New NICE guidelines recommend chiropractic techniques for the lower back pain and sciatica
Chiropractic for the treatment of lower of back pain and sciatica
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently published new guidelines for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica. NICE is an organisation that provides guidance and advice to improve health and social care on a national level. These are the guidelines used by the NHS and other healthcare professionals. This guideline for the treatment of low back pain and sciatica covers everything from public health advice to surgical interventions.
The guidelines recommend a number of interventions for low back pain, including spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage techniques. Exercise and psychological therapies are also recognised as important in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What is spinal manipulation?
Let me explain in a little more detail what these treatments consist of. Spinal manipulative therapy is an umbrella term for a variety of methods and techniques available to chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Depending on the nature of the issue, one or more of these interventions can be utilised to restore joint movement and function.
The chiropractor will observe and feel the movement of your spinal joints, looking for stiff joints. They will then apply a small thrust to a specific joint, to help improve movement there. The amount of force or movement used in the manipulation varies according to the techniques that the healthcare provider has been trained in, and how they can adapt them to your needs.
Spinal manipulation has been practiced by health practitioners for thousands of years. There are reports suggesting it’s use as far back as Egyptian times. Over the last 100 years’ chiropractors have been increasingly considered as some of the leading specialists in spinal manipulation. Although chiropractors carry out a wide range of types of treatments from massage to exercise advice, we have developed over a hundred different spinal manipulation techniques, which we refine for each person individually.
When you see a chiropractor they often refer to the spinal manipulation as an “adjustment”. It’s worth noting as well that we are trained to adjust and treat other joints or muscles throughout the body.
In relation to spinal manipulation itself, which is one of the treatment types recommended in this NICE guideline for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica, the only healthcare professionals in the UK to have these techniques included as part of their required degree training are chiropractors and osteopaths. If a physiotherapist or GP wants to learn how to manipulate spines they have to undergo additional postgraduate training.
Soft tissue techniques
The guidelines recommend the use of soft tissue techniques for the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
There’s a wide variety of soft tissue techniques that can be used to treat back pain and sciatica. I predominately use stretching and massage techniques to help reduce stiffness and tension within the muscles and connective tissue. There is nothing more satisfying than improving someone’s hip and back range of motion with well-targeted massage and stretching.
At our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne we have a large team of chiropractors, which is great for our patients, because we often discuss severe cases and share techniques we specialise in.
For a wide variety of people, I find that spinal manipulation and soft tissue techniques are best combined with specific therapeutic exercises, that are aimed to strengthen specific muscles and stabilise joints. Part of my assessment at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is to identify the areas of the body that need to be strengthened and the areas that need increased mobility. This assessment helps me to develop a personalised care plan, based on the individual findings of each guest.
You may be wondering what role psychological therapies have in the treatment of lower back pain and sciatica.
What we do know, how we feel and our past experiences of pain have a big influence over our pain levels. Especially persistent pain that has been around for a long time. Our pain threshold becomes reduced when we feel anxious or depressed. We also know that our muscles can become tense when we feel like this. One technique I use alongside the manual therapy and exercise is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is useful in reducing anxiety, stress and helping people to manage depression.
Nice to hear from NICE
This was something I was pleased to hear about. Considerable thought goes into devising the treatment plans for the guests at our clinic, so it is gratifying to read that the techniques we use have been incorporated into the NICE guidelines. This reinforces our belief that the treatment packages used here in Eastbourne are of the highest standard.
If you would like to find out more about the treatments available here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, do not hesitate to contact either myself or another member of the team.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A step-by-step guide on how to improve your workplace ergonomics
How many hours do you spend sitting at a desk? If it’s anything like most of us, then the answer would be ‘a lot’! In my previous jobs, before retraining as a chiropractor, I spent between 7 and 9 hours per day sitting down in front of a PC. That’s a HUGE proportion of the day. A bad desk setup or chair can have a big impact on how you feel and how your spine works simply because of the time spent in that position. That is why it is very important to make sure your workplace ergonomics are correct.
