Common gardening mistakes that are bad for your back
This time of year, everyone starts going out into the garden and they tend to overdo it a little. Here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne I have more and more people coming in with injuries related to what they’ve done in the garden. Some have just overdone it but others will continue to do things that are bad for their backs and necks. So I thought I’d go through and describe some of the most common mistakes that people do that aggravates their body.
Weeding in the garden
The first one that lots of people do that causes injury is weeding. This can be a very bad thing for the back when done with poor posture. We don’t consider it necessarily that bad because we’re not necessarily carrying a heavy weight. The realism is that as we are pulling, yanking, tugging on these weeds this provides the same increased pressures as lifting. The stronger we have to pull the heavier the weight it could be compared to. This means that a lot more pressure is put on the muscles, the joints the ligaments and even the disc in the spine. As a result of this I am seeing lots of people who have aggravated their back’s, especially if they already had low back issues.
Obviously, what we also do is we aim to do a small area in the first place for half an hour or so but that area soon gets bigger and becomes longer. This then results in us suffering for a few days. This means that you have actually injured your spine, it may not cause you a long-term problem now but with repetitive use and repetitive damage like this it can lead to a real problem. So, it is best to adopt good positions whilst weeding now rather than when you actually have a back problem.
First keeping your back straight you can usually do this by kneeling, this gets you closer to the weeds and therefore easier to get into the area but also without putting that pressure through the spine.
Using specific tools can be very helpful also, they help to loosen the soil and release the weeds which means it takes less pressure to pull them out. Some people won’t be able to do it like this because they can’t bend due to their knees. In this case you can do what’s called a golfer’s lift where you can grab on to the weed and used your momentum going backwards to pull it out without having to round your back. Again, the use of tools to help to loosen the weed and the soil around it is very very useful so that you don’t have to use as much pressure to pull it out.
Trimming the hedges
The other thing we do at this time is we like to reshape our garden so it grows in the right way. This means we’re out there with the secateurs and big scissors trimming things back. What we tend to do when we do this as we tend to reach and crane and try and get into awkward positions to get those little bits. Realistically what we should do is just move because some things can be quite high. Getting a step ladder is very useful so we can get those top bits without having to reach so far. Reaching can lead to pulling in lower back muscles that can lead to aggravating the shoulders, it can also lead to the neck craning so can lead to injury. Especially if you do this a lot and the likelihood is the next day you will wake up with a pain or two and if you do this repetitively, once again this can lead to long-term issues.
The other thing that we do at this time is replanting. This means that we are digging and moving soil. With this we need to make sure that we move things in the best way possible with digging getting your body behind the way as you put the pressure into the ground is really important that again keeping the back straight is incredibly important. What we tend to do is we tend to round our backs as we do this which again can lead to injury as that is a position that the back is very susceptible to injury.
Moving soil can be very detrimental also, when we move it with a shovel or spade it is important again to keep the back straight and you want the pressure to go through the legs instead again what we tend to do is round the back and use our back to help us to move the soil this is not ideal and again can lead to injury.
You want to adopt a long forward stance and this can help to keep the back straight. When moving bags of soil, it can be incredibly heavy so if you do you have a wheelbarrow this can be very helpful, alternatively having someone help you carry them is definitely a good option. This means that you spread the weight which means you are literally carrying half the weight that you would have been.
Yours in health
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor
7 Revision Tips Helped Maddie’s Headaches as well as her Studies
These revision tips really helped Maddie. I’d been seeing Maddie’s for her headaches, which have been improving, but this Spring things got worse again as she increased her revision for her A-Levels. So I shared some revision tips I’d used to help me during my 7 years of university studies.
Maddie gave these 7 revision tips a go and felt better for it. She had more energy, could study longer and has kept the headaches at bay.
Revision Tip 1 – Exercise
The biggest revision tip is to exercise. If you can fit some exercise into your day then you’ll be able to study and concentrate longer. Cutting out movement and exercise results in less energy and reduced concentration. 30-40 minutes of steady exercise 2-3 times/week will help balance all that time sat still studying.
