As we focus on the dangers of our children carrying too much in their school bags we challenge you to put your brief case, handbag or whatever you carry around day, after day, after day with unnecessary items on a diet. So stop and take a minute to see if you can ditch some stuff or find a more posture safe way of karting it about … how about a little trolley for you heavier items?
Try to ensure that you don’t carry more than 10% of your body weight on a regular basis
… Go on weigh your baggage!
As the shorter days start to roll in, the early signs of our gardens getting ready for Autumn appear with it come the hustle bustle of a new academic year for our young people whether it be a new year at school, a new school, off to college or university, the start of a new job or returning to our old one after a relaxing break. However, we need to be aware of the potential harm we could cause our spines:
and eye tests are probably all on your list to ensure your youngsters get off to the best start – but more and more parents are realising the importance of having their child’s spine checked by a chiropractor.
Worry about heavy school bags and the increase time spent on their technology from phones to play stations is concerning parents as children slouch over their gadgets – let the chiropractors help you support them in preventing long term problems for their spines- Give us a call today.
Children are back in the classrooms, running around playgrounds and playing sports and children, like adults, can be prone to back pain, and there can be several causes:
- Lack of exercise or excessive exercise
- Weight of school bags
- Bad posture
- Poorly set up desks
- Use of a computer or computer games
- Sports injuries
- Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes
Lack of exercise and excessive exercise
The general finding from various studies is that children involved in competitive sports and those who are sedentary are more prone to getting low back pain while those that participated in moderate activity were protected. The children involved in competitive sports run the risk of getting repetitive strain injuries. Those children who are sedentary are often those who sit and watch a lot of television or play on a computer. The implication of this will be discussed below.
Weight of school bags
School bags are exceptionally heavy for those attending secondary school due to the number of different subjects covered and therefore the number of textbooks required and the fact the children often have to move between classes. Not all children have access to lockers, which mean that books have to carried with them. Bags carried on one shoulder causes an asymmetry of the body and therefore certain muscles will have to tighten and others lengthen in order to carry the bag. These kind of imbalances can cause long-term problems.
All aspects of life can induce bad posture; lack of exercise, weight of school bags, spending too much time playing computer games or on the computer, incorrect shoes, and growth. Those children who grow faster and become taller than their peers may slouch in order to not tower above their friends and this can ultimately lead to bad posture.
Poorly set up desks
Whether at school or home, ill fitting desks can lead to bad posture. School desks and chairs cannot cater for individual heights of children and, as mentioned earlier, the children often have to move between classes. The desks and chairs are uniform and unable to be altered to the child’s individual needs. Guidance on correct desk set up should be implemented at home; not just for the kids but also for everyone in the family who uses the desk. At school this can’t be done, but by advising the child to sit upright and not to slouch and not to cross the legs will help.
Use of a computer or computer games
Any body position requires certain muscles to shorten and others to lengthen. This occurs every time we move. If we were to stay in one position for too long those muscles will eventually stay that particular length. When children play on computer games it quite often requires time. This leads to the above situation with muscles. Children should be encouraged to not spend longer than 30-40 minutes at any one time playing games, using a computer, or even doing homework before having a break. The child should spend a few minutes walking around and then returning to the game/homework by reviewing their posture and sitting correctly.
Those children who play a lot of sport and those who play contact sports such as rugby may be injured either by direct contact or by overuse of certain muscles. If a child is injured it is advisable that they are seen by a chiropractor as problems unresolved can lead to compensations, ie walking differently due to sprained ankle leading to low back pain, a rugby tackle causing neck pain and headaches.
Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes
Children are conscious of fashion, which can affect their shoe wear. Girls particularly may wear shoes with a high heel. This causes the calf muscles to shorten and pushes the body forward. To prevent falling over the girl would have to lean back and causing an increase in the low back curvature which can not only cause low back pain but also pain between the shoulder blades.
Wearing improperly fitting shoes can cause many problems from blisters, pressure sores and ingrowing toenails in the short-term, to feet deformities like hammer toe, and knee and posture problems in the long-term. It can take up to 18 years for feet to fully develop, so teenagers feet need to be looked after just as much as younger children’s.
Shoes should be the correct size and offer the right amount of support. When purchasing new shoes, get the child’s feet correctly sized by the shop assistant and ensure that the shoes are the correct length as well as width.
Here’s some advice to help your child:
- Rucksacks should be worn across both shoulders and the straps adjusted so the bag is held close to the body.
- If a locker is available, encourage your child to use it and ensure they only take the books and equipment needed for that day.
