Shin Splints

It’s coming to that time of year again: when all of us sun-starved running fanatics are promised the beginning of those North West summer rays. Whether or not they arrive we are probably approaching the time of year when we start considering strapping on our trainers and dashing out for the first run after a very long break. Especially with the particularly long and cold winter that we’ve had this year! 
Unfortunately, those plans of rebuilding that summer-fit beach-body are often cut short by dreaded ‘shin splints’. Today’s article is going to focus on what shin splints are, how to avoid getting them and what to do if you are already showing signs of shin splints. Shin splints is a general term used to describe shin pain, but is most commonly is used to describe 3 different medical conditions. This is a condition which is estimated to affected 5- 35% of runners.
Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome – this is by far the most common cause of shin splints and is the one most often described as shin splints by health professionals. It is an overuse/ repetitive stress injury caused by repetitive pulling of the tibialis anterior muscle (foot lifting muscle) on the big shin bone (the tibia). This starts to pull and irritate the front part of the bone. Pain is worse at the beginning of exercise and eases with rest.
Stress Fracture – discomfort is usually felt quite specifically 2-3 inches above the ankle on the inside. Caused by muscle fatigue leading to increased repetitive stress on the tibia and the bone being loaded by greater force. Multiple repetitive events lead to a stress fracture rather than a single traumatic incident.
Chronic Compartment Syndrome – Muscles in the leg lie within compartments of connective tissue. Internal pressure is increased in this compartment by exercise, usually due to swelling, fluid and/or muscle bulging. This is usually relieved by stopping exercise. Due to the artery and nerve vessels that also run through the compartment this condition can also cause numbness and reduced blood flow to the lower leg, as these structure become trapped or compromised.
So what are the causes of shin splints?
‘Too much too soon’ is the most likely culprit this time of year. Don’t forget that when you’re going through periods of not running, you are deconditioning. Successful training programs don’t pick up from where you left off, but gradually increase intensity and reduce the risk of injury.
Other avoidable risk factors include running on hard ground, try softer surfaces instead, and uneven surfaces. Weak core and pelvic floor muscles, train these independently to your running to keep them strong. Make sure that you have running shoes with enough shock absorption and cushioning to absorb some of the impact of footfall.
You should change your running shoes every 250 – 500 miles as shoes tend to lose 40% of their shock absorption capacity at this point. Vitamin C & D supplementation may also help strengthen the tibia, however the research is disputed.
What can I do if I’ve got shin splints?
First of all you should rest and stop running, there is a risk of aggravating the condition should you try and run through the pain.
At Harding Chiropractic Clinic we recommend speaking to one of our chiropractors should you think you may have shin splints for an appropriate, musculoskeletal assessment and diagnosis.
Matthew Glancy M Chiro

Are Your Feet Causing Your Back Pain?

The foot is our body’s only permanent connection to the surfaces we wander-all day, every day.  The foot therefore initiates every single movement that our bodies make. You would not build a house on faltering foundations; why then do people build movement patterns on top of weak and dysfunctional feet?  The concept is the same.

This article will highlight why healthy feet are essential to your body’s alignment and how you can begin walking the path towards a stronger more stable foot!  Let us explore…


  • A human foot and ankle is naturally a strong, mechanical structure that contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments.
  • The 52 bones in your feet make up one quarter of all the bones in your body.
  • The feet (plantar surface) have the densest area per cm2 of nerve endings in the body.
  • The foot is an amazingly intricate structure that when working correctly can function in a tri-planar movement!
  • Walking freely is the best exercise for your feet, and it’s also a great way to get overall exercise for your body; it boosts circulation and helps you burn calories.  For more information about walking how nature intended visit


So, to the entry level exercise!

I have gone through lacrosse ball tissue releases at clinic, both for the sole of the foot and also the back of the shoulder with many of you.  It therefore makes sense to use a piece of apparatus many will already be utilising from home. This basic drill will serve you well to start activating some of your foot intrinsic muscles therefore increasing the focal stability of the foot.  This is only part of a much larger equation that even includes glut activation; however it is the perfect place to start!

Here is a link that will take you through the drill:

As suggested this is easily performed in the evening whilst winding down and watching television.  I would suggest practising 3-5 minutes per evening for a month initially.

Isaac Fellick MChiro


Chiropractic Awareness Week. Keep Back Pain At Bay – Keep Moving!!

New research finds increasing numbers of people in the North West are suffering from back and neck pain

New research released to mark Chiropractic Awareness Week (9 – 15 April), has found that more than two fifths (46%) of people in the North West are currently experiencing back or neck pain, a 13% increase on 2017.

The research, which was carried out by the British Chiropractic Association, found that for sufferers in the North West, the top triggers for this pain were;


  • Lifting or carrying heavy objects (51%)
  • Sitting for long periods of time (44%), and;
  • Poor posture (36%)

 Notably, incidences of neck and back pain among younger people are also on the rise, with 22% of people in the North West experiencing neck or back pain by age 20. 

The BCA’s research findings align with what we see in clinic on a day to day basis, however it’s particularly interesting that lifting and carrying was the most cited trigger for neck and back pain. It really highlights the importance of maintaining a strong and active body that can move well and cope with the demands you are making of it.

