most commons triggers".



“Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary both at home and at work – with many of us spending more time sitting than ever before, contributing to people in the region experiencing pain more frequently.For the 65% of adults in Wales who are experiencing back or neck pain on a monthly basis, I would urge you to consider incorporating more exercise and general movement into your routine where you can to help combat the effects of sitting still.”

Five top tips to get people in Wales moving and to prevent back or neck pain:


Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, whether you’re at work, driving or catching up on box sets, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. Simple activities such as stretching and shoulder shrugging can also help to keep your body moving when you’re sitting for longer periods of time



Stay active: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, as a stronger body can cope better with the demands you make of it, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile! 


Work in comfort: When at work, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.


         Carry with care: While maintaining a strong body can help to prevent injuries, lifting and carrying in a safe way can help to prevent the leading cause of back and neck pain. Just as an athlete has to train to lift heavier weights, we should all only attempt to lift objects that we are able to without too much strain. If an item is particularly heavy then try to make use of available equipment which can help to take the load off your back, or reduce the load to smaller more manageable chunk.



Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.


The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain. 




Notes to editors:

This consumer research in 2018 was carried out on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association on between 28/02/18 and 07/03/18 on a sample of 2,066 adults in the UK.

The consumer research in 2013 was carried out on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association between 01/03/2013 and 15/03/2013 on a sample of 2,044 adults in the UK.

Chiropractors are specialists in spine care and chiropractic is a primary contact health profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and management of many conditions that are due to problems with bones, joints, muscles and nerves, particularly those of the spine.

The BCA is the largest and longest established association for chiropractors in the UK. Chiropractic is a statutorily regulated healthcare profession, regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Members of the BCA must abide by the GCC’s Code of Conduct and Standard of Proficiency. The association only accepts from an internationally recognised college of chiropractic education.  Chiropractic care offers hands on pain management and focuses on muscles, joints and nerves.  Chiropractic is suitable for all ages and can help with a wide range of problems.

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 new 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”.




•    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.


( sited: 04/09/2015)