- Check their shoes are correctly fitted, supported, relatively flat, and are not too worn.
- Encourage your child to enjoy regular exercise, such as swimming and cycling.
- Use of the computer, playing computer games and homework should be in blocks of no more than 30-40 minutes. Advise them to have a little walk before returning and again that they sit with their shoulders down and back (not slumped) and their legs are uncrossed.
- Please contact us if your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, or even just to get a check up.
Summer holidays allow the chance of a lie in but getting your kids motivated, up and ready for school is a whole new challenge that you really don’t want in the mornings.
How about sit down with your children over the weekend and discuss what they are going to make themselves for breakfast, Offer suggestions of a healthy start with lots of protein. Complex carbohydrates and fruit smoothies. Try and avoid sugary cereal and spreads for their toast – this will make them irritable and tired mid-morning. Make sure they have a healthy snack for break time to keep them going till lunch and access to plenty of water.
Try these tips to get them and yourselves up:
Wake up gradually
Many people become irritated by sudden and annoying alarm sounds. Start your day in a better mood by downloading an app that wakes you more gradually, with music or with a tone that gradually increases in volume, easing you in to your morning routine.
At this time of year, light alarm clocks are especially beneficial. These wake you with a gradually brightening light that simulates sunrise. Waking up naturally and gradually this way is much more welcome than being shocked out of a sound sleep.
Nourish your body
Feeling groggy, or even as if you have a hangover, isn’t uncommon when your alarm sounds. However, this may not be caused by tiredness. Bearing in mind that you have not consumed any food or drink for at least 7 hours (hopefully!), you may be dehydrated.
Keep a bottle of water by your bed to drink first thing. If you’re a coffee drinker, try to have a glass or two of water before your brew.
It’s also important to replenish your body with nutrients after a night’s sleep. Avoid opting for high-sugar and high-carbohydrate foods that will cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop just a couple of hours later. Instead, build your breakfast around complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, proteins such as eggs, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts. Having a nutritious, filling and enjoyable breakfast to look forward can also be a great motivator to get out of bed!
Whether you’re a yogi, gym-goer or enjoy a revitalizing morning stroll, exercising in the morning will get your heart pumping oxygen-rich blood around your body, helping you to function more effectively. Exercise can also be a great way to clear your mind, preparing your for a productive and more stress-free morning, and obviously has huge benefit to your health.
Introduce these tips to your morning routine, aiming to commit for at least 21 days. This will help you to form healthy habits that both your mind and body will thank you for!
Kids can be at risk from suffering back or neck pain due to sedentary lifestyles and the excessive use of technology.
Findings from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) show that 40% of 11 to 16 year olds in the UK have experienced back or neck pain. More than one in seven (15%) parents said their son’s or daughter’s pain is a result of using a laptop, tablet or computer.
The research revealed that almost three quarters (68%) of 11 to 16 year olds spend between one and four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer and 73% spend between one and six hours on the devices. More than a third (38%) of parents said their child spends between one and six hours a day on their mobile phone.
Chiropractors are now noticing a rise in the number of young people presenting with neck and back problems due to their lifestyle choices. We would encouraging parents to limit the time their children spend using technology and instead encourage more active pastimes.
Based on a two hour period, young people spend more time on games consoles (33%) than doing an activity like riding a bicycle (12%). When asked how much time their teenager spends on their bicycle, one in five (21%) parents admitted that they don’t have one.
Nearly half (46%) of parents questioned, acknowledged that their children don’t spend enough time exercising, despite NHS guidelines stating that children and young people between 5 and 18 years old need to do at least one hour of physical activity every day.
More people under the age of sixteen are being seen with back and neck pain, and technology is so often the cause. Young people are becoming increasingly sedentary which is damaging their posture. There is the tendency to sit in a hunched position when working on computers and laptops, putting a lot of strain on the neck.
Learning how to sit properly and keeping active will help to keep young people healthy and pain free. It’s important that parents seek help for their children from an expert as soon as any pain starts – if conditions are left untreated it could lead to chronic back and neck problems in later life.
The BCA offers the following top tips for parents to help their teenagers reduce the risks of back and neck pain:
- Get your kids moving: The fitter children are, the more their backs can withstand periods of sitting still. To increase fitness levels, your child should be more active which can be achieved by doing activities including walking to school, riding a bike or going for a run.
- Teach them how to sit: It’s important that children learn the correct way to sit when they’re using a computer. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed and close to their body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor. Using a laptop or tablet away from a desk will encourage poor posture, so limit time spent in this way.
