A recent study has revealed that smokers are three times more likely to suffer from back pain than those who do not smoke. 
Smoking slows down blood circulation and reduces the flow of nutrients to joints, which in turn damages tissue in the lower back. Smoking may also affect the way the brain sends pain signals to the body and therefore may increase the risk of pain.
While smoking is a difficult habit to kick because of how nicotine and tobacco trick the body into feeling good, no temporary pleasure is worth a life of pain.
Including exercise into your everyday routine is extremely important.
Exercise activates endorphins, chemicals in the brain, that can help you feel good and has the potential to decrease pain. If the pain is not subsiding than think about seeing a doctor to kick the smoking habit and a Chiropractor to help get the pain under control. The effects of smoking such as: heavy coughing, slowed circulation as well as growth and damaged tissues has the potential to increase the risk of back pain. The next time you are in agonising pain, think about choices you could make to improve overall health.
80% of UK adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives – so what is causing it? With this rate being so high, it is important to highlight some of the everyday activities, which, if conducted wrongly, can lead to back pain. One of the main ones to focus on is sleep – everyone does it, so it is important to know how to do it properly!
Below are some of the sleep positions that can cause you pain:
When sleeping on your front, your head is turned slightly to the side as not to suffocate completely. As a result, this can cause a large amount of strain on the neck, which could lead to pain throughout the day. This position also means that your spine is completely unsupported, which could lead to extreme back pain.
When sleeping on your left side with your arms completely out, you are essentially restricting blood flow and putting a large amount of pressure on your nerves; which can result in soreness in the shoulders and arms. Like sleeping on your front, the spine is completely unsupported in this position and therefore could lead to both upper and lower back pain.
Whilst sleeping in the foetal position is a favourite amongst many, it is actually one of the worst sleep positions because of its complete lack of support for the neck and spine. As a result of the curvature of the spine in this position, neck and back pain is extremely common.
These positions can ease back pain:
By sleeping flat on your back, your spine is completely supported, which will help ease the pain caused to the neck and back. By keeping your arms by your side, you are reducing strain on the shoulders as well.
If you continue to feel soreness in your back after sleeping on your back, try the exact same position but with a small pillow underneath your knees. This helps your body to maintain a healthy curve in the lower back.
If you want to sleep on your side, you absolutely can by just making sure your arms are kept down by your side instead of being stretched outwards. This actually supports the spine in the position of its natural curve.
Inflammation: it’s a natural process that happens in our body to help us heal from injury and help our immune system fight off invaders.
But too much inflammation – or inflammation that lasts longer than it should – can be a problem. Most importantly for chiropractors, inflammation is a factor in many types of pain, including joint and muscle pain, arthritis, back pain, and pain from an injury that won’t go away.
Inflammation overload also plays a role in other problems such as skin conditions, and even in serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
While there are many things that can contribute to too much inflammation, one factor we can control is what we eat and drink.
So, here are five food-related tips to help you keep inflammation at bay.
Load up on colourful fruit and veg
Most fruit and vegetables have great anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to their unique ‘phytonutrients’ such as flavonoids and carotenoids. These compounds are often responsible for vivid colours of fruit and veg, so you’ll find tons of flavonoids in purples and reds (think red cabbage, berries and pomegranate) and lots of carotenoids in oranges, light reds, yellows and greens (e.g. carrots, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and dark green leafy veg such as kale and spinach). So, think about ‘eating a rainbow’ of fruit and veg – not just a cliché, especially when it comes to beating inflammation.
Ideally, eat more vegetables than fruit, as the sugars in fruit can add up. And eat wholefruit rather than drinking it in juice form.
Eat lots of oily fish
Oily fish are anti-inflammatory superheroes thanks to the omega-3 fats they contain.
Oily fish include salmon, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring, trout and fresh (not tinned) tuna. Aim to eat three servings a week of one or more of these fish to build up your omega-3 stores.
Plant omega-3s such as those found in flaxseeds and chia seeds and their oils don’t have exactly the same benefits, as they provide a different type of omega-3. But they’re still healthy choices to include in our diet, and can be a substitute if you can’t eat fish.
Keep it ‘real’
Generally speaking, the less you rely on processed foods, and the more you eat ‘real’ foods, the better.
‘Processed’ foods tends to mean anything that’s been made in a factory instead of being brought to you fresh or simply packaged. Processed foods also include junk foods, think supermarket baked goods, processed cheeses, most breakfast cereals, packet soups and ready meals. Junk food is not only generally low in natural vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory nutrients, they often contain added sugar or salt, as well as chemical additives.
‘Real foods’, include vegetables and fruit, whole grains such as brown rice, beans and lentils, unroasted nuts and seeds, and minimally processed animal foods such as eggs, fish, whole cuts of meat and pure cheese or milk.
