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.

Tips:

  • 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

j-mctimony

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.

hands-on

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-drew

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?

heels

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.

Digital detox- Part 2

Digital Detox Part 2- The Blue Light Hazard!

 

Modern society is becoming increasingly reliant and addicted to the benefits and lures of digital devices of all forms, but as with all good things, there are downsides.  In this series articles I will cover the health issues surrounding our rising use of technology.

 

What Is Blue light:

All normal white light is made up of a spectrum of different wavelengths of light. These different wavelengths are seen when rainbows are created. Blue light is toward the ultraviolet end of the spectrum at around 475nm.

All colour digital screens and LED light sources, including energy efficient bulbs produce high levels of blue light.

 

Why is blue light bad for us?

The body has evolved to be active during daylight hours and sleep during the night. This is one of the large driving forces behind our circadian rhythms.

Any exposure to light at night can disrupt this rhythm and produce the symptoms of excessive light exposure however blue light is the most damaging. Blue light hugely decreases the production of melatonin, the hormone which helps us to sleep.  This can lead to a host of health related issues especially those linked to decrease sleep quality.

A very recent study has found that in a lot of people with altered sleeping patterns AND back pain, that the pain may actually be caused by the degeneration of specific cells within the lumbar discs which are controlled by circadian rhythm.

 

How to minimise blue light exposure:

  • Avoid any digital screens for at least 2 hours before bed time.
  • Set your digital device to greyscale mode as the lack of colour on your phone will break the habits of even the most addicted digital user.
  • Use apps such as ELECOM or KOALA web browsers (search blue light filter in the appstore) to negate blue light whilst browsing the web.
  • Make sure your bedroom has blackout curtains and no emitting light sources
  • Consider a swap to none blue light emitting light bulbs throughout the house.

Off to a Tee!

Golf is hard, let’s make it easier.

 

Tour golfers are surrounded by a team of professionals whose aim is to ensure that they achieve the optimal performance and as the Olympic cycling team showed, incremental improvements add up to a better overall performance. Tour professionals have a masseur, physiotherapist, swing coach, strength coach, chiropractor, physician and dietician to name but a few. As amateurs, very few people have this type of team, most people take a lesson occasionally and may go to the gym but don’t access any clinical input unless they actually injure themselves.

Injury prevention and technique optimisation should be something you think about as an amateur also, we are all happy to buy new equipment and these days club fitting is offered by most centres but when was the last time you actually looked at the body that is swinging the club?

 

 

How are your restrictions and aches/pains affecting your golf game?

Can you lower your handicap and improve your golf with some assessment? Absolutely you can.

 

Golf, Sunset, Sport, Golfer, Bat, Einlochfahne, Outdoor

 

The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) teaches clinicians to assess a golfers’ range of motion and how a lack of stability or mobility in the golf swing leads to particular swing errors. From that assessment, appropriate mobilisation or stabilisation can be put in place to optimise function and improve your swing. In conjunction with a golf pro who knows your swing mechanics and a fitness programme designed for you, you will be on the road to improving your handicap and seeing that little white ball travel a little further and a little straighter.

 

Why not give us a ring and see whether our TPI certified chiropractor, David,  can help you get more out of your game, come on, let’s unleash that inner Tiger

Massage for Body AND Mind

Massage Therapy is more than just relaxing ‘me’ time and often gets misconstrued as a pamper treatment rather than something that aides physical and emotional well-being. Its not thought of as anything medical at all or related to anything medical, but if we went in depth about massage, it’s not just about releasing muscle tension, it also affects blood flow, flushes out toxins and affects your organs. An example would be that it aides digestion and carries more oxygen enriched blood around your body. To me, massage should be as essential as breathing.