Weight lifting, impact or sprinting sports like football are less helpful though, because this type of anaerobic exercise is stressful and for the body and doesn’t have the same energy boosting benefits as more gentle activities like swimming, jogging or even just brisk walking. Eastbourne’s got lots of places to walk, jog or exercise outside. One of my chiropractic colleagues and I often run along Eastbourne’ seafront on Mondays after work. No matter how busy the day, it’s a great way to unwind and refresh.
Revision Tip 2 – Avoid Sugar Crashes
Avoid sugary or high energy foods/drinks, like biscuits, chocolate bars etc. They’ll give you an energy boost and you’ll feel good for an hour or so, but then your sugar levels crash and your energy drops. The temptation is then to reach for another high-energy hit, but this just exhausts your body, reducing the quality of your revision and leading to fatigue.
Revision Tip 3 – Avoid Caffeine
Water not caffeine. Tea, coffee and the adult-type caffeine drinks can also result in short-lived boosts, but ultimately leave us feeling more tired and washed out. Stick with non-caffeine drinks but do keep well hydrated as that’ll make a big difference to your learning.
Revision Tip 4 – Routine Rules!
There’s lots of evidence to show that a regular routine, eating, sleeping etc at the same time each day is less stressful or our body and healthier. In fact, some medical experts state that it’s the most important factor to a long life. Get to know when the best time of the day is for you to study and make the most of it, then use the rest of the time to fit in your exercise etc.
Revision Tip 5 – 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule states that most of use get most of our productive work done in a relatively short space of time, i.e. we do 80% of our work in 20% of our time. The rest of the time we procrastinate and are generally slower and less productive. I still find this is still true in my chiropractic practice. I’ve always been a morning person and get more done before 11ma than I will for the rest of the day.
Maximise your effectiveness during your power hours, but then allow yourself to be a little slower at other times.
Revision Tip 6 – Visualise
Visualisation. This is an Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) tip that I’ve used to great effect to motivate myself to get some work done. Imagine yourself doing the revision, and doing it well. Clearly visualise it in your mind. See yourself revising and enjoying it, it’s going well. See it in as much detail as you can, what else can you see or hear, what does it feel like to be study well.
Revision Tip 7 – Slash that Screen Time
Cut that screen time, avoid your phone, tablet or computer after 7pm. The type of bright white light used as a base for all screens is very stimulating to the brain and will make it harder to get to sleep, which is the last thing you need when you want quality studying time tomorrow. If you can’t face turning those mobiles and tablets off, then at least make sure their turned to night-mode. There are apps you can download too.
Try these revision tips. They worked for this Eastbourne teenager and I’ve often recommended them to patient’s who’ve got a lot of desk based work and revision to get through.
Modern chiropractic care is far more than just the hands-on chiropractic treatment. I and my colleagues here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne often compliment the treatment with advice and self-help tips. So, if you’re suffering with headaches, or any other problem and want to find out if we can help then call us on 01323 722499 or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.
Lushington Chiropractic, Eastbourne town centre with free parking, open evenings and Saturdays.
How Can I Strengthen my Neck at Home, and Why Would I Need To?
Here are some quick and easy neck exercises to help strengthen your neck, that you can do in the convenience of your own home.
How many of us suffer from neck aches and pain? Well, of those coming in to see us at Lushington chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, a fair number!! In combination with chiropractic treatment and a program of home-stretches, there are some fantastic strengthening exercises that you can do at home. These will effectively help to strengthen the neck muscles, alleviate your pain and improve your neck function.
Which muscles should be stronger, and why?
Firstly, let’s focus on which neck muscles need to be stronger. Typically, people with neck issues, pain, or just neck and shoulder stress or tightness are prone to becoming weak in the lower trapezius muscles, and tight in the upper trapezius muscles. The upper trapezius muscles are the ones that you feel on the tops of your shoulders, and they attach at the neck right to the top. You can see in the picture below where the upper trapezius muscles are found (under the model’s hand)….
These muscles tend to tighten in the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, so are often tense in people with anxiety, stressful jobs or busy lives. Additionally, they can cause headaches in a specific referral pattern. The referral headache is usually felt at the back of the head, over the top of the head, and behind the eye. To help release these muscles you need to work to strengthen the antagonistic muscles, that is the muscles that do the opposite action across the same joint of the body. In this instance that is the lower trapezius muscles and rhomboids which pull the scapula (shoulder blades) downwards and hold them stable.
