Understand your pain
Most of the patients who come to see us in our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne do so because they are in pain. Some of them are in acute pain, which has only been going on for a very short period of time. But the majority of patients who come to see us are in chronic pain, which has been going on for months or even years, in this blog I hope to help you to understand your pain.
Inflammation and pain: acute and chronic
Inflammation often causes pain in the body. Pain varies in a lot of ways. It can be constant or intermittent. It can feel like stiffness and aches. It can be sharp, pinching, burning, and throbbing. The inflammation that caused the pain is either acute inflammation or chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation occurs when there is an injury to the body.
The body naturally responds to this injury by creating an inflammatory response that is mediated by the immune system. It is the body’s way of trying to heal and protect itself. It does this with the purpose of repairing damage done to cells and tissues. Inflammation occurs in stages: first, there is the irritation stage. Something has happened to the body, or irritated it, and the inflammatory process begins. You can observe this phenomenon in progress when you fall and scrape your knee. It will become red, swollen, and sore. That is your body getting to work right away to heal the tissue. White blood cells come to the area and sometimes you can see pus in a wound. This is the suppuration stage. Your body is trying to destroy and expel damaged tissue and cells from the body.
Chronic inflammation is when this same process goes on, but for a prolonged period of time in the body.
This can last several months to years. The body is failing at its attempt to heal itself. This chronic state of inflammation in the body can lead to an auto immune response where the body starts to see itself as harmful and foreign, and an immune response mediates an attack on tissue that was once otherwise healthy. This type of pain is usually less intense and persistent, but not necessarily constant.
Inflammation has five things associated with it:
- Loss of function.
However, inflammation can be present in the body without all five being present. For example, you can have a bleeding ulcer but not know it because there are not a lot of sensory pain receptors on organs. But when tissues such as muscles and joints get injured, they are able to communicate much better with pain receptors, especially when there is swelling, and then pain can be felt more easily.
Different types of pain
Pain comes in a few different types.
The first type is nociceptive pain.
This pain is caused by damaged tissue releasing certain chemicals that bind to receptors (nociceptors) in the body and trigger pain. Anti-inflammatory medications work here to interrupt this process and block pain. There is also non-nociceptive pain which occurs inside of the nervous system itself.
Then we have somatic pain.
This is sharp and localised pain and occurs within the musculoskeletal system which involves muscles, joints, ligaments, bones, and tendons. As a chiropractor, I see and treat this type of pain most often.
And finally, we have visceral pain.
Visceral pain is not easily localised. It is often a pain that is felt deep in the body and is coming from the organs, aka viscera. Kidney infections and menstrual cramps are two types of visceral pain. And they are often mistaken for pain that is arising from the back muscles and joints, aka somatic pain.
When you come to see us at our clinic in Eastbourne, our chiropractors are specialists in muscle, joint, and nerve-type pain. We know how to diagnose, manage, and treat your somatic pain through chiropractic treatments, massage, and acupuncture and we help you to understand your pain And we also advise our patients on nutrition and lifestyle changes to improve their overall health.
Thanks for reading!
An Eastbourne Chiropractor’s tips for prevention of migraines
For me prevention is always better than cure. Here I will cover some things that my patients have found effective in preventing their migraines, therefore reducing the frequency and severity of these attacks.
What is a migraine
Migraines have been identified as a neurological condition as they effect the bodies brain chemistry. They are also a lot more common than we originally thought. There are many different sub varieties of migraine and many have still not been classified. They are typically described as recurrent headaches lasting 4-72 hours and are often accompanied by nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, or an aura with hand or arm numbness or visual changes.
Predisposition to migraine
There are a few factors that have been associated with the presence of migraines and therefore sometimes management of these can help to prevent them. These include: stress; depression or anxiety; menstrual period; menopause; head or neck trauma. As a chiropractor, I have seen many people presenting to me with migraines and it is very common for them to have one or more of these factors so key to my care, is giving advice about managing these issues.