Image result for massage images

There are many benefits to massage and there is an exhaustive list at that, but these are some main points. It improves mobility, circulation, lowers blood pressure, improves rehabilitation after injury, relieves stress, strengthens the immune system and promotes easier and deeper breathing. I have found the most stressed and high energy person, able to deeply relax during and after a massage and this is a vital component in our individual healthcare. To relax. To de-stress,. I find a lot of illness starts from stress. If we can manage and maintain our stress levels, we can help prevent illness further down road. Not all illness of course. That would be a miracle. But it would be giving us a running start I think. Stress actually increases blood pressure and heart rate, thus its putting pressure on all your vital organs, so if you can take just one thing away from massage, learning to deeply relax would be a very good start. The relaxation part doesn’t come from a bit of relaxing music either, as I personally don’t use any music and its not something that requires any effort on your part. It comes from the Therapist working deeply with the muscles to encourage deep relaxation from within. If you fall asleep during a massage great! Don’t fight the relaxation, just give into it. I always think of Massage as getting that all important MOT. It’s maintenance. Massage needs to come off the Spa shelf I think and should really be thought of as a health check.

Another point that’s misconstrued, is that Massage Therapists are Beauty Therapists and although Beauty Therapists do get some massage training, Massage Therapists have in depth medical training very much similar to that of a Nurse, so please feel free to discuss ailments and the medication you are taking. Its not only important for Therapists to know how they can personalise your treatment, its also a way to find out if there is anything that prevents you from having a massage. An example would be if someone suffered with low blood pressure, because Massage further lowers blood pressure, so try a short treatment first to test the waters. It doesn’t mean you can’t have one. It just means it could result in you feeling temporarily light headed or faint.  Good communication between you and the Therapist is really important.

So I guess the last point is don’t just think of it as a Spa treatment and no medical information is relevant or necessary. Please trust your therapist and make the most of the initial consultation and communicate throughout the course of your treatments and feed anything back, as we want to provide the best possible care we can.

Digital Detox Part 1- Tech Neck!

Modern society is becoming increasingly reliant and addicted to the benefits and lures of digital devices of all forms, but as with all good things, there are downsides. In this series articles I will cover the health issues surrounding our rising use of technology.

 

tech-neck-3
Tech Neck:
Whilst the 19th and 20th century were dominant by manual labour, industrial revolution and vast occupational hazards the 21st centuries biggest issue is set to be digital related health risks. The first victim of this is likely your neck!
Tech neck is a form of postural induced neck pain caused by the head and neck being in prolonged flexion whilst looking at a smart phone, tablet or other screen device.

tech-neck-2

Below is a list of ways to avoid tech neck:
• The head is a heavy weight, so sitting with it forward of your body puts unnecessary strain on your neck and back, so always sit with your head directly over your body.
• Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 40 minutes, less if possible. When you do take a break, walk around and stretch a little.
• Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground and knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand, book or ream of paper to bring it to the right height.
• When using your mobile, smartphone, laptop or tablet whilst sitting down, including on your commute, take the time to break position on a regular basis and stretch your arms, shrug your shoulders and move your fingers around as this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.

 

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Wi-Fi Free Hour:
I am a huge advocate of the Wi-Fi free hour in our house and discuss this regularly at the clinic. Much to Joanne’s annoyance I regularly unplug the router and round up all the house hold phones and computers and get them out of hands for at least an hour. Not only does this help hugely with EMF exposure but it gives your posture a much needed break and actually allows you to re-communicate as a family in the ever increasing chaotic 21st century.

Wear and Tear…..

Is ‘wear and tear’ causing my back pain?

At the clinic we often see people coming to our clinic in pain stating that they have been told that ‘it is due to their age’ or ‘wear and tear’.

In this article I want to discuss why this often simply isn’t the case.

What is ‘wear and tear’?spine-for-blog-14-9

‘Wear and tear’ is a layman’s term for Osteo-Arthritis (OA) which is the normal process of degeneration that’s occurs in all humans as we age.  This process occurs for several reasons. A normal joint can be exposed to abnormal loads such as trauma or repetitive activity OR a joint which is not functioning correctly can be exposed to normal everyday forces.

How is OA diagnosed?

OA can only be diagnosed with the use of medical imaging, most commonly X-ray’s.

Under medical guidelines it is inappropriate to diagnoses OA without the use of an X-ray as symptomology is simply not accurate enough to formulate a diagnosis as we will discuss later.