In this blog post we will discuss how you can set up your desk to be the best possible situation for you to spend time at (remember, sitting all day is never going to be a good thing, even with perfect ergonomics).
To start with, have a look at your chair – is the height correct for you? When sitting, your knees should be bent to 90 degrees, as should your arms at desk-level. See the picture below. You should always use a lumbar roll if you have an office job; it maintains the natural curve of the lumbar spine and reduces flexibility of the lower back and slumping of the shoulders. Essentially, it helps you keep a better posture which is more stable for the back. See my previous blog on lumbar roll use for more details.
Now check your desk, as this must also be at the correct height. Your arms should be at 90 degrees when your forearms reach the desk, and your chair should be able to push underneath it so you don’t need to lean forward to reach your keyboard and books. Everything on top of your desk that you need to get to should be within easy reach; no twisting to reach the printer on the floor! You can also get various aids to help make your wrists more comfortable if you suffer with wrist issues, such as ergonomic mouse pads, and gel pads to fit to your keyboard if needed.
Ok, now look at your monitor. Ideally, you should have a desktop monitor if you work all day at the same workstation. Working from a laptop is problematic for your posture because it becomes impossible to keep the keyboard and screen in the optimal position. If you do work from a laptop, it is advisable to invest in a separate keyboard and monitor to plug in for those extended periods of time at your desk.
The reason it is important to have a monitor on the desk is that it should be at eye level. Keeping your eyes looking straight ahead prevents your head from dipping forwards, which places pressure on your neck, shoulders and back. If you find that your chin juts out and you lean forwards while you work, take a moment to assess your desk environment.
We sometimes use shelves to perch our monitors on here at Lushington. Monitors should be within arm’s reach so you aren’t tempted to lean forward to squint at it! At home I also change my screen resolution so that the icons and text are larger. This isn’t just for those with poor vision; it actually makes it easier to see what you’re doing.
Lastly, remember that it is vitally important to fit in regular breaks when working at a desk. Get up at least three times an hour to walk around, and have a large glass of water on the desk to remind you to keep hydrated!
I hope this article has been a useful guide for workplace ergonomics. Thanks for reading.
For more information, why not explore the rest of www.backblog.co.uk.
Inflammation in the joints – what causes it and how can nutrition help
What causes inflammation in the joints?
Deborah Ben-Shah of Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, explains why inflammation occurs in the body and how it can be reduced in chronic cases.
The body has ways of healing and protecting itself, and when inflammation is present, it is a sign that your body is healing itself. However, it should eventually subside. But for some people, and I see this far too often, people are walking around with chronic inflammation, especially in their joints.
There are certain types of arthritis that are by nature inflammatory, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and gouty arthritis. But the most common form of arthritis, known as osteoarthritis, is not associated with inflammation.
So how is it that patients who have the non-inflammatory type of arthritis have inflammation in their joints?
When joints have osteoarthritis and loss of proper function, the muscles surrounding them get overworked, fibrous, and dysfunctional.
Blood will come to the area because it perceives that there is an injury there and is coming to repair tissue damage and carry cellular waste products away. With an increase in blood flow to an area, this leads to congestion. Fluids leak out of the blood vessels and into the tissues and causes swelling to the area. This can irritate nerves and cause pain.
In addition, the cells will release inflammatory chemicals which will cause destruction of the cartilage on the bones over time.
This is one major reason why it is so important to get inflammation out of your body.
So how do you reduce inflammation in your body naturally?
There are many foods that can be responsible for inflammation. These include nightshade vegetable such as tomatoes, potatoes, and aubergine. As well as sugar, dairy, gluten, artificial sweeteners, pork, beef, hydrogenated fats, and processed foods with food additives and dyes.
Try eliminating these foods for three weeks and see if this helps.
There are supplements you can take to help with inflammation.
These include rose hips, turmeric with black pepper, astaxanthin, flax oil, walnut oil, cod liver oil, and green tea. Foods such as wild Atlantic salmon, raw spinach, olive oil and raw carrots, fight bodily inflammation as well.
If you do have arthritis and or joint pain, speak to Lushington Chiropractic for advice.
