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The sciatic nerve: where it comes from and where it goes to.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It carries signals from the lower back to the leg and foot and then back up from the leg and foot to the low back. These signals are both sensory and motor, meaning that it supplies the skin and the muscles. Lots of people believe that the sciatic nerve supplies the whole leg but it only supplies part of the leg, as I will explain here. This will be a bit of an anatomy lesson but keep with me.

Where does the sciatic nerve come from?

The sciatic nerve originates in the lower back (lumbar spine) and is formed from the nerves coming out from the spinal cord at L4-S3. This  means it is formed by five nerve roots coming together. It forms as it passes through the sciatic foramen in the pelvis.

Where does the sciatic nerve go?

The sciatic nerve then travels down the back of the thigh. Supplying the muscles in the hamstrings (back of the thigh) and one of the big adductor muscles (inside the thigh). It also supplies some of the skin in this area. Just before it gets to the back of the knee it then splits into two nerves, the tibial nerve and the fibular nerve. These go on to supply the whole of the lower leg and foot muscles and most of the skin.

The image shows the back of a man’s leg with a line drawn on it showing where the sciatic nerve runs, to accompany the blog on sciatic nerve written by Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason

The image illustrates where the sciatic nerve runs and where it splits to form the tibial and fibular nerves.

The sciatic nerve and sciatica

Sciatica is irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. True sciatica can only affect the areas that are supplied by the sciatic nerve, and will involve direct irritation or compression of it. True sciatica isn’t actually that common, and in my experience in practice, I haven’t seen too many of these. More commonly I see irritation as the nerves come out of the spine before they form the sciatic nerve. This can still effect the same distribution of the sciatic nerve, but sometimes also distribution outside of this. This is because these nerve roots also help to supply other areas.

It is always difficult to tell where a nerve irritation is occurring without a thorough history and examination. It is always a good idea to seek advice from a trained professional who can diagnose these sorts of issues,  such as a chiropractor. They will be able to tell you what is going on, where it is coming from and the best course of action. Sometimes imaging, such as x-ray or MRI, can be useful in identifying exactly where the issue is and may be utilised if necessary.

Often leg pain is misdiagnosed as sciatica and this can sometimes lead to the wrong treatment and management.

If you have sciatica and want to get it assessed properly then feel free to give the clinic in Eastbourne a ring on 01323 722499 and we can schedule you an appointment for an assessment.  We are conveniently located in in Lushington Road which is in Eastbourne Town Centre.

 

Yours in health,

 

Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor

Benefits of Turmeric

Benefits of Turmeric

At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, we help many of our guests with lots of different neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) problems and often provide lifestyle and health advice too. You may have heard of Turmeric as a supplement or seen it on our product shelf, but what is Turmeric and what are the benefits of taking it?

To fully understand what the benefits of Turmeric are, we first need to talk about where the spice comes from and what is contained within the tablets in the supplement form.

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch at Lushington Chiropractic holding a carton of Lamberts Turmeric Food Supplements to accompany her blog on the Benefits of turmeric

Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch tells us about the benefits of Tumeric.

 What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is the spice that gives curries their strong yellow colour. It was first discovered thousands of years ago as having health benefits in India and was used as a herbal medicine. More recently, scientists have discovered its medicinal benefits and how important the spice can be for our health and wellbeing.

Turmeric is part of the ginger family and it is the root of the plant that is used to create the powder or supplement. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids and it is the active ingredient of curcumin which provides Turmeric with it’s health benefits.

Curcumin is a strong antioxidant and contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric as a spice only contains around 3% curcumins which is why Turmeric supplements in the form of tablets with higher concentrations of curcumins can be found on the shelves of many health food shops.

In order to gain the biggest benefit from Turmeric supplements, we recommend Lamberts Turmeric tablets which contain up to 95% Curcumins.

What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric?

The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumins are probably the most well known and most potent health benefits from taking Turmeric tablets.

Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response which helps us to fight off nasty bacteria or viruses when we have an infection or when we have an injury. This type of immune response usually only lasts for a few days or weeks and is known as short-term inflammation. Short-term inflammation is beneficial to humans to help stop viruses and bacteria from taking over the body and to aid the healing process when we are injured.

