Autumn brings a whole raft of garden tasks; time to cut back the dead plants, clear up leaves, do winter planting and get ready for winter. Our bodies are very well adapted to a variety of tasks, but we need to be careful not to take advantage of this and push our bodies to breaking point!
Clothes – Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.
Warm up – Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into heavy garden work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain.
Clever pruning – Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with. Invest in some long handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.
Using a ladder – When using a ladder or steps, make sure you are always facing it, keeping your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction. – Rather than leaning or reaching, move the ladder or step regularly to keep up with where you are. – Any kind of ladder must be firmly and safely planted in position and, if possible, have someone else there to keep an eye on things.
Take a break – Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and make sure you take regular breaks.
New NICE guidelines for low back pain and sciatica were published in December 2016.
The BCA welcomes these guidelines as they explicitly recognise the role of manual therapy in the treatment of low back pain and sciatica.
The guidelines state:
“Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.”
Notably the full guideline states manipulation requires special training: “Mobilisation and soft tissue techniques are performed by a wide variety of practitioners; whereas spinal manipulation is usually performed by chiropractors or osteopaths, and by doctors or physiotherapists who have undergone additional training in spinal manipulation.” The report can be found by clicking on this link.
Does Middle Age Signal the Start of Sleepless Nights?
Those hitting middle age are most likely to be blighted by back or neck pain aggravated by sleeping than any other age group, according to new research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).
Middle age is the time when people are most likely to see the cumulative effects of poor posture, which can in turn trigger back and neck pain. The research into this age group (45-54) found that nearly two fifths (39%) who have suffered from back or neck pain identify sleeping/mattress as the trigger for those aches, and over half (58%) admit pain keeps them from sleeping.
With a huge 87% of people in this group saying they wake up with back or neck pain – approximately one in eight (13%) every day – the BCA is now urging people to pay attention to their sleeping habits.
BCA chiropractor Katherine Jassar comments on the findings: “As we age, our bodies start to see the cumulative effect of years of poor posture, which can in turn lead to back pain. For many this pain is triggered by sleep.
“To help stop sleep from becoming a painful experience, I recommend sleeping on your side, so your neck isn’t twisted all night. In this position, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). Before bending or doing anything sudden or strenuous in the morning make sure your body – and your back – has woken up. Devoting time to exercise in the daytime is also an important step to build muscle tone and promote good posture”.
Neil Robinson, a sleep expert at Sealy, says: “We recently conducted a world sleep census which revealed that almost a third of people aged 45-54 say they never wake up feeling refreshed. To help ensure you get a restful night’s sleep it’s important to have a good mattress. Numerous people consider their mattress to be a dull purchase, but investing in a mattress which is tailored to be supportive for you is so important for your health”.
More generally, sleep/mattress is the third most common trigger for Brits with back or neck pain, affecting 34% of those people. The BCA offers these tips for those who struggle to sleep: • Update your mattress: Chiropractors recommend buying a new mattress at least every 10 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Those looking for a new mattress can now choose the one that’s right for them with Sealy’s innovative new bed selector app: www.sealy.co.uk/bed-selector/ • Buy the right mattress: Ensure your mattress is supportive for you. If you share a bed with your partner, it’s a good idea to look for two single mattresses which can be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need • Start your day right: Getting up out of bed too quickly in the morning could lead to injury. When you first wake up, try doing some gentle stretches and avoid doing anything too strenuous or making any sudden movements • Get moving: Activities such as yoga, which can improve posture, are recommended for people in the 45-54 age group. Other exercise which helps build your abdominal muscles could also help to protect your back. When exercising, warming up and warming down is essential to ensure that your joints and muscles don’t get a shock. • Straighten Up: The BCA’s Straighten Up UK programme offers a series of daily exercises to help build muscle tone and improve posture.
The research was carried out between 27/01/2016 and 02/02/2016
Tackle your back pain and neck pain this summer and ensure your chiropractic treatment is up to date!
The Euros kick off this weekend and with Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland involved, there is plenty of home interest. So, with a month of football excitement for some (misery for others!), some could be clocking up record hours on the sofa as they follow the competition in France. Make sure you are not the injury worry this summer and take care of your posture.
In consumer research carried out by the British Chiropractic Association, 41% of people said that sitting for long periods contributed to their back or neck pain and, with at least 75 hours of football on offer, some will be more at risk than ever of becoming couch potatoes!
Katherine Jassar, a chiropractor with the BCA is concerned about the effect all this extra sitting down could have: “Our lifestyles are sedentary enough but, during televised sporting events like the Euros, people spend even more time sitting down. Lack of exercise is our worst enemy and we should avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, as sitting incorrectly puts almost twice as much pressure on the back than when standing.”
And that’s not the only health hazard during this tournament. Football fans will argue that jumping up to celebrate a goal or berate the referee is an involuntary action, but doing it too quickly may be more harmful than sitting down for prolonged periods. Katherine explains: “Going from a fixed posture when sitting down to quickly jumping up on your feet in excitement could be potentially damaging.”