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic and sports massage clinic in Eastbourne town centre. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, counselling, acupuncture, podiatry, sports massage and relaxing massage.
All the best of health,
Avoid back pain on holiday
My top tips to protect your spine and avoid back pain on holiday.
Back pain on holiday can be a real problem but there are some simple things you can do to lower the risk of injury.
Choose the right suitcase
Choose a lightweight suitcase and ideally something with wheels and a long enough handle to decrease the pressure on the low back.
Get to bed early the night before travel
Travelling when you’re tired increases your chance of injury so make sure you get a good night’s rest the day before travel.
With most travel, be it by car or plane, most of your time is spent sitting. Counteract this by making sure that you get up regularly and keep the joints moving throughout the spine. Movement will also encourage better blood flow around the body and to the spinal discs.
Lifting your case is something you will do quite a few times during your holiday. Make sure that you keep your back straight and you keep the weight close to you. When putting items in the boot make sure you lift them to the edge of the boot first, rather than overextending forward in one movement. Once the suitcase is perched on the edge, you can then reposition your body to slide it back.
- Good sun lounger posture
Sunbeds are not designed ergonomically therefore you need to be aware that they may place pressure on your back and neck. It is actually better to have the sunbed completely flat in many cases, although you should try to avoid reading whilst lying on your front and propping yourself up on your elbows. Most importantly, try not to arch your back and neck for long periods on a sun lounger.
- Try and exercise
Holidays are a time to relax but keeping the joints moving is very important. Swimming and walking are fantastic low impact exercises that you can do while you’re away.
Above all do not worry unnecessarily. Take all the advice on board and enjoy your holiday.
If you like these tips there are more tips on my website. Please follow this (hyperlink to http://chiropractic-eastbourne.co.uk/backpainadvice.html) link
Yours in health,
Back pain in young children
There are fears that back pain in young children may be caused by the weight of heavy school bags.
Children are literally being weighed down by their school bags. You only need to look at some of the local school children here in Eastbourne to understand the nature of the problem.
There is concern that in many cases, children are carrying much more than the recommended maximum of 10% of their body weight. By increasing the load beyond this point, it is possible for youngsters to develop postural and even spinal problems.
For young children, 10% of their body weight might only be a few kilos – the equivalent of a few books and a lunchbox. Once this is exceeded, there is a very real possibility of back pain in young children. You see it every day, children with their heavy backpacks, leaning forward as they’re walking.
Long term impact of heavy bags
Carrying that sort of weight every day not only causes back pain in young children but can have a profound effect on their posture. Once established, poor posture can be lead to life-long issues. Children can start to experience back pain from the age of 11-15. If it starts then, there is a greater likelihood of it continuing into adulthood. Often, children and their parents don’t take back pain seriously because it comes and goes.
Clinic Director and Doctor of Chiropractic in Easbourne, James Revell’s first experience of Chiropractic was as a teenager with headaches. He’d been putting up with back aches for a long time because he’d been told they were just “normal growing pains for a teenager”. However, when he began to get headaches, his mother took him to see a chiropractor. James didn’t think it would work, but, after a few treatments not only were his headaches gone – but so was the back pain.
That was the beginning of James’ journey to become a Doctor of Chiropractic himself. James and the whole team at Lushington Chiropractic remain committed to helping everyone, of all ages and stages of life. There’s often a simple solution to help relieve pain, improve posture and help prevent future problems too.
Tackling back pain in young children
Here are some remarks from a couple of our teenage guests. If you want to see more testimonials check out: http://www.lushingtonchiropractic.com/test.php
Imagine the weight school children carry every day, carrying all the books they need for the day, and then bringing the books home again for homework. It’s a significant weight. Plus everything else they might need for the day, football/hockey/rugby boots, training shoes, the list is endless…..
By providing advice to children and their parents it is hoped that preventative measures can be taken.
The chiropractors here at Lushington Chiropractic are offering tips to parents on how to minimise the load to prevent potential back pain problems for schoolchildren.
- Always wear backpacks on both shoulders, buy a bag with thick shoulder straps to distribute the weight evenly.
