All posts by Sophie Nicholls

Step up to our August challenge!

Stair climbing is officially classed as a ‘vigorous exercise’ and burns more calories per minute than jogging.


Stair climbing requires 8-9 times more energy expenditure than sitting and burns about 7 times more calories than taking a lift. As well as guarding against heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers, stair climbing releases endorphins that produce feelings of wellbeing.


Climbing stairs is a classic ‘short burst’ exercise and ideal for the time-poor.


For buildings with five floors or less, it’s nearly always quicker to take the stairs. Studies show office workers save up to 15 minutes a day when they ditch the lift and take the stairs.


Start using the stairs and improve your health one step at a time!


The Foam Rolling Revolution


Foam rolling as a health and fitness practice has exploded alongside the growing fitness industry. It is a technique that has long been used by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists but is now recommended to people of all ages and fitness levels.

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, which means self-massage, used to release muscle tightness or trigger points. Trigger points are ‘knots’ in muscles that cause and refer pain when pressure is applied to them.

When rolling or working on tight/sore muscles you will experience discomfort or pain. Think of it like the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you are done it should feel better.

Myofascial release is often performed by chiropractors, but self-care is important too and foam rolling can complement chiropractic therapies. Your chiropractor can recommend the best foam rolling techniques to suit your needs.

There are a number of benefits to foam rolling:

  • It can be a great warm up before exercise, as it helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles, improving the delivery of oxygen during exercise
  • For this reason, foam rolling after exercise can also improve recovery
  • It is possible to focus on specific problem areas to relieve discomfort from tight muscles
  • It can help to increase your range of motion and flexibility by stretching and lengthening your muscles
  • The process can also stimulate the lymph system, helping your body to eliminate toxins

Overall, foam rolling can help to increase physical ability, reduce stiffness, prevent injury and help you to feel your best.

Book in with your chiropractor to get advice on how foam rolling can help you.



Summer Time Sports


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

If the arrival of sunshine has caused you to pack away your winter jumpers and, instead, pull out your racket, shin pads or helmet for a bout of summer activities, remember to take note of these simple steps to ensure you steer clear of any unwanted pain and discomfort.

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

RACKET-SPORTS PLAYERS should be wary of playing through the pain of Tennis Elbow. Tennis Elbow is in fact an overuse injury, caused by repetitive movements at the wrist forcing the thumb outwards and the palm upwards. Continuing to play will only exacerbate the problem.

GOLFERS are particularly prone to lower back injuries. Graphite clubs and soft spiked shoes will help absorb the shock which can bring on back injury. Your chiropactor can suggest appropriate warm-ups and exercises, and help you work on an alternative swing.

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

DIY, like gardening, is often far-removed from everyday activities. When the sun is shining many will want to get out in the garden and get on with the long list of DIY jobs that have piled up over the winter months. Enthusiasts often injure their back by inhabitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.


Joint Support for Summer Sport

The long evenings and warm temperatures encourage many of us to be more active over summer. It’s a great time to take up a new activity, improve our fitness, or lose weight.

One of our most popular summer sports is, of course, tennis. Tennis is a fantastic activity: it builds strength, improves cardiovascular fitness, can help to strengthen our bones, improves coordination, an
d gets us exercising outside in the sun (for our vitamin D!). Another thing that’s great a
out tennis is that it has a social element too – giving us one-to-one time with friends and helping us meet other people, which is so often lacking in today’s technology-driven world. However, tennis can be tough on our joints, especially for those who are not used to impact sports.

Here are our top foods and supplement suggestions that can help keep you in action on the court.


  1. Get plenty of vitamin C

Vitamin C is not just important for immunity. It’s also vital for our body to make collagen, which in turn is used to make cartilage – the flexible material that helps to cushion our joints. When carilage wears away, as in osteoarthritis (‘wear and tear’ arthritis), joints can become very painful.

So where should you get your vitamin C? Ideally not by drinking fruit juices, 5161152which contain lots of quickly absorbed sugar (even if it’s just natural fruit sugar) and can end up causing more problems for our health. It’s best to get vitam
in C from a range of whole vegetables and fruit. Some of the best sources are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, red cabbage, pepper, kiwi fruits and blackcurrants. Aim for at least the recommended 5 servings of vegetables and fruit per day – although the ideal is
more like 7 to 9! The antioxidants in vegetables and fruit also have anti-inflammatory activity, helping to keep pain in check.

