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An Eastbourne Chiropractor’s Wellness Tips

I’m the Clinic Director here at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne. As such I’ve had the opportunity to work with some excellent chiropractors, sports massage therapists and other practitioners over the years. Within the team we often share knowledge, ideas and research or techniques we’ve specialised in. I’ve learnt a lot from my chiropractic colleagues and in this blog, I’m sharing some Wellness Tips I’ve picked up from one of our chiropractors.

Picture showing Eastbourne Chiropractor James Revell Doctor of Chiropractic, LRCC, MSc (Chiropractic Sciences), BSc (Chiropractic Sciences) with a large glass of water next to his chiropractic notes

Your Eastbourne Chiropractor keeps himself well watered

These Wellness Tips were originally created by one of our lovely associate chiropractors Caroline Mulliner, when she lived in Eastbourne. They were so good I wanted to share them on a blog, not only for our local community but for anyone who’s looking for some practical advice to keep themselves and their spines a little healthier.

Caroline was a very popular chiropractor with us. In 2016 she moved to practice abroad. I’d like to thank Caroline for her time with us and these fantastic wellness tips:

Image of Caroline Mulliner Doctor of Chiropractic at Lushington Road, Eastbourne. Caroline shares her tips on office wellness with us.

Caroline Mulliner shares her Wellness Tips with us

A large majority of guests visit Lushington for bad back pain, quite often there has been an incident which has triggered these events, although many guests struggle with ways of best looking after their backs. Most of us find it easy to forget to look after ourselves properly. Lots of us take more care of our teeth than our spine.

Keeping healthy and active is great but take care to avoid these common pitfalls. The more abuse you put your body through the more wear and tear can build up.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a replacement spine, so look after it today to protect yourself for tomorrow.

 Wellness tips to look after yourself at home:

  • NEVER bend forward during the first hour of the day – it puts your back more at risk of injury.
  • Find a way to de-stress. Fatigue and stress lowers our pain threshold, making any aches and pains feel worse. When this is the case we’re less likely to do the things that are good for us like sit properly, drink water (not coffee) and do our stretches etc.
  • Caroline loved cooking and found that it helped her to unwind. She often juiced and made healthy meals but occasionally enjoyed an unhealthy treat, too!  As yourself what is your relaxation and unwinding trick? Find the best way to switch off and then try to make time to indulge in that activity. Have you tried cycling, baking, an exercise class, walking etc? If not, why not give them a go.
  • Get sweaty and exercise for at least 20 mins a day, 3 times a week. Find an activity or sport you enjoy; this helps to make it less of a chore and more for enjoyment. Regular exercise is great – find something you’re going to stick with.
  • Remember to evenly distribute bags when carrying them. Laptops and those large heavy handbags are the worst offenders. Almost everyone seems to have them hung over their shoulder on a long strap. A back-pack with two straps is best.

 Office wellness tips:

As we all work more and more around technology, it has never been more important to think of ways we can make our workplaces a healthier environment.

So, start making some small changes to your routine and build a better workplace. Not only will you feel better at the end of the day, you will hopefully start to feel better about your whole job. Here are some easy to change tips and advice which can help your body function better whilst being at work.

 Office chair

If you are sitting for long periods of time it makes sense that an old basic office chair isn’t doing you any favours. This is because it allows you to slump and lose the natural S shape protective curve in your spine. The best thing to do is invest in a quality chair with good lumbar support, or buy an extra lumbar support pillow to force that curve into your low back. The cheapest and simplest option is to roll up a towel and put that behind your back around the area of your trouser waist line.

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason demonstrating a slumping position at his desk, with his shoulders rounding forwards. Follow our wellness tips to avoid this.

Don’t slump at your desk, follow our Wellness Tips

 Standing desk

Standing desks have become very popular and it makes sense. It isn’t healthy to sit all day; we’re not made for this! It also can become a little uncomfortable standing all day as well.  Regular interchanges between sitting and standing is not just beneficial to our physical health, standing has a great effect on your tone of voice when on the phone as well as promoting creativity.

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason standing at work which is one of our wellness tips

Try standing at work

 Regular breaks

This is an obvious one but you do need a break from the screen, even for just a minute or two. Set a subtle alarm for every 30 minutes, when you hear it, just stretch, stand up, make a cup of tea, or go visit a colleague. Anything just to be away from the screen and your desk for just 5 minutes whilst getting your body moving. The best thing to do is pop outside and get some fresh air every couple of hours, this helps to rest your eyes, refocus your mind and de-stress. Cigarette breaks don’t count!

 Computer screen height

This is something that we chiropractors in Eastbourne see regularly. You want your computer screen to be at the same height as your eyes. It’s cheap to buy a couple of blocks to build it up or simply use some big heavy books to rest it on. If your neck is in a straighter position you are more likely to use the muscles around your neck and shoulder girdle appropriately, so less likely to suffer with neck, shoulder pain and/ or headaches.

 Ergonomic mouse

Another common work place injury is RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) from constantly using the mouse and typing all day. A good way to get around this is to evaluate your desk area, make sure your mouse, keypad and computer screen are all in alignment. Another thing to think about is an ergonomic mouse, these slightly change the position of your hand creating less stress through the area.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these simple but effective tips from Caroline Mulliner.

Remember that simply reading them won’t help – you need to get start following this chiropractic advice. If you need advice specifically on back pain, then please visit my own  website for further help and advice.

Thanks for sharing these with us Caroline.

 James 

A Typical Tuesday for your Chiropractor at Lushington Chiropractic

Here’s your chance to find out what else the chiropractors at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne get up to in the course of a normal day. You will only ever see them during your treatment but there is so much more and we thought it would be nice to share a typical day with you.

Our Doctor of Chiropractic and Clinic Director Dr James Revell starts us off by telling us about his day.