Migraines are often set off by certain things and these can be common amongst many different people. Common triggers are: altered sleep patterns; stress; foods such as chocolate, cheese, caffeine and alcohol; strong smells; bright lights; dehydration; and strenuous exercise. The best way to identify your triggers is to keep a migraine diary recording what time of day, how severe out of ten, how long it lasted, and if you had any associated effects such as sensitivity to light/sound, nausea etc. This can sometimes help to identify possible triggers. It is important not to just try and focus in triggers though as they can be hard to identify.
Active migraine prevention
As well as being aware of your possible triggers there are a few active things that you can do that have been shown to help prevent migraines in many people. Chiropractic treatment has been recommended for prevention of migraine and I have seen the effectiveness of this in my own patients even in the instance of those that are only present during the menstrual period. This is believed to be due to addressing underlying issues around the head and neck potentially linked to previous trauma causing an underlying dysfunction. Acupuncture has also been recommended for prevention of migraines and a piercing in the ear, based on acupuncture points, has been effective in some people and again some of my own patients have found this useful. This piercing is through the Daith in the ear (shown in the photo).
Adopting good posture can also take unnecessary pressure off the muscles around the head, neck and shoulders; and sunglasses help to prevent squinting and aggravating tension in the facial muscles.
For more different types of headaches go to this site: http://www.headaches.org/2008/12/11/the-complete-headache-chart/
Yours in health,
Eastbourne Chiropractor’s Self Help Advice for Neck Pain and Headaches
So, you have probably read my previous blog post about Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain and Headaches
The post (read here) which detailed some of the types of neck pain and headaches that people such as yourself can suffer from. At the end of that article I mentioned that this following blog would discuss some very useful self-help tips that you can do at home. These will allow you to manage your symptoms and will give you a measure of control over how you are feeling. These small everyday actions achieve this by keeping your joints moving well and releasing your neck muscular tension in between your treatments, and therefore making your spine function better in general. We will discuss posture and ergonomics, but firstly, we will go through a few key neck stretches.
These are simple to do and will help to relieve your muscular tightness and can help you avoid headaches. Do them regularly (every day) and also when you feel a headache coming on. The upper trapezius muscles are the ones that you feel at the tops of your shoulders, going up into the neck, and when tight these muscles can often contribute to headaches felt up and over the head and behind the eyes. To stretch the upper trapezius muscles, begin by standing (or sitting) tall with your shoulders straight, then bring your right ear down to your right shoulder so that your head is tilted, and use your right hand to very gently pull down the head to increase the stretch. Repeat on the left side to keep it even.
The small suboccipital muscles are at the back and top of the neck. They go from the top of the neck to the base of the skull and when tight can cause headaches to be felt in that same area. To stretch the suboccipital muscles keep your shoulders and back straight (as always!) and tuck your chin down to give yourself a double chin. Then use your hands to gently pull to increase the stretch.
Improving your posture is vital when you suffer from neck pain and headaches. Simply put, if you are constantly putting your spine in awkward positions then how can you expect the joints and muscles to function normally?
Awkward postures/positions and how to fix them are detailed here…
Problem – Lying on your side on the sofa.
Fix – Sit straight on the sofa, with cushions behind you so your back is straight and with both feet flat on the floor. The TV should be directly in front of you so you don’t need to turn your head.
Problem – Sleeping with the incorrect number of pillows (or even worse, on your front).
Fix – Sleep on your back with one pillow or on your side with two. Speak to your chiropractor for more details as this is a whole topic in itself!
Problem – Holding the phone between your shoulder and your ear for prolonged periods of time
Fix – Avoid this completely
Problem – Reading with your head tilted downwards towards your book/phone.
Fix – Bring your book or phone up towards your face, not the other way around
Check that your desk is set up in an ergonomically correct position, and that everything you need to reach is within arm’s length. Speak to your Eastbourne chiropractor for more details, or take a photo of yourself sitting at your desk in with you to your chiropractic treatment to ask for individual detailed advice.