- Don’t sit still for too long: Make sure children take a break from the position they’re sitting in on a regular basis and stretch their arms, shrug their shoulders and move their fingers around – this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
- Lead by example: Maintaining good posture and promoting good back health is something that everyone should be doing, adults and children alike. If you make it a priority, it’s easier for your children to see the relevance.
- Seek medical advice: Seek professional advice if your child is experiencing pain which has lasted for more than a few days. If your child wants to be more active, check that there are no medical reasons why they should not exercise, particularly if they are not normally physically active.
Are you ready to add something new into your training routine – or even just to start a training routine?! This month we challenge you to look as these two different types of exercise that you can use to supplement your Chiropractic care, or just start something new that you have been meaning to!
If you have found a routine that works for looking after your spine and your health then that is fantastic, but here are Andrew’s two favourite online resources for guiding you through two different types of training.
With the summer in full swing, it is likely that you will be planning an overseas holiday at some point. Flying is usually the worst part of any holiday, but for some people, it can be excruciating. If you already suffer from back pain then a long haul flight can make matters a lot worse.
A substantial 88 per cent of people experience increased back or neck pain following a flight, according to a survey by Spine Universe. With limited movement, long periods of time spent sitting down and cramped seating areas, it is hardly surprising that so many people suffer.
However, don’t let flying ruin your holiday. Here are some ways to ease, manage and possibly prevent back pain once you’ve taken to the skies.
Andrew Harlow, from Beeston Chiropractic Clinic in gives us a few examples of how to lessen the pain.
“Firstly, try to get up and move regularly when flying. Sitting for too long in the same position can cause stiffness and pain. Therefore try requesting an aisle seat, from the airline, so you can stand up easily, without constantly disturbing others – especially if it’s during a nighttime flight. You can also try to do some simple stretches at the back of the plane if possible. If this isn’t possible you can do some stretching in your seat. Neck rolls, rolling your shoulders back and forth or raising your hands as high above your head as possible are good ideas. The most important thing is you keep your body moving every now and then so your muscles don’t spasm and seize up.”
“Before a flight, you should try to pack as light as possible. A small backpack that distributes weight evenly can also help once you’re at the destination. Think twice about packing unnecessary items, do you really need your tablet, extra clothes etc. for a day trip?”
“Finally I would suggest investing in anything that might help to decrease the pain. Lumbar pillows, seat cushions and heating pads are all useful. Test out any new products before your trip, you don’t want to waste your time by taking something that doesn’t work properly. It is also wise to bring a few extra days worth of medication, if you’re on any, in case there are any flight delays or other unexpected circumstances”.
If you’re worried about your back while flying make sure to contact the airline as they are likely to have some advice and be aware of making sure you’re comfortable when you’re on board. Most importantly – make sure to enjoy your holiday.
Visit the website at to learn more about factors affecting the health of you and your family.
For further information or comments, please contact Beeston Chiropractic Clinic at 01159228085 on or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps a day. However, a recent study conducted at Stanford University found that the global average for steps taken per day is 4,961. Though the UK’s average is above this stat, it’s a far cry from the suggested amount.
There are many benefits of walking; from reducing the risk of heart disease to helping you sleep easy! Swapping walking on pavements for paths in green spaces, you’re likely to improve your mood, get the creative juices flowing and reduce feelings of depression. With so many lovely green areas in and around , a little change in your daily routine can do wonders for your wellbeing!
“A good walking technique is key to ensure your back is properly supported. Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core and support your entire body weight. Spinal alignment is vital; try to stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Let your arms swing naturally and roll through your foot from heel to toe.”
“As you move your body weight from heel to toe try and make a slight rolling motion inwards. This will help you when you push off with your foot and will give you a faster stride. Speed walking can burn as many calories as jogging especially if your posture is correct. Try and hold your ribcage up and your tummy muscles in.”
It’s also a good idea to shorten your strides; this will reduce the strain on your knees, calves and shins. Make sure you get the right technique as you start off so that bad habits don’t develop! Getting the right footwear is key to ensuring you establish a good walking method. When buying shoes you’re going to walk in make sure you go at the end of the day as your feet will be a little swollen meaning you’ll purchase the right size. It’s important that your toes have room to move and that your heel doesn’t slip. This will give you ample support both in your ankle and further up in your lower back.
Andrew Harlow encourages incorporating a walk into your daily routine. By releasing endorphins and boosting vitamin D levels, walking’s benefits are sure to leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
Visit the website at to learn more about factors affecting the health of you and your family.
For further information or comments, please contact Beeston Chiropractic Clinic at 01159228085 on or email email@example.com
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 chiropractor 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.