Summer time has arrived – well it did make a short appearance, and sport is in full flow with Wimbledon and the Euros, so it gives us added insentive to get out there and take part but with it comes 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 in habitual exertion, so when lifting, take the weight on bent legs, keeping the back straight.
Could your mattress be the cause of your back pain? It’s time for a change!
While buying a new mattress can be a costly investment, it is important to take note of the signs that it needs replacing to reduce back and neck pain which can be triggered by a bad mattress. This is usually down to people only changing their mattress once every ten years, despite recommendations to do so every seven years, as advised by venerable sources such as the Sleep Council.
How often you change a mattress depends on lots of factors, including your weight and how well you care for your mattress. As soon as your mattress stops supporting your back, know that it’s time to get a new one.
5 signs that it’s time to change your mattress:
You wake up feeling stiff or aching.
You had a better night’s sleep somewhere else.
Your mattress is misshapen or sagging.
Your mattress creaks when you move.
You can feel individual springs.
4 factors to remember when choosing a new mattress:
Choose a mattress that supports your weight; a heavier person will need a more supportive mattress than someone who is lighter in weight.
Test your mattress before buying; your spine should be parallel to the mattress when lying on your side. Make sure your spine doesn’t sag, as this is a sign your mattress is too soft, or bow, as this is a sign that it’s too hard.
When selecting a suitable pillow, make sure it allows your neck to become a continuation of the straight spine created by your well-suited mattress, making sure that your neck neither too high or too low.
If you share a bed with your partner, make sure they are with you at the time of purchasing your mattress. Your ideal mattress tensions could be different. If this is the case, try buying from a range that allow two single mattresses to be zipped together so that you both get the support you need.
Don’t forget to check out our short video on the website for more information (http://www.beestonchiropractic.co.uk/public-videos/). Your chiropractor can offer further help and advice. We also stock two types of memory foam pillows so ask at reception for more details.
Think of holidays and most people will dream up images of days spent having a good time, perhaps relaxing in the sun or pursuing new interests. But how many people would wish to imagine themselves lying down indoors with back pain?
Unanticipated injury, such as back pain, can spoil a good holiday – don’t let it spoil yours. Aim to reach a good level of fitness before you go away, and when taking part in sports, make sure you know how play them properly.
Whatever physical activities you choose to engage in, bear in mind that a good number of back complaints are offset by failing to warm up properly before exercising.
Different sports have different guidelines as to how you should take care of your back. For example, when swimming it’s important not to try to keep the whole of the head out of the water, as this places considerable strain on the neck and shoulders, which can lead to problems in the lower back
Golf can present its own problems, particularly if the muscles aren’t warmed up beforehand in order to cope with the rotation (twisting) of the lower back when swinging the club. Prevent this by practising stretching and flexibility exercises before playing.
Whether it’s emptying the car boot or moving files at work, we all end up lifting heavy loads once in a while. However, many of us find it hard to lift objects correctly in way that we don’t injure our backs. So, what should we be doing to protect our spines? Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions that could be useful in helping prevent back injuries:
Have you checked the object before you try to lift it?
Test every load before you lift by pushing the object lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it moves. This tells you about how heavy it is.
Remember, a small size does not always mean a light load.
Is the load you want to lift packed correctly?
Make sure the weight is balanced and packed so it won’t move around as loose pieces inside a box can cause accidents if the box becomes unbalanced.
Is it easy to grip this load?
Be sure you have a tight grip on the object before you lift it.
Handles applied to the object may help you lift it safely.
Is it easy to reach this load?
You can be injured if you arch your back when lifting a load over your head.
To avoid hurting your back, use a ladder when you’re lifting something higher than your head.
What’s the best way to pick up an object?
Use slow and smooth movements. Hurried, jerky movements can strain the muscles in your back.
Keep your body facing the object while you lift it. Twisting while lifting can hurt your back.
Keep the load close to your body. Having to reach out to lift and carry an object may hurt your back.
“Lifting with your legs” should be done only when you can straddle the load. To lift with your legs, bend your knees, not your back, to pick up the load. Keep your back straight.
Try to carry the load in the space between your shoulder and your waist. This puts less strain on your back muscles.
How can I avoid back injuries?
Pace yourself. Take many small breaks between lifts if you are lifting a number of things.
Don’t overdo it – don’t try to lift something too heavy for you. If you have to strain to carry the load, it’s too heavy.
Make sure you have enough room to lift safely. Clear a space around the object before lifting it.
Look around before you lift, and look around as you carry. Make sure you can see where you are walking. Know where you are going to put down the load.
Avoid walking on slippery, uneven surfaces while carrying something.
Don’t rely on a back belt to protect you. It hasn’t been proven that back belts can protect you from back injury.
Get help before you try to lift a heavy load and use a trolly or some other leverage, if you can.