For those in Chester, Ellesmere Port and surrounding areas who are finding that sedentary lifestyles and sitting for long periods are causing them a problem, we would encourage they make a change. We are designed to move and if you hold your body in any position for an extended period of time, it is likely that you will feel pain. 

To help counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and help prevent back and neck pain occurring, there are a number of simple exercises and small changes you can incorporate into your daily routine. For example, shrugging and circling your shoulders whilst sitting and taking the stairs are easy ways to improve your back health – these may sound simple but we know from patient feedback that they really work!


My top tips to help local residents to prevent and manage neck and back pain are: 

  • 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.
  • 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!

Other things which you can bear in mind are:

  • 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 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

All of us at Harding Chiropractic Clinic recommend that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help. We can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain. You can book an appointment with a Chiropractor at Harding Chiropractic Clinic by calling 01244 880186 or online at


New year, new gym routine!


Firstly, before you begin a drastic lifestyle change it is advisable to seek consult with your Dr to ensure you’re in the position to do so progressively and healthily.

That said, many of you are in good health and it is in fact a mechanical joint issue or muscular pain that is holding you back.  It is our job as clinicians to provide your body with the correct adaptations to decrease pain and ultimately enable you to take your health and fitness back into your own hands.  Whether it is inside of a gym, swimming pool or home rehabilitation devised by us you must first ensure you’re pain free and functioning at a basic level.

This is achieved via manual therapy provided here at clinic.  Treatment alongside the prescription of basic home exercises is the best methodology to integrate a new gym routine successfully.  After thorough assessment the tight, niggling, painful structures currently restricting your progress are released and symptoms will subside in time.  Once a basic level of functional integrity is restored, we can build from this solid platform.  The exercises are aimed at not only allowing you to train but also making the tissues less prone and susceptible to falling back into patterns of pain and dysfunction.

This time of year we head to the gym in our hoards without much thought to longevity or sustainability.  However joint health, muscle function and therefore your athletic sustainability is a priority for us as practitioners.

So to ensure you’re headed into 2018 as your strongest self, I introduce the building blocks for human movement: the gluts and core.  Control of your pelvis via these muscle groups is essential learning for all of us to be strong, fit and healthy.

In the gymnastics world the “hollow body position” is a foundational position of strength, it is the basic pattern to learn to hold and maintain.  It is a base from which all other movements are progressed.

See below:

Taking a lead from the powerhouses of strength and masters of body function- the gymnast we can apply their methodology and regress it for us beginners.  These holds will start to work on the motor control of your lumbo-pelvic region as well as increasing core strength.  This exercises is also transferable to all other holds and lifts, it is an investment well worth you making!


From the position shown I want you to take a deep breath into your stomach.  Upon exhalation I want you to do nothing but focus on what happens to your core and pelvic position.  Repeat for a few deep breaths.  This is important as we will be using breathing out to facilitate our final position.

We want to achieve a flattening of the lumbar spine or lower back against the rug or mat you’re practicing on.  This will be caused via a posterior pelvic tilt and by sucking the naval into your spine.  Once in this position you must hold for a count of 5 seconds all the time maintaining core contraction and thus pressure into the floor.

Repeat 5 sets of 5 seconds little and often for 4 weeks and you will be way on your way to a stronger, happier spine.  Once you have this position down, there are many progressions to apply.  We will see you here soon to discuss!


Isaac Fellick MChiro

Pregnant and suffering with back pain?

You may be suffering with Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) the term PGP is used to describe pain experienced in the front and back of your pelvis (you may have previously heard the term Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction [SPD]  however, PGP is now the accepted name for this condition). PGP is a common condition in pregnancy and affects 1 in 5 women. If you get the right advice and treatment early during pregnancy it is usually easier to manage and treat. In some cases women will continue to have PGP after pregnancy, particularly if not managed properly.



Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is common. The sooner it is identified and assessed the better it can be managed. If you have symptoms that do not improve within a week or two, or interfere with your normal day-to-day life, you may have PGP and should ask for help from your midwife, GP or chiropractor. If you understand how PGP may be caused, what treatment is available, and how you can help yourself, this may help to speed up your recovery, reducing the impact of PGP on your life.



So what causes PGP?

Sometimes there is no obvious cause, but usually there is a combination of factors that cause PGP which include the pelvic joints moving unevenly, a change in the activity of the muscles around the stomach, pelvic floor, hips and pelvic girdle can cause instability and lead to pain. Occasionally baby position may produce PGP symptoms too. Discomfort is often felt over the pubic bone at the front, below your tummy, or across one side of your lower back, or both sides. Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty walking.
  • Pain on standing on one leg e.g. climbing stairs or getting into and out of the bath.
  • Feel and/or hear a clicking and grinding in the pelvic area.
  • Limited or painful hip movement e.g. turning over in bed.
  • Pain and difficulty during sexual intercourse.
  • Difficultly lying in certain positions e.g. on side or back.

