All posts by Alex Newton

Clinic Closure

Due to the advice of the government and the British Chiropractic Association we have had to close the clinic as of Monday 23 March 2020.
This is for the protection of our patients, our team and to assist in the reduction and spread of this virus.

It has not been an easy decision to make as we realise that many of you are dependant on our care.
As soon as we are up and running again we will notify you so please keep a look out.

For over the phone advice please access the helpline by selecting no. 2 on our answerphone system or
email alex@beestonchiropractic.co.uk

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The Bra That Makes All the Difference

Approximately 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra, and their back and posture might be suffering from it. Bras acts like suspension bridges, as they lift, support and shape the breast, as well as influencing overall posture. With 70% of UK women suffering from back pain and 47% blaming the pain and poor posture on their breast size, it is crucial to purchase a bra that is correct in size and shape. Bras that don’t fit will affects the shoulders and chest and may cause back pain as ageing occurs. Getting a fitting every 6-months and during/after pregnancy, menopause or weight fluctuations will ensure the breast is supported at all times and reduce the possibility of back pain.

Back pain and poor posture are just two of many other negative effects of wearing the wrong size bra. Here are some health consequences of wearing the wrong size bra and some tips on how to check for the right fit.

  1. Neck, Back and Shoulder Pain

Larger breast sizes frequently correlate to higher risk of back pain. Larger cup sized bras are usually designed with thicker straps, to disperse the weight across the shoulders and prevent chafing. If the cup, band or straps size is incorrect, it can cause strain on the shoulders and hunching of the back, which can result in severe pain.

Tip: When shopping for bras, make sure that the band sits parallel to the floor without it riding up and that only two fingers of room are left at the back. The straps should be snug but not digging into or falling off the shoulders. The breast should be comfortably sitting and filling the cups without spilling over or the fabric creasing.

  1. Bad Posture

The negative effect on posture comes as a result of the shoulders and neck position used to alleviate the pain caused by a non-supportive bra. A non-supportive bra can cause pain and a result hunching of the shoulders and upper back to help alleviate that pain. While hunching of the shoulders will soothe the pain, prolonged hunching will ruin the natural posture and cause more issues later on.

  1. Skin Abrasions

The rubbing of too small or too tight bras on shoulders and under the breast can cause blisters and calluses to form. Small bras can also cause breast pain and the blockage of lymph nodes. Lymphatic vessels are very thin and sensible to pressure and compression. Excessive and sustained pressure on the breast can cause the failure of the lymph nodes.

Tip: Test the bra fit and tightness by looking at the movement of the band. Raise the hands above the head, if the band rises the bra is too big; while if it feels uncomfortably tight it might be too small.

  1. Sagging of Breasts

Loose-fitting bras fail to lift and support the breast, causing premature stretching and sagging of the breast tissue. These further aggravates hunching and ultimately the posture.

Finding the right bra can be a difficult mission. When choosing between different styles, shapes and brands, it’s hard to come up with one perfect size. The solution is to be open to trying different sizes, styles and brands, and get fitted every six months until the perfect fit is found.

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How to Beat Winter Exhaustion?

The nights are still long, temperatures have plummeted and flu season is very much upon us. From shorter days with less sunlight, changes in hormones and potential nutritional deficiencies, there are so many factors that can contribute to feeling of exhaustion at this time of the year. But here are a few simple ways to put the spring back into your step!

Move more, yawn less

Regular low-intensity workouts help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue. In a study, subjects trying low-intensity exercise, like leisurely walking or bike riding, reported the biggest drop in feelings of fatigue compared to the group doing more intense exercise. You should keep moving and ensure you continue exercising regularly, as the endorphins released during activity will help give you a much-needed lift. Regular exercising should also help you achieve a better night’s sleep so you feel more energised in the morning.

Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise strengthens your immune system, so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly, helping them to seek and destroy infections. This boost only lasts for a few hours, which is why it’s good to exercise consistently.

Let the light in

February is the worst month for sleep. Research found that it takes longer to nod off in February than any other month. This can certainly be a contributing factor towards people reporting lower energy levels in February than any other month of the year. Aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same hour every day, so you get a good length of rest. Avoid sleeping too much at the weekends, because it might result in you actually feeling even more tired and sluggish.

