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 a 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.
There are many symptoms that can signal problems with your spine. It is important to monitor these symptoms to ensure you are maintaining a healthy spine.
Headaches, backaches and sore spots in your muscles or joints are all signals from your body telling you that something is not working right. Feeling fatigued can also mean that there is misalignment of the spine. This can cause interference in the brain and body communication and can lead to fatigue.
Having to crack your neck, back or other joints frequently is also a sign of an unhealthy spine. Abnormal movement of the spine can cause stiffness. Subluxations decrease spinal mobility and create stiffness.
Jaw clicking is another sign of an unhealthy spine. Your jaw can be affected by misalignments in your neck. This causes a clicking sound when opening and closing the mouth.
Lower back pain can be excruciating, especially while trying to get a good night’s rest. It may seem impossible, but there are some sleeping tips that can help.
Be sure to have a pillow that supports both the head and the neck. Finding the right pillow is crucial in keeping your spine in complete alignment throughout the night. Make sure the pillow is sturdy enough that your neck is aligned with the rest of your spine, both while sleeping on your back or side. Be sure the space beneath your neck is completely filled to support its curve. Double check that the pillow is firm enough to support this alignment throughout your sleep.
Sleeping in the fetal position with knees drawn towards the chest at 90 degrees, is a good sleeping position. Sleeping on your side also helps keep the neck in line with your spine. Keeping a pillow between your knees also helps to stabilise the hips. If you prefer to sleep on your back, be sure to properly align your body from head to toe and prop your knees up with a small pillow.
You can also take a reclined position by keeping one leg straight and the other one bent at the knee. This slight incline helps to relieve disc problems. A shallow pillow also helps to reduce backpressure.
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.
Pilates is one of the best exercises you can do for your spine. It is low impact, gentle on your joints and is a great choice whether you are trying to prevent injury or recovering from one.
Pilates is a full body experience that provides a challenging workout while also strengthening the spine and trains the muscles in your body to work in unison.
Pilates focuses on supporting the structure of your body, which is centered on your spine. It focuses on working from your core outwards. Each exercise starts from the muscles that support and surround your spine. When your spine is supported, your whole body functions better. You become more balanced and have more freedom to move.
Pilates lowers stress and increases energy levels. The focus on breath with movement encourages fresh oxygen intake and the release of toxins into your lymphatic system to be dispensed.
Feeding more oxygen into the body helps decrease stress levels and leaves you feeling energised and ready to go. Pilates has also been linked to a reduction in stress and better sleep.”
Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, shape, size, fitness, or ability level; it provides benefits for all.
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Sitting is one of the worst positions for the lower back. The amount of pressure put on discs when sitting is double compared to when we are standing. The lower back is negatively affected and this can cause recurrent pain.
Without doing any wrong movements or direct injuries, the back can be hurt by long term sitting. It will definitely have an impact on your nervous system, which is your body’s communication tool. If your nerves don’t communicate properly it can impact your overall health.
An evaluation by a chiropractor is important to make sure that any misalignments in your nerve system are treated before they start to negatively affect your overall health. Standing is the best counter reaction to sitting. This is why standing desks are becoming more and more popular.
You should move and stand up for a minimum of 5 minutes every hour that you sit. Use your lunch break to go for a walk or just stand for a while.
We may think we are too tired to stand but in fact our body gets more tired the more we sit. Try to reduce your sitting period by an hour daily and your body will notice the difference.
Car accidents often cause whiplash which creates misalignments in the neck or back. Sometimes the pain is felt almost immediately, but it can also begin after adrenaline levels have stabilised. Even if there is no immediate or subsequent pain, it is a good idea to have the alignment of your neck and back checked by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
If you experience dizziness, headaches, soreness, nausea or discomfort in your neck or in your back, you may have had whiplash. These symptoms do not always show up immediately, so if you begin treatment promptly, you can help save yourself from pain and discomfort.
It is a natural response for your body to become inflamed after a car accident in response to muscle and ligament stretching and tears. If you are feeling sore and achy, inflammation may be to blame and chiropractic care could help realign the spinal column and release muscle tension, easing pain and discomfort.
It is not uncommon to avoid seeking medical care after a car accident when you are not experiencing intense pain, but you should know that minor injuries can lead to long-term chronic pain and other issues.
Frozen shoulder, a painful condition that many people experience, is also known as ‘adhesive capsulitis’, and affects around 5% of the UK population.
This condition occurs when the capsule of the shoulder suddenly becomes thickened, in which it adheres the humeral head of the upper limb. This causes a significant loss of motion, as well as associated pain and a loss of normal function.
While the exact mechanism for frozen shoulder remains somewhat unclear, it is thought to occur in response to prolonged inflammation within the shoulder joint.
Frozen shoulder has been shown to result in significant postural deviations that are typical of people who spend too much time in a seated position.
This means excessive thoracic curvature, forward shoulders, and a permanently elevated scapula. In this manner, the shoulder often appears to be in a position of permanent ‘shrugging’.
Chiropractic care is commonly used to treat frozen shoulder. Joints and muscle tissues undergo manipulation. The chiropractor applies pressure and stretches key points to help reduce pain and resolve the condition.
Most of us are aware of the importance of calcium for our health, especially for our bones. However, 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.
The many roles of magnesium
- 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.
As chiropractors, we regularly see patients with these symptoms – especially pain and muscle dysfunction, of course. If any of them ring true for you, you are likely to benefit from getting more magnesium into your diet.
Where can we find magnesium?
The main sources of magnesium in our diet are plant foods, particularly the following:
- Green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach
- Seeds and nuts – particularly pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
- Whole grains – especially buckwheat and rye
- Beans and pulses.
How much magnesium do we need?
The general adult recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 375mg. Like any nutrient, our requirements can vary, and the amount of magnesium present in foods – even the foods mentioned above – 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.)
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.
We ARE open! updated 11th January 2021
We are staying open!
Further to the Prime Ministers announcement on Monday 4th January,
we felt it would be appropriate to inform you that looking after the
health of our patients is always our absolute priority and in this
challenging time where we face a third COVID-19 lockdown, we are OPEN and here to provide chiropractic care.
Please be assured that if you have an appointment or would like to
schedule one, we are currently fully operational until guided otherwise
by our governing body and so your appointment can go ahead.
After the initial lockdown in March, we implemented new protocols as
advised by our professional bodies. We have since created a “new patient
journey” which has been consistently implemented so our clinic is as safe a place now for everybody, as it was in our May reopening.
We kindly ask you to continue to follow the measures we have in place to keep everyone safe and healthy.
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