6.21am

I arrived early this morning to catch up with some files and paperwork before the day gets going. I live in Old Town, near Motcombe, so there’s no commute to work – but even on that short drive you notice how quiet and sleepy Eastbourne is at 6 O’clock. I don’t usually see patients on Tuesdays but today I’m seeing some of Mykel Mason’s because he’s away on Honeymoon.

With a team of five chiropractors and four massage therapists the clinic is always busy during the day, so I start extra early sometimes to get on with projects. The phone doesn’t ring and there’s no distractions. We increased our opening hours this summer to keep up with things, so now there’s less “quiet time” in the mornings before our clinic assistants start to arrive from about 7.15am onwards.

8.30am

Started my chiropractic work at 8am and have now just seen my second guest of the day. He is a roofer and the years of laying felt on our Sussex roofs have taken their toll, resulting in severe lumbago.

He’s got a lot of back pain at the moment. I’m used to seeing people in severe pain and in his case I’ve been using chiropractic techniques to help his muscles which have cramped up and gone into spasm around his low back. The muscle spasm is starting to improve and today we were able to use some gentle mobilisations techniques to take the pressure off the stiff joints in his low back. The chiropractic adjustments I used will have improved the movement between the joints.

Doctor of Image shows chiropractor Dr James Revell.

Doctor of Chiropractic Dr James Revell.

I always enjoy helping people who are in pain. They appreciate it and it’s rewarding to see the difference you’ve made. He felt easier as soon as he got off the chiropractic treatment bench. He’s not taking any time of work and has a busy day ahead here in Eastbourne, but at least this one is starting better than yesterday.

I like to know that I’ve made a difference and it’s always rewarding when someone feels better – especially when they feel better straight after their chiropractic treatment! My main focus is always on treating the root of the problem. I take a functional approach, which means I am aim to work out what has caused the back, hip, knee pain or whatever problem the patient has. My chiropractic treatment plan is focused on helping the muscles and joints heal, repair and actually recover, not just “feel better”. I think people like it that the hands on chiropractic treatment actually does something to help. People also appreciate the time we give them, the explanations of what wrong with the muscles and joints and what they can do to help themselves.

Ultimately I want the body to heal better not just feel better.

Although the chap I saw this morning was feeling better after the treatment I want to help his back properly repair and recover from his chronic back pain, so that we create a sustainable improvement for him. It’s still early days but I’d expect his treatment will develop to include some low-back strengthening exercises to reduce his low back pain (by the way never so sit ups!) and exercises he can use when he’s at work if his back gets painful, stiff or achy.

He also has some general aches and pains in various muscles and joints because of his years roofing. The noisiest of those is his knee, which grinds and clicks a lot. I have diagnosed him with patellofemoral pain syndrome associated with arthritis of the knee. At the moment my main focus is his low back pain, but once that starts to settle, I’ll focus treatment to include his knee as well.

I’ve seen a lot of people with osteoarthritic knee pain in Eastbourne. Although Eastbourne is famous for our ageing population, osteoarthritis can affect people of various ages. Osteoarthritis is common and often ignored by a lot of people. In my experience people can tend to just put up with it.

With osteoarthritis, every individual’s treatment varies but I usually carry out a combination of hands on treatment, including knee and leg massage and knee joint mobilisation, combined with home exercise rehabilitation, advice about vitamins and sometimes ergonomic changes.

Over the last year I’ve increasingly used a form of support taping (like kinesiotape) which seems to be helping some people and is a cheap and simple solution. My colleague Dr Vicky White will also use acupuncture (western dry needling) if that’s helpful to manage her patient’s pain.

At our chiropractic clinic, we have a big team so it’s easy to personalise the individual’s treatment to suit them, rather than to suit what I can do. Treatment for osteoarthritis is always personalised to the individual and we work in conjunction with their GP’s core osteoarthritis treatments as well.

10.30am

Image shows Chiropractor Dr James Revell with Nutritionist Michaela Jezzard

Chiropractor Dr James Revell with Nutritionist Michaela Jezzard

I caught up with Michaela Jezzard our nutritional therapist about some new plans she has for her nutritional therapy work at the clinic. She’s been doing more courses and studies focusing on detox systems, working on a very holistic basis considering energy-lines and chakras. She’s keen to offer this approach to people here in Eastbourne and surrounding areas, which would make her the only person in Sussex offering the specific approach.

11.00am

Just seen mum for a treatment. What a privilege to help your own family.

She used to get some terrible neck pain, which can cause headaches and even shoulder pain too. Some morning’s mum couldn’t even lift her head off the pillow it was so sore. She is getting on really well with chiropractic and massage treatment and day-to-day life is much easier. She’s back to gardening, hobby craft, decorating and most appreciated of looking after the grandchildren!

Today mum’s chiropractic treatment focused on some general tension and difficulty relaxing she’s noticed recently. I worked on some of the muscles at the back of her head and eased the tension through the shoulders and neck. She left feeling much better and will see Andy Swan for a massage on Thursday, which will help too.

1.00pm

So it’s the end of a busy morning as a chiropractor.

I love to be busy and make a difference. I think that’s one of the things that has affected the way that I work. I am focussed on getting to the root of a problem and helping the body to work at its best, rather than simply managing symptoms.

I don’t want to just “rub it better” I want to work out a plan of treatment (chiropractic, massage, acupuncture or whatever is needed) to help the problem that the patient is suffering with health repair and recover, to “heal better, not just feel better”.

In a few minutes we’ll discuss cases with the massage team. I’ll catch up with Andy Swan, who’ll be seeing my mum on Thursday about what she needs and he’ll let me know how he’s getting on with the patient’s he saw last week.

Next we hear from Doctor of Chiropractic Dr Deborah Ben Shah

7:45 Tuesday Morning

First of all, it is a half day at work for me, so we are already off to a good start! But the CA’s won’t be happy with me if I don’t have a look at some daily notes they have for us chiropractors to make sure the clinic is running smoothly!