How to strengthen the lower trapezius muscles and rhomboids…
Stand straight with your best posture. Now, ‘open up’ the chest and pull your shoulder blades together using the muscles in between them. Hold for a few seconds and squeeze tightly, then release, and repeat 10 times. As with most exercises, little and often is the key so do this a few times daily until the posture is better.
How to strengthen the lower trapezius muscles and rhomboids…
The other muscles that frequently get tight and cause neck pain are the suboccipitals. When tight and dysfunctional, these can cause headaches that are felt at the back and top of the neck, where the neck meets the skull. They are small muscles but can cause painful headaches.
To help release them you once again need to strengthen the antagonistic muscles, which do the opposite action. Here that is the deep neck flexors located at the front of the neck. These muscles help the chin to tuck downwards. To strengthen the deep neck flexors, lie down on your back, on your bed or sofa, with your head hanging off the edge. Make sure that your chin is tucked down (this is very important) and that your spine is straight, and hold the weight of your head up to work those muscles at the front of the neck. You should be able to last up to one minute – if your neck starts shaking or if your chin juts out then stop, and try again. Do daily for best results.
Thanks for reading. Read my previous blog for information on how to stretch out the tight and tender muscles that typically cause you neck pain.
What is the Best Sleeping Position for my Back Pain?
Sleeping positions and their impact on your back pain, explained!
In Lushington chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, we are often asked “what’s the best sleeping position for my back?” and “why does my lower back hurt so much and feel so stiff in the mornings?” Well, unsurprisingly, the two issues are related!
If you are a long or a short-term sufferer of back pain, then you may know that feeling of being stiff and achey in the mornings. What a horrible way to wake up! This blog will help you to minimise or even avoid this feeling, and better prepare your body for a more pleasant, less painful wake-up.
Why does my back hurt so much in the mornings?
Any tissues in the body that are inflamed, whether they be muscles, ligaments, joints or around nerves, can become more inflamed with inactivity. This is because when you’re lying still all night (or sitting still in the day) the fluid collects in those irritated tissues and the result is pain when you do finally go to move! Now, of course it’s not practical or desirable for you to get up and exercise during the night, BUT, there are a few changes you can make to your sleeping position that will help to minimise and alleviate that morning pain. You can do this by putting your body in a better position at night so that those tissues are not stretched and strained and to minimise aggravation as much as possible. You’ll be surprised how much it can help!
Remember, the spine is a column of vertebrae (bones) with fluid-filled, shock-absorbing discs in between to stop those bones rubbing on one another. In the daytime when you’re standing and mostly vertical the pressure of gravity, and your bodyweight, compresses these discs very slightly (don’t worry, you don’t lose height!). On the reverse, when you’re asleep there is much less pressure on these discs and so overnight, they become plump and hydrated. This means that first thing in the morning they are most susceptible to being damaged or injured, and are particularly vulnerable to flexion (leaning forward) and twisting injuries. So, wait an hour before doing yoga and other exercises as they’re not the best movements to do as soon as you wake!
What is the best sleeping position? On your back!
Studies have shown that the lying position where the least pressure is placed on your lumbar discs is supine, i.e. lying on your back, face up. You can see from the picture here that if standing vertically is considered a baseline of ‘100%’ of your normal spinal disc pressure, then sleeping while lying on your back puts only 25% of that pressure on your discs. When sleeping on your back, in the supine position, it’s best to only use one pillow under your head for comfort (any more that this and your neck will be tilted upwards). Another good tip is to put two pillows underneath your knees, to make them slightly bent; this will take the pressure off the hamstrings, the lumbar facet joints, the pelvis and the sciatic nerves, and will feel very comfortable when you get used to it.
