Advice Blog


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

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Avoid Back Pain on Your Holidays

So often, when people are on holiday and out of their normal routine, they can end up causing themselves unnecessary discomfort and stress by injuring themselves so the British Chiropractic Association have put together some top tips to remain fit and healthy when away. 


Suitcase selection – Choose wisely, buy the lightest case possible that has wheels; hard cases tend to weigh quite a lot before you even start to fill them.

 

Two cases are better than one – If possible, take two light suitcases rather than
one, so you can distribute the weight more evenly.

Get a good night’s sleep – Travelling when tired increases your chances of injury,
so make sure you sleep well the night before a long journey and avoid rushing
around.

Driving

 

Make adjustments - Many back problems are caused or aggravated poor driving
posture. If you’re driving to your holiday destination, ensure the seat position is
slightly backwards so that it feels natural and that your elbows are at a comfortable
and relaxed angle.

 


Relaxing – Relax at the wheel, as this reduces stress on the spine and allows your
seat to take your weight.


Keep an eye on the clock – Stop and stretch your legs (and arms!) at least every
two hours.


Clench! – If you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches,
side bends and shoulder shrugs and circles.


Keep it lose – Don’t wear tight clothing as they will restrict your movement.

Flying...

Flying high – Avoid alcohol before and during the flight as this will cause you to
dehydrate and, in turn, exaggerate muscle pain. Drink plenty of water instead.
Air-exercise – You will be restricted to your seat for most of the flight, but avoid
stiffness by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles. Take the
opportunity to get up and stretch your legs whenever you can.

 

Avoid ‘travelators’ – Get your joints moving quickly after a flight and walk to
arrivals rather than the easy option of a moving walkway.

 

Round and round – Ensure your bags are easily identifiable (e.g. knot a ribbon
around the handle) to avoid lifting other people’s heavy cases in error.

 

Push, don’t pull! – Many wheeled cases encourage you to pull the case handle
from behind, but this makes the upper body/back twist. If possible, push the case in
front of you or use a trolley making sure you choose one from the stack which does
not have ‘wonky wheels’, as keeping it on track will not do your back any good!

At Your Destination


Bed down – When you get to your hotel, if your bed is too hard ask the hotel staff
for a spare duvet or blanket to put between you and the mattress. Firm beds are
not always best, but it is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder.

 

Lounging around – If you’re heading to the sun loungers in search of the perfect
tan, try not to lie on your tummy with your back and neck arched back when
reading your book or magazine. Put the reading matter on the floor, so that you can
view it over the edge of the sun bed; this should allow you to keep your head and
neck in a more neutral position.

 

Exercise in safety – If keeping in shape is on your holiday agenda, ensure you
have a full induction to the hotel gym equipment.

 

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Avoid Back Pain When Flying

Ask Your Doctor/Chiropractor For Help.

Your doctor or chiropractor may be able to write you a letter for your airline and flight crew. A letter to explain your condition may be enough to persuade the crew to allow special accommodations i.e. upgraded to more legroom, allowed to lie on the floor during long flights, given extra blankets and cushions, or to be allowed to walk around as often as you need.

 

Contact the airline.

Weeks before your trip, call the airline to inform them you have a medical condition. With advance notice, they might be able to:

 

  • Provide you with wheelchair assistance and early boarding.
  • Have airline personnel carry your luggage and/or lift it into the overhead bin for you.
  • Accommodate you with special shuttles and elevator platforms for boarding.
  • Give you tips for traveling (and getting through security) with your transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit.
  • Allow non-medical assistants to accompany you through security and boarding.

 

Strategically Schedule Your Flight.

When you book your flight, think about the type of schedule that will be the least stressful.

 

  • Consider taking a flight when there will be fewer people on board and more room for you to lie down across seats. Contact the airline prior to scheduling a flight and let them know of your back pain. They may be able to provide you with more insight on when flights tend to be very crowded and much lighter.
  • Try to limit the down time between in-flight connections or layovers, if applicable.
  • Don't schedule a flight that will require you to wake up extremely early, as people are generally a lot stiffer when they first wake.

Medication

  • See your GP or pharmacist to see what medications they recommend for your travels.
  • Take your recommended pain medication around one hour before your flight, to give it time to get into your system.
  • Carry your pain medications together in a clear plastic bag and have them on you at all times, in case you need them during the flight.
  • Inform flight attendants that you are on medication. This way they can monitor you if necessary.