On an X-ray, OA will be seen at the joints of your body where two bony surfaces meet and is often classified as mild, moderate or severe.

How and when does OA occur?

OA has been shown by many studies  to be seen on X-rays in most people from the late 20’s to early 30’s and may slowly progress in severity as we age. Interestingly there is a large evidence base to suggest that the severity of OA is poorly related to the level of pain experienced by a patient meaning you can have a small amount of OA and lots of pain or large amounts of OA and little to no pain.

Putneck-pain-chiropractorting it all together:

 

 

OA begins to develop in your late 20’s to early 30’s as a result of trauma or incorrect joint function which both place increased stress into the joints.  As there is no correlation between the severity of OA and the amount of pain you experience it is logical to suggest that you could have as much or more pain for OA in your younger years than you may as you age which begins to dispel the myth of Ageing= increased pain.

Now consider this also. We now know that a vast percentage of the human population over the age of 30, when imaged, will show some signs of OA. We also know that most people who have an X-ray of their lower back do so because they are in pain. What happens now is a case of ‘guilty until proven innocent’, the OA is often blamed for the back pain because it is at the scene of the crime at the time the crime despite the fact it may have been there before the back pain and will definitely be there after the pain has gone! This begins to challenge the view that ‘wear and tear’ is always the cause of the back pain when nothing else is seen on the imaging.

Thespine-for-blog-2 far more likely culprit is the trauma or incorrect joint function which is cause the OA to occur…

Camping

camping

With the bank holiday approaching, Reading and Leeds festival nearly here and the school summer holiday in full swing many people will be dusting off their camping gear. Sleeping in a different environment, on a harder surface, with different pillows and all the weather the British summer can throw at you could cause some problems for your spine so here at Harding Chiropractic were here to help!

 
Protect your back – Ensure your back is protected against a hard and potentially damp surface by sleeping on a quality approved camping mat or air mattress. Most large well stocked outdoor shops will have a host of samples to try before you buy so you should be able to find the best option for your trip.

A pillow is an often forgotten item despite the fact that most people wouldn’t sleep in their bed without one! Taking your own pillow is by far the best options however should you be tight on space an inflatable pillow is a much better option than a rolled up jumper!

 

Prep your sleeping area first – Before setting up your camping mat or air mattress it is advisable to first prep your sleeping area. To start with ensure you are on the most level ground available and that you remove any large stones or sticks that could dig into your spine and disrupt your sleep. Secondly make sure you are positioned away from the walls of the tent to avoid any unwanted moisture build up affecting your sleeping bag or clothing.

 

Sleep sensibly – Correct sleeping posture is often easy on a defined camping matt or airbed, if however you are however playing ‘sardines in a tin’ try where possible to achieve a straight spine position.  We advise also taking a set of ear plugs and night mask with you just in case! The night mask will allow you to sleep beyond the sunrise if you desire (there are no curtains in a tent!) and should you end up with noisy neighbours away from home, ear plugs are a god send!

 

Keep hydrated – If it is hot, then you can get very warm ‘under canvas’. Make sure you drink plenty, at LEAST 2 litres of pure water per day and have a bottle of water available during the night.

 

Lift and carry with care – 60% of Brits believe that lifting and carrying is the most likely cause of their back pain, so take care when loading and unloading your camping gear. Two bags are better than one – If possible, pack your gear into more bags rather than less, so you can distribute the weight more evenly and reduce the strain on your back when lifting and carrying them. A fold out wheelbarrow or sac trolley can be a superb purchase for those looking to ‘pitch up’ for several days or longer.

 

Optimal Foetal Positioning – Helping To Make Birth Easier

I talk a lot about the importance of optimal foetal positioning with my pregnant patients, how the pelvis influences this during pregnancy, and what we can do to achieve it.

It is well known that a baby in a breech or transverse position are not ideal for vaginal delivery. However, did you know that there are even better positions for your baby to be in than simply head down?