- Choose a bag made of lightweight material and has multiple compartments for better weight distribution, and adjust the straps on a backpack to ensure the bag sits above the waist which reduces the pressure on the spine.
- Bags with a waist strap are also recommended.
Other tips are to use school lockers where provided, use lightweight packed lunch containers and, crucially, to carry only what is absolutely needed.
Parents can also look out for tell-tale signs that their child is struggling under the weight of their bags. Warning signs include a change in posture when wearing their backpack, tingling and numbness in the arms and hands, and back, neck or shoulder pain.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic we care for all ages, birth to 90+, so be assured we can help you and your children. If you have any concerns, give us a call on 01323 722499 and make an appointment with any of our chiropractors.
What’s your Eastbourne Chiropractor been eating this summer?
James Revell from Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne shares his experience of embarking on a new summer diet to find a better balance to his nutrition.
Summer Breakfast Changes
This summer I made six changes to my diet and eating habits. These changes were mostly focused on getting more fruit, veg and fibre in my diet. I, like 95% of the population, wasn’t eating enough of these good things and wanted to be more organised in making that change.
I’ve tried all of these changes before but this summer I decided to be more organised and consistent with these improvements. As a chiropractor, I often get asked about health advice and nutrition. I’ve discussed these ideas with some of my guests and a couple have been inspired to try it for themselves. So I thought it might be useful if I shared in this blog what I’ve been up to, so you can try it for yourself. I hope you enjoy.
First of all, let’s start the day the right way.
This summer I decided to rely more regularly on porridge and oats as a way to start the day. Chiropractic work is physical and mentally demanding. I find it important to avoid the mid-morning lull in energy that I get with most cereal or bread based breakfasts.
This summer I’ve relied on porridge – mixed with milk – for my breaky. Previously I have had a habit of occasionally skipping breakfast (when I’m running late, of course) or having a protein based breakfast such as fish, eggs and beans. Fish is my favourite and it’s got lots of health benefits associated with it. However, I wanted to experiment with more oats in my diet because oats are a great source of soluble fibre.
If you thought fibre was only good for your digestive system, then think again! Fibre has been shown to support healthier cholesterol levels which is a key factor in the fight against heart disease.I tried good old fashioned porridge oats with water to start with but after a few days I kept thinking it tasted a bit like cement (not that I’ve eaten cement). Anyway, I changed to porridge and milk, occasionally with some nuts, too. I was strict with myself not to have any sugar or jam (jam is my favourite) because I know what I am like and a little sweetness usually turns into too much!
I have to admit I missed my fish! I know it sounds strange to most people but I prefer a fish breakfast and although the porridge was better that other “cereals”, I did miss my fish.
Remember raw veggies and fruit are a great source of fibre. I avoid too many of the sweet, high sugar fruits like berries and strawberries.
For a long time I have been in the habit of taking a carrot for a walk. I grab a raw carrot from the fridge and chomp on this when I walk the dog first thing. The organic carrots taste amazing, plus they’re another great source of fibre and plenty of vitamins. Bobby the dog gets the end, so he has his healthy start to the day, too.
Snacks during the day consisted mainly of more carrots, nuts and the odd other piece of fruit or veg. My favourites were cashew nuts.
Another quirky trick I tired and loved was adding beans or lentils to a basic soup. Adding beans and lentils makes the soup higher in protein as well as soluble fibre – plus it really filled me up!
Another odd addition I made to my diet this summer was to have more garlic. Smelly garlic breath is never a good idea in my job, so I usually avoid it. However, this summer I made a point of getting more garlic in my food.
Some experts believe that Garlic can help reduce your blood clotting and help to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. So I thought I’d try some simple recipes to get it in my diet. I made fresh a garlic and beetroot juice – which was actually pretty good. I also put garlic in my soups, stews and veggie bakes.
I enjoyed the juice to start with but after a while became a bit sick of it – I think I over did it! Because you need to have the garlic in very high amounts to make the potential improvement to your cardiovascular system we also found that increasing our garlic use in our home cooking made everything smell. So after a couple of weeks I cheated with a garlic supplement instead. Obviously I don’t feel any difference but it’s relatively cheap and I’m still taking them.