 

Use Supports

  • If you have lower back pain, providing support behind your lower back with a back roll or even a couple of pillows, is a good way to prevent slumping or slouching in your chair which aggravate your pain.

  • Neck pillows can help on board to help with neck pain.

  • Back braces, tube-shaped pillows with microfibers inside, and other supports can be purchased to help provide relief. Ask your chiropractor for advice on the best type for you.

Watch Your Posture

  • If you have long legs, request an exit row or bulkhead seat, which generally has more leg room.
  • Move around at least once every 30 minutes to an hour during the flight. Staying stationary for prolonged periods of time stresses the spinal discs, ligaments and muscles aggravating your pain.
  • See if there is room at the back of plane to do some quick stretching, which can provide more flexibility to the back and ease stiffness. Just be sure not to get up during turbulence.

Hot and Cold

Acute strain joint sprain injuries generally respond better to a cold compress. Ice packs (bag of frozen peas etc) slow blood flow and in turn reduce any increase inflammation, swelling and pain.

Heat does the opposite (increases blood flow) and is good for muscle spasms, and chronic joint pains such as arthritis, using a hot water bottle or wheat bag.

  • Wrap in kitchen towel/pillow case, to prevent direct contact with the skin, as that can cause heat or ice burns.
  • Apply for 15-20 minutes on the affected area/s, and this can then be
  • Repeat every 1-2 hours.

 

Both should feel comfortable, not painful, if this is the case the packs are either too hot/cold, and a thicker barrier should be used i.e. towel, until the temperature is comfortable but can still be felt.

 

NB: Do not use if you suffer from diabetes or poor circulation.

 

  • Stock up on inexpensive heating options like ThermaCare heat wraps or warm gel packs and apply them while in the air.
  • Bring an empty hot water bottle and ask the flight attendant to fill it up during your flight.
  • Carry a small gel pack on the plane and have the flight attendant store it in the fridge when you are not using it. 
  • Have a Ziploc bag on hand and ask the attendant to fill it up with ice that you can apply to your back.

Be sure to check in with the airline to see what items are acceptable to carry on.

Happy travels to you!

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Avoid Back Pain When Driving

driving Holiday Getaways

This time of year is a great opportunity to get away, whether for day trips, the weekend, or the start of a longer break.

 

Unfortunately, many others have the same idea too! If you are facing a long or potentially delayed journey, keep our car travel tips in mind.

Driving posture

When you are driving your posture is just as important as in the office or walking around. For some it is a major aggravating factor of their pre-existing problem, but for many people it can actually be the cause of their pain, especially if they are regularly in the car for over an hour at a time. 

 

Not only does this affect the spine but also shoulders, hips and knees.

 

So what is the correct way to sit?

  • Start by pushing your hips to the back of the seat so your back is against the seat.
  • Move you chair forwards, close enough so that when your feet push the pedals there is still a slight bend in your knee, and your thighs can relax on the chair.
  • The steering wheel should be positioned so that it can be turned fully without having to lean forward. For long motorway journeys keep your hands and elbows low at your sides so that your shoulder and neck muscles can relax.
  • Your head should be approximately one inch from the headrest and in a position that avoids forward head carriage (see my other blog; domino effect of poor posture).
  • Finally roll your shoulders back and down so they are relaxed against the seat

More tips from the British Chiropractic Association:

Make adjustments

  • If you share a car, make sure the seat position is adjusted to suit you each time you get in. 
  • The back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.

Steering wheel

  • Once you have adjusted your seat correctly, your hands should fall naturally on the steering wheel, with just a slight bend in the arms.
  • If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close to you, the wheel may be touching your legs, which will reduce your ability to turn it freely, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.

Mirrors

  • Your reactions must be quick, so you should not need to move your head a lot. The mirror positions should allow you to see all around the car with the movement of your eyes with minimal head movement.
  • Set your mirror positions to suit you before you drive off. 

Seatbelts

  • Your seatbelt should always lie across the top of your shoulder and never rub against your neck or fall onto the top of your arm. 
  • Depending on your height, you may need to adjust the position at which the seat belt emerges from the body of the car. (If the adjustments available are insufficient, it is possible to purchase clips that help you adjust your seat belt height without impairing safety.)

Footwear

  • Once you have adjusted your seat correctly, your feet should fall naturally onto the pedals. You should be able to press the pedals to the floor by mainly moving your ankle and only using your leg a little. 
  • Avoid wearing wear high heels, or very thick-soled shoes, as you will have to over-extend the ankle in order to put pressure on the pedals. As well as making it much harder to deal with an emergency stop, this position will raise your thigh from the seat (reducing support to your leg) and create tension (and possibly cramp) in the calf. This, in turn, will impair the blood flow on a long journey.

