Thoracic Kyphosis (Dowager’s/Postural Hump)
Causes of Thoracic Kyphosis
We have all seen people who appear to be real “sloucher” and have a hump on their back. Some may even look like Quasimodo! There are a few different causes for this and is not necessarily due to bad posture. A chiropractor can help you determine the cause of your hump, determine if it is thoracic kyphosis and if it is causing you back pain your chiropractor can help you and give you some postural exercises as well. Some humps on the back, however, are not reversible. Here are some different causes of postural humps:
This is the type of kyphosis that is the most common. Women are more at risk of this type of kyphosis, especially Caucasian women who are petite and post-menopausal. Men are also at risk for this type of kyphosis as well. It is due to weakening of the vertebral bones in the spine, which leaves them vulnerable to compression fractures. When the vertebral bone compresses, it is usually at the front part of the bone. This leaves a wedge shape to the bone and causes the spine to tip forward. Often this happens at multiple levels and results in the formation of a postural hump – more commonly known as a Dowager’s hump because the condition is often seen in little old ladies. As a chiropractor, I have seen many patients with compression fractures of their spine due to this condition. If you suspect you may be at risk, or if you already have it, you should see your GP about getting a DEXA scan. This scan is similar to an x-ray and can measure your bone mineral density.
This type of kyphosis occurs mainly during adolescence when the bones of the spine, as well as the discs, grow abnormally. It may not be detected properly until adulthood. It is also more common in males. Depending on how early this type of kyphosis is detected, treatment may require bracing the spine or even surgery. It is also possible to manage the pain associated with this condition through exercises and physiotherapy.
If you suspect that you or possibly your child have this condition, you should bring them in to see a chiropractor. A reputable chiropractor can perform a comprehensive physical exam and arrange for x-rays to be taken to aid in determining the cause of the kyphosis. In some cases, you may be referred to your GP for further evaluation.
Sometimes the spine forms a hump or becomes kyphotic due to trauma to the spine. For instance, a compression fracture to the spine or significant damage to the supporting ligaments of the spine may lead to kyphosis. If the fracture does not heal properly, it can result in kyphosis of the spine. This is similar to the Dowager’s hump, but the causes are different. The bones have not weakened and collapsed but have instead failed due to a traumatic event.
This is the type of kyphosis that I see most frequently as a chiropractor. Often it can cause back pain and that is something a chiropractor can help you manage with adjustments, massages, and exercises. This type of kyphosis is due to slouching and lazy posture. It is more common in females. Tall people also often suffer from this as they often tend to stoop down more.
Patients can use a foam roller to help make the spine more flexible. Exercises are designed to stretch out the chest muscles that pull the shoulders forward and down, and strengthening exercises of the core and back muscles to help restore postural balance. Your chiropractor can also help you assess your environment at home and at work to see if they are contributing to your slouching posture.
Your chiropractor can help determine the cause of your kyphosis through a comprehensive history, physical and orthopaedic exam, and possibly refer you for x-rays or MRI imaging if needed, and help you to determine the best treatment options for you.
At Lushington Chiropractic we put your interests first. Our mission is to provide a warm, welcoming clinic which consistently delivers the best possible customer care, expert diagnosis and personalised healthcare. Everything about your care will be personally tailored to your needs. Call us on 01323 722499
All the best of health to you,
Are you losing your dog in the grass? How to avoid back strains from gardening
Is it time for you to get the lawnmower out? Here are some tips to avoid back strains from gardening this summer and advice on how to stay healthy!
Tips to avoid back strains from gardening: the most important thing is to make sure that you take regular breaks when gardening. Your back can manage a certain amount of hard labour but if you do all those digging and lifting jobs in one go it will be far more likely to strain, or ‘go’. Also, remember you have probably been more sedentary over the winter so you’ll need to ease back into it.
Have a break every 20 minutes or so, particularly when doing activities where you’re bending over, such as digging garden beds, so that your back can straighten and regain its normal position. This allows the tissues around your spine, including ligaments and muscles, to recover from the exertion. You can do the same amount of work in the garden overall, but spread it out over several days in order to protect your back.
