In our Eastbourne Chiropractic clinic, Lushington Chiropractic, we are truly blessed to have a multidisciplinary team. This team consists of chiropractors, sports massage therapists, acupuncturists and more. Each different health care profession in our clinic brings different techniques approaches to our guests. Added up, this means that the care our guests in Eastbourne receive is truly first rate.
Among our chiropractors, there are different techniques used by each of us. This difference allows us to approach patients in slightly different ways, but always with the improvement of the patient as our goal. One of the techniques that we have in common between the chiropractors here in Eastbourne is called Sacro Occipital Technique. This is a technique that is learnt with separate specialty seminars to the general chiropractic degree. Seeing as you are likely to have experienced this technique if you have seen any of our chiropractors, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this technique in a bit more detail. I am only going to talk about the history in this blog post as it is long enough already!
Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT) is a technique used by chiropractors and first developed by a man nicknamed “the major”. This man’s full name was Dr Bertrand DeJarnette and he developed SOT in the USA in 1925.
DeJarnette was originally an engineer before suffering serious injuries due to an explosion in a car factory he was working at. These injuries caused him immense pain and discomfort. He tried and tried to no avail to seek medical help, but didn’t experience any relief from his symptoms until he started receiving spinal manipulative treatment. He credited this with saving his life. DeJarnette was so impressed by to help others like he himself was helped.
When DeJarnette was qualified and practicing as a chiropractor, he started to feel like something was missing. To him, the classic chiropractic adjustment wasn’t giving him the full answer and solution to pursuing better health. DeJarnette decided to dedicate himself to exploring this thought over the next few decades. He performed clinical research in his search to develop a specialised approach to health and chiropractic, eventually discovering the link between the sacrum, which is a bone in your pelvis, and the occiput, which is a bone in your skull. DeJarnette’s technique details procedures for analysing and correcting pelvic, spinal, visceral and extremity problems using specific methods.
Perhaps due to his previous experience of being an engineer, DeJarnette was extremely methodical in his work. He was also perhaps fortunate to be working in a less litigious time, when ethical committees simply did not exist. On top of all this, he had a burning passion for understanding the physiology of the human body and the effects of chiropractic adjustments on this.
In fact, DeJarnette had such a passion for this understanding that he was also a prolific researcher, working for over 6 decades to perfect his chiropractic techniques and teach others. By the time of his death he had published his work in over 100 research papers, booklets and books.
Nowadays, to learn this technique as a chiropractor you are required to attend weekend seminars. To be a fully qualified SOT practitioner you need to attend 11 weekend modules, which due to scheduling could take up to 6 years to complete!!
I hope that this has been helpful background information on one of the most common chiropractic techniques and one of the techniques you may have experienced at our clinic in Eastbourne. If you have any questions or queries, please feel free to contact us here or ask your chiropractor next time you visit us in Eastbourne for your next adjustment.
Thanks for reading,
Simple Exercises for Low Back Pain part 2
Previously I talked about an exercise that can be performed at home to help improve low back pain and prevent recurrence of injury. Bird dogs are just one such exercise that the Chiropractors at our clinic in Eastbourne give to our guests. Today I am going to talk about two other exercises that are perfect for recovering from a nasty bout of low back pain.
This exercise is rather simple to perform, and like the bird dog has progressions and regressions depending on whether you need to make it harder of easier respectively. The purpose of this exercise is similar to the bird dog; help improve the endurance of the core musculature, particularly the lateral trunk flexors. On top of this, as this exercise is only performed on one side at a time it can be helpful in balancing up any muscle imbalances that occur as part of our day to day life.
To perform this exercise:
• Lie on the floor with your knees flexed at 90 degrees and your spine straight. You should be in a similar position to the video
• Similarly to the bird dog, before initiating any movement maintain an abdominal brace.
• You should then drive your hips forward, such that your torso is in a straight line elevated from the floor, supported by your elbow and your knee closest to the ground.
• This position should be held for a couple of seconds, and then slowly bend your hips such that you go back down to the floor
The above steps describe one repetition, and this exercise is best performed aiming for 12-20 repetitions on each side, for a total of three sets.
To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can perform it with your legs straight instead of knees flexed to 90 degrees. This is more difficult due to the increased demand on your core musculature.
To progress even further, instead of doing 20 repetitions with a one or two second hold, try performing one repetition of a 45 second hold. This will really test the endurance of your muscles, but if you start to feel any uncontrollable shaking at any time, stop there and perform the same number of seconds on the other side.