Check your room temperature, too. If it is too high, it can make you feel like you didn’t get enough sleep, even when you have slept a proper amount of hours. And if it’s too cold you might wake up several times during the night. Sleep experts recommend bedroom temperatures to be between 20-22C degrees. Even if you are sleeping well, you may experience fatigue as a result of increased levels of melatonin, because of lack of exposure to sunlight. To help regulate your melatonin levels, spend as much time outdoors in daylight as you can – take a walk at lunchtime, or make sure the blinds are open if you sit near a window at work.

Boost from within

For most of us, the colder it gets, the more we crave carbs. It’s true that if we’re shivering, we burn more energy to keep warm, but as we spend most of our time in heated environments, most of us don’t need the extra calories. Comforting drinks and foods are often higher in fat, carbohydrates, and added sugars, and they can have a detrimental impact on energy levels, which can end up making you feel worse. Swap in healthier alternatives, like sweet potato, lentils, veggie soups and porridge. It’s also important to include a vitamin D supplement in your diet as our bodies are unable to create enough at this time of year. Food sources such as eggs, oily fish, spreads and fortified cereals are helpful to include in your diet, but a good quality vitamin D3 supplement is more effective. Nutritional deficiencies can cause low energy levels and exhaustion.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228112008.htm https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htmhttps://www.pri.org/stories/2013-02-07/february-worst-month-sleep-study-says

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Are your sleeping habits causing you pain?

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The way you sleep could be causing you unnecessary aches and pains. We are told time after time that we should be sleeping flat on our backs, but many of us have already developed habitual sleeping patterns, which are hard to get out of. However, if you suffer from neck or shoulder stiffness, muscle tension or more commonly back pain, you might want to think twice about curling up into a ball next time you reach for the sheets.

Why do I wake up in pain?

Incorrect alignment and poor support of your spine and limbs will put pressure on different areas of the body, which is why you may sometimes wake up with pain or discomfort.

Why is it so important to look after my spine?

Your spine also plays a huge role in sending nerve signals around the body; delicate nerve tissues help control your critical organs, so any damage to these tissues can lead to problems affecting impairment in balance, vision, temperature regulation, digestion and hormonal regulation problems.

young beautiful woman lying on the bed.

Sleeping tips:

  • Refrain from sleeping on your stomach as this causes your spine to arch unnaturally and usually results in both back and neck stiffness
  • Laying on your back or side is the ideal position, however to perfect your alignment try to use an orthopaedic pillow to give your neck adequate support
  • If you sleep on your side, consider placing a pillow in-between your knees for support to prevent your back and pelvis from twisting
  • If you sleep on your back, consider placing a pillow under your knees to take the tension off your lower back
  • Acknowledging and correcting your posture throughout the day will help you find ease when it comes to sleep

What if the pain persists?

Importantly, remember that poor quality sleep can be caused by an underlying neck or back problem causing increased muscle tension. So if you are experiencing poor sleep, see a chiropractor to have your neck and back checked.

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Nutrition for Bones, Muscles and Joints

Choosing a balanced diet containing the right vitamins and minerals decreases our chances of developing deficiencies later on in life. The body’s structure relies on vitamins and minerals to ensure muscle tone (including the heart), healthy functioning of nerves; correct composition of body fluids; and the formation of healthy blood and bones.

A Healthy Diet Plan

Calcium

For bone, muscle and joint health try and include Calcium in your diet, which is essential for optimal nerve and muscle function and blood clotting.

Obtained from

Dairy products are rich in calcium that is easy to absorb. Non – dairy sources with equally absorbable calcium are green leafy vegetables from the kale family. Spinach, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and dried beans are rich in calcium but from these foods it’s not easily absorbed

Magnesium

Required for efficient muscle contraction and conduction of nerve impulses. Low magnesium levels in the body can affect the body’s calcium levels, putting bone health at risk.