Secondly, remember to stay hydrated! This is particularly important in our hot, arid British summers (!). On a serious note, strenuous gardening will dehydrate you, so do keep up your water intake. Read my blog next month to find out about infused water with ways that you can make water so much more appealing and tasty!
Lastly, alternate the types of activity you are doing in the garden. Spend 20 minutes digging then switch to pruning where you can be in a more upright position, then back to digging or weeding again. Put those breaks in between, and don’t forget to stop and enjoy your handiwork!
If you do suffer from back strain, spasms or even more serious problems with your neck and back, then why not call us here at Lushington Chiropractic – we’re here to help you!
For more information, why not explore Backblog further?
Thanks for reading!
Time to put your back into your healthcare!
Time to put your back into your healthcare!
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting the doctor. In fact, it’s estimated that four out of every five adults (a whopping 80%) will experience back pain at some point in their lives. So what are the causes and what can we do about it?
Some of the reasons are quite obvious: bad posture; prolonged periods of time using computers or tablets; carrying heavy loads. Other contributory factors are less obvious, such as not drinking enough water and not eating the right foods.
The good news is that there are some simple things we can all do to help ourselves . . .
Here at Lushington Chiropractic, we have these top tips to help people look after themselves:
- If you work at a computer, take regular stretch breaks; ensure you sit correctly and that your workstation is ergonomically right for you.
- Take care when lifting – whether you’re at work, doing DIY, gardening or lifting a young child or baby.
- Gardeners and physical workers – always use the right tools, take frequent breaks and do regular stretches.
- Children – carry your schoolbags over both shoulders to prevent uneven weight distribution and take to school only what you need for that day.
- And ladies, it’s time you looked at the contents of your handbag – do you really need all those things you’re lugging around with you all day?
- Finally, get walking! Walking strengthens the body and helps position the spine in the natural shape it was designed for. It also helps to build up core strength, which is important in maintaining good posture. We’re so lucky to have lovely walks locally, check our blog “A Step to a Healthier Lifestyle”.
Further advice and tips on posture, exercise and diet can be found across backblog.co.uk or you can ask your chiropractor at Lushington Chiropractic.
With a 10 year proven, award-winning treatment and care to over 8,000 local people. Call us on 01323 722499
This article was written by Chiropractor – James Revell
Walkies! Tips for prevention of back pain while walking your dog
Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and strengths, which is perhaps one of the reasons why we love them so much. But the huge variety of dog breeds can present different challenges to an owner. Small dogs and puppies can put strain on your back as you bend down to pet them and groom them, while larger dogs can pull like a train on the lead during what should be a sedate and relaxing walk.
In particular, it is the sudden and sharp movements of your pooch when they spot a bird or the neighbourhood cat that can cause damage. An unexpected jolt to the arm, shoulder and back mimics many of the symptoms of whiplash – something you don’t consider when you first adopt a new four-legged friend.
Here are a few hints and tips to allow you and your furry companion to keep training, exercising and playing together safely.
Avoiding back pain while walking your dog
Warming up is as important before your morning walk as it is if you are heading out to run a marathon. By doing some simple standing and stretching exercises before taking out your dog, you can get the blood moving around the body and loosen up those muscles. It is always advisable to warm up first especially if you are taking your dog outside for training classes. Once you stop to run through some drills with your pooch, it is easy for your muscles to become cold and tight – so the minute you get moving again, you put yourself at greater risk of injury.
Bend your knees
When you are bending down to your puppy or dog, always make sure you bend your knees. This may seem obvious but so many of us don’t do this. The resulting strain on the joints and muscles can turn into long-lasting injuries if you aren’t careful.
Although you may not be lifting heavy weights when you play with your dog, it can be surprising how many bending movements are involved while playing fetch or adjusting the lead. It’s also true that coaxing puppies during training can leave you in any number of awkward positions.