Then it’s time to check the pigeon hole. I am always pleased when it has nothing new in it! All clear this morning!! Yay! But the morning is still young…

Image shows Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah with her sad and boring coffee

Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah with her sad and boring coffee!

Then it is time to pull my patient charts for today’s guests. I have a look at the diary to make sure everything is in order. Then, I fire up the computer and get my room ready for my shift. I will always have a peak at my guests’ files to see what type of guests I will be seeing for the day. Usually it is a combination of regular visit guests, new guests, and report-of-findings guests. So I like to feel that I am prepared for the day! Of course all of this is done while I am enjoying my morning coffee! No milk for me these days as I am trying to cut back of gluten and dairy. That means sad and boring coffee.

10:50

I have a little break between guests so it is time to catch up on some paperwork. When you are in the health care profession, there is ALWAYS paperwork to catch up on! The clinic is a little quieter now than it has been in recent months. Boy was it busy, and it seems I could never get on top of all my paperwork. It’s much more manageable now!

Image shows Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah seated at a desk with paperwork in front of her.

Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah catching up on paperwork.

12:50

My last guest of the day has been seen, and it is time for me to have a quick little break before our afternoon meetings! I am enjoying my delicious roasted vegetable and couscous salad that I made with lots of garlic to keep the vampires away! It has been a great day. I have had a morning streak of lots of patients telling me how well they are feeling and how happy they are with care. It almost brings a tear to my eyes sometimes when I hear guests talk about how much better they are feeling and how grateful they are. I love what I do, and even more so on days like these! But before I head home for the day, I am getting a nice little neck and shoulder rub from Kirsty, one of our fabulous massage therapists! Chiropractors need love too…and there is no shortage of love in this clinic from the staff!

Image shows Massage Therapist Kirsty Ellis giving Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah a massage

Massage Therapist Kirsty Ellis giving Chiropractor Dr Deborah Ben-Shah a massage

2:45pm

Meetings are done, and I am on my way to get my haircut. And then home for a nice relaxing afternoon and I will spend some time on Facetime this evening with my daughter and family to catch up!

Thanks for sharing your day with us Deborah.

 

Next we hear from Doctor of Chiropractic Dr Caroline Mulliner.

1:45pm

On Tuesdays I arrive mid- afternoon for our clinic team meetings. After this it’s a quick dash to get myself sorted and ready for a day of seeing guests. These afternoons always flash by in the blink of an eye because they tend to be my busiest shift at Lushington Chiropractic.

Image shows Chiropractor Caroline Mulliner arriving for the team meeting at Lushington Chiropractic

Chiropractor Caroline Mulliner arriving for the team meeting at Lushington Chiropractic

Prior to seeing guests, I like to look through my shift ahead, making sure that I have filled in all paperwork, GP letters, written x-ray referrals or have exercise sheets to hand ready to give out. I find my day flows much smoother if I get it all sorted beforehand.

2:50pm

Today I start chiropractic treatments from 2:50pm and have 10 guests in a row to see. At the beginning of a shift I always aim to stay as much on time as possible so I am on time for those who I am seeing later. This shift I have a couple of my regular chiropractic guests booked in. The first has been suffering with a lifelong history of neck related headaches. Now I only see her from time to time to ensure her body is working at its best and not tightening up due to daily stresses.

This shift I also have a number of guests who are quite new to care. It’s exciting seeing these people as they’re just beginning to feel the results of chiropractic care and realising that they don’t have to live a life with discomfort. Sometimes it can be challenging as a clinician to be positive, whilst someone is in pain and discomfort. It makes my day as a chiropractor when one my patients comes in saying that their pain has decreased or they haven’t had a headache in a week.

Image shows Chiropractor Dr Caroline Mulliner having a well deserved glass of water during her busy afternoon shift.

Chiropractor Dr Caroline Mulliner having a well deserved glass of water during her busy afternoon shift.

7pm

Once I finish with my guests, I ensure all the days’ files are written up and finished with. I tidy up my room, ready for the following day. Turn of the lights and head off home. Ready for a relaxing evening and a nice dinner after a busy afternoon.

Image shows Chiropractor Dr Caroline Mulliner holding a pile of folders

Chiropractor Dr Caroline Mulliner ensures all her files are written up before leaving for the day.

Thank you Caroline.

Next we hear from Doctor of Chiropractic Dr Vicky White

I arrive at work and spend some time catching up with two of our lovely clinic assistants, Claire and Judy, about our weekends. Last night I flew back from a long weekend in Madrid and it’s great to see everyone again! I’ve brought with me some Spanish pastries for the team to try so we’ll open those later on.  At this point in the day I usually check through my files so everything is ready for the morning shift, and begin with a mug of tea as well as breakfast, which today is spiced couscous with sundried tomatoes (I know, I’m strange like that). Dr Revell also photobombs my morning selfie…!

Images shows Dr Victoria White taking a selfie but with James Revell in the background

Chiropractor Dr Victoria White being photobombed by DR James Revell

11am

I see one of my regular guests who has maintenance treatments on a regular basis to keep her in good shape. We get along so well and its lovely to see her and has been a pleasure to treat her for the last year or more. I also have to thank her for the delicious chutneys and jam that she made for me and gave me at our last treatment – amazing!! You can tell by the photo taken at the time how pleased I was.  I also see a guest who has a new problem affecting his knee and take my time thoroughly assessing his knee and discussing a management plan with him, as well as give him some tips and some home exercises to strengthen his quads and stretch his hamstrings.

Image shows Chiropractor Dr Victoria White holding a box of 6 jars of yummy chutney.

Chiropractor Dr Victoria White with some jars of yummy chutney.

3pm

The shift is over and we go into team meetings where we discuss with the massage therapists which guests they will see that week and the progress of each guest on an individual case-by-case basis. Today this means discussing with Kirsty a guest that I’m referring to her who needs a lot of soft tissue work for her (very!) tight shoulders and lower back. The rest of the meeting involves the team going through any outstanding issues and plans for outreach events, which we have booked for the next several months throughout winter. Now I am finished and off for the rest of the day to have lunch and walk my dog!