Inflammation which lasts much longer than a few weeks (long-term inflammation) is the cause of many autoimmune illnesses and can be detrimental to our health in many ways. Conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and psoriasis involve long-term inflammation.

Research suggests that Turmeric as an anti-inflammatory supplement can help reduce these levels of long-term inflammation and can actually reduce the levels of pain felt with certain conditions involving inflammation.

Curcumins also have a powerful antioxidant component. Antioxidants are substances that prevent cell damage (oxidative stress) by free radicals, which are produced by the body under stress or inflammation (e.g. smoking, stress, excessive exercise, radiation, pollution, etc.).

Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, arthritis and many other conditions due to the negative effects it has on the cells in the body.

Antioxidant substances are said to neutralise or ‘bond’ with free radicals to limit their cell damage capabilities. There is some research which suggests a reduced risk of certain diseases with consumption of antioxidant substances.

It is always advised to read the full product label before taking any supplements.

Please feel free to ask any questions or to book a consultation with myself at the clinic in Eastbourne, call us on 01323 722499.

Yours in Health,

Gemma Crouch, your Eastbourne Chiropractor

  References

Aggarwal, B.B., Yuan, W., Li, S. and Gupta, S.C., 2013. Curcumin‐free turmeric exhibits anti‐inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric. Molecular nutrition & food research57(9), pp.1529-1542.

Maroon, J.C., Bost, J.W. and Maroon, A., 2010. Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surgical neurology international1.

Jayaprakasha, G.K., Rao, L.J. and Sakariah, K.K., 2006. Antioxidant activities of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Food chemistry98(4), pp.720-724.

Anterior pelvic tilt and correction: Part one

More and more in practice at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne I’m noticing people with an anterior pelvic tilt. I find the most common issue in these people is low back pain followed by hip pain. This is really really common and basically consists of weakness in certain muscles and tightness in others. I believe this probably comes on because of how we sit and how we stand for long periods of time. Here I’m going to describe how to tell if you have an anterior pelvic tilt and how to correct it.

Do I have an anterior pelvic tilt?

Anterior pelvic tilt is where when you look from the side your pelvis tilts forward providing a downwards slope in a forward direction. There is an easy way to tell if you have an anterior pelvic tilt. All you need to do is find the bony bit at the front of your hips and the bony dimple bit at the back and these should be in line. If you have an anterior pelvic tilt then what happens is the bony bit at the front will be below the bony bit at the back (see picture).

The picture demonstrates a man with his hands on the bony prominence at the front of his pelvis and the bony prominence at the back. The first is where the front is lower than the back (anterior pelvic tilt) and the second where they are in line (neutral). This is to accompany the blog by Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason

Anterior pelvic tilt and neutral pelvis

How can I correct my anterior pelvic tilt?

Being aware that you have an anterior pelvic tilt is the first thing. This means that you can make a conscious effort to alter this anterior pelvic tilt to help to correct it. The other thing you want to do is to identify if you have shortened muscles or weakened muscles and address these problems. This will mean doing stretching and strengthening exercises.

Muscle tightness in anterior pelvic tilt

The easiest way to see if you have shortening of the key muscles is to do a simple test. This is called the Thomas test. This test basically tells you if you have a shortness in the muscles at the front of the hips and allows you to then stretch the muscles that actually need stretching. The best place to do this test will be on the edge of the bed and it is often useful to have someone with you as they will be able to see better. Sit on the edge of the bed then lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Take hold of one knee and hold it closely, lower the other leg down and relax it. If the muscles are long enough then your thigh should make contact with the bed and your lower leg should be vertical with your foot pointing towards the floor. If you have a shortening of the muscles then one or both of these won’t happen (see picture). This then tells you that you need to stretch these muscles.

Thomas test demonstrated as described showing shortened muscles and normal length muscles. This is to accompany the blog by Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason

Thomas test demonstrated as described

If the thigh does not touch the bed then the muscle you most likely need to stretch is the iliopsoas.

This is a hip flexor which means it helps to raise the knee up towards the chest. The most important thing about this stretch is that your knee is behind your hip (see picture). You also want to make sure that you push your hip forward and bend your body to the opposite side. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat twice each side that was short. For the best results do this multiple times a day.

