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Don’t Let Back Pain Spoil Your Holiday!

Think of holidays and most people will dream up images of days spent having a good time, perhaps relaxing in the sun or pursuing new interests. But how many people would wish to imagine themselves lying down indoors with back pain?

Unanticipated injury, such as back pain, can spoil a good holiday- don’t let it spoil yours. Aim to reach a good level of fitness before you go away, and when taking part in sports, make sure you know how play them properly.

Whatever physical activities you choose to engage in, bear in mind that a good number of back complaints are offset by failing to warm up properly before exercising.

Different sports have different guidelines as to how you should take care of your back. For example, when swimming it’s important not to try to keep the whole of the head out of the water, as this places considerable strain on the neck and shoulders, which can lead to problems in the lower back

Golf can present its own problems, particularly if the muscles aren’t warmed up before hand in order to cope with the rotation (twisting) of the lower back when swinging the club. Prevent this by practicing stretching and flexibility exercises before playing.

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How To Beat Jet Lag Naturally

Travelling to new places can be interesting and exciting. However, the excitement of holidays can be dulled by jet lag. If you’re travelling for business, overcoming jet lag can be even harder as you often need to arrive at your destination ready to work.

Your body’s 24 hour cycle, or circadian rhythm, relies on many external triggers. These triggers, called zeitgebers, include light, temperature, social interactions, exercise, eating and drinking. Many of these cues are disrupted when travelling to a different time zone. Jet lag occurs when your circadian rhythm is no longer in sync with your external environment.

Using knowledge of zeitgebers, you can use natural methods to support recovery from jet lag to help you enjoy your travels as much as possible.

Use light cues

If you arrive at your destination when it’s night time; while you are travelling, try to stay in the dark to induce a feeling of sleepiness and avoid the blue light from electronic devices. If you arrive in the morning, try to maximise your exposure to natural, bright light.

Get optimal amounts of sleep

Leading up to your travel date, ensure you get some good quality sleep. If you’re already exhausted when you travel, jet lag will be harder to deal with. If you feel like you need to sleep on a long haul flight, do so.

Take advantage of fans and air conditioning

Lower external temperatures lower your body’s core temperature, signalling that it’s time for sleep. So, if you arrive leading up to bedtime, set the temperature of your room to be a little cooler than normal to help you to drift off.

Get active & social

Social interaction stimulates wakefulness. So, if you arrive in the morning, why not get out and explore the locality! Exercising during the day will also help you to feel awake. If you’re on a busy business trip however, this may mean paying a quick trip to the hotel gym before your meetings.

Eat meals at local times

Enjoy the local cuisine, and enjoy it at the times that the locals do. Try altering your normal eating pattern up to three days before travelling to help your body acclimatise. Beware that aeroplane meals are often served at ‘home’ time and this can sabotage your efforts to reset your bodyclock. Focus on meals with protein to stay awake (a protein-based breakfast is great for your health anyway!) and choose meals with carbohydrates to help you fall asleep.

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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 about 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.

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.

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So where should you get your vitamin C? Ideally not by drinking fruit juices, which contain lots of quickly absorbed sugar (even if it’s just natural fruit sugar) and can end up causing more problems for our health. Its best to get vitamin 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.

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.

Avoid pro-inflammatory fats

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Just 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 hydrogenated vegetable 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!

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.

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.

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].

Glucosamine

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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!

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.

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].