I hope this has given you an insight into a typical day for us.  You can read more by following our online chiropractic blog Backblog

Thanks for reading,

James

 

Sugar – Which sugars you should and shouldn’t be eating.

Unfortunately, most adults and children in the UK are eating far too much sugar.

Most of the time we are unaware of the amount of sugar that is in the food we are consuming.  The obvious ones of course sweets, chocolates and fizzy drinks. But what about the foods we don’t think of that contain ‘natural’ free sugars such as in: honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

The NHS suggests that free or added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 5% of calories that you consume each day. That’s a maximum of 30g (seven sugar cubes) of added sugar a day for adults and children aged 4-6 years of age should have less than 19g, and no more than 24g (6 sugar cubes) for children aged 7 to 10 years old.

Top tips to cut down on sugar intake from Lushington Chiropractor Dr Caroline Mulliner:

  • Instead of sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash, go for water, lower-fat milks, or sugar-free, diet and no added sugar drinks. Remember that even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day.
  • If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water.
  • If you take sugar in hot drinks or add sugar to your breakfast cereal, gradually reduce the amount until you can cut it out altogether.
  • Rather than spreading jam, marmalade, syrup, treacle or honey on your toast, try a lower-fat spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead.
  • Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the lower-sugar version.
  • Choose wholegrain breakfast cereals, but not those coated with sugar or honey.

Some sugar alternatives

There are now so many sugar alternatives on the market it can become confusing and difficult to know where to start, so here is a quick summary of some of the possible alternatives.

Honey

Honey comprises of 80% natural sugars, 18% water and 2% minerals, vitamins, pollen and protein, because of this, honey is slightly higher in nutrients than table sugar and also contains wonderful antimicrobial properties, but it still contains calories.

100g of caster sugar provides 400kcals of energy and 100g of carbohydrates, the equivalent amount of pure clear honey provides on average, 330kcals of energy and 81g of carbohydrates.

Honey is also ideal for baking cakes as it attracts water and keeps them moist for longer.

Agave nectar

Agave is a sweetener that comes from several species of the agave plant, it consists of glucose and fructose.

The syrup is about 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar and has a similar consistency to honey. It is often used as an alternative to sugar given it has a much lower glycaemic index than that of sucrose. The glycaemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels.

Low Glycaemic Load High Glycaemic load
Oatmeal Baked beans
Eggs Butternut squash
Olives Chips
Cheese Parsnips
Black beans Potatoes
Turkey Peas
Salmon Sweet potato
Tuna Banana
Cottage cheese Figs
Almonds Dates
Macadamia nuts Mango
Avocado Raisins
Tofu Bread
Tomato Biscuits
Lettuce Bulgar wheat
Mushroom Cakes
Cucumber Noodles
Peach Popcorn
Any berries Rice
Asparagus Ketchup
Pineapple Honey
Chickpeas Maple syrup
Pears Ice cream
Chicken Sugar
Raw Carrots Jelly
Kidney beans Fruit juices
Plums Watermelon
Courgette Cereals

Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. Steviol glycosides are high intensity sweeteners, 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose, and comes in liquid or powder form.

It has no calories, contains no sugar or carbohydrates and boasts a glycemic index of 0, making it attractive to dieters.

Coconut palm sugar

The newest trend of the sugar alternative world is coconut sugar. Produced from the sap of the coconut palm’s flower buds, coconut palm sugar has a glycaemic index rating of 35, much lower than refined sugar.

It has also been found to contain amino acids, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins.

It can be used in the same amounts as refined table sugar in recipes.

Find out more about me by visiting my website www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk

Caroline Mulliner Doctor of Chiropractic at Lushington Chiropractic explains about the different types of sugars.

Caroline Mulliner Doctor of Chiropractic at Lushington Chiropractic explains about the different types of sugars.

Caroline

 

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep

Sleep is an essential process that we all should be doing each night. This time is crucial for growing, healing and repair. An average amount of sleep of six hours or less has been shown to increase our risk of developing illness.

What regulates our sleep?

The two main components of sleep regulation are Melatonin and Cortisol. These are both hormones made by the body. Melatonin helps to get our bodies to sleep, it builds as the day light decreases and it starts reducing around 4am. The next hormone that takes over is Cortisol, this starts building from the early hours to help us wake up.

The process of sleep

Sleep has five phases, which take a total of 90 minutes to complete. At the end of this cycle we usually lightly awaken before the cycle starts again.

Stage one lasts for about five minutes, it’s when our brain and body starts to relax allowing the brainwaves to slow.

Stage two is when we are drifting off – light sleep. Brainwaves continue to slow and we begin to dream. This is the stage of sleep where we do most of our consolidation of the day’s events.

Stages three and four are slow wave sleep. During this stage we are deep asleep and it is the most difficult phase to be woken from. At this point our body is doing most of its healing and repair.

Stage five is REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), is another short stage of around 5 minutes. During this phase we tend to dream in colour because our brains become more active.

Tips for a good night’s sleep

  • Hydrate well through the day and then start reducing liquid intake from around 5pm, this will help to reduce bathroom trips during the night.
  • Create a cool, dark quiet environment free of any noises or distractions.
  • Turn off that phone, the blue light given out from electronic devices tends to stimulate our brain thereby making it harder to turn off.
  • Use only one pillow; this will help you to keep your neck and spine in a neutral position during your sleep so you wake up free of aches.
  • Exercise more than two hours before sleep, so that you have plenty of time to cool down and for your heart rate to slow.
  • No bathing before bed! Having a bath is a relaxing and soothing thing to do. However, it increases body temperature which will keep you awake longer and it also relaxes all your muscles. The second sounds like a great thing, but your spine actually relies on the support of your muscles at night so it too is able to relax and recover. If you take away the muscle support to your spine, you are leaving it more at risk of aches in the morning.
  • Buy a medium firm mattress, one that is able to support all the curves of your spine.