Anterior hip stretch demonstrated as described, performed on a mat on the floor

Anterior hip stretch demonstrated as described

If your lower leg doesn’t end up vertical then it means that you have a short rectus femoris or quadriceps.

This muscle mainly straightens the knee but it also flexes the hip. The best way to stretch this is pulling your heel to your buttock but the key thing here is not to hyperextend the lower back. You want to keep the back flat and this will give you a better stretch (see picture). Again you want to hold this for 30 seconds and repeat twice on each side that was short. Again for best results do this multiple times a day.

The picture demonstrates a man pulling his heel to his buttock whilst standing. One with an exaggerated lower back curve and one without.

Quad stretch demonstrated with and without an exaggerated lower back curve

These are the stretches I have found are the most effective in people with an anterior pelvic tilt. Mobilising the area is also a good idea and this is done by transitioning between an anterior pelvic tilt and a posterior pelvic tilt. I find a Swiss ball is very useful for this. You just rock backwards and forwards by tilting your pelvis, and not moving the rest of your body, twenty or so times to get the area moving and loosened off.

These stretches are a great place to start. To help to address the muscle weakness in anterior pelvic tilt then see my blog ‘anterior pelvic tilt and correction: part two’.

The Chiropractors here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne can offer plenty of tips and self-help advice on helping your body to function at its best. You can contact us on 01323 722499 to see if we can help you.

Yours in health,

 

Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor

 

Is It Safe to Click my Own Back or Neck?

Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch often gets asked “is it safe to click my own back or neck?” Here she talks about why it is not safe to click your own back or neck and the consequences that result from frequent self-adjusting.

Imagine the following scenario…

After a couple of hours of working on the laptop, sitting in uncomfortable positions or driving for long distances, we can all feel a little stiff or achy. So, what do we do? We try to click our own back or neck for some instant relief and that satisfying popping sound!

At the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, I tend to advise against self-adjusting or clicking your own neck or back. People often ask me why, which is why I have decided to write this blog.

I will talk about what really happens when we click our own back and neck and why it is unsafe to do so.

Image shows Eastbourne chiropractor Gemma Crouch in the reception area of Lushington Chiropractic to accompany her blog on is it safe to click my own back or neck.

Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch talks about clicking your own neck

 What Happens When I Click my Own Back or Neck?

When we click our own spine, the joints that actually ‘click’ or release, are the ones above or below the restricted or stiff joint. By self-clicking or self-adjusting our own spines, we are not able to target the restricted or stiff joint but rather the ones which surround it.

The ‘popping’ sound that you hear with an adjustment, whether it is by a chiropractor or when you click your own back or neck, is actually the fluid being moved within the synovial joint from an area of high pressure to an area with a different level of pressure.

By releasing the pressure in the joints above and below the restricted one, there is some short-term temporary relief from discomfort. A couple of hours later, the tension will start to creep back in. It is at this point when we will attempt to release the same joints. Then we find we are clicking the same part of our spine again and again.

It is the repetitive self-adjusting or self-clicking of these spinal joints that lead to avoidable and undesirable consequences.

What are the Consequences of Clicking my own Back or Neck?

The spine is made up of 33 bones, 23 intervertebral disks, 31 nerves, 1 spinal cord, muscles and ligaments. We need to look after our spines and make sure that it is as strong as it can possibly be.

Repetitive self-adjusting of the joints above and below the restricted or stiff joint lead to damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of those joints causing them to become weaker.

Over time, the restricted joint will start to become stiffer and move less and the joints that are repetitively released will start to move more and become weaker in compensation. This means the ligaments will become stretched and the muscles will become tight which eventually leads to weakness, instability and further spinal problems.

 What are the Benefits of having Chiropractic Adjustments?

The noise or ‘popping’ sound that you hear during a chiropractic adjustment is the same noise you hear if you were to click your own back or neck. However, the differences in what happens during a chiropractic adjustment makes it a lot safer than when you click your own neck or back.

At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, our chiropractors do a thorough examination to find out the root cause of a problem before creating a personalised treatment plan for you.

During a chiropractic adjustment, the focus is on a specific segment which isn’t working properly. The main aim of the adjustments is to ensure the optimum function of the entire neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) system.

If you or someone you know clicks their own back or neck a lot, they may benefit from having a chiropractic consultation with us here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne.

Call us on 01323 722499 to find out more.