What is Optimal Foetal Positioning?
The posture of a mother to be and the way she moves during pregnancy can influence the way a baby is positioned in the pelvis at term thus having a major effect on labour and birth. There is a large school of thought that many difficult births may be the result of a mal-positioned baby. This can result in long and painful labours, and the use of medical interventions.

imageIn the optimal position the baby is head down, facing the mothers back, with its own back on the front left side of the mothers tummy. The baby in this position allows for a smooth passage through the birth canal as the chin is tucked to the baby’s chest allowing the smallest part of the head to be presented first. This ideal position is called an occiput anterior (the baby’s occiput or back of head is facing the mothers front) and has been shown to be more likely to result in an easier labour. Occiput posterior presentations – where the back of the baby’s head is facing the mothers back are more likely to produce longer and more painful labours as the baby will need to turn during labour to enter the birth canal.

What can be done to achieve the best position for my baby?
There are lots of things you, as an expectant mother, can do to help with this – starting in the first trimester. To achieve this optimum position the baby needs to have plenty of room in the womb to move around. Balance, gravity and movement are three core principles that are relevant during pregnancy.

imageEnsure that your pelvis, spine and associated soft tissues are functioning well, and are balanced and symmetrical. Low back pain, pubic pain (SPD)or pelvic discomfort (PGP) are all indicators of pelvic dysfunction and therefore imbalance. Chiropractic treatment delivered by a practitioner experienced in the care of pregnant women is an effective, gentle and non-invasive way of resolving such issues in addition to balancing your pelvis.

As pregnancy progresses your abdomen increases in size. Use gravity and movement to encourage your baby into the ‘hammock’ this creates. Rest smart, and be mindful of the position you are relaxing in. Regularly sitting in a slouched position, causes the pelvis to tilt backwards encouraging the baby to enter the pelvis in a posterior position as their back, heaviest part of them is more likely to to be positioned against your back.

imageTry and sit forward rather than slouching backwards when in a chair or on a sofa. Sitting on a gym ball (or birthing ball) will also encourage this position; ideally, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips when sitting on a chair or ball. Kneeing forwards, on hands and knees, or sitting leaning onto a ball is a great way to relax in the evenings.

If you prefer to sit on the floor then sitting cross legged sitting can be comfortable by following these tips. Place cushions under your bottom to raise your hips slightly higher than your knees can help increase comfort and placing firm cushions under your knees can help to increase stability and enable you to relax. The same principle applies when sitting in a car. When in a car have the seat upright and tilt the pelvis forwards using a wedge cushion.

Sleep on your left side, not your back (lying on your back puts pressure on your major blood artery). As you lie on your side, place a pillow underneath your bump. This helps prevent the weight of your baby pulling your pelvis forwards; another pillow should be placed between your knees and ankles to assist alignment and reduce strain on your hips, spine and pelvis.

Using these positions regularly during your pregnancy will help to give you the best chance of optimally positioning your baby prior to labour.

If you have any questions about any of the points raised in this article or require a y further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the clinic.

Summers Here!!

As plants blossom and grow, hanging baskets become laden and the demand for water is incessant, keeping on top of your garden becomes an increasingly physical affair.

 

Here at Harding Chiropractic we have put together a few tips that should keep you functioning well right through the growing and harvest period. 

 gardening wheelbarrow

 

Before you begin:

 

Before you even get out into the garden there are a few steps you can take keep yourself in top condition.

 

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. Firstly check out these warm up exercises supplied by the BCA which are great to get you moving Straighten Up!. Secondly, don’t go straight into the heavy work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.

 

Water

The easiest way to stay hydrated throughout the working day is to keep a large bottle of water out in the garden with you. Not only will this help remind you to keep drinking regularly but it will allow you to track your fluid intake throughout the day.

 

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.

 

Clever spring 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.

gardening man

 

Plan ahead

 

If you are planning a trip to the local garden centre store to buy heavy items such as compost, buy smaller bags rather than one big bag as they are easier and safer to carry. Better yet, have it delivered direct to your home and have them deliver it as close to where you need them as possible.