Vitamin C supplements can also be supportive for your joints if you struggle to get enough through food.

  1. Eat oily fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring contain the all-important omega-3 fats known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). As well as being vital for our eyes, brain and heart, these omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory activity, and possibly direct pain-relieving activity too [1, 2, 3]. This means eating oily fish could be helpful to manage or reduce joint pain, and even prevent inflammation that causes sore joints after exercise.

Don’t like fish? A daily fish oil supplement can be a good alternative.

  1. Avoid pro-inflammatory fats

4320621Just as it can be helpful to increase your anti-inflammatory omega-3s, it’s equally important to avoid pro-inflammatory fats – the ones that can worsen inflammation. Unfortunately, these are the fats that we’ve long been told are good for us: vegetable oils. In general anything labelled ‘vegetable oil’ is bad news, and other general cooking oils such as sunflower oil or rapeseed oil. Margarines and spreads made with vegetable oils can be even worse because they contain hydrogenatedvegetable oils – oils that have been turned into a solid fat by bubbling hydrogen through them. A lot of processed foods also contain vegetable oils, from cakes to breads to ready meals: another reason to eat more ‘real’ foods and ditch processed foods – especially those that come with a long list of ingredients on the label!


  1. Eat magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium is an important mineral for our muscles and bones. It’s also been found that having good levels of magnesium in our body may help to lower inflammation [4].

So eating magnesium-rich foods can be another good step towards better joint health. These include green vegetables, seeds and nuts, beans and pulses, and whole grains including oats, rye and buckwheat.

  1. Turmeric and ginger

These traditional spices are not only delicious in curries and Asian food; they also have anti-inflammatory activity. Turmeric in particular (or its active component curcumin) has been shown in many studies to help reduce inflammation, and specifically to help to manage joint pain in knee arthritis [5, 6, 7]. Ginger may also help to reduce joint pain and inflammation [8].

Turmeric and ginger can be used every day in cooking. You can also use either of them to make tea: chop or grate fresh ginger or turmeric root and pour on boiling water (although watch out with fresh turmeric, as it can stain everything!). Try making a ‘turmeric latte’ with turmeric powder – it’s become the drink of the moment among those looking for a healthier alternative to coffee. You can also just buy turmeric or ginger tea bags. Or if you have a juicer at home, try making fresh ginger juice and drinking a shot every day – it really packs a punch! Another alternative is to pickle ginger – delicious!

If you struggle to get a daily dose of turmeric or ginger in your food, or you want a more convenient option, try turmeric or curcumin supplements.

  1. Bone broth / collagen

Bone broth is another traditional food that’s become popular as a ‘health food’ again. This is because bones are actually very rich in nutrients, and so properly prepared bone broth (made by simmering animal or fish bones for up to 24 hours or longer) is a natural, easy-to-absorb source of these nutrients, including vital minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Bone broth also provides natural collagen, primarily in the form of gelatin. As mentioned above, collagen is a building block for the cartilage that helps to protect our joints.

Taking collagen in supplement form may also be supportive for joint health. A study found that taking collagen over 6 months reduced joint pain in a group of athletes [9].

  1. Glucosamine

If you’ve ever looked into taking supplements for joint health, you’ve probably heard of glucosamine. Glucosamine is a building-block for making cartilage and synovial fluid in the joints. Taking glucosamine supplements has been found in some studies to be helpful for knee pain, especially in those with a prior injury or with osteoarthritis in the knee [10, 11]. Some studies do not show benefits, however. It’s worth noting too that glucosamine has been found to be effective with doses of at least 1,500mg a day, and that it may take three months or more to work fully. So ideally, this is one to start taking in the spring if you want it to help keep you active over the summer!1758921

  1. Devil’s claw herbal remedy

Devil’s claw is a traditional herb used for relief of joint pain, as well as muscle pain and backache. Like turmeric and ginger, devil’s claw is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect. It could be a good choice to help relieve pain more quickly, compared to the longer-term protective effect of collagen or glucosamine.