    Sleep is important for all of us, even our furry legged friends. Image shows sleeping cat to accompany blog written by Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline Mulliner

    Sleep is important for all of us, even our furry legged friends.

If you have found this blog post helpful and would like to read more by myself; Caroline Mulliner, Doctor of Chiropractic then please feel free to explore the rest of Backblog. Alternatively, you can check out my individual Chiropractic site www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk for more information.

 

Slipped Disc – Do you have a slipped disc or want to know more about them?

As a Chiropractor I see many cases of low back and leg pain or neck and arm pain, quite often a patient will walk in and state they have a “slipped disc”. This is quite a generic term for a disc bulge, which can occur in varying degrees.

Different degrees of disc damage

This pictures shows a normal spinal segment, containing a disc and bony vertebra, in between these a nerve exits.

Normal disc and vertebra. This picture shows a normal spinal segment, containing a disc and bony vertebra, in between these a nerve exits.

Phase one. This second picture also shows a spinal segment although, this has a mild amount of wear and tear. Creating a narrower slightly worn dehydrated disc which is then slightly compressing the nerve as it exits.

Phase One. This second picture also shows a spinal segment although, this has a mild amount of wear and tear. Creating a narrower slightly worn dehydrated disc which is then slightly compressing the nerve as it exits.

Phase Two. This 3rd picture shows further wear through the spinal segment. Both discs in the picture are damaged and are now pushing out the thinner jelly like liquid from the centre of the disc creating a disc bulge. Here the nerve is being compressed further, so has now become thinner.

Phase Two. This 3rd picture shows further wear through the spinal segment. Both discs in the picture are damaged and are now pushing out the thinner jelly like liquid from the centre of the disc creating a disc bulge. Here the nerve is being compressed further, so has now become thinner.

Phase three. The 4th picture shows the worst amount of wear and tear, there is extra bony growth on the ends of the bony vertebrae. The discs are very thin so are no longer able to create cushioning between the bones in the spine and the nerves are very thin. This will compromise how they work.

Phase Three. The 4th picture shows the worst amount of wear and tear, there is extra bony growth on the ends of the bony vertebrae. The discs are very thin so are no longer able to create cushioning between the bones in the spine and the nerves are very thin. This will compromise how they work.

A disc bulge occurs when the outer case of the disc splits, resulting in the gel inside bulging out of the disc, an easy way to imagine this is when you squeeze a jam filled donut, however the outer casing of the disc can be more compared to a car tyre, so is actually rather firm.

This damaged disc can then put pressure on the whole spinal cord or on a single nerve root. This means a damaged disc can cause pain both in the area of the protruding disc and in the area of the body where the nerve travels to.

It is not always clear what causes a disc to break down, although age is a common factor in many cases. As you get older, your spinal discs start to lose their water content, making them less flexible and more likely to rupture. Disc injuries most commonly occur between 30-50 years of age. Smoking also plays a role as it causes the discs to lose their natural flexibility.

It’s important to note not all slipped discs can cause symptoms such as pain, weakness or tingling. Many people will go their whole life and not know they have a slipped disc, even though they have one.

Diagnosis and Treatment for a disc injury

First of all, it is important to receive the correct diagnosis. A lot of the information a medical professional can gain from taking a thorough history, this is then backed up by an examination, usually including: posture, spinal movements, reflexes, muscle strength, sensation and walking ability. If it is deemed necessary, your medical professional may send for imaging of your spine to see how severe the damage is.

It can take about four to six weeks to relieve discomfort from a disc injury. Treatment can include a combination of manual/ physical therapy, massage, exercise, and medication to relieve the pain. In severe cases surgery to release the compressed nerve and remove part of the disc may be considered.

In many cases, a slipped disc will eventually shrink back. However, an injury to the disc will remain. Quite often we find that patients have actually had previous episodes of disc pain before a severe episode has occurred. This is because the brain learns to “turn down the volume” on the pain messages coming from the nerve, although the disc will remain pressing on the nerve. The body will continue to do this until it reaches a point where it cannot compensate anymore.

If you have a slipped disc, it is very important to keep active. Initially moving may be difficult, but this will help keep your back mobile and stop the joints becoming too stiff and the muscles that support the spine becoming tight. Keeping moving will speed up your recovery.

Ice should be used immediately to help calm down inflammation and discomfort caused. It is best to ice the back where the nerve and the disc damage is originating from. This should be done 5 times a day for 10 minutes at a time.

Any exercise you do should be very gentle and not put too much strain on your back. Exercises that involve high impact, such as running, jumping or twisting, should be avoided as they may cause worsening injury.

Here at Lushington Chiropractic we genuinely care about our patients and improving their quality of life. We have an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest service and have over 80 years’ expertise between them.

Whether you’re suffering with a disc problem, a simple muscle spasm in your back / neck or have a more serious injury or long term problem we’re here to help you.

Find out more about me by visiting my website www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk

 

Caroline

 

 

Healthy strong skeletons

Every one of us will inevitably suffer a natural degradation of bone density as we get older. But if we are mindful of this, it’s possible to take some pretty smart measures to enable us to maintain healthy strong skeletons.

When we are a child and rapidly growing we have more bone producing cells, to help us develop healthy strong skeletons. But as we age this decreases and instead we develop more cells which are created to tidy damaged cells.

This post highlights my top 5 ways to exercise and care for yourself in order to promote bone strength; what we can eat, and what we could avoid in order to help build a healthy strong skeleton.

EAT RIGHT

If you have read any of my other posts here, you have probably realised that food is a massive part of my life and something that I am very much passionate about.

The body has a constant process of self-renewal, constantly creating new bone, muscle, blood, skin etc. I believe that what we put into it determines the quality of its rebuild. Foods that are high in simple sugars – sweets and fizzy drinks – don’t just promote tooth decay; they can also inhibit the body from being able to absorb bone friendly calcium. Salty foods can cause calcium to be lost via the kidneys.