 

 

Why I make my own granola, with recipe

 

When I was growing up in Eastbourne I always had cereal for breakfast and I found that I was always hungry when it came to 9:30, 10 o’clock. I always wondered why. The other option was always to have toast and this also didn’t sustain me for long. This has continued into my adult life and now I know more about food I can see why they didn’t.

As a chiropractor I need my energy for my job and I wasn’t getting enough from my breakfast. When I think about it the realism is that the typical breakfasts most of us have are made up of only carbs and actually to sustain us we need protein and fat in our diet.

Breakfast is called breakfast because we are breaking the fast and therefore we need a good quality meal.

We switched to granola with yoghurt but then soon realised that this was made up mainly of oats and not a great deal of the many nuts that it said was in it and basically full of sugar. We found a recipe for a homemade granola, which also happened to be gluten free, and decided to give this a try. This was full of lots of good fats which are really good for your health. We were very happy with how much longer this sustained us and thought that we would share it for the benefit of others. Lots of people don’t know what a good breakfast should have so here is the granola recipe that we have. Maybe you can try it to see if your hunger pangs don’t come on so quickly.  You can let me know if you like the recipe by leaving me a comment.

Homemade granola recipe

Ingredients

1 tsp Vanilla bean paste

2 ½ cups dessicated coconut

1 ½ cups of nuts of your choice (We tend to put almonds, pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts)

¼ cup of sunflower seeds

½ cup of melted coconut oil

2 tbs honey

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F/150°C fan. Line to large oven trays with baking paper.
  2. Place all nuts in a sandwich bag and seal it making sure there is as little air in there as possible. Strike with a rolling pin or meat tenderiser to make small pieces.

    The picture demonstrates a man demonstrating step 2 in the recipe. to accompany the blog by Eastbourne Chiropractor Mykel Mason

    Step 2 of the recipe

  3. Place in a large mixing bowl and add all other ingredients and combine.
  4. Spread mixture evenly between trays and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Stir every 10 minutes to ensure even browning.
  6. Wait for it to cool and serve with milk or yoghurt.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

The picture shows finished granola in a pan

Granola cooling in a pan

This for me is a great alternative to cereals for breakfast and a much healthier option with much lower sugar. With it being gluten free it is also a great option for those whom gluten does not agree. We got this recipe from a book that was given to us and adapted it slightly for ourselves.

The picture shows the cover of the book ‘Delicious gluten-free food’

This is the book from which we took the recipe

If you want to put off those hunger pangs even longer have an egg on the side to add extra protein.

These homemade breakfasts may seem more of a hassle but they are not difficult, and easy once you get used to them. The main thing is you know exactly what’s in them.

The chiropractors and massage therapists here at Lushington Chiropractic share lots of hints, tips and useful advice here on Backblog.  Try using the search box to find the subject you are looking for.

You can also find out more about us, the practitioners and clinic assistants.

Yours in health,

 

Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor

 

Gemma’s Top Three Tips for Dealing with Sciatica at Home

Top Tips for Sciatica

One of the most common questions I get asked at the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne is: “What can I do at home to help my Sciatica?”

If you have suffered with sciatica in the past, you will know how painful and debilitating it is to everyday life. It is really important, and quite reassuring, that people who come in to see me with sciatica are willing to try and help themselves at home alongside their chiropractic treatment.

I have written this chiropractic blog to help answer some of the questions that people commonly ask me as well as trying to help anyone who is experiencing sciatica relieve some of their discomfort at home.

First of all, I will explain what sciatica is!

 What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the name given to any type of pain or symptom occurring along part of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and runs from the back, through the buttocks and down to the feet on both sides.

Irritation to the sciatic nerve is what causes sciatica and the symptoms associated with it. This is usually caused by a nerve compression somewhere along its path.

The symptoms caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve may include: pain, numbness, tingling or a loss of sensation in the legs or feet. You may feel one or more than one of these symptoms. It is always best to tell your chiropractor of any concerns you may have in order to get to the root of the problem.

For more information on sciatica and how chiropractic care can help, please follow the link here to my blog.

Number 1: ICE

You’ve probably heard at least one of us at the clinic say that ice is good for when you are in pain. Well that’s because it is true!