Switch your vegetable cooking oils
It is best to switch all refined cooking oils such as sunflower oil and anything labelled as ‘vegetable oil’ for more healthy options.
But how can they be bad for us, when they’ve long been touted as a healthy alternative?
Well, one problem is that polyunsaturated fats in their refined liquid form are quite fragile. When they’re heated to high temperatures during the refining process and cooking, they can easily become damaged. These damaged molecules may trigger more inflammation or ‘free radical’ damage in our own bodies when we consume too many of them.
The second problem is that vegetable oils tend to contain a very high proportion of omega-6 fatty acids. Now, while these are essential fats, when we get a lot of them in our diet, they can have an overall pro-inflammatory effect (i.e. encouraging inflammation), especially when we’re getting a lot more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.
So what can you use instead of vegetable oil? Well, a good choice for cooking is coconut oil. It contains primarily saturated fats, which – contrary to what you might think – are actually the safest and healthiest fats for high-temperature cooking such as roasting, frying or stir-frying, as they’re stable and have a high smoke point.
Olive oil is a great option for lower-temperature sautéing and for drizzling on salads or using in dressings. Olive oil is made up primarily of monounsaturated fats, which are more stable than polyunsaturated, and has been linked to numerous health benefits – for our heart in particular.
Spice it up
Many spices have natural anti-inflammatory activity, with winners including turmeric and ginger. Add them liberally to homemade curries and Asian dishes (use coconut oil rather than vegetable oils, of course!). Make them into hot drinks, such as homemade turmeric latte or fresh ginger tea; or find them in the form of herbal teas.
Tip: if you’re buying powdered spices, seek out organic rather than just settling for your average supermarket version for the greatest benefits. And note the colour of your turmeric: it should be an almost fluorescent orange-yellow colour if it’s a good quality one.
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.
The primary factors that can cause or worsen pain include poor posture, injury, too little (or too much) activity, and specific conditions such as arthritis. However, what you eat can also help to manage or relieve pain, or even prevent it injury in the first place.
Here are some of our top nutrition tips for managing pain.
Ditch the processed foods
Processed foods generally refers to most things that come in a packet with a list of ingredients: from biscuits to ready meals to breakfast cereals. They often contain little in the way of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. They may worsen inflammation and pain because they contain higher levels of unhealthy fats – in particular, processed omega-6 fats and ‘trans’ fats, which have pro-inflammatory properties. They often contain quickly absorbed sugars or refined carbohydrates too, which may exacerbate inflammation when consumed in excess.
In contrast, ‘real’ foods are as close as possible to how they are found in nature. They can include whole vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish, eggs and meat (whole cuts, not ‘deli’ or processed meats). These foods naturally contain higher levels of nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and pain, such as those we’re going to look at in more detail below.
Eat magnesium-rich foods
One of the nutrients that may help to manage pain and inflammation is magnesium. Magnesium helps our muscles to work normally, including helping them to relax, which in turn helps to avoid or relieve muscle tension that can contribute to pain. This mineral is also important for the nerves.
Magnesium is found primarily in whole unprocessed plant foods – especially green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, seeds and nuts, and whole grains including rye and buckwheat.
Include oily fish
Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies are high in omega-3 fats. These fats have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore may help to manage pain. The specific omega-3s in fish (EPA and DHA) can be more beneficial than the types of omega-3 found in seeds such as flax seeds.
Aim to eat a serving of oily fish around three times a week. These can include tinned sardines and salmon as long as they do not contain added vegetable oils (olive oil is fine). Note that ‘omega-3 fish fingers’ are not a good source of omega-3 fats – stick to the real thing!
Get plenty of vitamin C
You may know vitamin C for its role in the immune system. But in fact the primary role of vitamin C is in making collagen – a protein that forms the basic structure of most of the body’s tissues, including the bones, joints and muscles. If your body can’t make collagen properly, these tissues will lose strength and function, contributing to not only day-to-day pain but also potentially painful conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
Eating a variety of vegetables and fruit is the best way to get enough vitamin C. Although ‘five-a-day’ is the well-known recommendation, we should be aiming for at least seven portions a day, primarily of vegetables, in order to get good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include peppers, kale, broccoli, kiwi fruits, Brussels sprouts, watercress and red cabbage. If you can, get your veg and fruit from a local producer (e.g. a farmer’s market) as it can lose its vitamin C when it’s stored or transported for long periods of time.
Include anti-inflammatory spices
The spices ginger and turmeric in particular can have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Use fresh ginger and powdered turmeric in your cooking whenever you can, make fresh ginger tea with a grated thumb-sized piece of ginger. If you have a good vegetable juicer you can even make fresh ginger juice to sip on – but watch out, it’s strong!