Relax

  • A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.
  • Take regular breaks - stop and stretch your legs (and arms!) at least every two hours, more often if possible. You should certainly stop more frequently if you are feeling any discomfort.
  • Clench your cheeks - If you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches, side bends, seat braces (pushing your hands into the steering wheel and your back into the seat – tensing and relaxing) as well as shoulder shrugs and circles.
  • Leave the tight clothes at home - They will restrict your movement.
  • It’s all in the timing - Allow plenty of time for journeys to avoid stress.

If I haven't answered all your questions feel free to ask on your next visit! 

 

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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.
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Benefits of Walking

 
NATIONAL WALKING MONTH
&
WALK TO SCHOOL WEEK
The sun is shining and the birds are singing, what better time to go for a leisurely walk than now?

Still not convinced? Well how about we persuade you with all the positive impacts that walking leads to:



 1. It Improves memory, learning ability, concentration and abstract reasoning.


 2.  Walks are an excellent way to improve your mood and reduce anxiety

3. A walk through nature is great for reducing stress and being outside boosts your vitamin D

4. Studies have shown that walking can also reduce the risk of clinical depression 


5. Walks can enhance your sleep patterns which results in higher quality sleep and improved alertness


TO SUPPORT OR GET INVOLVED VISIT: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/national-walking-month
  • Song, C.; Ikei, H.; Park, B.-J.; Lee, J.; Kagawa, T.; Miyazaki, Y. Psychological Benefits of Walking through Forest Areas. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2804. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122804 -
  • Olafsdottir G, Cloke P, Schulz A, et al. Health Benefits of Walking in Nature: A Randomized Controlled Study Under Conditions of Real-Life Stress. Environment and Behavior. 2020;52(3):248-274. doi:10.1177/0013916518800798. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916518800798
  • Hori H, Ikenouchi-Sugita A, Yoshimura R, Nakamura J. Does subjective sleep quality improve by a walking intervention? A real-world study in a Japanese workplace. BMJ Open. 2016;6(10):e011055. Published 2016 Oct 24. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011055. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5093382/

Chiropractic Awareness Week 2022

Prioritising your back health in FIVE easy steps this Chiropractic Awareness Week

 

 

Back pain is more common than you’d think, with recent data showing that 80% of the nation will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime1. This Chiropractic Awareness Week (4-10 April), we’re encouraging Brits to take back their back health.

Did you know there’s currently 10 million people in the UK living with back pain?2 What’s more, research from the British Chiropractic Association found that cases of back pain rose by a third during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns3. Despite this increase, only 10% of people experiencing symptoms sought support from a GP or chiropractor, with 46% of people not taking any steps at all to tackle their back pain, indicating a large portion of the population is still living with daily symptoms into 2022.4

Whilst these numbers may seem high, by actively taking simple steps as part of your daily routine evidence shows that symptoms and the risk of developing a more challenging musculoskeletal condition can be reduced.

Here are our five top tips from that anyone can take to support their back health:

  1. Start the day right and keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, so aim to incorporate at least 30minutes of movement into your day. 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!

  2. Take a break: If you sit for long periods of time as part of your job, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes – particularly so for hybrid work set ups and working from home if you don’t have ergonomic office equipment.

  3. Lifting and carrying: If you’re taking on DIY or spring-cleaning projects this Easter, 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.

  4. Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every seven 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.

  5. Seek out support: If your symptoms of back or joint pain last more than two weeks, or prevent you from carrying out your daily routines, see a chiropractor or GP for advice. You can find a registered chiropractor on our ‘Find a Chiropractor’ page.

Feeling physically well positively impacts every aspect of how we live our day-to-day life, so maintaining good back health is extremely important. In partnership with the BCA, we want to raise awareness and show that anyone can be proactive about their back health this Chiropractic Awareness Week!

 

Easy changes 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.

1 British Chiropractic Association One Poll consumer survey, 2021

3 British Chiropractic Association One Poll consumer survey, 2021

 

4 British Chiropractic Association One Poll consumer survey, 2020

Back & Neck Pain During Pregnancy

Image from; Natural Childbirth Education
Image from; Natural Childbirth Education

Unless you have had back problems previously to being pregnant, or during previous pregnancies, it is uncommon that you should have any in the early stages.