Avoid lifting your dog
This will help to save your own back and it also benefits the dog psychologically. Dogs like to explore places themselves and carrying them too frequently can jeopardise their sense of identity. No matter how small, a puppy or small dog can easily cause back or even shoulder or neck strain.
Wear sensible footwear
It is important to understand that your choice of footwear is important when getting out to walk your pooch. Shoes should provide comfort and cushioning, protecting against injuries such as twisted ankles and blisters. Selecting the right kind of trainer or walking shoe can make a significant difference in the long term.
It is always best to try and keep your dog on the same side for obedience and walking but there is nothing to stop you changing directions, generally doing things to keep the dog focused and your muscles evenly worked. Walking the same road in the same direction can be boring for both you and your dog but that road camber can risk ankle and knee muscle imbalances.
Take regular breaks
Small dogs and puppies can get fatigued quickly so it is a great excuse to take regular breaks during the play sessions or walks and catch your own breath. With larger dogs you can incorporate ten minutes of doing command training to keep their mind focused on you. But as we’ve mentioned above, remember to stay loose if the weather is chilly.
Go off road
Like many runners are advised, vary the terrain that you walk on. Although not all public places are dog-friendly, you are usually safe with them on a lead and showing good behaviour. Take them to different places: try the beach and walk on that shingle or sand, explore the many woods and forests – all have different terrain underfoot along with getting on the grass. Variation will help to strengthen your ankles and be a welcome break for your lower body from the unforgiving tarmac.
Whatever you do; don’t stop walking
Walking is a great natural exercise and is very beneficial for your body. Walking does not involve the same impact forces on the body that jogging does yet it can go help to strengthen the supportive muscles of the pelvis and lower back. Walking can also burn as many calories if you put in enough of a pace to feel slightly out of breath. While there are plenty of things you should consider when managing back pain, don’t miss the opportunity to get the blood pumping and keep your cardiovascular system in good working order.
The extra effort that you put into the walk the more fatigued your dog will become, which can be important if you don’t want an overly energetic and mischievous canine in the house for the rest of the day.
Hope you have found these helpful and if you have any tips or advice to share we would love to hear. Contact Lushington Chiropractic on 01323 722499.
Want Stability? Exercise with Swiss balls
Do you want to work on your stability and get a workout at the same time? Exercising with a Swiss ball could be the solution you’ve been looking for. In this article we will look at the best ways to use a Swiss ball (sometimes known as a stability ball or Yoga ball) to improve your health.
The stability ball is a piece of exercise equipment used for strength training, improving balance and core stability. It is popular not just with chiropractors but with many sportsmen and women who understand the benefits of this form of training.
You may have seen people simply sitting on Swiss balls at their office desks instead of using a chair. In fact, I am often asked if using a stability ball at work is a good idea. People see that there is chance to work their core during a time of the day that is typically considered to be sedentary, so feel that there is potential for improving strength as well as health and posture by using one. We all know that having stronger abdominals and a better core helps to protect the lower back and reduce pain. So it should be a great idea, right?
Unfortunately, not all the time. There are some drawbacks to a Swiss ball that you should be aware of. If you have been having chiropractic treatment and have been told you need to improve your posture because you normally sit with flexion in your lumbar spine and lots of forward head carriage, then a Swiss ball may sound appealing. From the bad posture in the office chair, you may manage to sit with good posture on the ball for 5 minutes ( if you are lucky). But the reality is that for the rest of the day, when your attention is on work rather than spinal alignment, you will naturally return to an incorrect position on an unsteady surface.
A study in the “Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association” by chiropractors Larry G. Merritt and Celynne M. Merritt showed that two people who reportedly suffered from lower back pain improved when they began consistently sitting on a stability ball.
However, I find that a lot of the people I see suffering with lower back pain do not have the core muscles to sustain the increased amount of workload required to sit properly on a stability ball as an office chair.