On your side…
Since not all of us are able to sleep on our backs, then the second-best position would be to lie on your side. If you do this it is very important to make sure that you assess your lying position when you’re in it, and ask “is my spine in line?”. You should be looking for a straight spine where your head and neck are properly supported by pillows. Too many and your neck will be tilted upwards, too few and it will be tilted downwards. Two pillows is usually about right for most people. Go for supportive synthetic pillows or an orthopaedic one if you prefer, as feather pillows are not supportive once the weight of your head is on them (the feathers push out to the sides and leave your head tilted downwards towards the mattress). The spine should be in alignment through the low back as well; bend both knees and keep them together without sprawling into the recovery position. You can put some of your duvet or a pillow in between the knees if it’s more comfortable. If it helps, you can ask a friend or partner to look at you and help with the “is my spine in line” check, if you wish.
So, if you suffer from back pain in the morning then perhaps it’s time to do the “is my spine in line” check at home tonight! Please ask your chiropractor if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading
Health Benefits of Salmon & Why I Love It – Its Amazing!
Why I Love Salmon and its Amazing Health Benefits
I love Salmon and given how good it is for you, so should you. Not only does it taste great but it can also provide some great health benefits. So how much do you know about salmon? Most of us know its a fish with a pinky/orange type colour, but what beyond this? Below I have given some of the reasons I love salmon. My colleagues here at Lushington Chiropractic will tell you it’s not only Salmon I love. I love all fish and often enjoy it for breakfast! Luckily here in Eastbourne we have access to fresh fish on our doorstop.
Salmon is a fantastic source of omegas 3s. If you have visited us here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne you will know that it is one of our “must have enough of” and if people aren’t getting enough in their diet they could get it with a supplement. The importance of omega 3s is well researched and they are important for pretty much everything! Firstly they are converted into compounds that have an anti-inflammatory action, this is important for many health reasons. Omega 3s are linked to cognitive function (your brain function), eye health, cardiovascular health, skin and hair. So pretty important stuff and salmon is one of the best dietary sources. The health benefits really are amazing!
Vitamin D is also called the “sunshine vitamin” due to the fact that our body makes vitamin D when we are in the sunlight. It is also available however in some foods. Salmon, together with eggs and fortified milk or cereals, is one of these. Vitamin D has long been known to play a part in bone health. More recently however, its importance is being found to be further reaching and the vitamin is being linked to various chronic diseases.
Some people are more at risk for vitamin D deficiency these are :
- People who don’t consume good amounts over time, for instance people with a strict vegetarian diet (because most of the natural sources are animal based), or people with poor diets.
- Those who have limited exposure to sunlight, either because they live in northern latitudes, are housebound, cover up for religious reasons or other reasons such as an occupation which means they don’t get much sunlight.
- People with darker pigmented skin as this reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D
- Older people and people with kidney problems as the kidneys play an important role in converting vitamin D to its active form.
- People who have trouble absorbing nutrients from food due to digestive problems
- Obese individuals as vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells changing how it is released into the circulation, i.e they may have lower blood levels.
Recently there has been some concern over the population’s vitamin D levels, reasons suggeted have been a poor summer leading into the winter and there has been a recurrence of rickets (bone softening due to vitamin D deficiency) in children.
If you think you may be deficient in vitamin D it is worth talking to your doctor or other suitable healthcare professional and the Department of Health recommends a supplement for the following people:
- All children aged six months to four years. See this NHS page for more details on babies.
- All pregnant and breastfeeding women
- All people aged 65 and over
- People who are not exposed to much sun as described above
Great source of protein
I am not going to write much on this. Essentially protein is important for everything! It is one of the major food groups and very important for all body processes, growth, development and repair.
Good source of selenium
Selenium is a less well known mineral, but is important in working with vitamins as an antioxidant. It plays a role in thyroid function and the immune system and is also important in male fertility.
So these are the more “sciencey reasons” for why I love salmon and why it can be great for us, but also when we eat salmon it is normally with vegetables and potatoes or cous cous and salad, not so often with chips or other unhealthy items so helps us there too! It also tastes great and is easy to cook, put it in the oven for 20 minutes and bake, it’s so versatile and can be grilled or poached as well. My latest discovery is the smoked salmon trimmings in the supermarkets makes a lovely salad.
So there we have it, many, many good reasons to eat more salmon if you aren’t eating enough already.
This blog from our old colleague Caroline Mulliner shows us her favourite Salmon recipe.
Why do you love salmon?
Has anybody got any good salmon recipes they would like to share with me?
Thanks for reading.
What is the difference between a Physiotherapist or Chiropractor?