 

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

gardening fork

 

Making the “Transition”

n this article we will discuss:

  • What are transitional Zones?
  • Why do these areas produce pain?
  • Where do these areas cause pain?

 

What are transitional zones?

The transitional zones of the spine are junctions at which the 4 main areas of the spine meet each other. These are as follows:

  • Occipital Cranial Base (Where the skull meets the neck).
  • Cervico-Thoracic Junction (Where the neck meets the rib cage).
  • Thoraco-Lumbar Junctions (Where the Ribcage meets the lower back)
  • Lumbo-Sacral Junction (Where the lower back meets the pelvis)

Why does dysfunction in these areas produce pain?

Theses 4 junctions, similarly to a set of 4 way traffic lights are areas where the body can become pressured and congested often resulting in pain.

These junctions are particularly prone to dysfunction as they are the meeting points of two areas of the spine which do very different jobs.

The biggest difference between two areas is usually their amount of mobility Vs their amount of stability or their amount of mobility in one direction compare to another.

For example:

  • The neck is a very mobile structure which is able to move in lots of different direction aid us with vision and functional activities. On the opposite side of the mobility scale is the rib cage which is a very stable structure which helps to protect your lungs, heart, stomach other vital organs. At Cervico-Thoracic Junction (where the neck and ribcage meet) we have an area of large mobility meeting an area of large stability so problems often arise.
  • The Thoraco-Lumbar junction has large amount of rotational movement whereas the lumbar spine loves to bend forward and backwards. Where these two areas of different movement meet there has to be a compromise which can sometimes be difficult for the body to achieve and leaves the area more prone to injury.

Common Pain Patterns:

When any of the 4 transitional zones become dysfunctional, common pain patterns can arise. Some of which you may recognise in yourself.

 

  • The Occipital Cranial Base, if dysfunctional, often produces neck pain and headaches.

 

  • blog pics july16
    • Cervical Thoracic junction dysfunction often causes lower neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pains and shoulder blade pain
  • blog2 july16
    • Thoraco-lumbar junction dysfunction oftern produces flank pain and lower back, groin and inner thigh pain which is also known as Maigne syndrome
    • blog3 july16
    • Finally Lumbo-Sacral Junction dysfunction can produce lower back, buttock, groin and posterior thigh pain.
    •  blog4 july16

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to the Core…..

Over the past few years core stability training has exploded and became its own entity entirely. Many discussions are now held regarding the importance of core stability. Due to this I am going to construct a series of weekly articles reflecting my opinion on the ‘core’ and how best to begin its rehabilitation.

In this article I am going to discuss:

  • What is stability and the core?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • Future article topics

 

What is Stability?

Stability within the human body is the ability to hold the spine in a neutral position whilst the limbs are moving.

What is the core?

The core of the human body is situated between the ribcage and the pelvis.

Imagine the core like a ships mast. In order for the mast (spine) to stand it must be held in place by guy ropes.  In order for the mast to be supported in all directions, it must be supported in all directions as can be seen on the picture below.

 

pelvis

 

Each muscle in the core resists the action of its opposite muscle to help hold the mast (spine) vertically. If any of the muscles in the core are weak or tight, the mast will become un-level and unstable. This results in dysfunction and pain.

Along with these guy wires the mast (spine) is also support by a base. In the body this base is the pelvis. The function of the pelvis is to transfer force from the lower limbs to the trunk and to provide stability for the body. If this base is un-level or unstable there is no possibility of the mast (spine) being stable.

A large component of pelvic stability is controlled by the gluteal muscles (muscles of the buttocks) and this is why they are so important in core stability and why they are often the start of a core stability program.

 

Why is this important to you?Gluts pic

A strong core helps not only to decrease lingering pain following an injury but also plays a huge role in the prevention of future injuries.

Building a strong core is not only for patients with lower back pains, it is also an essential component in many shoulder, hip knee and ankle complaints.

Future Articles:

In the next article I will begin to discuss how to begin core rehabilitation and start to evaluate the individual muscles within the core and how they function as a unit.

If you have any questions about this article or would like individual advice I would be more than happy to help.