Summer is most definitely here, and it is time to get outside and enjoy it! With the warmer weather, there will be an increase in outdoor sport activities. The best way to take full advantage of this season is to keep your health in tip top shape as well. Here are a few ways in which chiropractic care can help you to stay on top of your health and prepare you for the season ahead.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent injuries
No matter what type of outdoor activity you plan to take part in this summer, regular visits to your local chiropractor are helpful in reducing the risk of injury, ensuring you are not putting too much strain on your joints, and checking that your nervous system is functioning normally. Whether you are running, riding a bike, playing ball, gardening, or spending time outdoors with your kids, plan a visit to your chiropractor to learn the best practices to keep your muscles and joints healthy in order to reduce the risk of injury and pain.
Chiropractic care can help reduce the stress of a busy summer season
With warmer weather comes busier schedules. Whether your calendar is booked because you are spending more time with your kids as they have time off from school, or dealing with a busier work schedule, stress seems to be inevitable as the seasons change. Regular chiropractic care is a great way to reduce and prevent stress that can negatively affect your joints and overall health.
The bottom line is that in order to assure you get the most out of the season, and stay on top of your health, you need to take care of yourself.
An often overlooked yet crucial factor in the treatment of chronic pain is rehabilitation. Whilst treatment of the initial pain episode is of huge importance, rehabilitation is essential if recurrences of pain are to be avoided.
Rehabilitation is essential for those who do not wish to suffer from chronic episodes of recurring back pain. If the causal problem is not addressed after the first episode, the chances of another bad episode within four years are significantly increased.
After the cause of each episode of pain is pinpointed and treated, an exercise programme should be drawn up and supervised to prevent recurrences of the problem. This may include personalised stretching exercises for flexibility or strength exercises to tone and condition muscles. It is important that exercise regimes are introduced gradually and monitored carefully.
A proper rehabilitative programme should combine the following four important elements:
Aerobic exercise for endurance
Strength, balance and co-ordination exercises.
Stretching muscles should be done slowly and gently. After around ten seconds, a stretch starts to have maximum benefit, so it should be held for at least 20-30 seconds. It is important not to bounce as you stretch, which may cause damage and does not improve flexibility.
Aerobic exercise releases stress-reducing hormones and burns fat, and also increases your sense of well-being. It therefore works in two ways – not only strengthening muscles to make pain episodes less likely, but also reducing tension that can cause initial injury.
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 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 carpel 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, 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.
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.
When you are suffering with back pain, whether it is in the neck, between the shoulder blades or in the lower back, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do. Do you sit, rest, keep active, use heat or cold?
The most common cause of back pain is when the joints of the back become restricted due to abnormal stress such as, incorrect posture, degeneration and emotional stress. This causes tightening and inflammation around the joints resulting in muscles tightening in order to protect that area of the spine from further trauma. Muscle tightness causes the joint to be even more restricted in movement and therefore causes more joint inflammation and the cycle continues. People suffer from different types of back pain, some with tightening but others without, and therefore they will require a different treatment plan.
Chiropractors have the skill of removing joint restriction by using spinal adjusting to address the underlying problems of back pain. However, secondary problems of muscle tightness and joint inflammation require ongoing treatment so there are certain things a patient can do to relieve the pain.
The recommended treatment for back pain without muscle tightness is a cold treatment. This is simply a cold pack applied to the injury, which acts like a painkiller reducing the inflammation.
A Cold treatment can be used in any area of inflammation. i.e. spine or joint inflammation and restriction, knee swelling, sprained ankle etc.
For back pain with muscle tightness a hot pack is more suitable. Tight muscles are usually tender to touch, you can sometimes feel pea-sized knots and crystals in the muscle, heat relaxes the muscle and improves flexibility. Hot treatment can be used alone over tight muscles when they have contracted due to overuse, or ache following being used in a different way.
Hot & Cold Treatment
Leaving a hot pack on the spine for a long time can increase the inflammation and cause the pain to increase. In this case once relaxation has occurred a cold pack is placed over the area to help decrease the joint inflammation.
It is always best to consult a Chiropractor first but the advice is not to rest, but to try and keep active, manoeuvring the joint at least every 20 – 30 minutes. Combine this with the hot or cold method of treatment and you will help relieve the pain resulting in a quicker recovery.
We are very excited to be in a position to offer a full-time associate position taking over an existing patient list in a busy multidisciplinary clinic. The successful candidate with be working with two other full-time chiropractors, two massage therapists and an acupuncturist. The clinic is fully furnished with new Atlas tables, a digital x-ray system and a computerised patient management system. The position can also offer mentoring through the Royal College of Chiropractors PRT scheme if required. The clinic serves a wide community within the East Midlands with two Universities on the doorstep, thriving industry and an assortment of sporting opportunities. After 28 years in the area, we enjoy a great working relationship with local GP practices and most referrals are from word of mouth by way of the excellent reputation the clinic has developed over the years. It would be great to meet someone who feels they would like to join the team and have the opportunity to grow and develop their skillset.