Try avoiding nightshades
The ‘nightshade’ or solanaceae vegetables may worsen inflammation and pain for some people. These are aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), and peppers – including chillis and all types of chilli powder (cayenne, paprika etc.). If you’ve implemented the other changes for at least three months and not noticed a significant improvement in your pain, then try eliminating the nightshade vegetables.
Consider eliminating gluten
Gluten is a protein that’s found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. The most severe reaction to gluten is coeliac disease, where the sufferer has to avoid gluten for the rest of their life. But some people who do not have coeliac disease may also react to gluten in a less severe way, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. If you’re cutting out gluten it can be best to work with a nutrition practitioner (e.g. a nutritional therapist) for support to make sure you’re not missing out on any nutrients.
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Did you know… Those who suffer with chronic back pain might notice it gets worse during autumn and winter.
In fact… Although there’s not much scientific evidence that shows a link between chronic pain and humidity, temperature changes and wind speed, weather changes can affect those, who suffer with joint pain conditions, especially arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Did you know… The most commonly accepted reasoning is that with colder temperatures comes lower air pressure, that can cause joint tissues to expand—further worsening joints already prone to swelling and tenderness
If cold weather worsens your pain, you can prevent it yourself and combat it with these three simple steps:
Including heat therapy in your daily routine can help to reduce stiffness and boost healing through increased blood circulation. Try applying a warm towel or a heating pad to your painful area for about 20 minutes for temporary pain relief. You can also go for over-the-counter heat wraps
If you like swimming, try to visit heated indoor pool with hot baths, Jacuzzis and saunas a few times a week for almost instant relief from your pain
As tempting as it is to just stay on the sofa during winter evenings, it is crucial to keep your spine mobile and stay active. If your pain is too severe to go to the gym, try long walks with hiking poles or Pilates at home
Autumn has arrived, bringing shorter days and less light. This change in the amount of light is a signal to animals, plants and, before the light bulb, people, that seasons are changing. While those most dramatically affected are those in the higher latitudes, many people in the UK are negatively affected by this shift.
Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘winter depression’ is a type of a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, with symptoms more severe between September and April. The NHS estimates that SAD affects approximately one in 15 people in the UK during the darker months.
Symptoms of SAD include:
Lethargy, lack of energy, inability to carry out a normal routine
Sleep problems, difficulty staying awake during the day, but having disturbed nights sleeps
Loss of libido, disinterest in physical contact
Anxiety, inability to cope
Social problems, irritability, disinterest in seeing people
Depression, feelings of gloom and despondency for no apparent reason
Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, leading to weight gain
Many people in the UK suffer with SAD, so it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
While light therapy is a popular treatment for SAD, lifestyle factors play a large role too. Getting as much natural sunlight as possible is particularly important, as is managing your stress levels. Exercise is also integral to the treatment of SAD. It has long been known that regular exercise is good for our physical health, but studies also show exercise to be of benefit to our mental wellbeing. Exercise gives you control of your body and is a known mood booster.
Your chiropractor can give you a general check to make sure that your bones, joints and muscles are functioning properly and advise on the best exercise solution for you.
A key contributing factor to seassonal affective disorder and depression has been vitamin D deficieny/insufficiency. The British National Diet and nutrition studies have found that up to 25% of British adults are low in vitamin D. This is becuase it is impossible to get enough Vitamin D from food sources alone. Therefore this can be successfuly managed with with the adition of vit D3 supplements.
Beeston chiropractic clinic stocks the very best Vitamin D3 with vit K2 Supplement.
Why use the vitamin forms D3? – We use D3 in all our vitamin D supplements as it is the body’s preferred form being the same form as is naturally produced by the body in response to sunlight.
What are the benefits of vitamin D? – Vitamin D has a number of recognised health benefits. Adequate levels of vitamin D are necessary for the normal functioning of the immune system. Our bones and our teeth require good levels of vitamin D for optimum mineralisation, and it plays a crucial role in the utilisation of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is also required for normal muscular function. It also is necessary for cell division, and therefore important to every single cell in the body!
Why chose this Vitamin D? It’s high dose -one delicious chewable tablet delivers 5000iu of vitamin D3 made with cholecalciferol (the most bio-available form) Vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol is the best absorbed and utilised form for the body to use.
It’s sublingual meaning it absorbs into your bloodstream without, giving it greater absorbency making it far more effective.
It’s made with STEVIA which is a natural plant based sweetener, the least disruptive for the body; maintaining blood sugar balance and its’ easy on the tummy!
It’s currently the ONLY sublingual 5000iu vitamin D3 with K2 supplement made with stevia in the whole world!
It tastes great, made with natural mango flavouring. It’s gluten free, dairy free and suitable for vegetarians.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup has focused the world’s attention on a sport where injury is the norm. Some teams have played games that are just four days apart and, because of the intensity of the action, injuries become part and parcel.