Obtained from

Green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains and nuts. Small amounts are present in meat and milk. Large quantities of fibre in the diet and low protein intake can reduce the amount of magnesium able to be absorbed by the body.

Vitamin D

Essential for regulating the formation of bone and the absorption of calcium from the intestine. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions to help control the movement of calcium between bone and blood.

Obtained from

Primarily from the action of UVB light on the skin. Food sources such as cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, tuna, milk and milk products contain small amounts of Vitamin D.

Vitamin C

The structure of bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels is provided in part and maintained by collagen. The formation of strong efficient collagen requires Vitamin C.

Obtained from

Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, green leafy vegetable and peppers. Also important for producing strong collagen and therefore strong bone structure, is Folic acid. Folic acid is found in cereals, beans, green leafy vegetables, orange and orange juice

Antioxidants

Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and is capable of regenerating other antioxidants like vitamin E. The role of antioxidants is to mop up free radicals (the by-products of normal metabolism). Excessive amounts of free radicals cause damage to joint surfaces and muscle cell regeneration. Antioxidants reduce the potential of these free radicals to cause joint damage.

Obtained from

Antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E and the mineral selenium and are present in fruits and vegetables, the highest quantities are found in the most deeply and brightly coloured. Cartilage that lines the articulating surfaces of all joints is critical to joint health. Cartilage is the shock absorber of joints and is continually rebuilt if a source of raw materials is available. Supplements such as glucosamine sulphate can be added to a healthy diet to assist joints that maybe showing signs of wear and tear.

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) also reduce the degenerative changes in tissues and cells. EFA’s are unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3. They aid in decreasing the inflammatory response and help relieve pain and discomfort in joints and muscles.

Obtained from

EFA’s can be found in oily fish (sardines, fresh tuna, mackerel), flax seed and linseed.

Foods to avoid…

There are certain foods and substances that adversely effect the body’s use of minerals and vitamins. High saturated/animal fats, refined foods, white flour, white sugar, white rice, chocolate, carbonated drinks and fruit juices with high sugar concentration should be kept to a minimum if not weaned from the diet completely. Meat and dairy products should be kept within a recommended weekly amount. Dairy products as calcium sources should be varied with other non-dairy sources.

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5 Great Exercises For Those Who Suffer From Back Pain

Chronic back pain has been called a modern epidemic- so how do we help prevent and manage it?

Back pain is the second most common reason to visit the GP, after skin conditions, and almost eight out of 10 of us will suffer from it at least once in our lives. It’s also the number one cause of sick leave – and sufferers are getting younger.  It rarely has a serious cause, usually being brought on by bad posture, awkward sleeping positions and other lifestyle habits.

Exercise is one of the best ways to help reduce back pain and keep it from returning. Most minor cases of back pain can be reduced with regular exercise and tailored workouts.  Stretching, strengthening, and conditioning exercises can result in stronger muscles that support the spine and your body’s weight. When your body’s skeleton is supported, you are less likely to suffer injury and back pain. 5 great exercises to beat back pain:

Pelvic Tilt

You need to take care of the core muscles that support your spine. There are many workouts for back pain that do this, and your doctor or therapist should be able to give you specific advice and training for your unique back pain condition.

A good example of a safe strengthening exercise is the pelvic tilt. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles until you can press the small of your back flat against the floor. Hold the press for about five seconds and repeat up to 10 times.

Stretches

Keeping your core muscles limber is as important as keeping them strong. Two good stretching exercises are the knee-to-chest and the hamstring stretch.

To do the knee-to-chest, lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee up to your chest and use your hands to pull the knee close while flattening out your back; then repeat with the other knee. The hamstring stretch is done from the same starting position. Pick up one leg with both hands placed behind your knee and then straighten your lower leg. These stretches should be held for about 20 seconds and repeated five times. Be sure to warm up before you stretch.

Stretches to avoid: One of the worst stretches for a person with back pain is bending over to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight. Even worse is bouncing while trying to touch your toes. Other bad workouts for back pain are ones that require you to bend or twist with any type of weight in your hand.

