Amongst other things, chiropractors frequently also treat the hips, knees and feet…
In an average lifetime, our feet carry us an equivalent of five times around the Earth. In addition to this, the feet must take the strain of supporting the body’s weight even when just standing still. Given how often we use our feet, and the demands we make upon them on a day to day basis, it’s important to look after them properly.
Each foot is made up of a total of 26 bones, and damage to any one of them, or related muscles, ligaments or cartilage can result in problems with the foot that may need attention from a trained professional in order to prevent longer term damage.
Follow these tips for keeping your feet in good condition:
You should inspect and feel your feet daily for cracks, corns and ulcers
Toenails should be cut straight across, not too close to the skin.
Take extra care when walking barefoot.
A well fitting shoe should not require a long and painful breaking in period.
Pay good attention to your feet; changes and/or pain in the feet and ankles could indicate a more serious foot ailment or circulatory problem, so if in doubt, check with your chiropractor.
At some point, anxiety and stress affect everyone. They can manifest differently in different people, but there are ways to manage anxiety and stress, even if it feels out of control. Let’s dive into some practices to help you feel calmer and happier.
Embrace the Present Moment
Imagine this: you’re sipping your tea, but your mind is racing with thoughts about the past or worrying about the future. Sound familiar? By practising mindfulness, you learn to appreciate the present moment. So, take a pause, breathe in the lovely aroma, and fully immerse yourself in the sensory experience of your tea time.
Create a Serene Space
Having a tranquil space is crucial. It could be a cosy corner in your living room, a peaceful spot in your garden or your work desk. Personalise it to your liking with comfortable cushions, scented candles and items that bring you joy. Make it your sanctuary, where you can escape the chaos and find inner calm.
Take Small Steps
Just like mastering any skill, meditation takes practice. Begin with short sessions—just five minutes a day—and gradually increase the duration as you strengthen your mental muscles. Remember, finding inner peace is a journey, not a sprint.
Focus on Your Breath
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and exhale slowly. Pay attention to the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body. Let it be your anchor to the present moment. When distracting thoughts pop up, gently acknowledge them and refocus on your breath.
Engage in Mindful Movement
Who says mindfulness is limited to sitting still? Explore mindful movement practices, such as a leisurely walk in nature or gentle yoga. Feel the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sounds around you, and relish the joy of being in motion. Let your worries dissipate with each step.
In the whirlwind of daily life, we often overlook the small blessings. Take a moment each day to express gratitude for the simple joys. It could be the warmth of a loved one’s smile or the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Write them down in a gratitude journal and let gratitude brighten your days.
Find a Mindfulness Buddy
Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to mindfulness. Join a local meditation group or invite a friend or family member to embark on this journey with you. Share tips, meditate together, and revel in the joy of connecting with others who share your quest for inner peace.
Remember, managing anxiety and stress is a lifelong pursuit, and every small step contributes to your overall well-being. Embrace the power of the present moment, breathe deeply and let your worries float away.
With party season approaching, ladies are likely to be high heel searching! However, there are many problems associated with wearing high heels. Beyond the traditional parental warning of “you’ll break your ankle in those!”, there are many other issues, seen every day by professionals, that are caused by high heel wearing.
High heels are the worst possible shoes for your feet. When heels are excessively high, the ball of your foot absorbs the full amount of pressure on your foot and the weight of your body on this one area can cause a huge range of problems, including bunions, aching and tired feet, and a burning sensation in the balls of your feet.
As the fashion for higher and higher heels grows, as does the range of foot problems occurring. Conditions such as bunions are becoming more prevalent as women opt for skyscraper heels and the higher the heel, the greater the risk of falling and causing serious injury.
The height of the heel is directly proportionate to the increase in pressure on the ball of the foot and to how short each stride becomes.