This exercise is also performed lying on your side. The purpose of this exercise is to help increase the activation of some of the muscles around the hip and pelvis, specifically the gluteus maximus. This muscle becomes inactive through extended sitting and contributes towards hip, pelvis and low back pain when it is inactive.
Instead of having to perch yourself on your elbow, you can lie down on your side in whichever way you are comfortable in, as long as your knees are flexed to 90 degrees and your pelvis is level with your shoulders. See the below photo for guidance if you are struggling with this.
To perform this exercise:
• adopt the position in the video
• place your top hand on your buttock so that you can feel the muscle activation
• keeping your feet touching, open up your top hip such that your knee is raised in the air. Only go as far as your hip will allow, as otherwise you will start to recruit the wrong muscles and the exercise will lose its effectiveness
This exercise is best performed with 10-12 repetitions done for three sets on each side. The beauty of this exercise is that it is very easy to do. The difficulty in it is concentrating and really trying to feel the buttock muscle activating.
If you have any queries or concerns, feel free to comment below or pop in and see us at our Chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne.
Thanks for reading
Starting the day off right with a morning routine
As a chiropractor, I believe that if my care to my patients ended with treatment alone, I would be doing myself and my patients a disservice. I love giving my patients advice regarding exercise and diet, as well as other things that may help to enrichen lives and develop good habits. One topic that I frequently mention to my chiropractic patients at the clinic in Eastbourne is a morning routine. There are many benefits to having a consistent and efficient morning routine – some of which I will talk about here today.
All my school life and time at university, I struggled to wake up in the mornings and get on with the day. I definitely never considered myself a morning person, but I thought this was something that was just in my nature, unable to be changed.
In my final year at university, I started reading more about the habits of successful people, and one of the things that everyone seemed to have in common was a consistent morning routine. One day I decided to start my own morning routine. At first this was just three small things to complete before leaving the house to go to university, but soon it grew into a 60 minute long routine.
I stick to this come rain and shine, even at weekends. I strongly believe that a morning routine sets the tone for the whole day, so an efficient morning really helps me settle into the day at hand. On top of this. I find that in the mornings I have a limited amount of energy. This energy, and willpower, drains away with decision making. Therefore, knowing how the first hour of my day will go helps me to avoid mental fatigue and feel more in control of my day.
My top tips for a great morning routine:
- Place your alarm clock away from your bed. By being out of reach, this will force you to get out of bed and therefore you will be much less likely to just hit the snooze button and go back to bed for another 10 minutes.
- Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. This helps you rehydrate after 8 hours without any fluids. On top of this, it is a great way to kickstart your metabolism.
- Make your bed. This may seem like a silly one, but having some small tasks in your morning routine that are easy to complete really gets you in the mood for a productive day.
- This is one of the most important parts of my morning and probably worthy of its own blog post! I’m quite new to meditating, but I find it helps to clear my mind and gain clarity. I use an app called headspace which I find helpful. If this sounds like too much, simply taking the time to take 20 deep breaths in and out is a great way to start this habit!
- Take the time to be grateful. Another habit I have picked up recently is spending 5 minutes to write in a journal. The journal I write in has the same questions every day, and helps me to be more reflective. The things I write about are things I’m grateful for, things that would make the day great and positive affirmations. The most important part of this habit is allowing yourself 5 minutes to think of all the things you’re grateful for. You may find that doing this allows you to gain a greater appreciation for things.
- Read! For many years at university reading was a habit I simply didn’t do. Perhaps I was too tired of reading after having to do it all day long. Since I started reading 10-20 minutes in the morning I have found that it helps to inspire me for the day ahead. The books I tend to read in the morning are on personal growth, mindset or perhaps even chiropractic books, depending on how much energy I have!
I hope these tips have been helpful, and maybe in the future I will see you going for an early morning run around Eastbourne before work! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us here or ask next time you visit us in Eastbourne.
Thanks for reading,
Ice v Heat – What to use when?
Chiropractors often see problems that are chronic, that is the person has been experiencing problems months if not years. On top of this, at our clinic in Eastbourne we also regularly see new injuries that are only days old. Among both these groups of patients, a topic that often causes a lot of confusion is icing, or rather when to ice vs when to heat. This is something that can be very confusing, so hopefully reading this blog will help you understand this topic better.