I hope you have found these tips useful to help control your neck pain and headaches. Please ask your chiropractor if you are ready to do these stretches at home or if you have any questions regarding your individual treatment for your neck pain and headaches.
Thanks for reading,
Why Doesn’t My Baby Sleep At Night?
Six Reasons Why Babies Don’t Sleep At Night
Eastbourne Chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch shares six reasons why babies don’t sleep at night.
Is your baby up all night and sleeps all day? You are not alone.
During pregnancy, your baby develops a sleep-wake cycle based on your normal heart rate and activity. If you were active a lot during the night time, such as getting up to urinate often or standing up to relieve some discomfort, then it is likely that your baby has fallen into a similar routine of night time waking.
There are many other reasons, however, why a baby may not sleep at night. Chiropractic can help with some of these reasons and a chiropractic check-up is recommended if you think they apply to your baby. Here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne we see many young babies – much to the surprise of some of our other guests!
Reason #1: Your Baby Is Uncomfortable
The 1992 American Paediatric campaign ‘Back to Sleep’ recommended that all babies should be placed on their back to get to sleep. If babies are left for long periods of time, such as at night time, or have trouble to remain comfortable in this position, they can become irritable and find it difficult to sleep.
Signs that your baby does not like lying on their back:
- Arching their back as if in discomfort
- Lifting their legs up as if in pain
- Irritability that is consoled with a change in position
If your baby shows one or more of these signs, it could indicate that your baby is suffering from a musculoskeletal (muscles and joints) problem. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to relieve these types of problems in babies.
Reason #2: Your Baby Experienced Birth Trauma
Entry into this world can be a very difficult experience for your little one, even with a natural birth. Intrauterine constraint, back-to-back delivery, breech position and as assisted delivery (such as C-section or forceps) can all cause the delicate musculoskeletal system of your infant to become irritated.
Signs that your baby has a musculoskeletal problem due to birth trauma:
- A dislike to lying on their back
- Not easily settled to sleep and waking frequently
- A preference to looking one way
- A preference to lying and feeding upright
If your baby shows one or more of these signs, it may indicate that your baby is suffering from a musculoskeletal problem related to birth trauma. Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to help relieve these types of musculoskeletal problems in babies. Treatments I use are modified to suit babies and young children, they are very gentle and controlled.
Reason #3: Your Baby Is Hungry
The most common reason for a baby to wake at night is due to hunger. Parents should be able to recognise the specific crying and behaviour when their baby is hungry. An irritable cry is more high-pitched.
Night feeds should take place at regular intervals and preferably at a similar time each night. It is best to feed your baby in a cool, calm and quiet environment to avoid over-stimulating your baby.
Reason #4: Your Baby Has Started Teething
At around 3-6 months of age, your baby will start teething. This can make your baby very irritable and cause them to frequently wake during the night. Often, your baby will have a slightly red colour to their cheeks. You may also notice your baby drools or chews on their fingers. Speak to your pharmacist or GP for advice on pain relief for your baby
Reason #5: Your Baby Is Overly Tired
Babies tend to settle to sleep quicker when they have specific sleeping routines and are encouraged to be active during the day. Here are some useful tips to resettling your baby’s internal clock:
- Wake your baby at similar times every morning
- Change your baby out of their night clothes soon after waking them
- Play with them as much as you can during the day and ensure that Tummy Time and all other activities with your child are supervised
- Keep the room where your baby sleeps at night as cool and as dark as possible
Reason #6: Your Baby May Have Digestive Problems
Excessive gas and reflux can cause discomfort for your baby and disrupt their sleep. After feeds, gentle massage and winding can relieve some of your baby’s discomfort. It is important, however, to be aware of the signs of allergy or intolerance. Seek advice from your doctor if you suspect your child has a food allergy or intolerance.
If you want to find out more about how chiropractic care can help your child or to make an appointment, visit your local Eastbourne Chiropractor at Lushington Chiropractic to find out more.
Thanks for reading,
Eastbourne Chiropractor: A Case of Knee Arthritis
What is Knee Arthritis and How Does Chiropractic Care Help?