 

In the mid to later stages women develop an increase in the lumbar curve due to the increased weight being carried out in front. This puts more pressure on some of the joints of the spine, causing discomfort and, for some women, pain.

 

As pregnancy progresses into the final stages, relaxin is released in order to prepare for birth which softens the muscles, ligaments and tendons. At this time the body is more unforgiving, old problems with the back and joints are highlighted, and it is easy to overstretch or lift something and it cause more of a problem than normal.

Treatment

Some chiropractors have under taken post graduate studies to train to work with women who are pregnant, and there are many adaptations we can make to our treatment methods and benches to ensure the comfort of our pregnant patients.

 

Evidence suggests it is very beneficial to both mother and baby if the pelvis and lower back functions biomechanically at its best during pregnancy, and especially during the birth. The three joints of the pelvis need to work and expand equally during pregnancy and birth to reduce the risk of over stretching which can lead post-natal pain in that joint. There are also some research articles that suggest chiropractic can reduce labour times and the need for pain relief, due to decreased pressure on the back. 

 

For further details of the benefits and research follow this link to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Assiociation

 

For a personal account of an experience of chiropractic during pregnancy follow this link to Natural childbirth Education 

Prevention

  • Talk to your healthcare professional to discuss stretches and exercises that are suitable for you.
  • The fitter you are and the more muscle tone you have before pregnancy, the more likely you are to be able to cope with the body’s postural changes. 
  • Sleeping with a pillow between the legs, or supporting your bump may help with lower back pain.
  • Core exercises are very useful and you can talk to a chiropractor, GP, midwife or other healthcare professional for advice on this.  During pregnancy specialist yoga classes, taken from 12 weeks onwards, can be very beneficial.  Swimming and aqua natal classes are also of benefit, as being in the water takes the pressure off strained joints whilst providing good exercise and relaxation.  
  • Avoid high heels and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.  If you have children already, it can be difficult as they will need lifting and carrying. 
  • Always lift with your spine straight and bend knees to avoid leaning, stretching or bending.  
  • Do not sit for prolonged periods, take regular breaks 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. 
  • Try to keep stretching leg muscles to make sure unnecessary extra pressure is not put on the knees.
  • Elevate legs whenever possible to offset any weight pressure and reduce any swelling - ankle circles will also help. 

 

Neck and mid back pain is also common during pregnancy due to an increase in breast size;

 

  • Get measured for bras regularly throughout your pregnancy. This will help make sure you are wearing the right size and, therefore, getting the maximum support possible. 
  • Do neck and shoulder stretches regularly to relieve tension in the muscles.
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The Importance of Wearing Suitable Trainers

As people start preparing for competition runs, such as the Cardiff Half Marathon, Sports Therapist and ex professional track runner Gareth Warburton says:

 

"I 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
http://www.garethwarburton.com/
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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.

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Leg Pain Athletes & Sports People

With the growing popularity of community-based races and charity half marathons, more and more people are taking up running for fun. While running is associated with a lot of health and general wellness benefits, some athletes experience overuse injuries while running and training. One of these is exercise-related leg pain (ERLP), otherwise known as shin splints, with pain between the knee and ankle during or after exercise.

 

M Reinking, T Austin, and A Hayes (2013) looked into the prevalence of ERLP in adult runners and how the pain affected their running and daily activities. They also analysed risk factors to determine who is most likely to have leg pain from running. Out of over 200 runners, more than 50% of the runners reported at least one episode in the past year. Of this group, about 40% said that the leg pain interfered with running. They found that the most significant risk factor was previous leg injury or pain and participants who had less than three years experience running were at greater risk than more experienced runners. Those who ran less than 15 miles per week were more likely to suffer leg pain than those running more. The greatest occurrence was among amateur runners who raced at a pace of 9 minutes per mile or greater.

Some Causes of Leg Pain in Sport

Trigger Points

 

 

A trigger point is a hypersensitive, nodal point of muscle that can refer pain in specific patterns (Travell and Simon's Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction Vols 1 & 2) depending on if they are active or latent. Trigger points can build up due to an acute overload/injury, or chroinic overload such as repetative strain injuries.

 

 

This can be caused by a change in technique, increased training, or faulty mechanics in a joint or muscle (scar tissue etc). Trigger points weaken and shorten the muscle, effecting both strength and endurance. This in turn leads to further dysfunction in the surrounding tissues and joints as they compensate and are over loaded. Further trigger points then form in a snowball effect.