There are many reasons why ice is effective: it reduces inflammation, it helps numb the pain, it helps to regulate the healing process and it helps to reduce swelling.

You can purchase re-usable chiropractic cold packs that can mould well to the area you want to cover or simply use some ice from the freezer in a bag.

The rules for using your chiropractic cold pack or ice are: wrap it up to prevent ice burns, have it on the area for 10 MINUTES ON 20 MINUTES OFF (so 30-minute cycles).

 Number 2: STRETCH

Stretches and exercises can be a really effective way to help improve mobility and to help reduce the level of pain you are experiencing.

The most common exercises we tend to give people for sciatica are what are known as the McKenzie exercises from The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy. These are a series of stretching movements that are specifically designed to help people with their pain.

The specific exercise you need to do will be given to you by your chiropractor.

Number 3: POSTURE

Often with sciatica which originates from the spine, sitting is more painful that standing due to the pressure on the nerves. Finding a comfortable sitting posture can be hard, using a specific cushion can help.

The research suggests that the best sitting posture is where the spine’s natural curves are preserved with the least amount of discomfort/muscle activation.

We recommend trying out the McKenzie roll cushions. The roll should be placed around the small of you back, where the lumbar curve begins. This will ensure that you do not slouch when sitting and will maintain the curves of the spine, the trick to keeping a good posture.

Image shows Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch sitting with McKenzie roll to accompany her blog on top tips for sciatica

These Mckenzie roll cushions work great to help with keeping a correct posture whilst sitting

We stock the McKenzie rolls at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne and they are also available online where you can find more information here.

Search for ‘sciatica’ on our blog web site backblog for more information.

Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne is a well-known local clinic and most people who see us are recommended by someone else at the clinic.

If you would like to learn more about the clinic or about how chiropractic care could help you, please click here or call us at 01323 722499.

Yours in Health,

Gemma Crouch, your Eastbourne Chiropractor

 

What is Sciatica and how can Chiropractic help?

What is Sciatica and how can chiropractic help? At the chiropractic clinic here in Eastbourne, we hear a lot of people talking about sciatica and asking if chiropractic can help them. Like many people with sciatica, it is often a confusing time when trying to find the right treatment that will work for you. You can sometimes feel ‘left in the dark’ without knowing what to do.

Eastbourne Chiropractor Dr Gemma Crouch has written this blog to help answer your questions about sciatica and explain the benefits of chiropractic treatment for sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the name given to any type of pain or neurological symptom occurring along any part of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and runs from the back, through the buttocks and down to the feet on both sides.

Irritation to the sciatic nerve is what causes sciatica and the symptoms normally associated with it. This is usually caused by a nerve compression somewhere along its path.

The symptoms caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve may include: pain, numbness, tingling or a loss of sensation in the legs or feet. You may feel one or more than one of these symptoms.

How do I know if it is Sciatica?

We understand that having sciatica and the intense pain it can cause is frustrating and sometimes quite scary. There are lots of different causes and types of sciatica, so it is important to know what may be causing your symptoms in order to receive the most beneficial treatment for you.

Chiropractor’s perform an initial consultation involving a thorough medical history and physical examination of the neuromusculoskeletal system (muscles, joints and nerves) to find out the root cause of a problem or problems. We especially check through the nerves to see if there may be an underlying problem as we can detect trapped nerve type problems early.

Following the initial consultation, your diagnosis and personalised treatment plan is discussed with you.

If you suspect you may have sciatica, it is always best to speak to your chiropractor about any questions or concerns you may have before the problem starts to get worse. As they say, the longer you leave a problem, the worse it gets.

How can Chiropractic help with Sciatica?

Chiropractors are specialists in the detection, diagnosis, correction and prevention of muscle, joint and trapped nerve type problems. Sciatica and the symptoms of sciatica are usually related to the muscles, joints and nerves in the body.

Chiropractic care is effective for treating sciatica and for the relief of the symptoms related to sciatica. The treatment involved for sciatica is a combination of manual therapy, manipulation, soft tissue massage work and function rehabilitation and exercises. We will always explain the treatment to you and will never do any treatment that you are uncomfortable with.

Image shows Eastbourne chiropractor Gemma Crouch in the reception area of Lushington Chiropractic to accompany her blog on What is sciatica and how can chiropractic help?