Firstly, what are ice and heat used for?
Ice is primarily used for injuries. When a tissue in the body gets injured, an inflammatory process takes place. This process is healthy and natural, but unfortunately also is painful and can take a longer time to occur than it needs to. Inflammation causes the damaged tissues to become red, hot and swollen, which is where ice helps. In this sense, ice can be thought of as a mild, drugless method to reduce inflammation. Your chiropractor at our Eastbourne clinic may even use cooling gel as part of a massage or soft tissue technique to enhance this effect.
Heat on the other hand is predominantly used for muscles, stress or chronic pain. Heat can be used in this way to take the edge off of the pain, to reduce the pain of whole muscle spasms and for calming down the nervous system and the mind, which we know is a major help in chronic pain problems.
What are heat and ice not to be used for?
Due to the opposite action of ice and heat, there is the potential that using the wrong method may actually make the problem worse. Heat and inflammation in particular are a very bad combination. Remember what we discussed above: fresh injuries cause inflammation, which leaves the area red, hot and swollen. Adding heat to this area that is already warm and swollen can cause the area to swell up even more and worsen the pain.
On the contrary, ice has the potential to make muscle spasms and chronic tension worse. Trigger points, which are painful sensitive spots within muscles, often develop in people with chronic pain problems. Despite feeling like something that may be helped by ice, these trigger points can actually worsen the pain and ache more acutely if iced. This is a common mistake people make with low back pain and neck pain.
Both of these methods are pointless when unwanted – for example heating when you’re already sweating or icing when you’re already freezing. Not only will this feel very uncomfortable, but the brain can sense things that are in excess as a threat, and when this occurs, the brain may also increase the pain sensation.
So if ice is supposed to be used on injuries and heat is supposed to be used on muscles, what do you do if there is a muscle injury? After all, this is one of the most common injuries that we will encounter on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, like most questions such as this, the answer is – it depends. Usually I would recommend icing for the first couple of days at most, before switching to heat. This should only be done if it is definitely a true muscle injury. Muscle injuries are normally caused by obvious trauma or overload during intense effort, causing sudden and severe pain immediately. In cases such as this, ice can be used to take the edge off the inflammation first, and then once the worst is over heat can be used to soothe the muscle.
At the end of the day, both heat pads and ice packs are not the most powerful forms of treatment, however they have both been shown to have mild benefits, so they are well worth trying. Despite the information above, the bottom line is use whatever feels best for you. You know your body better than anyone else, and if you hate the idea of taking a dip in the Eastbourne sea at Winter, icing may not be at the top of your wishlist! Similarly if you start to use one method and decide you don’t like the feel of it, then by all means just switch to the other and see if that helps.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you have learnt something. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us here contact us here or ask us next time you are in our clinic in Eastbourne for an adjustment.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation
During their education, chiropractors are taught all kinds of treatment techniques. One of the techniques that I use frequently at the clinic in Eastbourne is called instrumented assisted soft tissue manipulation, or IASTM for short. People often ask me questions about this technique, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about it to help answer any questions you may have.
What is IASTM?
So firstly, what exactly is IASTM? The history of IASTM seemingly dates back to ancient China, where it was performed with tools made of ivory or bone. No
wadays practitioners of IASTM normally use either stainless steel tools or tools using some sort of plastic. The tools are used to affect the muscles and ligaments of the body. It is similar to massage in a way, but can be more precise. On top of this, because of the stainless steel tools IASTM is able to achieve results that massage alone would be unable to. Another benefit of using a stainless steel tool over a hand is that the tool carries a certain amount of resonation in it. Over a patch of muscle which is tighter and more adhesive than the surrounding tissue, the resonance of the tool will cause the area to feel like there are coffee granules beneath the skin. This resonation allows a trained IASTM practitioner to pick up directions that specific muscle fibres are more adhesive in, which allows the treatment to be much more specific and therefore effective.
One of the most common misconceptions among chiropractors, osteopaths or physiotherapists that use IASTM without proper training is that to use IASTM properly, you need to bruise the tissue. This is believed because many practitioners use too much force and think that bruising is equal to positive tissue change. However, in some cases this desire to cause bruising actually leads to compromised tissue by way of widespread bruising. Obviously if you’re trying to improve the healing times of ligamentous or muscle injuries, compromised tissue in the form of bruised tissue is not the way to go!