Even if little is consumed, the body maintains calcium levels in the blood by sapping it directly from the bones, so it is a good suggestion to consume around 1200mg of calcium a day, this can be sought from milk, yoghurt and cheese, kale, broccoli, salmon and sardines.

DRINK LESS

Regularly blitzing the recommended alcohol limits is unhelpful for most bodily functions, but it also has a direct effect on decreasing your bone mass. Large amounts of alcohol can be toxic to ‘osteoblasts’ – the cells that synthesise new bone.

Too much caffeine is also thought to leach calcium from the bones and thus reduce their strength, as well as causing unsightly staining to the teeth and enamel degradation – reducing the amount of caffeine daily should do the job!

EXERCISE APPROPRIATELY

Movement and gentle impact can help to build bone strength, as well as any weight-bearing activity that makes us work against gravity! Thankfully that covers a huge number of active pursuits, but some of the most commonly recognised forms are:

* skipping

* power walking

* dancing

* hiking

* stair climbing

* tennis

* jogging

* aerobics classes / boxercise / circuit training

* weight training

The beauty of the above is that your average day in the office might well dictate regularly climbing 4 flights of stairs, and a 15 minute walk to fetch your lunch. You should aim for 30 minutes of these activities a day as a great bone stimulating target.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is essential to helping your body absorb the calcium you’re consuming as part of your diet. It’s hard to synthesise, and is broadly produced when our skin is exposed to daylight and even more so in direct sunlight. Nowadays it’s also easy to pick up Vitamin D supplements to bolster your intake through diet.

Doctor of Chiropractic Dr Caroline Mulliner with our display spine

Doctor of Chiropractic Dr Caroline Mulliner with our display spine.

Find out more about me by visiting my website www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk

Caroline

 

Osteoporosis

As a chiropractor, I see a large number of joint, muscle and nerve problems each day. Osteoporosis is one such problem I regularly encounter. Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility which can increase a client’s susceptibility to fracture (NICE 2013).

Many patients ask whether chiropractic is safe for those with this condition. The answer is yes, as a chiropractor we use a number of different techniques. From very light treatment suitable for babies to a high speed adjustment which would be suitable for most adults. If a patient were to have osteoporosis we can adapt our treatment so it is suitable for their needs.

More about osteoporosis

Bones contain collagen (protein), calcium salts and other minerals. Each bone is made up of a thick outer shell known as cortical bone and a strong inner mesh of trabecular bone. Like all parts of the body, our bones are alive and constantly changing throughout life. Old, worn out bone is broken down by cells called osteoclasts and replaced by bone building cells called osteoblasts, in a process of renewal.  After the age of 35, bone loss increases very gradually as part of the natural ageing process. This bone loss becomes more rapid in women for several years following the menopause and can lead to osteoporosis.

An image depicting, four models showing varying degrees of damage/ wear and tear that could happen to the spine.

Spinal models to show the varying degrees of wear and tear

Managing risk factors for osteoporosis

 Healthy eating tips:

  • Eat plenty of starchy foods but try to make them the whole grain variety, such as brown rice and pasta.
  • Eat more fish. Try for two portions a week and remember oily fish, such as mackerel, are also a good source of vitamin D.
  • Cut down on saturated fats and sugar. Check out food labels before you purchase. 5g or more of saturated fat per 100g and 10g or more of sugars per 100g is a lot.
  • Try to cut down on the amount of salt you eat. Again, read food labels carefully and remember that 0.5g or more of sodium per 100g is high.
  • A calcium intake of at least 1000 mg/day is recommended for people at increased risk of a fragility fracture. 10 micrograms (400 units) of vitamin D with at least 1000 mg of calcium daily, available as Calcichew D3® chewable tablets (calcium 500 mg, colecalciferol 5 micrograms).

Exercise

Bone is a living tissue which reacts to increases in loads and forces by growing stronger. It does this all the time, so exercise will only increase bone strength if it increases the loading above normal levels.

These types of activities are often recommended for people at high risk of fracture or recovering from fracture:

  • Strength-training exercises (exercises using body weight as resistance), especially for the back.
  • Weight-bearing aerobic activities.
  • Flexibility exercises.
  • Stability and balance exercises to reduce the risk of falling.
  • Aerobic training with controlled movements.
  • Prolonged exercise is not necessary in order to stimulate bone.

What exercises not to do with osteoporosis

  • It is important not to rush into unaccustomed exercise too quickly – Begin with activities you know you can do comfortably and then gradually increase the intensity.
  • A little muscle stiffness for a day or two after exercise indicates that you have done more than usual; this will stimulate improvements – However, persistent pain may be a sign of injury and if it persists for longer than a few days you should arrange to see your GP.
  • Think carefully about undertaking activities that may increase the chance of a fall.
  • Always maintain an upright posture – Avoid too much forward bending, such as touching the toes.
  • Avoid: High-impact, fast-moving exercises such as jumping, running, jogging or skipping.
  • Avoid: Exercises in which you bend forwards and twist your waist, such as touching your toes or doing sit-ups.

Suitable osteoporosis home exercises

These exercises target the muscles that support the spine and enable us to maintain an upright posture. They can be done in bed if you do not find it possible to lie on the floor.

Lying-down exercises for strength (on your front) – Put your arms at the sides of your body, with your palms facing downwards and resting on the floor. Your forehead should also be facing downwards and resting on the floor. Raise your back, head and shoulders, keeping your hips and legs on the floor. Repeat the exercise. Progress by turning the palms and forearms up towards the ceiling, still resting on the floor.

Back, neck and head lifts – Lie on your back. Push your hands and arms gently into the floor and raise your forehead off your hands by a few inches, keeping the back of your neck long as you do so and keeping your chin in. This will help you to get the feel of the movement.