Water Workout

An aerobic exercise is any exercise that uses the big muscles of your body in a rhythmic and repetitive way. Aerobic exercise can get blood flowing to your back muscles, which can really help them recover from injury and increase their strength. Walking is a good low-impact aerobics choice for your back, but swimming may be an even better workout for back pain if you get backaches.

In general, swimming is an excellent form of low-impact aerobic conditioning that is easy on the back and spine, with swimming there is practically no impact on the spinal structures. The water supports the body, relieving stress on all joints in the body.

 Yoga and Pilates

Three all-around good workouts for back pain are Yoga, Pilates and working with an exercise ball. Yoga and Pilates are great because, as long as your teacher knows your limitations, they can be adapted safely for most people with back pain.

Yoga and Pilates are both fantastic mind-body workouts that can dramatically improve your overall fitness and wellbeing if a regular practice is put into place. In terms of flexibility, both workouts can improve overall flexibility as well as increasing spinal flexibility. Increasing spinal flexibility will really help to improve your fitness performance, in addition to helping prevent injuries.

Pilates focuses on spinal flexibility through articulation of the spine. It is excellent as a strengthening exercise and supporting your back. Pilates and Yoga stretches benefits include improving your posture, helping support the spinal column and alleviating back pain. However certain postures such as deep back bends and cobras can be a bit risky, especially if you suffer from any back pain.

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Modern Day Mishaps

The 21st century has brought us amazing technological advances and trends that have taken over (pretty much) everyone’s lives. Alongside from the many obvious benefits from these advances, there inevitably comes new struggles. Modern day aches and pains are becoming more and more common with causes varying from mobile phone use, gaming and over-working. Keep reading for tips on how to keep your 21st century self ache and pain free!

Smartphones:

You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. Smartphones have become a necessity for the majority of the population, with an estimated 94% of adults in the UK owning a smartphone.[1] ‘Text Neck’ occurs as a result of smartphone users tilting their heads downwards, which considerably increases the loading on your neck, to look at their phones. This can lead to inflammation of the neck muscles and could lead to more long-term problems. Try as best as possible to hold your phone level with your eyes, this will reduce the amount you need to tilt your head down, and in turn, reduce the weight on your neck and upper back. If you do think that you suffer from ‘Text Neck’ try this simple exercise
: the ‘exaggerated nod’; simply look up to the ceiling, let your jaw relax and open your mouth, keep your head here and bring your lower jaw to your upper jaw.

Gaming:

Gaming has sky rocketed in the 21st century, with some gamers even earning millions by entering into various competitions. Some of the top pro gamers even admit to training for up to 15 hours a day![2]  Needless to say that our bodies do not favour this amount of time spent sitting down. If you think you fall into the category of a ‘gamer’ it is recommended that you stand up and stretch your legs for 10 minutes every two hours or so. This will reduce the risk of our muscles seizing up and potentially leading to more serious injuries.

Burnout

Burnout is now officially recognised as a real health condition by the World Health Organisation.[3] Millions of people are now working longer hours; not only does this lead to burn out, it can also bring with it a lot of aches and pains. Much like gamers, people working overtime are also spending too much time sitting down and constantly looking at a computer screen. Try to keep the top of the computer level with the top of your head, this will place your eyes in the right place to look at the screen and should reduce the strain on our neck.

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/289167/mobile-phone-penetration-in-the-uk/

[2] https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/pro-gamers-in-south-korea-train-for-15-hours-a-day-heres-whats-involved

[3] https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/

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Back Pain and Low Mood

Too much pain and not enough gain

Clinical studies reveal that chronic pain, as a stress state, often induces low mood. With 80% of adults experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives, this is a very widespread problem.[1]

Whether back pain causes low mood or vice versa, it can be hard to conclude because low mood can cause frequent and unexplained pain, just as back or chronic pain can cause restlessness, stress and other emotions associated with low mood. Regardless of where the pain comes from, it is important to learn how to take care of yourself and your back, in order to prevent back pain from occurring at all.

Back pain and low mood can be caused by a plethora of things, so here are a few tips to help ensure a healthy mind and body.