The government recommends we should eat at least two portions of oily fish a week, but I prefer to have it at least five times a week. My favourites are tinned mackerel and salmon fillets plus I top up with a quick glug of Nordic Oil each day too! Yum!
I’m used to having fish for breakfast and although I stopped over the summer and swapped to porridge I would still prefer a fishy start.
Over the summer I moved my fish meal to lunchtimes. Tinned fish was a simple but smelly lunchtime option. I was happy to have it with cold sweet-corn. In fact I love it. Where ever possible I opt for organic fish. My old Biology degree has left me with a dislike of farmed or sea caught fish, which have been exposed to various pollutants or additives. I also don’t feel so happy about eating farmed fish if I can avoid it having seen the cramped conditions they endure.
Oily fish, like sardines, pilchards, mackerel, kippers, herring and salmon are important for your cardiovascular health, and may help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. As well as these good fats, fish are also as a quality protein source, offering sustainable energy release over a longer period of time. That’s why they’re on my favourite breakfast list.
My secret energy-boosting tip
I set a daily target to drink at least four pints of water every day. This summer you’ll have seen a pint glass next to my notes when I was working. This keeps me well hydrated and without it I suffer a mid-afternoon energy crash. I found this trick of having a large glass right next to me worked really well and I’ll certainly be keeping it going.
In my experience you’ve got to make being healthy practical!
Here’s my 6 of The Best Summer Healthy Eating Summary:
- Porridge breakfast – I prefer fish, sorry!
- More than 5 fruit and veg per day. Starting with a raw organic carrot when walking the dog was a great start to the day – Bobby the dog looked forward to the end of the carrot
- Lentils and beans in my soup – yep I liked this and will keep it going but my wife wasn’t so keen
- Increase garlic intake – too smelly and I overdosed on garlic juice, so instead try just a simple supplement if more convenient
- Fish – I love fish already. Changing my fish meal to lunchtimes wasn’t so hard but I think we’ll go back to having oily fish for breakfast
- At least 4 pints of water/day – having a large glass next to me worked really well and I’ll be keeping this trick going for sure
Why I chose to work as a chiropractor in Eastbourne
Why Eastbourne for chiropractic?
The reason I chose to work as a chiropractor in Eastbourne is simple: it’s where I’m from. I love Eastbourne and have always considered this town my home no matter where I have been. Eastbourne has a lot to offer with its amazing seafront, fantastic scenery and great location for easy access to London and Brighton.
I’ve always loved living in Eastbourne since I was a child. I’ve always enjoyed being able to visit the seafront regularly and the downs, going up to Beachy Head and even heading over to Lewes, Bexhill, East Dean, Hailsham and so on. There are so many places to explore and enjoy. If you haven’t been to all of these places then I recommend you visit.
Eastbourne is also the place that I had my first experience of chiropractic. Having a bad back when I was fifteen years old led to me seeing a chiropractor. He was the only person who was able to help my back pain.
I was so impressed by chiropractic that I decided to find out more. The longer the back pain stayed away and the more I found out about the profession, the more impressed I was. Eventually I decided to study Chiropractic Sciences at university and begin my journey to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic.
It was difficult travelling far for University in Wales but I always visited regularly to see my beloved Eastbourne.
Even though my family have now moved away from Eastbourne – it’s always felt like home to me. Since returning to Eastbourne I have also been able to return to karate, which I have been doing since the age of nine at Matsubayashi-ryu karate-do (England).
Another reason I chose to work in Eastbourne was the opportunity to work in a well-respected, award-winning clinic in the form of Lushington Chiropractic Clinic . It is a fantastic team to be a part of and is a pleasure going in to work every day.
The team of four chiropractors, three massage therapists and five other practitioners is great and it is fantastic to learn from others.
Yours in health,
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne Chiropractor
Sitting too long? It may be affecting your Spinal Health
Are you sitting too long at a computer all day?
Do you spend a lot of time commuting? Sitting for hours in the car or train? Are you a couch potato when you’re at home and find yourself sitting too long in front of the TV?
