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 unhabitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.
It is no secret that a healthy, balanced diet has endless benefits for our health. Knowing in more detail about the amount of vitamins and minerals we need in our diets will only enhance those benefits and decrease out chances of developing deficiencies later on in life. Here is a easy and healthy diet plan for you to follow which explains which vitamins and minerals you need and how best to obtain them; but first, let’s start with some of the foods you should be avoiding:
- High saturated/animal fats
- Refined foods
- White flour
- White sugar
- Carbonated drinks
All of these foods adversely effect the body’s use of minerals and vitamins so be sure to limit these foods from your diet; or if you can, eliminate them completely. Below are some of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for keeping your body, muscles and joints healthy:
Collagen is extremely important in maintaining the structure of bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels and in order to produce strong efficient collagen, you require vitamin C. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, green leafy vegetables and cauliflower.
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and it capable of regenerating other antioxidants. Antioxidants swoop up free radicals, which is useful in preventing damage to joint surfaces and muscle cell regeneration. These antioxidants are present in fruits and vegetables, them most in the brightly coloured ones!
Healthy magnesium levels are important because it contributes to efficient muscle contractions and the conduction of nerve impulses. Low magnesium levels can actually affect the body’s calcium levels, therefore putting bone health at risk. Magnesium can be acquired from green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains and nuts.
Essential fatty acids reduce the degenerative changes in tissues and cells and help guard against some cancers. These are highly unsaturated fatty acids. They can be found in foods such as fish, nuts and avocados.
We have implemented careful procedures following a full risk assessment and staff training as advised by the British Chiropractic Association. After a few days of trialling these procedures, we are comfortable that we are able to deliver a safe environment and treatment for patients who are in need of our support.
We would like to encourage those patients who are in the high risk groups to delay as long as they can, but would like to reassure them that we are here for them in other ways. If they are unable to come in to the clinic we can offer Telehealth consultations and we are satisfied with the support that these can offer to them. Please ask for details or check the online booking system for an appointment.
There is a specific procedure to follow once you arrive on site and so far we are very grateful that the patients who have attended, have respected this and supported us in ensuring the safety of themselves our team and other patients. Thank you.
- Before your appointment, you will be sent an online self-assessment Covid-19 questionnaire. Please complete this on the day of your treatment.
- The clinic entrance door is now open so you can come into reception and wait if there are no more than three people in reception. The receptionist can confirm if it is safe to come and wait or you can wait in your car if you prefer and we will come and collect you. If you can check-in online please do or scan the code reader on the door.
- Please bring your own gloves and masks if you have them. We do have supplies so don’t worry if you don’t.
- We will ask you to sanitise your hands, sign a consent form, take your temperature and get you changed. ALL patients will be expected to undress to their underwear and wear a clinic gown, gloves and a mask throughout their time in the clinic.
- Please pay by contactless cards and dispose of your PPE carefully either in the bin by the door of take it home to reuse. Thank you for your support in keeping us all safe.
Spinal and muscle health is a crucial part of overall health, and if not trained or kept mobile, can deteriorate quickly and lead to injuries. Daily walks, stretching and aerobic exercises are just some of the activities that keep the spine and body healthy and aligned.
Strengthening exercises should be performed regularly, starting with slow stretches followed by targeted muscle exercises. This regular practice will help avoid back pain or injuries.
Back strengthening exercises can be divided into three groups:
- Power: repetitive muscle contractions to a state of fatigue
- Stretching: slow static stretching of the muscles
- Aerobic: exercises that involve large muscle groups
Start by training your posture and the entire body will benefits from the simple readjustment. Crucial to those who sit or stand all day, readjusting the posture removes pressure from the pelvis and hip muscles, which become strained when maintaining one single position. Stretching becomes essential in regaining mobility and releasing muscle tension, elongating various muscles groups and strengthening the spine.
All exercises should be performed slowly, without discomfort, to avoid injury. When performing strengthening exercises and stretching, do not forget to exhale at the moment of tension and inhale while relaxing.
You do not need to wait for discomfort and pain to manifest in your spine, it’s beneficial to regularly perform exercises to strengthen the spine and prevent any issues:
- Constantly monitor your posture
- Do sports, remember that the body is not adapted for sitting, but created for movement
- Choose the right chair and sit with a straight back
- Avoid carrying heavy objects
Remember that a healthy back is the key to healthy body.
With long distance running marathons and triathlons becoming increasingly popular as well as a increasing array of high intensity exercise classes like Zumba, Barry’s Bootcamp, HulaFIt, calf muscle injures are seen more commonly.