  1. Exercise

Enlisting exercise into your daily routine is absolutely crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are a gym-goer, make sure you consult a trainer to make sure you have proper form and aren’t overdoing it. Additionally, make sure you warm-up, cool-down and stretch after every session. Stretching allows for posture improvement, blood-flow and tension reduction — stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors, muscles that are attatched to the pelvis, can also help reduce back pain.

  1. Healthy Diet

When people are busy, they can often forget to eat properly, putting deadlines and workloads first.  However this can leave you with little energy and in a bad mood, as food is ultimately fuel for your mind and body. Healthy, whole foods are pertinent to long-lasting energy, maintaining a balanced mood and helping your body fight pain. Along with drinking more water, try adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet to give your body the boost it needs.

  1. Seek treatment

If you have been in pain for a long time, then it may be time to seek advice or treatment a healthcare professional. Chiropractors specialise in pain reduction, which can sequentially improve the overall health.  Rather than using medicine, they use their hands to restore the structural integrity of the musculo-skeletal system

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494581/

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Change Your Diet To Minimise Osteoporosis Risk

As lifestyle changes in the 21st century make the condition of osteoporosis ever more prevalent, it becomes a threat that you should take into consideration.

The ageing population, dietary trends such as dairy intolerance and the increase in eating disorders like anorexia all contribute to the growing numbers of sufferers. Today’s indoor lifestyle is also a factor, since a lack of vitamin D from the sun hinders your absorption of dietary calcium.

The frightening part of this condition is that it is sometimes not diagnosed until a bone is broken. A way to assess your risk of fracture is a bone density scan. This is the most accurate way of measuring the strength of bones. This scan can be organised through your GP or private clinics, and then appropriate advice can be given by your GP or chiropractor.

There are precautions we can all take to minimise the threat of osteoporosis to our physical health and mobility, both by medical and natural means.

A nutritious diet, and taking supplements where need be, is of paramount importance. If you’re vegan or don’t consume dairy products for other reasons, it’s important to find an alternative source of calcium in your diet. Leafy greens or tinned, soft-bone fish such as salmon or sardines are great options. It’s important to be aware that some foods make it harder to absorb calcium, such as carbonated drinks.

To help your body absorb calcium, vitamin D is essential. As well as synthesizing this from the sun’s UVB rays, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines provide some vitamin D. However, especially in the UK, vitamin D supplements are recommended.

Another key nutrient for bone health is magnesium. While this mineral contributes to many functions in the body from nerve function to immune health, it is primary found in bone crystals, contributing to their strength. Magnesium is often included in calcium supplements.

Vitamin C plays an important role too. Collagen is the main protein in bone, and Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and in many vegetables.

Chiropractors are fully qualified manipulative practitioners who diagnose and treat disorders of bones, as well as muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons. Your chiropractor will give you specific advice on how to strengthen your skeleton and minimise your risk.

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Exercise: The New Prescription

These days doctors often ‘prescribe’ exercise as a way to maintain good health and with good reason. Being active not only makes us feel better, it can also help ease various symptoms and cut risk of disease.

Studies have shown that people in their late 70s who undertake at least 20 minutes of exercise per day need fewer prescriptions and are  less likely to be admitted to hospital than those who don’t [1]. Exercise has been shown to be as effective at lowering blood pressure as certain medication, as well as being shown to improve heart and gut health, memory and balance. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends exercise 3 times per week between 45min to an hour, for 3 months for those with mild or moderate depression. The physical activity also stimulates our brains and helps prevent anxiety and stress, as well as increasing the lifespan and improving the quality of life.

  1. For Living Longer – Jogging

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

  1. For Improving Memory – Dancing

A study from 2017 found that all exercise can help reverse the signs of ageing in the brain, but dancing more than any other sport [4]. The study, which focused on adults in their late 60s who took part in a weekly dance class, found that all participants showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, which can be affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as more general age-related decline.

  1. For Back Pain – Active Therapies

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

  1. For Depression and Anxiety – Walking

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

  1. For Bone and Muscle Health – Weight Training

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

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

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889622/

[2] https://www.newswise.com/articles/new-study-jogging-keeps-you-young

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4131752/

[4] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170825124902.htm

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