Forms of IASTM
One of the most common forms of IASTM is called Graston technique. This was a technique developed by a group of chiropractors in America. There has been a lot of research produced by the Graston foundation showing several positive affects. One of the most famous Graston research papers was carried out on rat ligaments believe it or not! In this study, the researchers wanted to see if using Graston technique on healing rat ligaments would alter the structure of the healed ligament in any way. What they found was that the rat ligaments that received Graston therapy healed in a much more organised and therefore stronger orientation, whereas the rat ligaments that didn’t receive Graston therapy healed with fibres running in all sorts of directions. This shows that for people that sprain their ankles for example, IASTM can be used to help improve the healing time and also improve the outcomes once the healing has finished.
Another way to use IASTM is to reduce the tightness of tissues or muscles. Sometimes tight muscles are caused by overfiring of the nervous system, which is responding too much to a certain stimulus. By gently using the IASTM tool over an area that is being overstimulated, this overfiring can be reduced and the muscle can go back to a more relaxed state. The soft tissue of the body has several different receptors within it, one of which is called a mechanoreceptor. This type of receptor senses pressure, and sends signals back to the central nervous system which then decides what to do next. There are both slow response mechanoreceptors as well as fast response mechanoreceptors. Both of these types of mechanoreceptor respond well to different types of IASTM.
Hopefully this review of IASTM has not been too scientific. At the end of the day, it is just another soft tissue technique utilised by our Eastbourne chiropractors and sports massage therapists to aid the treatment of problems and make sure the greatest improvements can occur. If you like the sound of this, contact us here and book in with one of our practitioners in Eastbourne proficient in the usage of this technique.
Low Back Pain Exercise
One of the most common problems I see at our clinic in Eastbourne is low back pain. Often this is accompanied by some hints of instability of the joints in the lower back. This is one of the most common complaints that chiropractors are trained to deal with. In the majority of low back pain complaints that I see here in Eastbourne, the true cause of the dysfunction can be traced back to the same couple of things. This is a problem that is easily fixed, and prevented, with the help of home exercises. The following low back pain exercise is very simple, and when practiced and performed daily can help to build a more injury resilient spine, and therefore keep you functioning at your best!
This exercise has a funny name and can seem difficult to perform properly. However, it can still be scaled back if it is too difficult. The purpose of the Bird dog exercise is to improve the endurance capabilities of the “core” musculature, that is the muscles deep to the spine and in the abdomen. These muscles deep to the spine tend to switch off after prolonged sitting or poor movements.
To perform this exercise:
- Get on the floor with your knees under your hips and your hands shoulder width apart
- Keep the spine neutral and the pelvis level to the shoulders at all times
- Maintain a firm abdominal brace before starting to initiate movement of the arms or legs. This should feel as though you are blowing up a balloon or preparing to be punched in the stomach
- While keeping the abdominal brace, slowly move one arm out in front of you while moving the opposite leg away from you
- Keep the arm and leg in the extended position for a second or two, and then slowly bring the arm and leg back to neutral.
Watch me performing this exercise
The above steps are one repetition, and this exercise is best performed with 12-20 repetitions on each side, done for three sets. However, as this exercises aim is to improve endurance, it is important that you do not feel too fatigued after each set. If you feel you cant complete 12 repetitions on each side without shaking and falling over, make the exercise easier. This can be done by only moving your legs, keeping your arms stationary. This will allow you to improve the endurance of the muscles we are targeting without getting too fatigued and using other muscles instead of the ones we are trying to train.
Progressions and Regressions
If this exercise is too easy for you then perform a harder variation. This exercise can be made harder by starting with your hands and knees closer to each other. This narrows your balance base, which makes you work harder on keeping your pelvis balanced and therefore works the muscles in a more extreme way.
To make it even harder, while your arm and leg are in the extended position, try to draw a square with your arm and an inverse square with your leg, such that when you move up with your arm, you move down with your leg and vice versa. This will really challenge your ability to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine position. After doing 3 sets of 15 repetitions of this on both sides, you can count yourself an expert on the bird dog exercise!
I hope this has been a helpful insight into one of the most common home exercises given by chiropractors for low back pain. Chiropractors are trained to be holistic. This means seeing a chiropractor should be more than just receiving treatment. I love to give advice about nutrition and exercises to help everyone I see improve their quality of life. If you are having any difficulties with the exercise, please feel free to comment below or contact us at our Eastbourne clinic if you have any other worries.