References:

  1. Calder PC. 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.
  12. Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;(5):CD010538.
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Eating to Beat Stress

Chronic stress can have a negative effect on our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing. It can play a role in our susceptibility to illness and disease, but also in day-to-day functional problems such as pain and stiffness. There are many steps we can take to improve our ability to cope with stress; nutrition is one of them. Here’s a guide on what and how to eat to better manage stress…

Balancing your Blood Sugar
To cope well with stress we need our food to provide us with balanced, sustained energy. Foods that quickly break down into glucose and are quickly absorbed (such as sugary foods and fast-releasing carbohydrates) may give us a burst of energy, but can cause our blood sugar to peak and then dip. This can actually increase our body’s stress response and stress hormone levels, as well as making us feel irritated and out of control. Here are the fundamental steps to balancing your blood sugar:

– Eat primarily whole foods: vegetables, animal foods (eggs, fish, unprocessed meat, unsweetened dairy foods), nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and some fruit. Avoid sugary snacks, refined carbohydrates and other processed foods such as breakfast cereals. Make sure every meal includes a good serving of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. The primary protein foods are the animal foods mentioned above, and nuts and seeds, and beans and lentils. Healthy fats are found in nuts and seeds, oily fish, avocados, and coconut. Complex carbs are found in vegetables, whole fruit (i.e. not fruit juices), whole grains, beans and lentils
– Eat regularly: Skipping meals or leaving too long between meals can cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, which can also trigger a stress response
– Getting enough food: As well as eating regularly, getting enough food is important when you’re dealing with stress. Going on a weight loss diet (whether it’s low-calorie, low-carb or low-fat)  during a stressful time can be particularly bad for your stress levels. Instead, now is the time to focus on balancing your blood sugar as outlined above, by eating regular meals, getting enough protein, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables and cutting the refined carbohydrates and junk foods. You should find it easier to manage your weight – or  weightloss – by eating in this way anyway.

Healthy Snacking
Although regular snacking is not the best thing for everyone, it can be helpful if you’re coping with stress, again by helping to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Your snacks need to be based on whole foods, and contain some protein and complex carbohydrates. Examples include:
– Two or three oatcakes with one of the following: a tablespoon of hummus, guacamole, cottage cheese, half an avocado, a hard-boiled egg or a teaspoon or two of nut butter (e.g. almond butter).
– A pot of natural yoghurt (without added sugar) with some berries and/or a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds mixed in.
– A wedge of left-over home-made frittata/omelette.

However, you shouldn’t need to be snacking more than once between meals; constantly ‘grazing’ can have a negative effect on your weight and your digestion!

Magnesium-rich Foods
The mineral magnesium plays a vital role in our psychological health, including our mood and how well we cope with stress. It’s thought that both physical and emotional stress can increase the body’s need for magnesium, and that having a low magnesium to calcium ratio can actually increase the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline.* The best food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach; seeds and nuts; and whole grains – especially buckwheat and rye.

B Vitamin-rich Foods
B vitamins also play a vital role in our energy as well as our psychological function. The various B vitamins are found in different foods, but the best all-round sources include eggs, oily fish, organ meats (especially liver), seeds and nuts, and beans and pulses. Luckily these are also foods that are great for our blood sugar balance!

Avoid Overdoing Stimulants
Many of us turn to stimulants such as tea and coffee when we’re feeling stressed. But stimulants of any kind also trigger the body’s stress response. Try to keep your coffee consumption in particular to a minimum. Tea can have a gentler stimulating effect so can be better tolerated, but keeping it to one cup a day can still be advisable. Try to introduce calming herbal teas such as chamomile and spearmint – especially later in the day. Note that alcohol can also act as a stimulant as well as a relaxant. It also disrupts your blood sugar balance. Keep alcohol to a rare treat and stick to one drink only.

* Seelig MS. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Oct;13(5):429-46.

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Meditation in May (challenge)

Meditation in May?!

You might have heard that it’s all in your head right? But did you know that whilst a lot of injuries and stiffness we experience are not in our head, they are always felt and interpreted by our minds – sometimes we can give ourselves an extra edge by going straight to the source (our minds) rather than attacking the joints and muscles (although this is a very key part, it can be greatly enhanced by so meditative practice).