Eastbourne chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch shares how chiropractic care can help relieve knee pain from arthritis. This is done through two case studies which describes the journey of many people who receive chiropractic care for knee arthritis pain relief.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne we see a number of people suffering from arthritis and know just how much it can affect different aspects of your life. There are approximately 360 joints in the human body and one of the major joints targeted by arthritis is the knee. So, what really is arthritis?
Arthritis, put simply, is inflammation of a joint. There are many different types of arthritis with the most common being osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is wear and tear of a joint which most of us will suffer from as we get older. This case study looks at how ‘Mr C’ and ‘Mrs T’, fictitious characters based on guests I have seen in practice with knee arthritis, have experienced pain relief from chiropractic care.
Mr C is 55 and came to see me in the clinic about his left knee pain and stiffness. He told me that he has suffered from knee pain on-and-off for 15 years or so. It started gradually and has become worse over the last five years and now stops him from doing most things. He used to play a lot of sports but as his knee pain became worse, he had to stop which meant he could no longer participate in his local cricket team. Mr C is also a keen gardener but struggles now with his knee to stay out for longer than half an hour at a time and notices that his knee pain is worse in the evenings. Mr C was told by his doctor that pain medication and a knee replacement was the most likely treatment for his type of knee arthritis.
Mrs T is 68 and came to see me in the clinic about her right knee pain and stiffness. She has suffered from knee pain on-and-off for 7 years and has noticed that it has become worse in the last 3 years and now feels like her knee clicks and grinds a lot. Mrs T and her husband are keen walkers in their spare time but these days she cannot walk more than 15 minutes without her knee starting to hurt. She told me that it is also painful to walk up and down the stairs in her house and feels like her knee gives way sometimes. Mrs T also told me that when she saw a specialist, they told her that she has osteoarthritis in her right knee and the only treatment was pain medication and a knee replacement surgery.
These two cases are common stories we hear in the chiropractic clinic for people who suffer with knee pain from arthritis. The aim of chiropractic care for people with knee arthritis is to improve the function and mobility of the knee joint itself and the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Chiropractors believe that the body acts a functional unit and therefore we look at the body as a whole and consider all aspects to see if your ankles, hips and spine are affected by the pain in your knee. So, what is the treatment?
Most cases of knee pain caused by arthritis respond very well to conservative care provided by a chiropractor. The treatment usually involves a few different techniques to target specific areas. These include chiropractic adjustments which are gentle and direct to help restore mobility into the joints, myofascial release which relieves tension in the surrounding soft tissues and functional rehabilitation which involves exercises to help you prevent knee pain in the future.
Since receiving treatment, Mr C is now able to spend as much time as he wants in the garden without being restricted with his knee pain. Mrs T is able to return to her walking sessions with her husband and is back to her normal walking distance and feels much more confident walking up and down her stairs at home.
If you want to find out more about how chiropractic care can help you to improve your quality of life by reducing knee pain from arthritis or to make an appointment, visit Lushington Chiropractic to find out more.
Thanks for reading,
Are Lectins to blame for your chronic inflammation.
What are lectins?
Many people come to our chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, but they don’t just suffer from back pain. Patients are often suffering from other illnesses as well. So, we try to guide them in the area of lifestyle and nutrition as well. Patients often have underlying inflammation and it is something we try to address through nutrition as well.
Lectins are proteins found in every living organism and are, for the most part, harmless. But some of them can be very harmful to humans. The lectins found in peanuts and ricin are responsible for the life-threatening reactions they cause in humans. Lectins are used by plants to protect themselves from predators. Plants are not defenseless. They are able to cause adverse reactions in the insects and animals that eat them in order to enhance their own chance of survival. Lectins tend to be found in higher concentration in the seeds, roots, and baby leaves of plants.
How are lectins harmful to you?