Statistics have shown that for every 1000 hours of playtime within the Rugby Football Union, (RFU) there is 86 injuries as per the 2017/18 season. This compares to 17 for international football and just 2.8 for international cricket.
Many situations around the rugby field particularly increase the chance of injury occurring, such as tackling and scrummaging. The average force through the shoulder during a tackle is 166kg and stresses are passed right through the body to the neck, upper back, arms, low back, hips, knees and ankles. Injuries don’t just occur with contact; as with any physical activity muscular injuries can also occur when running and kicking.
As with many sports, rugby injuries fall into two categories: traumatic and overuse. Traumatic injuries usually result from tackles or collisions with other players and are often unavoidable, even during training. Concussions, ligament damage and fractures do occur on the pitch although the impact and severity of these traumatic injuries can be reduced by maintaining good technique at all times as well as wearing gum shields, headgear and shoulder pads.
Overuse injuries build over time and are the result of the combined negative effects of a mildly traumatic action that’s repeated over and over again. Shin splints that result from regular training and practicing are an example of overuse or chronic injury. The injury usually starts as a niggling discomfort with increasing pain developed over time.
It is also common for an overuse injury to develop into an acute traumatic injury where a succession of micro-traumas weakens the area making it more susceptible. Sudden sprains, muscles and ligament tears often occur in this manner.
The most common rugby injuries are leg injuries such as groin or hamstring strains where adductor or hamstring muscles are stretched beyond their limits. Strain injuries can vary in intensity but are usually painful and result in swelling, bruising and a reduced ability to use the affected muscle. The same occurs for a sprain with the ligaments that support the joints becoming over-stretched. Pain, swelling and bruising occur along with difficulty moving the joint. Joints commonly affected in this way during rugby participation are shoulders, lower back and sacroiliac joints.
Rapid stopping, starting and changing direction also places stress onto the knees and ankles. The structure of the knee means a ligament injury is most common, with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) strains, ruptures and tears, the most common. Both the ACL and PCL can be injured or torn by a sudden twisting of the knee joint. Meniscal (cartilage discs that sit in between the femur and tibia) injuries also commonly occur as a result of twisting, pivoting, decelerating or a sudden impact and often require surgical repair if severe or non-responsive to more conservative care.
It is important to remember, as with any sport, that prevention is better than cure! Stretching properly before and after any sport is vital to reduce injuries, especially in the frequently affected muscle groups such as the groin and hamstrings.
Often, subtle differences in the way we move can place more stress on the joints of our body. The best way to minimise the chances of an injury taking place is to ensure your body is working optimally. A chiropractor will be able to assess how your joints are working, and identify any areas that could potentially lead to an injury. They will then help to address the problem and to strengthen the area, working with you to ensure your body is functioning as required.
In the first instance it is best to sit with your feet on the ground and place your spine up against the back rest of the couch, with your hips and knees in a 90 degree right angle. This may be complicated if you have an oversized couch, this can be remedied by placing a pillow or two behind the small of your back or by folding one over in half if they are feeling too soft.
Another pitfall when relaxing on your settee at home, is that often the neck, upper back and shoulder support is inefficient leading you to often strain holding your neck forward in an awkward position. If so, you can build your pillows up to shoulder blade level ensuring that your spine remains vertical.
2) “Stacksit” on the edge
Stacksitting is a good option for those who have soft couches, which often feel like they will eat you whole. Even with only a small amount of support on the backs of your thighs, will create a good stretch on your spine. By giving more comfort in the longterm, by saving your spine from the pain caused by over arching your back when sinking into a soft non-supportive couch.
The stacksit can be achieved by placing yourself on the edge of the couch and slightly pushing your pelvis forward. You can avoid rocking, by setting your shoulders backwards and pulling your shoulder blades together. If you find that your knees are above your hip joints, you can cross your legs over at the ankles and let your knees roll open to each side or by extending your legs out infront of you. By crossing your legs and allowing your thighs to drop down further encourages pelvic anteversion. Alternatively if you are struggling with flexibility, you can cheat by sitting on an extra pillow to elevate the hips.
If you are able to take full advantage of the space on your couch, another comfortable option is reclining, as long as you don’t have to share with anyone else.
Using the full length of the sofa you can extend your legs, and support your spine with the arm rest. The common pitfalls with this position is that most arm rests fall too short or are too vertical to lay against, which lead to a poorly supported slumped position. This can be remedied by the use of pillows tucked into the small of your back to support the natural curve of your spine and stop the pelvis from slipping posteriorly. Careful again of straining to hold your neck, shoulder or upper back forward.
Important to note with any of these positions, is the angle that you may be facing when looking at the television. Like with any desk based computer work, it is important to keep the height at eye level and facing head on.