Physiotherapist or Chiropractor?
I frequently get asked by patients here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, what is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist? Well, there are a lot of similarities between both professions. We both use manual therapy and prescribe exercises to help people move and feel better. So it’s an understandable question, but like most things in life the devil is in the detail as to what the differences are. My personal view is from that of a chiropractor, but I have worked alongside physio’s in the past and will be as impartial as I can be.
What do physiotherapists and Chiropractors have in common?
Based on the NHS choices website definition of physiotherapy, it is described as a profession that helps to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness, disability. It can also help to reduce the risk of injury or illness in the future. It takes a holistic approach that involves the patient directly in their own care. From this definition you can see there are a lot of similarities between physiotherapists and chiropractors. The most obvious being the focus on restoring movement and function. We both share those goals of wanting you to move and feel better. We also both use manual therapy to help achieve that goal. Generally manual therapy is used more by physiotherapists working within private practice than those working within an NHS hospital setting which is moving more towards exercise based treatment approach.
What kind of manual therapy techniques do chiropractors and physiotherapists use?
We both use a variety of soft tissue techniques such as massage or trigger point therapy for treating stiff and sore muscles. We can combine that with different stretching techniques to help reduce stiffness that can build up within muscles. To help joints move better, we both use joint mobilisation techniques. These are repetitive movements of joints into a specific direction, usually into the direction of joint stiffness. Looking at the updated guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of lower back pain. Spinal manipulative therapy is recommended. Incidentally NICE is the organisation that recommends the best practice for the treatment of certain conditions. These guidelines are often used by GPs, consultants and other health care professionals. Chiropractors and osteopaths are trained to manipulate the spine within their education. Whereas if a physiotherapist or GP wants to use spinal manipulation, they have to undergo additional post graduate training.
What sort of education does a chiropractor or physiotherapist have?
To become a qualified chiropractor involves undergoing a four or five year undergraduate degree programme where students learn to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate a wide range of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system. They will also learn how to take and read x-rays, as well as interpret MRI scans. Once graduated chiropractors will continue their professional development with additional training. To become a qualified physiotherapist involves a three year undergraduate programme or a two year Masters programme for someone who has a relevant degree such as sports science. The focus is not just on the treatment and management of the musculoskeletal disorders. But will learn how to rehabilitate other disorders such as cardiac and respiratory conditions. This is something chiropractors or osteopaths are not trained to do. Physiotherapist do get good training opportunities in their post graduate training working within the NHS.
So who should I see about my back or neck pain?
The answer to that question is it doesn’t matter. As long as you find a good chiropractor or physiotherapist, they will both help you with your lower back or neck pain. If you would like to find out a bit more about what I can do to help you, have a look at the Lushington Chiropractic website.
Thanks for reading.
Vitamins and Minerals, What’s in the Pot?
Part 1: Vitamins
Have you ever wondered what vitamins and minerals are in a multi-vitamin tablet and what they do? My patients in the chiropractic clinic often ask me how vitamin and mineral supplements can help to promote their health and wellbeing.
Part 1 describes why vitamins are essential for our health. Part 2 to follow describes how minerals are essential for our health and well being.
Vitamins: What’s all the Fuss?
Vitamin A has an essential role in bone growth, reproduction and immune system health. It also helps the skin and mucous membranes to resist bacteria and viruses effectively and is key to retina function. One of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency is struggling to see in the dark.
Vitamin D is converted into a hormone Calcitriol in the body. This hormone circulates in the blood and helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate nutrients in the body which are essential in the optimal function of the nerves, muscles and immune system. Some of the symptoms of low vitamin D levels are muscle weakness, fatigue and softened bones.
To find out more about Vitamin D, click here to read my blog.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin which removed oxygen free radicals which are the unstable compounds that damage healthy cells. Vitamin E is also essential in optimal immunity and lowering cholesterol and helps to prevent skin ageing. An early symptom of vitamin E deficiency is muscle weakness and wasting leading to loss of coordination.