Eastbourne Chiropractor Gemma Crouch talks about sciatica

Here at the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, we see a lot of people who have a history of sciatica. Due to this, some of my colleagues have written other blogs on sciatica which explore different angles and even some real-life cases of people who have had success with chiropractic here in Eastbourne for their sciatica.

Search for ‘sciatica’ on our blog web site backblog for more information.

Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne is a well-known local clinic and most people who see us are recommended by someone else at the clinic.

If you would like to learn more about the clinic or about how chiropractic care could help you, please click here or call us at 01323 722499.

Thank you,

Gemma Crouch DC, LRCC, MChiro, BSc(Hons)

Doctor of Chiropractic

Everyday Improvements: Part 3

Small Changes That Make A Big Difference

There are some small changes that can make a big difference, read on to find out more.

Bringing Your Lunch To Work

Often when we’re busy it’s tough to find the time to pre-prepare our lunch and bring it to work with us. This means we tend to dash out on our lunch break (with Lushington Chiropractic located in Eastbourne town centre we are spoilt for choice – good and bad!) and buy whatever is convenient and tasty. Unfortunately, it’s often tasty because it’s laden with sugar, salt, preservatives and flavourings in order to extend its supermarket shelf life. Even simple food like bread can contain these chemicals. If you’ve ever made your own bread at home you will know that it goes stale within 2-3 days. Compare this to a supermarket loaf, which can stay soft for weeks and you’ll notice the difference in truly fresh food.

Switching out pre-packaged, processed lunches and bringing your own homemade lunches to work instead can make a big difference to your health. You know what’s going into them, so there are no hidden sugars and preservatives and no hidden calories. Salads, wholemeal sandwiches, soups and stews are all healthy and will maintain stable blood sugar for your working day. Vacuum flasks will keep your hot food hot, which is nicer through winter. You’ll also save an awful lot of money over the year.

Image shows Lushington's Victoria White holding a glass of homemade fruit smoothie, to show how small changes can be beneficial

Lushington’s Victoria White bringing her lunch to work.

Baking Not Buying

In today’s supermarkets it’s incredibly easy to buy pre-made sweet treats. Often, they are located right by the checkouts to tempt us as we queue, which is particularly sneaky, but it does work! In days gone by treats like cakes and biscuits were actually treats, baked at home and enjoyed once or twice a week. Nowadays we are having these treats so often that they are part of our daily diet. No longer an indulgence, sugar is a regular part of our lives and we crave it most when we are tired and overworked.

It would be unrealistic to suggest cutting out sugar completely from our diets. Some people may be able to manage it, but most of us, myself included, would find it very difficult indeed. Making a switch to homemade treats has many benefits. We still enjoy the treat, but it becomes even more pleasurable and satisfying knowing that we have made it ourselves. Because there is no need to have a month-long shelf life we don’t add all the nasty preservatives and additives that the supermarkets need to so it is slightly better for us, or at least less bad for us. Also the effort that we have to put in, in order to make our own cakes or biscuits means that we won’t be doing it every day, and as a result we will be eating less of it.

Thanks for reading

 

Vicky 

Chiropractic Advice for Women Suffering Back Ache

If you are, or you know a woman who’s suffering with back ache then this blog is for you. In this blog I would like to share some self-help tips about women’s back health.

Hi, I’m James Revell a Doctor of Chiropractic and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne and have worked in Eastbourne since 2004. I’ve seen thousands of men and women with back ache over my years of practice. There are often small but important things people can do to help themselves. This blog focuses on a few tips I find most useful for the ladies I see who are suffering with back ache. I hope that you find something in here which helps you. Not everyone needs to make all the changes but as they say “every little helps”.

Nearly three quarters of women suffer with back ache at some point in their lives and the problems highlighted here could be to blame.

Tight clothing that restricts moving freely, fashionable shoes that change your natural gait can affect posture and lead to back and neck pain. Overloaded and heavy bags can also be to blame, as well tight trousers like skinny jeans which restrict your back, hip or knee mobility. Anything that affects how you move your body should be avoided. Even heavy jewellery like statement necklaces for example can increase pressure on your neck.