All of this prolonged sitting can cause neck and back pain. Any posture that is held for too long, like sitting at a computer, or driving your car, can cause an imbalance in the muscle of your back and neck and cause pain. When muscles are being used for a long time and held in a static position, like sitting all day or sleeping with lots of pillows, they will become “tight” or “facilitated”. This typically results in a reflexive “weakening” or “inhibiting” of the muscles on the opposite side of the spine at the same level.
When this happens in the neck and upper back it is called “upper-crossed” syndrome.
There are very predictable muscles that will be involved. The muscles in the back of the neck will be tight, or facilitated, and the muscles in front of the neck will be weak, or inhibited. The chest muscles tend to be tight because our hands are always in front of us doing things like driving, and the muscles between the shoulder blades are weak. Symptoms can include neck and upper back and even shoulder pain. This typically happens when people habitually spend long hours on the computer or regularly commutes for long periods of time.
Lower-crossed syndrome is the pattern of weak and tight muscles in the lower back and abdomen.
The lower abdominal muscles are “weak” or “inhibited” and the low back muscles are “right” or “facilitated.” The hip flexors are tight, and the gluteal muscles are weak. The cause of these problems is often prolonged sitting while driving or at the computer, or being a couch potato.
Your chiropractor is trained to assess you for these postural imbalances and can prescribe home exercises to strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight ones. Massage therapy and passive stretching can also help work the tight muscles. Often, these postural imbalances cause neck and back ache and your chiropractor can help treat that.
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic and sports massage clinic in Eastbourne town centre. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, counselling, acupuncture, podiatry, sports massage and relaxing massage. Call us on 01323 722499 to see how we can help you.
Thanks for reading and all the best of health to you!
How massage helps fight stress
The surprising benefits of massage for stress
Stress occurs when a thought or event becomes worrisome, anxiety-provoking or in more extreme cases threatening. In small doses, stress helps us meet deadlines or achieve goals but chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, anxiety and depression.
The body’s normal response to stress is to initiate a “fight or flight” response. This is characterised by an elevated heart rate, increased muscular tension, increased breathing rate and feelings of anxiety. As with most things, for every action there is an opposite reaction. In terms of stress, the opposite of becoming overly anxious can be to become too relaxed or lethargic. This relaxation response causes the heart rate and breathing to slow, while muscular tension is released.
So what about massage for stress? What can this achieve?
The Benefits of massage
Lowers blood pressure
According to the American Heart Association many of the behaviours that accompany stress can elevate blood pressure. In a 2005 study by the University of Florida it was found that participants who received regular massage over 3 weeks experienced a significant drop in blood pressure. It is understood that the vagus nerve regulates blood pressure and that through regular massage, the vagus nerve is stimulated. The result is that blood pressure drops back to a healthy level.
Reduces muscular tension
Headaches, jaw pain, shoulder and neck tension are all common symptoms of stress as the muscles tense and the joints become rigid. Regular massage sessions help to reduce muscular tension and alleviate much of the physical pain that can be associated with stress.
By easing these physical symptoms it is also possible to reduce the broader stress. The massage therapists here at Lushington Chiropractic use various techniques to rub, stroke, stretch and apply pressure to the muscles, which help them return to a relaxed state and can also initiate more even and relaxed breathing.
Provides immediate relief
Having a massage will provide immediate relief by giving you a chance to take some time out from the stresses life is throwing at you. This will give your mind a much-needed break and a recharge. This reboot is often enough to help you gain perspective on a stressful situation and distance yourself enough to look for solutions rather than fall deeper into those feelings of anxiety.
Immune and digestive system benefits
Circulation to the heart, muscles and lungs increases when stress builds. In chronic cases where the stress is felt over a sustained period of time, this can lead to problems in the immune and digestive systems. By prioritising blood flow to other organs and systems, the immune and digestive systems are sacrificed, which can result in the onset of illnesses.
Massage can help by reducing the feeling of anxiety and stress which in turn will help with restoring normal immune and digestive function.
To find out more about massage for stress relief, why not get in touch with the team at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne. Call 01323 722 499.