What I do find useful is to have a low back “support”. I have put support in ” because that is what it should provide you – support. Sitting correctly does require you to practise. You need to be conscious of your spinal position and what the muscles are doing around your trunk. All of this takes time to become normal for you. Here are some key points to bear in mind:
Drawbacks of a Swiss ball
- The ball doesn’t have any arm rests to help support some of the load of the body
- Your lower back has no support so muscle around your spine may get tired after only a short period
- The ball may be the correct size for you but that may not be the correct size for your worktop/desk space
- Using a Swiss ball is about creating instability, so if you already have balance issues it may be too much for you initially
- The ball could roll away
Proper Sitting Techniques
Getting started with your stability ball
If you are between 4 feet 11 and 5 feet 4, select a ball that is 55 cm in diameter. If you are between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 11, use a ball that is 65 cm in diameter. If you are over 6 feet, choose a ball that is 75 cm.
Start slowly when you first begin using a stability ball. Just 1 – 2 minutes at a time can be enough in the first few days, before you steadily build up your strength. Ensure that you retain good posture throughout. Remember: without a low back support you are likely to work the trunk support hard so try not to contract the muscles around the low back too hard. The trick is to sit upright and well but stay relaxed in those muscles. Your muscles will build strength and endurance and it will become easier for you to sit correctly for longer.
You should also seek approval from seniors before bringing your ball to work.
What else can I use my ball for?
Sitting is not the only exercise that can be done on the ball. It is a great piece of equipment to have and there are so many exercises that you can do with them. Like any new exercise routine, you should always consult a qualified professional first.
Happy Without Back Pain
Happy without back pain
Job satisfaction is important to all of us. Getting up and going to work in the morning is made much easier if you love what you do, or if there is a sense of fulfilment that can be achieved during the day.
At our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, we are fortunate to be able to see the results of our hard work on a daily basis. It is very rewarding to witness how good service and effective treatment can improve people’s lives. From the front desk to the treatment table, everyone at the clinic pulls in the same direction to maintain the very highest standards for our clients. That is what makes working here at Lushington so special. And what brings so many people to our door that have historically been reluctant to seek medical assistance because of white coat fever.
On Monday, a new client came to me at reception, sat down and openly shared her happiness at how for over 25 years she finally enjoyed a day at work without being hampered by back pain. She hadn’t expected to see swift results for her long-standing problem but after getting treatment she was so happy that she had given chiropractic a try. In fact, she was quite overwhelmed at how quickly the adjustments had benefited her and allowed her to enjoy the day.
It was lovely to hear this lady share her story with me and it reminded me why I find being a clinic assistant so rewarding. You just never know when someone is going to open up to you and it is thrilling to hear that the team around you are doing such a fantastic job.
We always love to hear how our guests are doing with their chiropractic care and also their own personal changes. If you have a story to share about the benefits of chiropractic care, we would love to know how chiropractic has helped you, either in person or on our Facebook page.
More about our Eastbourne chiropractic clinic
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning clinic in Lushington Road, Eastbourne. Here we provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, podiatry, acupuncture counselling and more. We genuinely care about our patients and we have a passion for improving their quality of life – whether it be an individual suffering from back pain or an elderly person with osteoarthritis.
Our highly qualified and genuinely caring team have over 80 years’ experience between them. We are an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest level of service to the people of Eastbourne. In fact, we are proud to say that our patients often compliment us on the genuine, friendly atmosphere here.
Chiropractic is a well known treatment for back pain and neck pain but by focusing on the root of a problem we can help relieve a wide range of dysfunctions, reducing discomfort and aiding a patient’s broader wellbeing. By making spinal adjustments and improving alignment we can encourage the body to work better. Our treatments are gentle, effective and suitable for all ages from birth to ninety.
As reputable and respected chiropractors in Eastbourne, we work closely with local GPs, consultants and private healthcare to create a more integrated system of healthcare.
Whether you’re suffering with a simple muscle spasm in your back / neck or have a more serious injury or long term problem we’re here to help you.
Call today to see why over 8,000 local people have already chosen Lushington to help them: 01323 722499.
Clinic Assistant – Claire