Lectins are known to damage the lining of the digestive tract causing “leaky gut syndrome” and create a state of chronic inflammation in the body. The lectins are sticky molecules and bind with the lining of the gut, especially in the small intestine. When this lining becomes damaged by the lectins, it negatively affects the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients. This damage leads to chronic inflammation in the body and disturbs the normal flora in the gut which can encourage bad bacteria and parasites to grow. The lectins and the pathogenic organisms are able to leak into the bloodstream through this damaged intestinal lining and cause you to be unhealthy.
The body will recognize these lectins and pathogens in the bloodstream as being foreign and dangerous and will therefore create an immune response to deal with them. Because lectins are sticky molecules, they like to attach themselves to various tissues in the body. The immune system will attack these tissues in an effort to protect the body from these foreign invaders. But instead of protecting the body, it causes an autoimmune reaction where the body sees its own tissue as an invader and tries to destroy it. As a consequence, the body is in a chronic state of inflammation. The effects of chronic inflammation in the body have far-reaching and detrimental effects on our health and it is believed that this chronic inflammation is the root of a lot of illnesses today.
If you know that you have a bad reaction to wheat when you eat it, but did not test positive to a gluten sensitivity test, it may actually be the lectins in wheat that you are sensitive to. In wheat, the lectin is called “wheat germ agglutin” or WGA, and you may in fact have a WGA sensitivity.
Lectin-containing foods to be avoided if you are on a Lectin Avoidance Diet.
As I mentioned previously, lectins are in all living organisms to one degree or another. But there are certain foods that have higher concentrations of lectins and should be avoided. The following is a list of lectin-containing foods to avoid:
All pulses/legumes including kidney beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, cannelloni beans, peas, sugar snap peas, peanuts, green beans, and soya.
All grains including wheat, oats, barley, quinoa, rye, bulgur, corn, rice, buckwheat, and spelt.
All nightshade vegetables including white potatoes (purple and sweet potatoes are OK), peppers of all sorts including sweet peppers, bell peppers, and chili peppers, goji berries, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Peanuts (a legume), cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Seeded fruits such as pumpkins, squashes, zucchini/courgettes, cucumbers, and melons of all kind.
This list is not comprehensive but it is representative of the majority of foods you should avoid if you are on the lectin-avoidance diet due to food intolerances, IBS, or autoimmune conditions. At some point, you can start to reintroduce foods into your diet. Initially, to see if your body starts to feel better, you should try a six-week period of trying to eliminate all of these foods.
You can eat meat products as long as they are pastured animals and not grain or corn-fed, eggs that are not corn-fed or grain-fed (organic), dairy that is grass-fed (pastured), and most other fruits and vegetables not listed. And pressure-cooking legumes helps to decrease the lectins in them.
Thanks for reading,
Eastbourne Chiropractor for Babies
An Insight into Chiropractic Care for Babies and Young Children from an Eastbourne Chiropractor for Babies
Eastbourne Chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch shares her insight into chiropractic care for little ones.
People are often surprised when they see parents with babies and young children in the reception area at Lushington Chiropractic ready for their adjustments. I often get asked why a baby would need to see a chiropractor and what is involved in their care. Therefore, I decided to write a blog to share some information, Eastbourne Chiropractor for babies…
Why Should My Baby see a Chiropractor?
H Bierdermann, a German orthopaedic practitioner, has explained that young children in the earliest stages of development go through two significant changes to their musculoskeletal (muscles and bones) system in early life.
The first is the birthing process.
Birth can be a very difficult experience for a baby, including natural births. Assisted deliveries such as forceps/ventouse or C-section, can increase the distress they experience. New-borns, as a result, are often very unsettled after delivery.
The musculoskeletal system in a baby and young child is very delicate. This means that biomechanical irritation to their muscles and joints is common. A check-up is often recommended at this stage.
The second major change occurs with an upright posture when a child starts to master walking.
The developmental transition from crawling on four bases to walking on two, changes the biomechanical properties of a child’s musculoskeletal system. The spine and pelvis become the new weight bearing structures with muscles and joints surrounding these structures playing new roles. It is inevitable that some bumps and falls may happen, and with the new biomechanical changes to a delicate musculoskeletal system, a check-up is also recommended at this stage.