 Leg lift – Lying on your front, rest your head comfortably on crossed arms. Keeping your legs straight, tighten your buttock muscles and, keeping the leg as long as you can, raise one leg slowly off the floor by a few inches. Hold then lower slowly back to the floor. Keep both hips in contact with the floor throughout. Count five on the way up and five on the way down. Relax completely for a count of 10. Repeat with the other leg.

Build up to two sets of 10 repetitions. This is also an excellent exercise for helping to reduce spinal curvature. You may like to use ankle weights, to increase the effectiveness of this exercise.

Cat-Camel – Get onto your hands and knees, making sure that your shoulders are above your hands and your hips are above your knees. Start by make a U shape with your back. Take a deep breath in, as you exhale face ahead, relax your lower back and allow your pelvis to move forwards towards the floor. Only move as much as is comfortable. Hold for a few seconds and release.

The second stage involves making your back into an arch shape, breath in and as you breathe out, gently pull your tummy in and press your back towards the ceiling. Let your head drop so that you’re looking at the floor. Hold for a few seconds and release.

Gym Exercises

Weight-bearing aerobic activities involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight. Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical (cross) training machines and stair climbing. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow bone loss. They can also provide cardiovascular benefits, which boost heart and circulatory system health.

Swimming and water aerobics have many benefits, but they are not generally classed as weight-bearing and don’t have the impact on the skeleton required to influence bone strength.

  • Stationary bikes – The seat of your stationary bike needs to be positioned high enough so your knees do not bend more than 90 degrees or come up higher than your seat when you are pedalling. With the pedals positioned further away like this, you reduce stress on your knees. A regular, upright stationary bike provides a more intense workout than a recumbent bike. However, a recumbent bike reclines and is designed to reduce stress and strain on your knees and lower back.
  • Elliptical trainer – An elliptical trainer provides a low-impact workout, similar to walking, but with a high-intensity cardio workout. The elliptical trainer, a cross between a stair climber and stationary bike, works all of your major muscle groups and can help you lose weight and shape up without hurting your knees (Eustice 2014, Arthritis Foundation 2014).
  • Tai Chi– is a safe intervention for reducing multiple fracture risks. The slow movements help to improve balance while its deep breathing techniques aid relaxation. Tai Chi addresses muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning (Graham 2011).

If you have found this blog post helpful and would like to read more from me, then you can find more here on Backblog or on my own chiropractic site www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk for more information.

Caroline Mulliner, Doctor of Chiropractic.

Glute exercises: Here’s how to fire up your glutes!

Do you sit a lot at work? Do you have underactive gluteal muscles? Find some easy glute exercises you can try at home to get them firing up!

Sitting at the desk for hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year means that your glutes ( bottom) become lazy and underactive! This causes the body to adapt allowing it to become far less dependent on the musculature and joints found within the lower body, which ultimately leads to muscle weakness and inhibition. The glutes are vital muscles needed in walking, standing, moving from sitting to standing among many other isolated movements.

Weak/ underactive glutes can lead to tight hip flexors, knee problems, discs damage, back pain, and even poor posture. Even if you don’t suffer from any back pain but do sit for long hours, inhibited glutes can adversely affect your training results, and can render you at a higher risk of injury.

The glutes are the largest muscle in the body, they consist of three separate muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus. Strong glutes help you run faster, jump higher, or lift heavier; these are all functions which help us to go about our daily business without having to think or worry about it.

If your glutes have become underactive, it can become quite difficult to ‘fire’ them up. When the glutes have been asleep for so long, making a connection and firing them up can be harder than it sounds.

If you’re having trouble engaging your glutes, give the following exercises a go, and consider including them in your routine. Whilst we all know that deadlifts and squats are fabulous for targeting glutes, they are big compound movements and are best completed when the glutes are actively firing. Some simpler exercises to help the glutes to fire are:

Caroline Mulliner Doctor of Chiropractic demonstrating the single leg deadlift to exercise her glutes.

Caroline Mulliner Doctor of Chiropractic demonstrating the single leg deadlift to exercise her glutes.

Single leg deadlift (no weight)

  1. Start by standing, balancing on one leg, keeping it slightly bent.
  2. Pivoting from the hip, bend the knee behind you and start lowering your upper body towards the floor. Make sure to keep your spine neutral and to engage your abs. This is a similar slowed down movement to a golfer’s lift.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.

Hip thrusters (with or without weight)

  1. Start by sitting on the ground with your back against the bench.
  2. Place a barbell directly above your hips. You may want to use a barbell pad to reduce any discomfort you might feel from the bar.
  3. Starts by pushing up through your feet and then extend your hips vertically through the bar.
  4. The weight should be supported through your shoulders and toes. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Then slowly return to starting position.

One leg raise

  1. Start by lying on the floor with bent knees. Make sure you don’t arch your back and instead push your lower back into the mat.
  2. Raise one leg off of the ground, pushing down through the other foot.
  3. When you have extended as far as possible, pause and slowly return to starting position. Either let your leg touch the floor or not.

Side-lying leg raise

  1. Start by lying on your side on the floor. Rest you arm on the floor. 2. With bent or straight legs raise the top leg up as far as they can go and then return to starting position.

    In this exercise to work the glutes our Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline is demonstrating the rear leg raise.

    In this exercise to work the glutes our Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline is demonstrating the rear leg raise.

Rear leg raises

  1. Start by kneeling on all fours with your hands positioned directly underneath your shoulders, ensuring not to lock out your elbows, and keeping your knees in line with your hips.
  2. Make sure to pull your stomach to your spine, engaging your abs, maintaining a neutral spine
  3. Now straighten your left leg and raise it as high as you can. Hold at the end, squeeze your glutes,

If you have found this blog helpful and would like to read more by me, why not check out my other posts here on www.backblog.co.uk or find my individual chiropractic site www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk for more information.

Caroline

Breakfast Nutrition

Many claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

If this is the case then surely we should make it the most nutritious and beneficial? Breakfast nutrition has been argued about for years. Due to our busy lives we are now spending less time making nutritious meals. Instead, we choose to opt for convenience foods that don’t fuel us properly and can cause drops in energy or mood through the course of the day.