It’s not uncommon to hear notorious high heel wearers complaining of bunions. High heels, especially those with pointed toes, force your foot to slide forwards, so that all the weight of your body is on this part of your foot. This crams your toes together and pushes your big toe in toward your other toes. Over time, this repetitive action can cause a permanent distortion, called Hallux Valgus as your foot tries to change its shape to fit such shoes. To protect the area a fluid filled sack builds up over the area called a bunion, when this becomes inflamed it can be very painful.
Wearing high heels can also cause issues beyond your feet. High heels cause the calf muscle fibres to shorten, even when not wearing heels. If you wear heels most of the time, your foot and leg positioning that is adopted in heels becomes the default position for your joints and the structures within your leg and foot.
Advice is not to wear heels or flat shoes all the time, but both in moderation. Wearing a variety of heel heights will help you to get your calf muscles used to change. Also, if you wear heels day-to-day, kick them off wherever possible to allow your foot to relax back to a better position. So, enjoy heels during party season but give your feet some TLC, too, allowing them time to recover between festivities.
Choosing a balanced diet containing the right vitamins and minerals decreases our chances of developing deficiencies later on in life. Try this healthy diet plan for optimum bone, muscle and joint health.
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 (sunshine) 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 and help guard against some cancers. EFA’s are unsaturated fatty acids. They aid in decreasing the inflammatory response and help relieve pain and discomfort in joints and muscles.
EFA’s, such as Omega 3, can be found in oily fish, (sardines, herrings, mackerel), and seeds.
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.
There are thirty bones, over forty muscles and fourteen major nerves making your arm more diligent, dexterous and adaptable than any tool mankind can emulate. So why is it that when it starts to hurt, we so often ignore the pain and hope that it will go away? Are we scared or is it that we just don’t have the time to do anything about it? But arm pain is a warning signal and should not be ignored. More often than not arm pain is caused by injury to the area of pain but it can also be an indication of more serious underlying problems.
Constant overuse or micro-trauma can go unnoticed on a daily basis. If you go to the gym, play racket sports, use a computer, play musical instruments or even use the text on a mobile phone enough, then overuse injuries are a likely cause of the pain. Positions that strain muscles repetitively are likely to result in an insidious onset of wrist or forearm pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome or lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow).
Arthritis is the body’s way of trying to stabilise unstable joints. Joints can become unstable for many reasons from trauma to overuse. If joints are allowed to remain unstable they start to fuse stopping you from carrying on with everyday activities and the wrist and hands are often the first place arthritis attacks.
When neck pain is caused by muscle strain you may have aches and stiffness that spread to the upper arm and forearm. Shooting pain that spreads down the arm into the hand and fingers can be a symptom of a pinched nerve in the neck. The most common cause of a pinched nerve in the neck is arthritis. Bony growths (osteophytes) press on the nerve that branch from the spinal canal. A pinched nerve in the neck can also be caused by injury, a herniated disc, or a tumour or infection of the spine. When a nerve has been pinched in the neck, numbness and weakness of the hands or arms as well as pain, may occur.
Heart problems can often cause referred pain in the left arm due to the shared neural pathways in the spinal cord. Information about the heart can be confused in the spinal column leading to apparent pain in the arm. Arm pain accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath may signal a heart attack. Treat this as a medical emergency.
Hormonal changes such as those during pregnancy can cause wrist pain. Numbness and pain in your wrists and hands can also be an indication of thyroid and diabetic problems.
Don’t launch yourself into a new exercise regime without taking the necessary precautions to prevent back and neck pain…
While more exercise can in fact improve bone mass density and prevent osteoporosis, throwing yourself into a full-on physical programme after a lull in activity could put your back and neck at risk. Try introducing your body to exercise in a safe way by following these easy tips:
Before you begin any exercise programme, check that there are no medical reasons why you cannot carry out the activity, particularly if you are not used to the type of exercise
Make sure you wear the right clothing while carrying out your chosen activity. Wearing clothes that are too tight could constrict your movement and lead to injury; appropriate footwear is a must for any type of exercise
Make sure you warm up before exercises; don’t go straight in and start with lighter movements like walking or jogging to lessen the chance of muscle strain
Ensure that you are using equipment properly to prevent injuries.
make sure legs are at least hips width apart
lift with bent knees
never keep knees straight, as this could lead to over-stretching and cause damage to your back
work with weights closer to your body to help avoid injury
make sure the seat is positioned correctly for your height
avoid stooping or reaching when using equipment or you could over-stretch your back
Stretches and exercises designed to strengthen your back will help prevent injuries later on. Try sequences of precise, slow stretches, which will help build up your strength.