With PGP the degree of discomfort you are feeling may vary from being intermittent and irritating to being very wearing and upsetting. Therefore it is important to seek treatment early on. Manual therapy such as chiropractic has been found to be very helpful in reducing PGP symptoms and the likelihood of it getting progressively worse. Your chiropractor can give you advice on how to help yourself between treatments with specific rehabilitation exercises and management.


– By Shannan Dobb

Home stretching!

Human beings have been stretching for thousands of years, this is well documented and the practice of Yoga is now rightly, very much a part of Western culture.  We are all aware of that relaxed “zen” mood that the practice can put us into.  But apart from feeling great, what effect does stretching have on my area of focus- the musculoskeletal system?   And most importantly to you, what benefit is there to being supple?  Mats at the ready…

A multifaceted approach to pain and dysfunction will yield best outcomes long term.  This is why many manual therapists will prescribe stretches, mobilisations and strength work to facilitate in-house clinical care.  Both dynamic and static stretching are integral parts to this equation.  We will only be focussing on static stretching during this article.  For the sake of clarity stretching in this instance will mean lengthening a muscle and maintaining the tension and elongation over a specified time (think hamstring stretch).  We are therefore strictly focussing on the muscle, fascia and tendons (soft tissue structures).

This is opposed to dynamic stretching i.e. with movement in which joint articulations are also involved and mobilised as well as soft tissues through a range of motion.  Dynamic stretching will be perceived as a specific activity related warm up.  These focussed, movement based stretches will be covered by myself at a later date.

The reason static stretching is essential is due to how people tend to fall into chronic pain patterns: being stuck in specific postures for extended periods and not having enough time to undo the tightness that develops within the fascial system, connective tissue and muscle.   The key to remember with stretching is that it must all be relative; it is not possible to unravel 8 hours sat hunched over a desk with 2 minutes of breath workand stretching of an evening.  The term “relative” is therefore integral to what we are trying to achieve.


Kataura et al., (2016)1 found that within a muscle “static passive torque was significantly lower after 60, 180, and 300 seconds of stretching compared with that after 20-second stretching, and stiffness decreased significantly after 180- and 300-second stretching”.  Thus highlighting that time under tension is a must to make any gains!

That being said I would advise aiming for 10-15 minutes of an evening.  This is to be performed daily initially with a view to maintaining flexibility with stretching sessions 3-4 times per week thereafter.  The initial stage span will very much depend on where you are at and everyone will progress differently.  4-6 weeks would be the best commitment to make at first.

Having highlighted your area of focus (neck, lower back, hamstrings, quads) it is time to select two stretches to perform on each area depending on your site of stiffness and pain.  As discussed previously each stretch for the lower limb and back will be held for at least 60 seconds.  As the neck is a much more sensitive structure I advise only 30 seconds a side here before resting one minute and performing another round.


Many of you will have already been given stretches by your clinician to be performed on a regular basis however uploaded tutorials will be appearing very soon on the Harding Chiropractic Youtube page!


Isaac Fellick MChiro 

1Kataura, S., Suzuki, S., Matsuo, S., Hatano, G., Iwata, M., Yokoi, K., Tsuchida, W., Banno, Y. and Asai, Y. (2016). Acute effects of the different intensity of static stretching on flexibility and isometric muscle force. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, p.1.


Keeping our bones, joints and muscles healthy as we age.

Muscles, joints, and bones are vital to movement. They enable us to accomplish complex feats such as downhill skiing and simple tasks like writing with a pencil. Bones provide our basic body structure, joints allow flexibility of movement, and muscles hold them together to make it all possible. It is important to pay attention to these body parts all the time, not just when they hurt, and to care for them as we age. Proper care of muscles, joints, and bones now helps ensure strength and mobility as we age, and it may mean the difference in growing old gracefully, or not.



As we age, our bones lose density, muscles lose flexibility and joints become worn. This affects mobility and balance, making us more at risk for falling and fracturing bones. Seniors are especially prone both to falling and to diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which can impose limitations on the most basic activities of life. Arthritis is the painful inflammation in joints due to loss of cartilage, which stiffens and reduces the range of motion in the affected joints. Osteoporosis is a gradual weakening of bones over time, which is a common cause of fractures. Even if joints are not afflicted with a disease, the older our joints, bones, and muscles become, the more important it is to know how to maintain these parts in order to preserve our basic mobility.

The NHS recommends healthy eating habits and moderate exercise to improve and maintain joint mobility, muscle mass, and bone strength.  Exercise such as swimming and speed walking are great for a gentle, yet effective exercise, without big loads being put through the joints. A balanced diet which includes carbohydrates, good fats, protein, fruit and vegetables is all recommended.



Chiropractic treatment can help promote and maintain good joint mobility too. Gentle techniques such as McTimoney chiropractic and soft tissue release can be used safely and effectively on patients with conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis to help ease the symptoms and slow the progression.


Being inactive makes your muscles and bones lose strength. This increases your risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures. By staying active you can significantly lower your risk of breaking a bone. However if you have painful joints or muscles, it may be difficult to achieve the exercise you need. Seeking treatment such as chiropractic can help get you pain free and able to exercise again.

Getting stressed out!!