I know it’s not just women who wear skinny jeans etc but for this blog I’ve put together a list of advice I’ve shared with some of the women I’ve treated who are suffering back ache

I thought I’d write this blog focusing on advice for women suffering back ache to share some basic advice to help ladies look after themselves better. There are some common culprits which until they’ve been pointed out to you are easily missed.

Chiropractic Tip: Check Your Shoes

We all know high heels are bad for us, but we wear them anyway Ok I know I don’t but you know what I mean! High heels change the angle of our foot, knee and hip, which in turn increases the angle in our lower back putting pressure there and can even result in compensations higher up your spine. So my first piece of advice for women suffering back ache is check your shoes. Are they helping or hurting your back?

I’m afraid even smaller heels can be bad for us. Hard soled shoes that don’t have any cushioning are also not ideal. I’ve recently changed my work shoes to softer ones because I’ve increased my hours and can be on my feet all day.

There are plenty of work-friendly trainers and (fairly) good looking comfy shoes (Sketchers, Hotter) to replace those uncomfortable shoes.

If you need to wear heels (either for uniform or fashion) for some of the time, and you’re suffering with back ache then make sure you can change out of them asap. Keep your comfy shoes handy and let your posture unwind as soon as you can.

Wedges or chunkier heels over stilettos are also a better choice. But don’t be fooled by slip on sandals, or flip flops without support at the back. They tend to increase strain on the muscles in your feet and can result in Achilles tendon problems.

Suffering back ache? Then Vary What You Wear

For some men and women suffering back ache the culprit can be simply wearing the same types of clothes every day. Tighter clothes restrict the body from moving freely so looser clothing, baggier trousers and straight leg jeans are a good alternative choice. Varying what you wear will vary how much, and what pressure is put on your muscles and joints.

Getting the Right Support

Clothes are important but what you wear underneath can also affect your back ache. Bras need to fit properly so that the shoulders don’t take all the strain. When shopping for bras, look for one that has an underband that is neither too tight or too loose. The centre fastener should sit close to the body and the straps shouldn’t be too tight on your shoulders.

I don’t know of any good Bra Outfitters in Eastbourne but I have had a few ladies go to Brighton to Bravissimo. If you have an Eastbourne based recommendation please share it below in the comments section of this blog.

Whilst we’re talking about underwear and advice for women suffering back ache I’ve had a number of ladies who’ve helped themselves by changing the size or type of skirts/trousers they wear. The effect of elasticated waist bands on underwear coupled with the tops of tights and an elasticated waist band on your skirt or trousers can really affect the back. It’s the layering affect which makes a difference, especially if the waist bands are a little tight in the first place.

Image shows ladies balancing a book on their head to insure a good posture stance.

Here’s a picture of good old fashioned posture practice.

Is Your Overloaded Bag Causing your Backache?

Men and women can both be guilty of carrying too much. However here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, our chiropractors conducted an exercise for our patient’s to weigh any bags they routinely carried with them. Some women had handbags that they carried everywhere weighing over 5kg!

If you’re suffering with back ache then pay attention to the bag you carry around and regularly check for and empty your bag of unnecessary items.

My advice for men or women suffering back ache is to change to using a backpack if you need to carry items around with you. Back packs are best for your posture as the distribute weight evenly across both shoulders.

Try to avoid bags that must be carried in the crook of your arm, as the weight of these held away from your body pulls one shoulder lower than the other, twisting your neck and spine. If your bag has one strap alternate the shoulder you carry it on or wear it across the body.

Image shows a skeletal figure carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder and its affects. To accompany the blog on women suffering back ache

Here’s a picture of how a heavy bag can affect your posture if carried incorrectly or overloaded.

Perfecting Your Lifting and Carrying Technique

Many men and women suffering back ache find that housework, DIY and even just playing with the children can trigger their back ache.

When you’re lifting make sure your legs are hip width apart, knees bent and tummy tight. Keep your head and shoulders directly above your waist and keep the weight you are carrying as close to you as possible without twisting.

New mothers are especially at risk. Their body has gone through the changes associated with pregnancy and the birth process and then they have to cope with the sleep deprivation and physical demands of feeding a new born. Many women suffering this type of new baby back ache find that lifting the children in and out of the care very challenging. My advice: keep your tummy tight and keep your child as close to you as possible.