Before a child’s last major growth spurt at 11-13 years of age, children are most at risk of developmental irregularities which can progress in later life if not attended to at an early age. For example, young children may have a delayed onset of walking simply because the pelvis and spine are not functioning as effectively as they should due to increased tension and strain on the joints making walking very difficult for them.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Chiropractors are specialists in musculoskeletal conditions, such as increased tension and problems with muscles and joints. For babies and young children, musculoskeletal conditions can present themselves in many ways. For example, at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, I see a lot of unexplained crying and irritability, difficulty settling to sleep, looking to one side only and a dislike to lying on their back to sleep.
Occasionally, I also see infants who have difficulties with breastfeeding or who have a preference to one breast over the other because turning their neck to one side causes them discomfort.
A delay in motor milestones such as Tummy Time, crawling or walking can indicate that the muscles and joints in a child’s musculoskeletal system are not functioning as well as they should.
What Does Chiropractic Treatment for Babies and Children Involve?
The treatment I use is modified, very gentle and suitably controlled for babies and young children. I will always explain to you what is going on and talk you through your child’s treatment plan.
Young children often respond very well to chiropractic care and you may notice some changes quickly. Chiropractic adjustments are suitable for babies and children of all ages and do not cause any harm.
If you want to find out more about how chiropractic care can help your child or if you have any questions or concerns, I am always happy to provide a complimentary chat.
If you would like to make an appointment for your baby with Gemma at the clinic in Eastbourne, click here to find out more.
Thanks for reading
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,
Interesting facts about the nerves
The nervous system is basically the body’s electrical wiring with electrical signals being sent to and from the brain. The nervous system is made up of two parts which are the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (everything else). The peripheral nervous systems job is to connect the central nervous system with the rest of the body therefore allowing our brain to send and receive signals.
There are many interesting facts about the nerves but these are a few that I find very interesting and I hope that you do too. Next time you are visiting us here in Eastbourne ask your chiropractor to show you the nerve chart.
Nerve facts in numbers
- There are more nerve cells in the human body than the number of stars in the Milky Way.
- 100 billion neurones make up the human brain and if these were to be lined up would measure 600 miles long.
- In a foetus, neurones grow at 250,000 neurones per minute.
- 5 million neurones make up the spinal cord with the cluster of nerves at the base being the most sensitive.
- To connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body there are 43 different pairs of nerves. 12 pairs come out from the brain (protected by the skull) and the other 31 from the spinal cord (protected by the spine).
- Messages sent to the brain can travel as fast as 180 miles per hour.
- During the course of its first year a baby’s brain will grow to almost three times the size at birth.
- Because of the shape of the brain the total surface area is about 25,000 square centimetres.
- The brain of a man, on average, weighs around 100g more than that of a woman.
- The brain of a fully-grown adult is approximately three times as heavy as that of a newborn baby however, after the age of 20, we lose 1g in weight every year.
Miscellaneous Nerve facts
- Due to an area at the top of the neck the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain the left side of the body.
- The brain and spinal cord begin to develop in a foetus three weeks after conception.
- Most of the brain, at any given point, is inactive and resting with only 4% of the cells active at any moment in time.
- It has been estimated that 12% of people dream in black and white. This is believed to be due to watching black and white television as most of these people are over 55.
- When blind people dream, whether they dream in picture is down to whether they could see when they were born or were born blind. If they were born blind dreams would typically consist of different senses such as sound, smell, taste and touch.
The study of the nervous system is called neuroscience. Nerves can be very sensitive and are susceptible to physical injury and injury through disease. This can lead to severe pain, tingling, numbness and weakness. One of the most common injuries to nerves occurs to the sciatic nerve and this is often accompanied by severe pain down the back of the leg with tingling and numbness in the foot and often weakness also. This kind of injury generally only effects one side and can be due to a multitude of things. One of the most common is a disc injury in the lower spine (slipped disc).
Look out for my next blog on interesting facts about bones.
Yours in health,
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.
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