How does it happen?
Calf strain occurs when the muscle at the back of the lower leg becomes damaged or inflamed due to excessive strain or force being placed on the calf muscle. These injuries often arise from sports that involve repeated jumping or change of direction as well as explosive sprinting or long distance running.
Calf muscle tears get more common as we get older due to the loss of elasticity in our muscles and tendons. Soft tissue injuries get more common if you over train a certain structure and eventually it breaks. Often injuries can start with micro-tears in the calf muscle and achilles tendon and this in turn can result in a to a complete tear.
What are the symptoms?
Patients are likely to feel aching and stiffness which becomes more apparent first thing in the morning and often the calf will feel weak, making the patient unable to resume activity and sometimes bear weight resulting in a limp.
How can I prevent it?
If you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time, to prevent injuries you need to start off very slowly and gently. Start with non-ballistic exercises such as calf raises and progress the program to eventually include ballistic exercises, maybe 3 months later.
Warming up and stretching after exercise is always recommended but be careful not to overstretch or put excess force on calf muscles. Stretch until there’s light tension in the muscles, taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling. Hold that position for 15-to-30 seconds, relax and repeat up to four times. Stay still and don’t bounce during stretching. Don’t push yourself to the point of pain; ease the stretch until it is comfortable.
Many people feel tired or run-down at some point during the day. A lack of energy could affect your daily activities and make you less productive. The type and quantity of food you eat play an essential role in determining your energy levels during the day. A few simple changes in your diet may be all you need to get back to your brighter self. Give yourself an energy overhaul with the following tips.
Eat every three hours
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon, with no longer than three hours between. This will stop those cravings for sweet foods. Keeping snacks such as vegetable sticks and hummus or peanut butter and oatcakes to hand will help you to resist sugary hits and keep your energy stable.
It is important to regularly top up your liquid levels, to help you to feel more alert and focused, and to get rid of any brain fog. Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so replenishing during the day helps to keep us feeling our best. Aim to drink two litres of water throughout the day.
Power up with protein
Instead of carbohydrate-loaded cereals, switch to a lean protein source for breakfast. Protein takes longer to digest, so it will keep you fuller for longer, and also helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Try eggs, salmon and avocado to start the day. A protein-focused lunch will also help to curb the notorious afternoon dip, and a protein shake will keep your energy steady.
Be clever with sugar
If you are craving sweets all the time, swap to something with less sugar. Try eating dark chocolate, which you might be less prone to eating too much of. That’s because milk chocolate is mostly sugar and milk solids, but dark chocolate is richer in cocoa and satisfying after a square or two. Berries are also a good choice as they have sugar, but the fibre will help “buffer” the sugar high to prevent energy levels from rising and falling.
Start buying wholegrain alternatives for your bread, pasta and rice. Whole grains release energy slowly as their carbohydrates break down slowly over several hours so that they do not suddenly flood the bloodstream with sugar. Also, this gradual release helps you feel fuller for a longer time, suppresses your appetite and stops you craving sweet foods.
Aim for more vitamins
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables will help you add important nutrients and good bacteria to your digestive tract. It is important to eat such foods as broccoli and cauliflower as they are full of micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre. If you find that your eyelids are hanging in the middle of the morning, choose fruit as a snack. Peeling and eating the fruit with its invigorating aroma will give you a pickup.
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Adjusting to this new stuck-at-home lifestyle isn’t always easy. Often our new, relaxed routines include a lot of delicious food, horizontal bingeing, and restricted physical activity, which can quickly negatively affect our bodies. Here is some advice on how to fix a few common quarantine head, neck and back pains.
LOWER BACK AND HIPS PAIN
Complaints of lower back pain and hip tightness are on the rise, due to our less than active lives. The lower back is naturally curved inward; when it takes on an unnatural position for an extended amount of time, it can cause fatigue of the muscular tissues, leading to lower back pain. Sitting on a couch or bed working all day or just watching TV for weeks or months will eventually overload the hips, causing them to become tighter and less mobile.
The best ways to release tension and relax those muscles is to move often and take advantage of our daily walking to stretch and release muscle tightness. Yoga is a great way to remove lower back tension; the upward dog pose is perfect in releasing the hips of our weight and giving the lower and upper back a deep stretch.
The idea of working from home seemed like a great change, especially for those working in crowded offices. Unfortunately, the reality of working from home can be more challenging than expected. From sharing small apartments to hectic home-schooling days, finding a quiet room equipped to work can be difficult.