Take Regular Breaks

When doing gardening, housework or DIY vary what you’re doing and try not to spend more than 20-30 minutes on one thing. This will relieve the build-up of back ache.

Come on Eastbourne – Stop The Slouch!

Men and women suffering back ache need to make sure their bottom is against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the rest of the chair. Try to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

The final piece of advice I have for men and women suffering back ache is to make sure you’re sleeping in a supportive position and good mattress.

It’s best for your back to sleep on your back. If you sleep on your side, then put a pillow between your knees to avoid twisting over. If you’re still suffering backache at night then you might need to change your mattress. Are you waking up feeling stiff or achy? Or is your mattress is misshapen or sagging?

If your mattress is past it’s best or over seven years old you might want to think about buying a new one.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog please comment if you have any questions and I’ll be pleased to help. Our clinic is Lushington Chiropractors, we’re based in Eastbourne. Our Chiropractors have a wealth of advice and knowledge that they can give you on many subjects and we have many information leaflets that are available on a wide range of subjects.

 

Thank you

 

James Revell DC,LRCC,MSc(Chiro),BSc(Chiro),BSc(Biol)

Chiropractor and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne

LATEST CHIROPRACTIC NEWS

You can also check out my personal site where I share my back care top ten tips.

In-flight exercise advice by Eastbourne chiropractor

Exercises on the plane are incredibly important. We’ve all heard of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and this can be prevented with some simple exercises, I also tend to advise compression socks for a long flight also. There are a few exercises that I tend to do when I travel and I have summarised them here. Some are easier than others and I have separated them into sitting and standing exercises.

Seated in-flight exercises

Seated exercises are easy exercises that you can do to help to prevent things from stiffening up too much and keep the blood flowing. These are also easy to do without other people noticing you and easy to do in a confined space. Lots of people don’t like to do exercises obviously in the aisle as it can seem a bit embarrassing. I personally will do mine anywhere but some people don’t like to do this. These are designed to get lots of different joints moving and blood flowing. These are also targeted at different parts of the body.

Image shows couple doing in-flight exercises by rotating their ankles in each direction

Ankle circles – lift your feet off the ground and rotate ankles in both directions

Foot pumps – have your feet flat on the floor, lift the toes up as high as you can keeping your heels on the ground, then lower the toes back down and raise the heels off the ground keep the balls of your feet on the floor. Repeat 10 times.

Seated march – keeping your knees bent lift your feet off the ground alternating between sides as if you are marching while seated. Do this for around 30 seconds.

Neck movements – turn your head side to side ten times, then up and down ten times and then ear to shoulder 10 times.

Knee to chest – lift your knee into your chest as high as you can five times each side.

Shoulder rolls – roll your shoulders forwards ten times and then backwards ten times.

The picture demonstrates a man seated pulling his knee up to his chest to accompany the blog on in-flight exercises

Knee to chest exercise

Standing in-flight exercises

Extends

The picture demonstrates a man with his hands in the small of his back and arching backwards and keeping his legs straight

Extends – as we tend to sit in a slouched position I find this one really important and it’s one I do every time I get up from my seat. Standing up tall place your hands in your lower back and arch backwards, hold for a couple of seconds and repeat ten times.

Side bends – stand up tall and place your hands by your sides, slide one hand down the side of your leg making sure you don’t let your body bend forwards, then do the same to the opposite side and repeat ten times.

Lunges – with sitting so long our glute muscles (the ones in our buttocks) go to sleep. I find that lunges are a good way to switch these muscles back on.

Squats – also a good exercise to get the glutes switched back on. The key thing with a good squat is that your weight goes through your heels.

Calf stretches – when I travel my calves always get tight so I find stretches invaluable. Calf stretches are a great one to do in general but on a plane very useful. I tend to do these when I am waiting for the toilet, as there is always a queue.

These standing exercises are really good and I always do these if there is a stopover on my flight also. Another good thing to do if you have a stopover is make sure that you take the stairs instead of the escalator. It can be tempting to take the escalator as we are often very tired but as we haven’t been moving the stairs are the option that you should take. A foot massage is also a very good thing to do on a stopover or after a long flight in general. When we flew to Thailand we got a foot massage not long after and it was amazing and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

These exercises are very useful and doing these on your flight will help to prevent DVT as well as keep the muscles and joints moving and working.

Yours in health

Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor

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