Stress and how it affects our necks and backs:


There’s no question that tension and stress can manifest itself in the body. Whether it’s a headache or tight muscles, psychological factors can take a toll on our physical body.




Common sites in the body where the effects of stress can be felt are the neck and back.  Your neck and back can become a center of pain and tension as stress and worries build.

Stress-induced neck and back pain is defined as pain that is either triggered or worsened by psychological or emotional factors. For example, the initial neck or back pain may be caused by an injury that strains the muscles, but the pain continues for days or weeks afterward as stress caused by the injury or other factors builds—maybe even long after the muscle tissue has healed from the initial accident.



Chiropractic treatment:

Chiropractic for the underlying injury and cause of pain in the neck and back is your starting point. It is essential to make sure the mechanics of our spine and muscle structure is working correctly. Stress will not be able to exacerbate the underlying cause if we have a healthy functioning muscular skeletal system.









If done regularly, stretching exercises for the neck and back can loosen muscle tightness and maintain or expand range of motion for the neck and back.
















Therapy or support group

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven benefits for helping to develop healthy thought patterns, but even a local support group where you can share your concerns and receive support can help you manage day-to-day stressors.










Exercise is good for your body and mind. It releases endorphins, a hormone that dulls pain and generates feelings of well-being. Yoga is very good for relieving stress whilst strengthening your core muscles. Other exercise like swimming  and speed walking are great and don’t put too much load through your joints, so ideal for all ages.









Let inconsequential things go if they’re taking a toll on your health and making you feel stressed. Focus on what’s most important in the present and don’t worry about things further down the line.










Cycling Season by Isaac Fellick

Cycle Season

  1. Introduction
  2. Stretching and mobility
  3. Foam rolling and soft tissue release techniques
  4. Strength and conditioning


Cycling season is well under way; many of us will be attacking those long, hot rides in search for a fitter, healthier body.  (Not to mention fighting for new strava positions!)  Time in the saddle is taxing on the entire body, if you don’t believe me please be sure to watch how the GC riders are aided off their bikes post stage!

We will be focussing on best preparation of our bodies for steep climbs and the recovery process to ensure we keep strong into the last miles of a ride.   Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist these tips and home exercises can be used to keep at bay any aches and pains and therefore achieve greater stamina and performance.





Continue reading to avoid this kind of demoralising finish!

Basic rules for on the bike:

  • Ensure bike dimensions fit your body type. (GCN- Global Cycling Network have some great Youtube tutorials if you do not want to pay for a professional bike fit)
  • Low body fat percentage equals less work in the saddle.
  • Cadence, utilising a low gear for longevity. (See Froomey)
  • Stay hydrated especially in the summer months and carry gels for any distances above 40 miles.


Stretching and mobility

With that covered it is time to look at the mechanics of cycling.   Whilst riding our torso and above stays static; in a streamlined, stooped position over the bars.  This posture places a great deal of stress through the lower back and shoulders in particular.  The bike position can be thought of as an extension of the dreaded slumped working posture at a desk.  This can cause havoc to our system.  The tension can present with stiffness upon waking at the low back and neck or sharp pain when moving from sitting to standing.  You may find it is tricky to get comfortable particularly when seated or driving.

If this is the case it is a good idea to start with some low back stretching to reverse the tissue adhesion.  The low back stretches will be accompanied by an upper thoracic extension exercise to combat our stooped cycling posture.  We can think of the mid back as the necks anchor, or foundation.  Our cervical spine position is entirely dependent on thoracic orientation.  Without the correct extension pattern the neck will be migrated anteriorly or to the front of our bodies furthering our pattern of pain, tightness and dysfunction.  By working on the mid back when off of the bike and bringing some well needed rest to our posterior chain the body’s capacity to adopt a flexed cycle position will be increased.

Exercises to get you started will be Child’s pose, knee to chest and the Cobra with a bias to the upper thoracic segments.

Tutorials can be found on our Youtube channel:

Isaac Fellick MChiro

Couch to 5k

You may be thinking of starting some exercise like running in this lovely summer weather. If you have never run for exercise before or it has been a while, the couch to 5K training programme may be right for you.

Getting fit through running has numerous benefits such as:  improved cardio-respiratory function and skeletal muscle function; higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the so-called “good” cholesterol); improved blood pressure, body composition, and bone density; decreased insulin need and improved glucose tolerance; enhanced performance of work, recreational and sport activities; and many positive psychological benefits.



A couch to 5k is typically 9 week programme that anybody can achieve. It allows you to start building up your fitness level, whilst reducing the risk of injury through exercise. However they are some common running injuries that may occur, but chiropractic can help treat to them.

Before you start your couch to 5k journey you need to consider what clothing and nutrition is right for you. The NHS recommend that it’s important to have energy for your run, but don’t overdo it. Avoid having a large meal within two hours of your run. You need blood to be in your muscles, not your digestive system. However, a light snack, such as a banana, before running is fine. As for water, provided you are drinking enough throughout the day, this should not be problem. Some people like to have a water bottle with them while running. If you’re thirsty, drink – just not too much.