Snapping Hip Syndrome

 

 

 

 

‘Snapping hip’ or coxa saltans/iliopsoas tendinitis/dancer's hip describes an audible snapping or popping noise as the hip moves from flexion (knee toward waist) to extension (knee down and hip joint straightened). After extended exercise pain or discomfort may be present caused by inflammation of the iliopsoas bursae. Pain often decreases with rest and diminished activity.

The more common lateral extra-articular type of snapping hip syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band, tensor fascia lata, or gluteus medius tendon slides back and forth across the greater trochanter.

 

Less commonly seen medial extra-articular type is caused by the iliopsoas tendon catching on the anterior inferior iliac spine(AIIS), the lesser trochanter, or the iliopectineal ridge during hip extension, as the tendon moves from an anterior lateral (front, side) to a posterior medial (back, middle) position.

 

‘Snapping Hip’ syndrome is commonly associated with a leg length difference (usually the long side is symptomatic), tightness in the iliotibial band(ITB) on the involved side, weakness in hip abductors and external rotators, poor lumbopelvic stability and abnormal foot mechanics (Overpronation). Intra-articular can also be indicative of injury such as a torn acetabular labrum, recurrent hip subluxation, ligamentum teres tears, loose bodies, articular cartilage damage, or synovial chondromatosis (cartilage formations in the synovial membrane of the joint).

Stress Fracture

The more rapid the onset and the more acute the onset, the more likely it is that this could represent a stress fracture.  Stress fractures are subtle fractures that occur in the bone as a result of putting too much constant stress on the bone, to the point where the bone starts to break — initially at a microscopic level.  Stress fractures are common in athletes or runners who have changed their training schedules, increased the amount of time that they are playing or running… or simply bad luck.  The pain from a stress fracture will typically be present from the first step you take on the court or the road.  

 

Compartment Syndrome

 

 

A compartment syndrome is characterised by having too much pressure in the muscle compartments in our leg.  Our muscles are surrounded by very tough tissue we call fascia, it is not very flexible and some runners or athletes experience muscle swelling during activities.  If this swelling is significant enough, the fascia will squeeze or put pressure on the muscle.  This reduces blood flow to the muscle and the muscle will fatigue rapidly and start to hurt. People with compartment syndromes typically have no pain at the start of their run/game, but at some point during the run/game pain will start and steadily build. You will typically need to stop your activity to relieve the pain.  Sometimes compartment syndrome can become so chronic and severe that it requires surgery to reduce the pressure, so best to get it looked at by chiropractor as soon as possible for prevention.

Shin Splints

The pain from shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome tends to build gradually and is a form of compartment syndrome.  You can usually initiate a run, or a game and then the pain begins shortly thereafter, or possible after the game or run itself.  Medial tibial stress syndrome (or ‘shin splints’) is characterised by pain along the lower part of your leg or tibia, and the pain is along the inner border of the tibia.  This is a very common cause of disability in runners and they often develop after sudden changes in physical activity, such as running longer distances or on hills, or increasing the number of days you exercise each week. Flat feet (weak arches) are another factor that can contribute to increased stress on the lower leg muscles during exercising.

Tendonitis

 

 

Tendonitis (tendon inflammation), or Tendinosis (degeneration of the tendon) is a very common issue sports medicine specialists see in sports and runners.  One of the most commonly affected tendons is the achilles. If the tendon, a few inches above your ankle joint is tender, but you do not feel or see any nodules you are most likely suffering from a form of tendonitis or peri-tendonitis where the tendon itself, or the tissue around it is inflamed from chronic use. Achilles tendinosis is caused by a chronic tendonitis, causing nodules or enlargement of your tendon that is tender to touch, diagnostic ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis.  Chronic achilles tendinosis causes scar tissue and weakening of the tendon, which can potentially lead to rupture.

Treatment

Chiropractic care and Sports Massage have been shown to be a great option for athletes in both treating and preventing sports injuries and pain. One such study found that chiropractic treatments led to less muscle strains in the legs. Another study showed that chiropractic adjustments improved athletic performance among competitive athletes (references below). Through soft tissue techniques and spinal manipulation, combined with advice, we can work to prevent injury occurrence.

References

Botelho, Marcelo and Bruno Andrade. “Effect of Cervical Spine Manipulative Therapy on Judo Athletes’ Grip Strength. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies. 2011; 35(11): 38-44.

 

Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized control trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010;11:64.

 

Reinking M, Austin T, Hayes A. A survey of exercise-related leg pain in community runners. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 2013; 8(3): 269-276.