Like E, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which can help fight off infection. It also helps the body to maintain optimal function of connective tissues, bones, blood vessels and skin. Some more advanced deficiencies of vitamin C include gum inflammation, brittle hair and a decreased ability to ward off infection.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B1 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential to maintain digestive function and promotes the immune system, hair and liver. Vitamin B1 deficiency can lead to fastened heart rate, shortness of breath and swellings.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B2 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential to maintain digestive function and promotes eye health and blood cell health. A lack of vitamin B2 can lead to dry skin and skin rash, anaemia, inflammation of the tongue and weakness.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B3 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential in the production of adrenal hormones in the adrenal glands and is thought to suppress inflammation. A deficiency of vitamin B3 can lead to dry cracked skin, inflammation of the tongue and swelling of the mouth.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B5 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential in the production of adrenal hormones in the adrenal glands, blood cells and helps the body to lower cholesterol. Vitamin B5 deficiency can lead to low moods, fatigue, insomnia and mood swings.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B6 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain for normal brain function. Low levels of vitamin B6 can lead to dry skin, low moods and a reduced ability to fight off infection.
One of the 8 water soluble B vitamins, B6 helps to covert carbohydrates into glucose to produce energy and to breakdown fats and protein. It is also essential to strengthen and maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. A lack of vitamin B7 can lead to hair loss, a red facial rash and weakness or tingling of the hands and feet.
Folic acid is important in the prevention of certain birth defects, which is why it is often recommended for pregnant women. It is also helpful in reducing blood pressure and helps the body to maintain healthy cells. Low levels of folic acid can lead to signs of anaemia and the inability to fight off infection.
For more information about supplements, multivitamins and minerals, ask your chiropractor. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, make sure to ask your GP for advice.
This table has been taken from the BioCare website and refers to the one a day vitamins and minerals.
|INGREDIENT||AMOUNT||PROVIDING||% EC NRV|
|Vitamin A 2667iu||800 mcg||Retinol equivalent||100|
|Vitamin D2 400iu||10 mcg||200|
|Vitamin E 100iu||67 mg||Alpha Tocopherol equivalent||558|
|Vitamin C||191.8 mg||240|
|Thiamin (Vitamin B1)||32 mg||2909|
|Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)||25 mg||1786|
|Niacin (Vitamin B3)||100 mg||Niacin Equivalent||625|
|Vitamin B6||30 mg||2143|
|Folic Acid||400 mcg||200|
|Vitamin B12 (hydroxycobalamin)||100 mcg||4000|
|Pantothethic Acid (Vitamin B5)||60 mg||1000|
|Choline bitartrate||60 mg|
|Bilberry Extraxt 4:1||20 mg||Equivalent to 200 mg Billberries|
|Beta carotene||2 mg||Providing 333 mcg retionol equivalent|
Thanks for reading, look out for Part 2 to find out how minerals are essential for our health and well being.
Do I need acupuncture or a chiropractor to treat my lower back pain?
Acupuncture v Chiropractor
At some point in your life the chances are you will experience lower back pain. You may have heard acupuncture and chiropractic care are both good for treating lower back pain. So who do you go and see? Well, like my last blog comparing chiropractors and osteopaths the answer is not black and white. This is due to differences that occur within each profession and personal preferences of the individual seeking treatment. So the aim of this blog is to explain and compare what each profession does, so you can make an informed choice as to whether you would prefer to see an acupuncturist or a chiropractor.
Starting with acupuncture there are two distinct schools of thought. The first is Traditional acupuncture and the second is western medical acupuncture or also called dry needling. A description from the British Acupuncture Council describes traditional acupuncture as a Health care system based on ancient principles of Chinese medicine that dates back more than 2000 years. It is concerned with the health and function of an individual, and looks at illness and pain as signs the body is out of balance. Balance can be restored by enhancing the flow of Qi or vital energy through the body. The flow of Qi is improved by inserting acupuncture needles at specific points within the body to remove blocked energy. Qi or vital energy is described as life energy that needs to flow freely through the body to maintain good health. To train and become a qualified acupuncturist, normally takes about three years to complete.
Western Medical Acupuncture
The second school of thought is Western medical acupuncture, although acupuncture needles are used it is based on an entirely different rationale. This has evolved from traditional acupuncture, where needles are inserted into areas based on current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology. As opposed to the traditional acupuncture which is based on mapped out areas of the body where qi is thought to be blocked. The western medical acupuncturist will look to insert needles into trigger points, which are essentially knots that can build up within the muscle either through trauma or over use. This style of acupuncture is typically used by chiropractors, osteopaths, GPs or physiotherapists who have attended post graduate courses.