If you haven’t exercised for a while, chances are you may not have any suitable clothing. Don’t let this be an excuse – once you have the outfit sorted, you’re far more likely to feel motivated to get out there and use it.

You need a pair of running shoes. Shop at a specialist running shop who can analyze your gait for free and recommend the correct running shoes. In terms of clothing, you don’t really need technical gear. You just need something loose and comfortable in a breathable material, like cotton.

If you keep running regularly after completing couch to 5K, some specialist clothing would be a good investment.

Each Couch to 5K run includes a five-minute walk at the beginning and end of the session. Don’t just go out the front door and start running, make sure you go through the preparatory brisk walking stage. This helps prepare your muscles for the pre and post stretches.




Common injuries that may occur from running include:

Shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)

Shin splints (Medial tibial Stress Syndrome) is common among runners. It is pain felt over the middle portion of the shin bone. It’s typically caused by a number of things like ill fitting running shoes, a sudden increase in training frequency or intensity and running on hard surfaces. Initially it is best to rest and ice the area. Chiropractic treatment can help identify the cause of the pain and help treat and speed up the recovery time, whilst giving supportive advice.


Achilles tendonitis:

The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in your body, connecting your calf muscles to the back of your heel. This tendon can sometime become inflamed in runners if the running shoes don’t fit well or through over training. Initially it is best to rest and ice the area. Chiropractic treatment can help identify the cause of the pain and help treat and speed up the recovery time.





Plantar fasciitis: 

Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation in the bottom of the foot. It is perhaps the peskiest problem that plagues the running wounded. The common characteristic of this condition is a sharp, tight, painful sensation at the base of the heel.

The causes can be over training, overuse, and improper or worn-out footwear can cause pain in your heel, but the root of the problem lies in tight and weakened muscles in the foot. If your feet are weak, the heel takes on an excessive load and can’t handle the training you are trying to do. Initially it is best to rest and ice the area. Chiropractic treatment can help identify the cause, then treat and rehab the affected muscles and joints. Orthotics and stability shoes may be required too.


Make a splash this summer and get swimming

Swimming is a great form of exercise that uses almost every muscle in your body. It’s a low impact exercise, that doesn’t put load through your joints. It’s good exercise for people of all ages and abilities. So whether you’re a pro or a beginner there are few things you can do to help your performance and reduce the risk of injury.


Stroke technique is very important. There are four main techniques known as front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Each stroke carries common injuries associated with them if not performed correctly.

Front crawl: Front crawl is a great stroke for speed. When doing this stroke make sure to alternate between left and right when you turn your head to breathe.  This will help reduce strain on the neck. Turn your whole body to breathe and not just your head. This makes the stroke more efficient and again reduces strain on your neck. A common injury associated with front crawl is swimmer’s shoulder also known as shoulder impingement syndrome. Poor stroke mechanics applied in front crawl are frequently implicated in the development of swimmer’s shoulder. The result is inflammation of the supraspinatus and biceps tendons. Pain will be felt on movement of the shoulder. Ask a coach or friend to observe your stoke, to help you make any corrective changes needed. For treatment chiropractic helps restore any lost range of motion and reduces the pain. Rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the shoulder may also be prescribed.

Breaststroke: Breaststroke may appear to be an easy stroke, but when performed correctly is a vigorous workout. When doing breaststroke you shouldn’t keep your head constantly out the water. Avoid neck strain by putting your head under the water and only come up to breathe. Wearing goggles will allow you to do so without exposing your eyes to the chlorine in the water. Make sure to kick you legs out evenly to reduce unnecessary strain on your lower back and knees. Asking a coach or friend to observe your kick, will help you know if you’re kicking out evenly. Knee injuries are almost exclusive to breast strokers. Patellofemoral syndrome is a common injury. Abnormal softening of the cartilage of the underside the kneecap (patella), which is a cause of pain in the front of the knee. It is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. It results from degeneration of cartilage due to poor alignment of the kneecap as it slides over the lower end of the thighbone. Chiropractic treatment can help this condition by working on the quad muscles to help realign and strengthen them with rehabilitation, whilst improving the range of motion in the knees, ankle and hips.

Backstroke: When swimming backstroke remember to keep your legs close together and kick from the hips rather than the knees. Your ankles should be relaxed and your knees slightly bent on the downbeat. Not doing this can lead to ankle tendonitis with overuse. As well as ankle pain, the area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation. You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning. Ice the ankle if swollen and seek chiropractic treatment to help rehabilitate the ankle and reduce the pain.

Butterfly: Butterfly is the most difficult stroke to master. It is the most recent stroke developed and second fastest stroke to front crawl. The kick should come from the hips and not the knees. Your body should be led by the crown of your head, with your shoulders and hips horizontal. By getting the technique correct, you can avoid a common injury such as low back muscle strain and spasm. Chiropractic treatment will help speed up the recovery process of this and prescribe core rehabilitation exercises if required to help support the back.