Follow this simple advice from the BCA to have a pain free Euro 16: • Try to ensure that you change position every twenty minutes; stand up and move around. • Make sure you are active during half time; there is plenty of light exercise you can do during the 15 minute break.
• Don’t slump, sit right back into the seat, so your back is fully against the back of the chair/sofa.
• Drink Up! – As much as possible, try drinking water instead of beer, tea and coffee; it will keep you hydrated and help you concentrate on the game. • At the end of the match, you might feel inspired to have a kick around which is the perfect way to keep active over the long summer evenings.
We see patients routinely for low back pain, neck pain, headaches, shoulder and knee pain.
When you meet Katherine for the first time, she will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for chiropractic care.
You will be asked for a great deal of information, not just about the pain or complaint that may have brought you to the clinic, but also about your past health history. Some of the questions may appear irrelevant, but they are extremely important. To ensure that chiropractic care is appropriate for your condition, she will need to establish your overall health picture. If chiropractic appears not to be suitable for you, you will be referred to your GP or relevant specialist.
This is why your initial visit is 60 minutes in duration. It is vital that we take a detailed case history, a thorough examination, provide a comprehensive report of findings to ensure you understand your complaint, and then provide treatment (if appropriate).
Your details are confidential. No one else will be allowed to see your notes without your permission.
This video may give you some idea of what to expect. If you have any questions prior to your visit Katherine, please call the clinic to discuss them.
New consumer research from the British Chiropractic Association shows that 71% of those suffering with back pain have been doing so for up to 10 years but, amazingly, many admit to not taking proactive measures to take care of their backs. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is encouraging people to practice greater self-care and incorporate simple steps into their daily routine to help prevent back and neck pain before it causes longer term problems.
The new findings by the neck and back care experts at the BCA revealed that 40% of people surveyed admit they have never done anything to actively protect their backs. Even more worryingly, just under a third (29%) confessed that they have been unable to work due to their back pain. Research from the UK Statistics Authority has also shown that the number of sick days taken due to back pain increased by 29% in the last year, from 7.7 million in 2013 to 9.9 million in 2014*.
Matthew Kerry, 37, an IT consultant from Swindon, was suffering from a prolapsed disc before he went to see his local chiropractor Sally Hobbs: “I’ve always been an active person, but a modern lifestyle and sitting at a desk all day really took its toll on my back. I have suffered with back pain on and off for two years, and when my back pain was at its worst, I couldn’t walk more than 25 metres! At the time I was due to walk my wife down the aisle but I could barely move – that’s when I knew I needed help. After going to the GP I discovered I had a prolapsed disc so I had a cortisone injection; but two weeks later, my muscles had seized and I still couldn’t walk properly. That’s when I made the decision to visit my chiropractor, Sally, who finally helped free up my spine and managed to get me moving again.”
Over half (54%) think that sitting in the same position for long periods of time has the most negative impact on their back health. Despite recognising the source of pain, almost one in 10 (8%) of those who spend the day mainly in one position don’t take regular breaks. In terms of what measures people would consider taking to protect their backs, while 7% would see a trained health professional, many more said they would try home remedies such as heat treatment (53%), rest (48%) or over the counter medication (39%) to solve their back problems. BCA chiropractor Rishi Loatey says: “As modern lifestyles put increasing amounts of strain on our backs and necks it’s becoming even more important for people to take proactive measures to protect their back health. Yet, we are seeing more and more people who have been struggling with back pain for longer periods of time. Prevention is always better than cure and it’s encouraging to see that some people told us they are taking steps to maintain a healthy posture, including limiting the amount of time they spend on laptops. However, there are a number of other simple processes that people can incorporate into their daily routine to reduce the effect that back and neck pain can have on their everyday lives. For example, people are often surprised at the positive impact that simply ensuring you take regular breaks when sitting for long periods of time, or walking regularly can have on your back.”
So, how can we battle back pain before it becomes a problem? The BCA offers the following top tips to help people keep back pain at bay: • Stop the slouch: Relax when sitting into your seat, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the back rest of the chair. Try to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. For drivers; the back of the seat should be set slightly backwards, so that it feels natural and your elbows should be at a comfortable and relaxed angle for driving. • Get up, stand up: Don’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes at a time – stand up to stretch, change position and walk around a little. If you struggle to get away then take time to gently massage the back of your head and neck as you relax your stomach region with slow easy breathing. This will help to improve posture and reduce back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine. • Walk on: Adding just a few minutes walking to your daily routine could be of benefit. For example, walk to the shops instead of driving; try walking a little faster to boost the exercise benefit; take the stairs instead the lift. • Drink up!: Try drinking water instead of tea or coffee; it will be healthier and keep your body hydrated.
* Source: Letter from the Office of National Statistics 2015 1. Office of National Statistics 2015 2. The research was carried out between: 07/01/2015 and 20/01/2015. Sample: 2,127 UK adults aged 18 – 65 on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association.