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. Find out 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 three 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
Making 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, avocadoes, 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 lose weight – by eating in this way anyway.
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.
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!
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
Like magnesium, 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 as a rare treat and stick to one drink only.
A workout doesn’t have to include jumping or jogging to be effective. In fact, high impact exercises can be jarring on the body or joints, placing you at greater risk of injuries. Low impact exercises can improve your fitness and health, without causing harm to your joints.
What is low impact exercise?
It is important to remember that low impact doesn’t equate to less effort, or low intensity. Exercises that are gentle on your body and joints, or are performed in a fluid motion, are considered low impact. Though this can be less strenuous, low impact exercises can be adjusted to suit all fitness levels.
When is low impact exercise a better option?
Opting for low impact exercise can be better if you have suffered an injury or faced illness. Low impact exercise is a great way to get moving and maintain your fitness without placing stress on your joints. It can also be a good starting-point if you are new to exercise or pregnant, for example.
What are some examples of low impact exercise?
There are plenty of options for low impact exercise, but some of the most popular include:
What are the benefits to low impact exercise?
Alongside injury prevention, many forms of low impact exercises focus on developing flexibility and improving strength or balance. These are important for maintaining a healthy and active body. Low impact exercise can also be used as an active recovery from high intensity activities.
Could standing work desks be the answer to unwanted back pain?
Recent workplace trends show that many employers are now opting for standing work areas, rather than the more conventional seated desks, in a bid to prevent their workers suffering from back pain and to help increase their productivity in the office.
But are these innovative standing workspaces really the way forward to a healthy back, free from pain and discomfort? Here are three things to bear in mind if your work place decides that standing, rather than sitting, is best way forward:
Sitting and bending forward (as you tend to do in an office seat) can put twice as much load on your spine as standing does so standing desks could well be a better option for the office.
Take a break
While standing, however, it is important to remember that you should still take regular breaks as you would when sitting at a desk. Being stuck in one position, even if it is in a ‘good posture’, is not advisable.
The best of both
A desk set up that allows you to stand as well as sit is the most ideal situation, as this gives you the option to change position regularly. The more adjustable your desk set-up is, the more likely you are to find a position that suits you.
Correcting poor posture habits is essential to spine health. To avoid long-term health issues, it is best to start to develop good habits.
Your sleeping posture is more important than you may think. If you sleep on your side, place a flat pillow between your legs and knees to help keep your spine straight and aligned.
Always use a supportive pillow under your head to properly align and support your shoulders and skull. Sleeping on your side or back is almost always better than sleeping on your stomach.
Driving posture is also very important. Move your seat up so that you can depress both foot pedals all the way to the ground with your knees remaining bent. Your back should remain against the seat. Recline the back of the seat very little, by only about 5 degrees.
If there is a height adjustment, raise the seat so that your hips align with your knees. If an adjustment isn’t available, consider buying a cushion. Your head should never reach the ceiling and cause you to slouch. The top of your headrest should match the top of your skull. If possible, tilt the headrest forward so that it’s no more than 4 inches from your head.
When it comes to standing posture, stand with your heels, hips, and shoulders aligned. Do not shrug your shoulders forward, roll them back slightly and allow your arms to naturally hang at your sides. Make sure you keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
These are all ways you can straighten your back naturally. Give them a try and see if you notice a difference.
Ask your chiropractor to learn more about posture tips.