  • When swimming front crawl, make sure to alternate between left and right when you turn your head to breathe.  This will help reduce strain on the neck
  • Turn your whole body to breathe during front crawl stroke and not just your head. This makes the stroke more efficient and reduces strain on your neck


  • Wearing swimming goggles helps to protect your eyes and allow you to put your head under the water during a stroke such as breast stroke. Keeping your head constantly out the water will cause neck strain over time
  • It is important to stretch your muscles before and after swimming. Special attention should be paid to the shoulders which play a big part in all stokes
  • As with any sport, if you have not swum in a while, ease yourself into it by building your lengths week by week, so as to avoid injury
  • Swimming uses almost every muscle in your body and is good exercise
  • Swimming is good low impact exercise that doesn’t put a load through joints

Going for a cycle in the lovely spring sunshine or cycling to get fit?


With the first sunny and warmer days of spring, it can be tempting to just head out and get some big rides in. This is great if you have been consistent with your riding during the winter but, if you haven’t, a sudden jump in mileage could easily result in injury. One way to help avoid injury is by wearing the correct cycling gear. The British Cycling Federation says not to be too quick to pack away your winter bike or clothing, it is not unusual to see all four seasons in one ride during the spring. Spring riding means mixed conditions. Wear multiple layers so you can easily adjust to changes in the weather. Even on warmer days, your hands and feet can still easily get chilled. Some lightweight windproof full fingered gloves provide a good spring option. By dressing appropriately you can help prevent muscles strains.

If you are getting back on your bicycle for the first time or after a long break it is important to increase your mileage slowly to prevent common injuries. If you do injure yourself however chiropractic is a great way to help treat injuries that can be caused by cycling and help your body function at its optimum to get the most out of your cycling.

Common injuries and conditions that can occur due to cycling that chiropractic can treat include:

Chondromalacia patella/ Patellofemoral syndrome:

Chondromalacia patella is abnormal softening of the cartilage of the underside the kneecap (patella). It is a cause of pain in the front of the knee. It is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. It results from degeneration of cartilage due to poor alignment of the kneecap (patella) as it slides over the lower end of the thighbone. This process is sometimes referred to as patellofemoral syndrome. Activities such as cycling can cause this to happen. Chiropractic treatment can help this by working on the quad muscles to help realign and strengthen them with rehabilitation, whilst improving the range of motion in the knees, ankle and hips.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB):

After a long ride, many cyclists suffer from pain and tenderness across the outer part of the thigh. If these symptoms last longer than a couple of days, ie longer than usual post-ride muscle soreness (a day or two), the problem may be excessive friction of the connective tissue across the outer quadriceps muscle, known as ITB When cyclists feel tenderness and pain across the outer part of their knee, the lower insertion of the ITB inflames causing ‘runner’s knee’. Ignore the name, as this well-known condition does not spare cyclists. ITB pain can afflict seasoned cyclists, as well as those new to the sport, as there are multiple causes, and symptoms quickly become chronic. It is important to have it treated, to avoid it becoming chronic. Chiropractic treatment can help by working on the ITB to help loosen it, whilst improving the range of motion in the knees and hips. You can also use a foam roller in between treatments to help yourself at home.

Foam roller IT band – Use upper arm to slowly roll yourself along the foam roller but don’t go beyond the knee. Massage for around one minute.

Ulnar neuropathy:

The ulnar nerve is one of the nerves supplying the arm and it can become trapped at the elbow and cause pain and pins and needles in needles in the arm and hand. Cyclists can suffer with this due to their elbows being flexed for prolonged periods which aggravates this nerve. With chiropractic treatment we can help reduce the pain and inflammation and speed up the recovery time. It is important to adjust the handle bar grip and seat position to help prevent your elbows from being flexed for prolonged periods.



Piriformis syndrome:

Piriformis syndrome. Also known as wallet syndrome, because of where it hurts, this is often caused by overtraining and specifically by overworking the gluteus maximus muscles in your buttocks. The piriformis itself is a small muscle that rotates the leg outwards. As this isn’t a movement that cyclists need to do much, the muscle can shorten and weaken. If overstressed, it can build in size to the point of putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain or numbness down the leg or in the hip — which is why it’s a common cause of sciatica. With chiropractic treatment, the focus is to reduce the tightness in the piriformis muscle and to strengthen it if weak with rehabilitation exercises. The range of motion in the pelvic joints will also be improved with treatment making for more comfortable cycling.


Neck Pain:

Neck pain from cycling is usually due to weak deep neck flexor muscles and poor posture on the bicycle. By having the handle bars too low or leaning too far forward, the pain will be exacerbated. Chiropractic treatment will focus on improving joint function in the spine and decrease muscle tightness to get your neck pain free. After that, simple rehab exercises can then be given to strengthen those deep neck flexor muscles. You can also help yourself between treatments by doing simple neck stretches. Hold these stretches for 10-30 seconds. :

Lastly it is important to stretch your legs before and after a cycle to help prevent muscle strain. So don’t forget! Below are some simple leg stretches that you should hold for between 10-30 seconds.

Spring has Sprung! – How to look after your body after winter hibernation, when you get exercising again.

A lot of us will be out and about on these lovely spring days, whether that’s on bicycles, jogging, picking daffodils or even Easter egg hunting!

So here are some tips to help ease you back into exercise:

  • When bending down to pick flowers or Easter eggs, bend at the knees when lifting or kneel on one or both knees.