  1. Arnica gel

If you experience muscle or joint pain after activity, try a topical arnica gel for additional support. Arnica gels are traditionally used to help with joint pain as well as muscle pain, stiffness, strains and bruising. In one study on a group of people with arthritis in their hands, using an arnica gel was even found to be as effective as ibuprofen gel for reducing pain [12].


  1. Calder PC. n−3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Am J Clin Nutr June 2006 vol. 83 no. 6 S1505-1519S
  2. Corder KE et al. Effects of Short-Term Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation on Markers of Inflammation after Eccentric Strength Exercise in Women. J Sports Sci Med. 2016 Feb 23;15(1):176-83.
  3. Goldberg RJ, Katz J. A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for inflammatory joint pain. Pain. 2007 May;129(1-2):210-23.
  4. Dibaba DT et al. Dietary magnesium intake is inversely associated with serum C-reactive protein levels: meta-analysis and systematic review. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Apr;68(4):510-6.
  5. Aggarwal BB et al. Curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Sep;57(9):1529-42.
  6. He Y et al. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? Molecules. 2015 May 20;20(5):9183-213.
  7. Henrotin Y, Priem F, Mobasheri A. Curcumin: a new paradigm and therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of osteoarthritis: curcumin for osteoarthritis management. Springerplus. 2013 Dec;2(1):56.
  8. Bartels EM et al. Efficacy and safety of ginger in osteoarthritis patients: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jan;23(1):13-21.
  9. Clark KL et al. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 May;24(5):1485-96.
  10. Braham R et al. The effect of glucosamine supplementation on people experiencing regular knee pain. Br J Sports Med. 2003 Feb;37(1):45-9; discussion 49.
  11. Herrero-Beaumont G et al. Glucosamine sulfate in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using acetaminophen as a side comparator. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Feb;56(2):555-67.
    1. d, double-blind, placebo-controlled study using acetaminophen as a side comparator. Arthritis Rheum. 2007 Feb;56(2):555-67.
    2. Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;(5):CD010538

Medication madness.

Hello everyone, welcome to my first blog post, I know you are all very busy (especially at this time of year) so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
Yesterday (December 10th 2014), the BBC published an article stating that 50% of women in England and 43% of men are on prescription medication.
Whilst younger people are less likely to be on any medications, 50% of those over 75 were on more than five different medications. Reading further into the article reveals that the most common medications are for blood pressure, cholesterol and antidepressants. I personally find it quite frightening how many people are on these medications. I have no end of patients inform me that their ‘cholesterol was borderline; so the GP has put me on medication anyway…’
At this point I could get onto a soap box and moan about the huge power the pharmaceutical industry holds over the medical profession and our National Health Service, but I promised to keep it short!
I could also link to articles that my Chiropractor friends are quoting about a study in the USA where patients under chiropractic use 53% less drugs than those not under care, but I am honest and open with my patients and this study is purely related to back pain and surgery not about other medications such as those for cardiovascular disease. It’s still fantastic news that we can help reduce the number of painkillers and likelihood of surgery for the majority of back pain sufferers but our patients already know that –it is why they come to see us and why they recommend us to friends and family.
So instead I’d like to remind you that your health is your responsibility, that the majority of medications can be avoided with a healthy diet and exercise. I know at this time of year there are plenty of parties and meals out to indulge in, that it is dark early; icy cold and windy so the thought of exercise is bleak. However, if you can get out for a walk over lunchtime then hopefully you will blow the cobwebs away, get some vitamin D if the sun makes an appearance and make your heart work harder which is the start of making it (and you) healthier. Don’t put it off to the New Year –start now and still enjoy everything over Christmas -just in moderation!
At the clinic we will be happy to answer any questions you have to address your diet and lifestyle, either ask your chiropractor in your next treatment session or join us for one of the spinal healthcare classes in the New Year –they are free and limited to small groups so that the chiropractor can answer questions. They need to be booked via reception, Wednesday 7th January 7pm, Thursday 22nd January 7pm and Tuesday 3rd February 7pm are all available to book now but we expect them to fill up quickly!
Enjoy the festivities and we look forward to helping keep you happy and healthy in 2015!