What the guidelines say
The recently updated NICE guidelines (The guidelines used by the NHS as to being best practice for health professionals) recommend spinal manipulative therapy (also known as chiropractic adjustments), massage techniques and combined psychological and physical exercise programmes. These are all treatment modalities I use with the guests at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic. Acupuncture was recently dropped from the updated guidelines, but that is not to say it does not work, just more research is needed. I know through my personal experience patients who have chiropractic treatment and see an acupuncturist, do very well.
We both want to improve your health
Chiropractic care and acupuncture are both more than treating a back pain, they are about improving overall health – see our blog what is chiropractic. As a chiropractor my main goal is to improve the movement of your musculoskeletal system, and understand how that can reduce your pain and have other health benefits. The acupuncturists goal is also to promote health, so from that point of view we have similar goals. If you are not sure who to see for your back pain, see what approach resonates with you. Speaking as a chiropractor I would say that if you came to see me, I would make sure you get a good diagnosis and a personalised treatment package which would be appropriate to your needs. I am confident I can help with most types of mechanical back pain, but am also sure an acupuncturist might say the same thing. If I felt acupuncture would be a useful adjunct to your treatment, I can refer you to my colleague Victoria White a chiropractor here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne who practices western medical acupuncture. I have done my best to give a balanced opinion on the different approaches and be as accurate as possible. However, I am a chiropractor and not an acupuncturist, so you might get a different opinion from an acupuncturist.
Thanks for reading.
A chiropractor’s guide to protecting the back when gardening
So the focus for my blog this month is GARDENING and some tips for protecting the back when gardening. It is inspired by my mum and all my patients here in Eastbourne who are just starting to get back out in the garden now the weather is warming up.
Getting out in the garden can be very therapeutic. It can be stress relieving and being out in the fresh air is lovely, plus the sun is great for Vitamin D levels. Growing plants, especially your own vegetables can be very satisfying, and having that nice environment to sit out in on a nice summers day or for a BBQ is well worth the effort.
Of course, as a chiropractor here at Lushington Chiropractic there are a few things I would say to keep in mind. If you are prone to back problems, it is important to be aware that certain activities can exacerbate discomfort and that certain steps should be taken to protect your back when gardening. I firstly started out doing a little research of my own by getting out in the garden at home to appreciate what it is my patients are doing when they tell me they have been doing a little digging! Wow when those roots are holding tight they are hard to get out! Not like the plants we have in our little patio garden outside of our X-Ray suite.
So what is it about gardening that means we need to take care?
To those unfamiliar with what is entailed in maintaining an attractive and orderly outdoor space, gardening may seem like a sedate pastime. Yet, the reality is that many aspects of gardening can involve sudden bursts of activity that the body may well not be ready for, such as twisting and lifting. Combine these movements with poor posture and poor technique and the results can be extremely painful.
The first point to make is that if you have good strong core and back muscles and have looked after your back in other daily activities and sports then your body is much more likely to be robust and ready for the exercises and challenges that you may throw at it.
If you are unsure about how to do this then ask advice from someone who can help, such as a chiropractor or a good personal trainer.
Secondly here are some tips that you should bear in mind:
Like any other exercise, start off slowly and warm up. Going for a gentle walk, doing some light movement or starting off with lighter/easier jobs first will help your body warm up and lessen the chance of muscle strain. This may seem like overkill for a spot of gardening, but if you are serious about protecting your back it can be essential.
You will also need to wear clothes that are suitable for the task at hand when you step outside. Tight clothes could constrict your movement. Also be mindful of the type of footwear that you have to prevent slipping in wet conditions.
When using a ladder or steps, make sure it is planted firmly in position. Have someone with you if necessary to help and try not to overextend when you reach or lean out. Avoid this temptation by moving the ladder frequently when you are working over a large area.
Over-reaching and leaning is one to avoid even when not on a ladder. Keep what you are doing closer to you, this will put less strain on the body. You can get tools with longer handles to help with this.