  • If you’re dusting your bicycle off after the winter months, you’ll also want to make sure you stretch your legs properly. Hold these stretches for between 10-30 seconds


  • Planning on jogging for the first time after winter? Check your trainers are the correct size for you and that they give you good sole support. If in doubt visit your nearest running shop to have your trainers properly fitted.


  • Thinking of spring cleaning your home? Make sure to ask for help when moving heavy furniture around to clean under and not to hunch your back over when hoovering. Hoover responsibly! Not like this chap



Going anywhere nice this year?……

Flying away this winter?


How to look after your back when you are flying:


Whether you’re flying abroad this winter for a sunny escape or for a skiing trip here are some tips of how you can look after your back when flying.


Ÿ Good posture is important for giving our spines the full support that they need and not to put undue stress and loads through our spines. Make sure to sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed down and back so that you’re not slouching.


ŸPrevent muscles from tightening up from prolonged sitting on flights by doing a seated stretch. Begin by crossing one leg over your knee and then leaning your upper body forwards and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. You should be able to feel the stretch in the buttock on the leg that is crossed over. Then alternate the legs making sure to stretch the other side.




ŸSeated exercises that can help with foot and leg discomfort during prolonged sitting and most importantly help to prevent blood clots forming in your legs (known as deep vein thrombosis) include:

Ÿ Neck and shoulder stretches that you can do whilst seated include shoulder rolls, the ear to shoulder neck stretch and the nose to armpit neck stretch. Make sure to stretch both sides of your neck.


Ÿ Keep well hydrated to help to prevent muscles from tightening. Staying hydrated during a flight has also been shown to help with jetlag. It is recommended to consume 2 litres of water a day.



Ÿ Avoid having to carry heavy luggage. Take care of your back by using luggage with wheels.



Vitamin D- Taking care of our bones, teeth and muscles.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that keeps our bones, teeth and muscles strong and healthy. It is made in our bodies through the help of sunlight and sourced from certain foods. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults. So it’s important to get enough vitamin D in our bodies.





So what can we do to make sure we get enough vitamin D?

Good sources of vitamin D:

From about late March/April to the end of September, most of us should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight on our skin. The vitamin is made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight.

If you are out in the sun, take care to cover up or protect your skin with sunscreen before you turn red or get burnt. Between October and early March we don’t get any vitamin D from sunlight.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods. Good food sources are:


  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks


  • fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals


So it’s important to eat a varied and balanced diet, to make sure we are getting all the vitamins we need.



How much vitamin D do I need?

Babies from birth to one year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms (8.5-10mcg) of vitamin D a day.

Children from the age of one year and adults need 10 micrograms (10mcg) of vitamin D a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women. The Department of Health recommends that people should take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year if they:

  • are not often outdoors, such as those who are frail or housebound
  • are in an institution such as a care home
  • usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors

Giving a Thumbs Up?

Text Thumb- A modern day problem on the rise.


Repetitive strain injury of the thumb better known as ‘text thumb’ is on the rise. As we spend more time on our mobiles phones and other tablet devices, we increase the likelihood of injury to our thumbs, by repetitively using them to type and scroll.


A repetitive strain injury is a result of inflammation and even damage of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or nerves of the part of the body that is repeatedly used. With text thumb, the fine repetitive movements cause tiny tears in the muscles and tendons.  As a result the muscles contract and this decreases the range of motion. Furthermore the tendons run out of lubrication, as there is insufficient time to rest and recover. The inflammation of the muscles and tendons can also press on the surrounding nerves due to the swelling. Collectively a person experiences pain, stiffness and sometimes twitching, numbness and hypersensitivity to touch.




The damage in text thumb is usually not permanent. With time inflammation will usually subside, symptoms like pain resolve and eventually normal flexibility will return. Physical therapy such as chiropractic can help to restore range of motion and function of the thumb.


Here at Harding Chiropractic we can help to speed up the recovery of the injury and give advice on rehabilitation exercises to strengthen and condition the thumb. Icing the thumb can also be helpful, as well as reducing the amount you use the thumb to text. Changing your texting fingers and giving the injured thumb a chance to rest are other ways to help reduce the strain. Text thumb is something we see often, so don’t hesitate to come for treatment if you suffer with it.


Winter Gardening Top Tips

As this gardening season comes to a close and the winter months start, we are still left with a fair amount of tidying to do in preparation for next season. As clinicians we tend to see an increase in gardening related injuries from now through until spring as patients start to tidy and prepare gardens for planting. Many tasks in the garden can be repetitive and tend to hold you in one position for a protracted period of time. As a rule we don’t warm up or stretch before gardening as we perhaps would with a sporting task, so here are a few brief tips to help you get through the winter tasks that the garden throws at you.


As the weather gets colder, keeping warm when gardening is important to allow best function of the musculature and joints.


Don’t stay in one position for a protracted period, listen to your body. Stretch in the opposite direction in a mirrored position regularly.


Have 2-3 jobs on the go at once to allow you to change your posture regularly.


Don’t get into a repetitive action for long periods without taking a break, such as planting bulbs.