Many have been using their couches or chairs as desks, hunching over their computers and neglecting their spinal health. If a desk at a proper height is not available, or a chair with good back support is missing from the house, practice some hip-flexor stretches. Hip-flexor stretches release lower back tension, while regular standing breaks improve overall circulation.
We look at our phones and technology every day. Still, over the past weeks if not months, the average screen time has increased for almost everybody. The combination of collective stress and anxiety, with increased screen time and a lack of movement has caused many to experience headaches and neck/shoulder tightness. The more our heads strain down to read from a phone or computer screen, the more weight our necks needs to support. This can cause tension-type headaches and neck pain.
To strengthen the neck muscles, stand with your back and head against a wall, tucking in the chin and gently pushing the head back, using the wall for resistance. Hold for three seconds, then release for three seconds. Repeat 15 times.
Try some easy at-home stretches and vary your posture and position every hour. Take advantage of daily walks to breath in fresh oxygen and get the legs moving. Small but targeted changes to our daily routine can help us stay away from at home muscle pains.
The news has recently reported many stories regarding COVID-19, including symptoms related to the virus. Many people report experiencing shortness of breath, low oxygen levels, high temperatures/fever and fatigue. We can all easily identify three of the symptoms just mentioned, but what precisely is blood oxygen level?
Blood oxygen level refers to the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood. The oxygen is carried by red blood cells, which collect oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to the entire body.
Blood oxygen level is an indicator of how well the body distributes oxygen from the lungs to the cells. A normal level varies between 75 and 100 mm Hg while if oxygen levels are below 60 mm Hg, it is considered low and medical attention might be required, depending on the individual’s medical history.
There are many ways to measure blood oxygenations; one of the most widely accessible is via a pulse oximeter. There are no proven ways to self-assess oxygen levels without a blood test or oximeter, but by paying attention to the following symptoms, it is possible to identify an imbalance.
Low blood oxygen levels can result in abnormal circulation and cause dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, headache and visual disorders. Low levels can be caused by environmental and physical factors and can be aggravated if the patient suffers from respiratory or cardiovascular conditions.
Here are some self-care measures to help reduce shortness of breath, and improve blood circulation and oxygenation.
- Exercise. Any physical activity will help to improve our respiratory ability, letting our lungs expand and increase oxygenation.
- Bring the outside oxygen in. Open your windows daily to bring in new fresh air. Dress your room with some plants, so they take-in carbon dioxide and release oxygen—the more plants you have, the more oxygen and overall better environment.
- Quit smoking and vaping. This one is simple: smoking negatively impacts the lungs and the lungs of those around you.
- Eat green and raw foods. Eating vegetables and uncooked fruit preserves all the vitamins and minerals they supply. Fresh juices and smoothies are a great way to implement raw foods into our diet.
Maintaining good oxygen levels and blood circulation is essential at any age. Most people will not experience many oxygen imbalances in their life, but if you have found yourself experiencing shortness of breath and heightened fatigue, consult with a doctor.
Most of us are aware of the importance of calcium for our health – especially for our bones. But magnesium is another vital mineral for our bones, as well as for our muscles and nerves; it can actually be more difficult to get enough of this mineral in our diet than to get enough calcium.
Magnesium is needed for normal muscle and nerve function. Without magnesium, our muscle fibres wouldn’t be able to relax after they have contracted, and nerve impulses wouldn’t be able to travel around our body properly.”
Magnesium is vital for strong bones and teeth too. If you’re trying to improve or maintain your bone strength, it’s essential to include lots of magnesium-rich foods as well as calcium-rich foods. Magnesium is also necessary for our cells to convert the food we eat into usable energy, and also for healthy ‘psychological function’ including mood and how we deal with stress.
For these reasons, symptoms of not getting enough magnesium may include muscle cramping, tight or weak muscles, increased pain, and loss of bone strength, as well as lack of energy, low mood, greater susceptibility to stress, and even poor sleep or insomnia. The main sources of magnesium in our diet are plant foods, particularly green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach as well as seeds and nuts, particularly pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds.
The general adult recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 375mg. Like any nutrient, our requirements can vary and the amount of magnesium present in foods can also vary. But as a general rule, we need to eat four to five servings of one of these foods a day to get enough of this mineral. (One serving is about 80 grams or one handful green leafy veg, or two tablespoons of seeds, for example.)
Remember that drinking milk or eating cheese to get your calcium is not enough on its own to maintain strong bones – make sure you get plenty of those plant foods too! Also, don’t forget that weight-bearing exercise is one of the most important things to maintain bone strength.