When digging, push down rather than pushing too far out in front, this helps to minimise bending.
If you are buying heavy items that are delivered, have them dropped off as close to where you need them as you can, to avoid having to carry them later. Also if you are buying big bags of compost for instance, consider getting more smaller bags to make the lifting easier and alway carry heavy things close to the body. A wheelbarrow is also handy to limit carrying.
If you are doing lots of potting, think about doing this on on a work surface at a comfortable height so as to limit stooping over.
Vary your activity and take regular breaks, don’t be tempted to do it all once due to the weather forecast!
A knee pad is useful for those knees, rather than kneeling on hard surfaces.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated in hot weather.
Finally if you think something is a bit too much, get someone to help out, take it easy and don’t overdo it.
If you are concerned about protecting the back when gardening, consider all the points above when you are getting outside this summer. If you need some further advice or have back pain you can always contact us. Our website is a good place to start.
Thats all for now, above all enjoy!
Differences between Osteopathy and Chiropractic
Chiropractors and Osteopaths both treat back pain using a variety of techniques to improve musculoskeletal function. But what is the difference between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?
Chiropractic or Osteopathy?
This is a question I get asked all the time by guests at the clinic here in Eastbourne. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not black and white due to professional differences within both professions. It is worth bearing in mind that chiropractic and osteopathy are not techniques but are the title of the professions. So I will do my best to explain the different approaches for treating back pain that exist between an osteopath and a chiropractor.
What are the similarities between an osteopath and a chiropractor?
Both osteopaths and chiropractors are statutory regulated health professions, the osteopaths by the general osteopathic council and chiropractors by the General Chiropractic Council. In terms of education, both have to complete a four or five-year degree level course. Based on a definition taken from the General Osteopathic Council, osteopathy is described as a primary health care profession. This is similar to chiropractic and means you do not need a referral to visit an osteopath or Chiropractor. In the same way you do not need a referral to visit a NHS dentist or GP. This means both a chiropractor and osteopath have the necessary diagnostic skills to know what we can treat and when to refer.
The NHS describes osteopathy as being based on the principle that the wellbeing of a person depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue function smoothly together. They can help prevent health problems through the use of physical manipulation, stretching and massage techniques. With the aim Increasing mobility of joints, relieving muscle tension, enhancing blood supply to tissues and helping the body to move. As a chiropractor I would agree that a musculoskeletal system functioning to the best of its capability is beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. We all have experienced days where are muscles and joints ache, leaving us feeling tired and down. I would say we both share the goal of wanting to reduce back pain and improve musculoskeletal system function. With an understanding how that can have a positive impact on your wellbeing.
What techniques do Osteopaths and Chiropractors use?
Both Osteopaths and Chiropractors use manipulative techniques to treat and improve movement within the spine. Chiropractors call these spinal manipulations, chiropractic adjustments. These manoeuvres involve a quick but gentle thrust to the spine that sometimes causes the characteristic click or pop sound to come from your joints. As a chiropractor my goal is to improve the movement of the joint and recognise the beneficial effect this can have on your nervous system. I would expect an osteopath would also have a similar goal. But there are slight differences in the techniques used.
Osteopaths and chiropractors treat joints and muscles using massage and stretching techniques. Personally as a chiropractor I like to adjust, use a facial edge tool to break up any scar tissue within the connective tissue surrounding muscles and combine this with other massage techniques, rehabilitative exercise, and stretching of stiff muscles to improve your musculoskeletal health. Both chiropractors and osteopaths will develop their own style of practicing and this will be based on their own experience with patients and the type of courses they choose to attend after University. It is not unusual for chiropractors and osteopaths to attend the same courses and learn techniques from each other.
Are there any differences between chiropractors and osteopaths?
We have established a lot of similarities between chiropractors and osteopaths. But the biggest difference to the best of my knowledge is chiropractors are trained to take x-rays. Both professions are taught to read and interpret x-rays and MRI scans. Chiropractors can organise a private referral for an MRI scan if you require it. As you can see the answer is not straight forward and it is about finding the right practitioner for you. If you want to find out more about what I do look for James Revell on the Lushington Chiropractic website.
Thanks for reading.