Stop before you are sore. You will still have tools to clean and put away and tidying to do.


Enlist help, don’t lift something that is too heavy for you, work to your actual capability rather than what you think you can do and be patient.


Divide work over a number of days, resist the urge to get all your tasks finished in one session.


Remember, if you look after your back it will look after you.

What is McTimoney?

What is the McTimoney Chiropractic method?

John McTimoney the founder of the McTimoney chiropractic method began his working career as an engineer and later trained as a chiropractor in 1949, when he met his mentor Mary Walker of Oxford, an early graduate of the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Iowa. With Mary’s guidance John McTimoney opened his own practice in Banbury in 1951 and used his engineering background to apply engineering principles to the biomechanics of the skeletal structure, helping to refine the process of choosing and making skillful adjustments to allow the patient’s structure to normalise. Mainly though not exclusively through the use of high velocity thrusts, and in particular the toggle recoil thrust on the vertebrae. Through this the McTimoney method of chiropractic seeks to achieve improved range of motion of joints in the body, with adjustments that are be both precise and thorough at every treatment.

John McTimoney


The McTimoney method of chiropractic is well known today for being a precise, whole body approach to chiropractic care. The gentle nature of McTimoney chiropractic adjustments make it suitable for people throughout their lifetime from babyhood to those in later life. The McTimoney approach is typified by a whole body assessment and swift, light force adjustments, which makes it a comfortable treatment to receive. The subtlety of the adjustment demands great sensitivity and mechanical skill, and once mastered the technique is extremely effective.


Here at Harding Chiropractic Clinic our new chiropractor Shannan has trained  in both McTimoney and Diversified Chiropractic methods. She uses a combination of both methods and experience to tailor treatments to each patient’s individual needs.


Shannan providing quality chiropractic care.

Text Neck- A modern day problem and how to avoid it?

Courtesy of Shannan Dobb, Chiropractor

Are new smart devices on yours or your families Christmas list this year??

Text neck is the term used to describe the neck pain sustained from looking down at your mobile phone, tablet, or other devices too frequently and for too long. Children and teens are especially at risk for suffering symptoms of text neck with their high usage. We all do it and a recent study shows that 79% of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their mobile phones with them almost all the time—with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their mobile phone on hand.

Symptoms of text neck can include neck, upper back and shoulder pain.


Having our head down for prolonged periods of time increases the strain in the muscles of the neck, upper back and shoulders causing pain. So what can we do to help prevent ourselves from suffering with text neck? To start, it is very important to adjust the height at which we hold our mobile phone or device that we are using closer to eye level. This will help avoid having the neck bent forwards for prolonged periods of time. Also limiting the amount of time spent looking at phones and tablets and incorporating some simple stretches into your daily routine will reduce the stresses and strains placed on muscles and joints, particularly the neck, shoulders and arms.

Here at Harding Chiropractic Clinic text neck is something we regularly see and we aim to not only help treat the symptoms of text neck, but to educate the patient with advice on good posture and strengthening exercises to prevent future episodes of text neck from reoccurring. For more information or to book and appointment, contact us on 01244 880186.


High Heels – Are Your Shoes Causing Your Back Pain?

With Christmas just around the corner, thoughts turn to that perfect outfit. Wearing high heels can make you feel taller, glamorous, and fashionable. But are these benefits worth the painful consequences?


High-heeled shoes significantly affect your body’s centre of gravity and change your body’s alignment and posture. Wearing heels also increases the pressure on the ball of the foot and muscles of the leg and calf.  A 3 inch heel increases this pressure by a massive 76% explaining those sore feet at the end of the night!

When you wear high heels, you position your feet in a downward position, this is what gives your leg a slender and lengthened appearance. This places pressure on your forefoot, leaving the rest of your body needing to adjust to compensate and maintain balance. The lower part of the body leans forward, while the upper body must lean back. This altered posture increases the amount of effort needed for the body to stay upright. There is extra force put through our knees. The body’s centre of mass is pushed forwards, placing strain on the pelvis, hips and spinal joints.

Heels can also cause foot problems or worsen existing conditions such as bunions or plantar fasciitis and can also cause your foot and ankle to turn in an outward position, putting you at risk for losing your balance and spraining your ankles. A heel with a pointed toe tends to squeeze the bones of the toes together. So wearing these for long periods can not only be uncomfortable but cause issues into the toe joints themselves.

So, what can you do about it?

Here are some recommendations for things to consider if you will still be wearing high heels.  Taking the following into consideration can drastically lower the negative affects of wearing high heels, without having to avoid them all together.

– Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Invest in a pair of foldable flats to keep in your bag.

– Stretch leg muscles after wearing heels. Your muscles have to work harder to maintain balance, so stretch them as you would any other muscle group after exercising.

– Try and set your limit to 2 inches and avoid a pointed toe.

– Opt for shoes with leather insoles to keep foot from slipping.

– Buy a wide variety of shoes and vary your footwear day to day.

High heels may be the perfect finish to your outfit but thinking about the shoes you wear will not only avoid the painful feet the day after, but also have an impact on the overall condition of your joints.