Look into this if you:

1) Want to learn something new

2) Get results from treatment but the problem keeps coming back

3) Have a stressful job or lifestyle

4) Want to increase your potential

 

Now for this we are just going to point you in the right direction as there are so many different types of meditation out there and it can be hard when you start just starting out – please visit MindValley on their website or YouTube channel for a great resource, otherwise just type in ‘guided meditation’ into the YouTube search engine. Finally there is a guided NLP (neurolinguistic programming) hypnosis video by Paul McKenna which again is free on YouTube.

Trust us on this, learning to control your mind will make a huge difference!

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Best posture for driving on bank holiday trips!

You ‘May’ have noticed that we have 2 bank holidays this month so lots of you will be in your cars!

With back pain being the number 2 reason why we visit our GPs and costing the NHS £1.3Million per day, it is not surprising to see that over 60% of drivers in this survey agreed with the statement ‘my car seat can make my back ache worse after a long trip’ and maybe more importantly, over 40% of drivers said that the car seat was the main cause of their backache.

According to a recent survey commissioned by AutoExpress magazine, a poor seating position in your car can lead to both back in neck problems while a slouched position can also compromise your safety.

“A slouched position can alter the way you wear the seat belt, reducing its effectiveness while an uncomfortable car seat can also lead to driver distraction and loss of concentration.”

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So how should your car seat be set up to protect your back and neck?

Top tips:

1. “Make sure that your car seat is not too far away from the pedals. When you fully depress the clutch your legs should remain slightly bent.”

2. “Make sure that your backrest is not tilted back too far. Your elbows should be slightly bent when you position your hands correctly on the steering wheel in the ‘10 to 2 position’.”

3. “Make sure that you increase the lumbar support as much as possible to support the natural arch in your back to avoid slouching. If you do not have a lumbar support built-in, you can use a portable, dedicated lumbar support cushion or roll up a towel and put it behind your back.”

4. “Make sure that the top of your headrest is above the top of your ears. If it is too low it can increase the risk of neck injuries in case of an accident.”

5. “Now, stretch yourself up and make your spine as tall as possible sitting in an ideal posture. Set the rearview mirror so you can just about see the traffic behind you. This will help to correct your posture every time you look in your rearview mirror, because if you slouch you will not be able to use the rearview mirror.”

6. “Make sure that your seatbelt is correctly positioned. If possible, adjust the height so it is not sitting on your neck and according to the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the belt should be worn as tight as possible, with no slack and the lap belt should go over the pelvic region, not the stomach.”

7. “Why not call in to the clinic and speak to a chiropractor if you are concerned about your spinal health and get your car seat checked as part of our service.”

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Top 3 back pain myths

In the UK, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. With something so common, it has easy for people to get confused about back pain and misconceptions to arise!

Woman holds a hand on pain neck
We know that the easiest way to tackle back pain is to keep moving, but sometimes these myths and misconceptions can stop people from doing exercise or seeking proper treatment.

One of the most common myths about back pain is that people think it’s not going to happen to them. In fact 4 out of 5 of us will be affected by back pain at some point in our lives!

Here are the top myths about back pain debunked:

  • MYTH: Exercise will cause or worsen back pain
  • Staying bed bound with back pain can be one of the worst things you can do! Without exercise muscles become weakened, deconditioned and stiff. To reduce back pain you should rest, calm the pain, followed by gentle exercise.
  • MYTH: If you see a spine specialist you will end up getting surgery
  • Spinal surgery is only recommended in about 1% of cases. In most cases the treatments recommended will be non-surgical, such as exercise, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • MYTH: Back pain is a normal part of aging
  • Some people believe that back pain is a typical part of getting older but it shouldn’t be a normal part of your day. We all get aches and pains as we age, however with all the options to ease back pain available today you shouldn’t suffer in silence.

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The Importance of Resting your Back

Modern society has led to an increase in back pain, as we put our spines under more and more stress.  During the day, especially if you have been working hard, sitting a lot, or have an aching back, it is advisable to rest your back properly for at least 20 minutes.