Trend Breakfasts

A picture to show one of my green breakfast smoothies. This one contained pineapple, spinach, kale, avocado and an Arbonne vanilla protein shake. Accompanies blog written by Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline Mulliner

One of my many breakfast smoothies, this one containing a brilliant creamy vanilla protein shake.

Over the last couple of months I have been testing out a number of recent “trend” breakfasts. The first is the smoothie. Initially I started as most would, by blending fruit and adding yoghurt. This is of course very yummy and actually rather filling. However, I was finding that after a couple of hours at work I would find myself nibbly and wanting more food.

I looked into this and found that a high proportion of fruit would cause a sudden increase in sugar levels. The body processes these sugars at a rapid rate, causing an initial spike of sugar in the blood followed by a crash that can leave an individual feeling hungry, tired and generally low in energy.

After reading this, I decided to adapt my recipe. Instead of fruit and yoghurt I instead opted to find a better balance between vegetables and slow-release fruit, such asred berries. I went from a 100% fruit smoothie, to 70% vegetables and 30% fruit. The fruit provides the obvious yummy taste and sweetness, but the vegetables allow for the more sustainable nutrition.

Smoothie Extras

I have also tried a number of extras in my smoothies to keep me feeling fuller for longer, this includes the popular chia seeds, oats, nuts, bee pollen, protein powder/shakes and ice. Personally I think chia and oats give the best consistency, both of these are also extremely nutritious

A picture showing two of my favourite nutritional breakfast items, chia seeds and bee pollen. Accompanies blog written by Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline Mulliner

Chia seeds and pollen are part of the majority of my breakfast.

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Chia

Chia contains a large amount of antioxidants and a minimal amount of carbohydrate. The majority of this is actually fibre. Chia is also high in protein, making it not only a nutritious option but also an ingredient that could help with controlling appetite and managing weight.

The fibre in the chia expands in the stomach, this helps to slow absorption. The last brilliant fact about chia is that it contains omega-3 fatty acids, however the omegas found in plant based foods are not as easily absorbed by humans compared to oily fish.

Oats

We have been eating oats for years mainly as porridge. Why are oats so good for us? They are a good source of fibre and are also reasonably high in vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is also claimed that they have health benefits such as lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. Much like chia, they also contain protein. Oats are ranked number 1 breakfast food to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Due to the great nutritional benefits of both oat and chia I thought I would next try using these as my breakfast nutrition. Porridge is obviously the most well know breakfast food. Unfortunately, I have never grown accustomed to the taste and texture, which appears to put lots people off. A great way to improve this is by placing some ground nuts in your porridge after it’s cooked and also adding a small handful of your favourite fresh berries to add some yumminess and sweetness. I also tend to make my porridge with water instead of milk because I add extra bits to it.

Here is a picture of one of my nutritional breakfasts, a chocolate chia pudding with extra flavours of orange and blueberry. Accompanies blog written by Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Caroline Mulliner

This is a chocolate chia pudding with orange and blueberries.

Next I tried making the very fashionable chocolate chia pudding, as a definite “chocoholic” myself; I thought this would be the obvious choice to balance my breakfast nutrition.

I found it rather disappointing in all honesty. The first thing to point out is the thick lumpy texture and also it’s less than chocolaty taste. However, I did not give up on chia that easy. Instead I thought I would try combining chia and oats in an overnight soaked “bircher” style muesli. The great thing about this is that it takes 1 minute to make then you just leave it in the fridge overnight to soak, all you need to do in the morning is add fruit and a drizzle of honey.  This makes it very yummy and it definitely keeps you going for longer.

If you have found this blog post helpful and would like to read more by myself; Caroline Mulliner, Doctor of Chiropractic then please see www.clearlychiropractic.co.uk for more information.

Chiropractor recipe book: Caroline’s favourite fish dish

Good food for  a healthy diet

NHS recommends that we should eat at least 2 portions of fish a week. The consumption of fish has long been associated with several health benefits. Fish is an important source of many nutrients, including protein and long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, as well as several vitamins and minerals including selenium, iodine, potassium, vitamin D and B vitamins.

My partner is Swedish, but unlike most Scandinavians he doesn’t care for fish. So over the past year it has been my goal to cook new and interesting fish dishes, both to help him enjoy it more and also so that I can get as much of my favourite food into my diet as possible.

This spicy salmon dish is one of his favourites and I wanted to share it with you so that you can enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp, equal parts mixed spice, ground coriander and paprika, and then add a pinch of cayenne and black pepper.
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • A bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • 140g couscous
  • 2 tsp clear honey

Easy peasy method

  1. Zest and juice 1 lemon, then mix the zest and ½ the juice with the spice, garlic, ½ the spring onions and 2 tsp oil. Season well. Put the salmon into a shallow dish, spoon over the marinade, then leave for 10 mins or as much time as possible. The longer the better to allow all the lovely flavours to mingle.
  2. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a large bowl. Tip in the remaining lemon juice and oil, spring onions and 150ml boiling water, then cover and leave to stand.
  3. Lift the salmon onto a foil-lined baking tray, spoon over any leftover marinade, and then roast in an oven for 15 mins at 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. With 5 mins to go, pull out the baking tray and spoon 1 tsp clear honey over each fillet.
  4. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Serve the salmon with the couscous, spoon over the juices from the baking tray and add lemon wedges.

 

Caroline Mulliner, Doctor of Chiropractic- Here’s a picture of my lovely colourful fish pie, salmon marinating as explained in point 1 of the method.

Here’s a picture of my lovely colourful salmon marinating as explained in point 1 of the method.

 

In Eastbourne we are lucky enough to live next to the sea, so I have been able to source a local fish company who supply the most delicious fresh and healthy fish, perfect for your 2+ meals a week.

For more healthy recipes and tips check out chiropractor Caroline’s yummy turkey recipe.

 

 

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