Besides being relaxing, there are important reasons why you should rest your spine adequately. The discs between the vertebrae have a central jelly section that contains water. During the day, when the spine is put under pressure, the discs lose this water and they become thinner and stiffer. During the night, by lying down, the discs regain their height, and it is for this reason we are often taller in the morning than last thing at night.

Unfortunately, we put an enormous compression force on the spine and discs during the day, particularly by sitting and standing. By lying down in a position where the compression forces in the discs are minimal, the discs can regain their full height and flexibility.

By lying down correctly, large muscles of the back can relax, helping to reduce any muscle spasm. Often they are not able to relax properly (even when we lie down at night, due to stress, tension and poor sleeping positions).  Resting your back sounds easy enough, but there are specific directions which you should follow in order to really relax the spine:

Lying on the floor is best, giving good support to the spine. Lie on the bed if this is too sore, or getting up and down is too difficult. Place about 2-3 inches of soft books under your head (with a towel or cushion if painful). Keep your neck level, neither forced up, nor allowed to drop down. You should be able to swallow comfortably, but if in doubt opt for a little extra height. Raise up your legs, either with the feet flat on the floor, or with the lower legs supported by a chair, sofa or cushions. It is the lifting of the legs that allows for relaxation of the lower back muscles. Relax your arms by your sides, or with your hands resting on your abdomen.

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People in the Midlands encouraged to stay active this Chiropractic Awareness Week

British Chiropractic Association (BCA) discovers half of people in the Midlands fail to prevent or manage back pain

This Chiropractic Awareness Week (8th – 14th April) the BCA is encouraging people in the region to keeping moving, after finding that 47% of people in Midlands don’t take any steps to look after their back health.

The findings come from a survey conducted by the BCA, which unearthed that 21% of people in Midlands don’t take any action when they experience back or neck pain and 11% wouldn’t seek help from a health professional if they were experiencing these issues.

Chiropractic Awareness Week aims to educate people about the easy ways they can avoid or alleviate back pain, which over 80% of the nation suffers with. Regularly changing posture and remaining seated for no longer than 30 minutes at a time are just a couple of the simple ways to prevent or reduce pressure on the back.

According to the BCA’s survey, when it comes to back and neck pain, they found that people in Midlands:

–        47% don’t take any steps to look after their back health

–        Only 53% have taken preventative steps to protect themselves from developing back or neck pain

–        79%  have experienced back or neck pain

–        11% wouldn’t seek help from a health professional for back pain and, 32% would wait a month or longer

–        Only 8% would make changes to their daily routine if experiencing back or neck pain

–        16% choose their mattresses bases on price, rather than comfort

 

The BCA’s top tips for keeping on top of neck and back pain include:

  • Keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body, while keeping you mobile!

 

  • Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. When at work, also make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.

Other things which people can bear in mind include:

  • Lifting and carrying: Remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items. Face in the direction of movement and take your time. Hold the object as close to your body as possible, and where you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.

 

  • Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every 7 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you. If you share a bed and require different mattress types, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.

 

  • Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of three-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.
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Easter getaway?!

It’s the Easter school holidays and, whether traveling for a longer break, taking a last minute weekend trip or just a day out with the kids, if you are going to be spending some serious time in the car, look at our top tips to help keep your back in shape.
Make adjustments
– If you share a car, make sure the seat position is adjusted to suit you each time you get in.
– The back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving.

Steering wheel
– Once you have adjusted your seat correctly, your hands should fall naturally on the steering wheel, with just a slight bend in the arms.
If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close to you, the wheel may be touching your legs, which will reduce your ability to turn it freely, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.
Mirrors
Your reactions must be quick, so you should not need to move your head a lot. The mirror positions should allow you to see all around the car with the movement of your eyes with minimal head movement.
– Set your mirror positions to suit you before you drive off.

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

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

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

It’s all in the timing – Allow plenty of time for journeys to avoid stress.

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