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,
Chiropractic Treatment for Neck Pain and Headaches
How Common are Neck Pain and Headaches?
Neck pain is very common, and so are headaches. Here at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne we frequently meet patients who come in to see us complaining of neck pain and headaches. In some cases, they come in for other problems and when asked they also tell us about their headaches, not realising that chiropractors could treat these issues as a matter of course. From personal experience, I had neck pain and associated headaches myself as a teenager, which is when I saw my first chiropractor for treatment that helped tremendously and allowed me to manage the problem. So, you could say that without my neck pain and headaches I wouldn’t be a chiropractor today!
Can Chiropractic Treat These Problems?
During your initial consultation we take a very thorough history and do an in-depth neuro-orthopaedic examination. The purpose of this is to find out the cause of your neck pain and headaches, and to rule out any serious pathology that would warrant a referral to your GP or elsewhere. Once we have ascertained the cause of your headaches, and ruled out more serious causes then we diagnose the headache type. If they are the types that we can tackle with chiropractic treatment, then we will go on to discuss your options for care with you.
Chiropractors can treat cervicogenic headaches (this translates to ‘coming from the neck’) and we can also help people with the prevention of migraine headaches.
Cervicogenic headaches originate from the stiff joints and tight muscles of the neck, so our aim with treatment is to release the tension in those affected muscles and to enable the joints to move more freely with specific chiropractic adjustments. Improving the function of your neck will allow it to work as it should and will reduce the pain you feel from irritated tissues. You will notice, as you go through a course of care for your neck pain and headaches, that your mobility improves and your neck feels looser. A lot of patients tell us that they no longer have problems looking over their shoulder when they are driving, or that they feel much less aching in the mornings when they used to wake with significant pain and stiffness.
As chiropractors, we focus on improving the function of the spine and rest of the body, so we will be keeping a close eye on your clinical progress with regular review sessions throughout your course of care. This means that we can assess you clinically to see how your symptoms (including pain levels) and function (such as range of motion and mobility) improve with care.
What Advice Will Be Given During Treatment?
During your course of chiropractic care at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne you will also be given self-help advice, including stretches and tips, for you to do at home so that you may better control your symptoms yourself. This helps you to release the tension of the muscles in between your visits for chiropractic treatment. Well also give you ergonomic advice so that your workstation is set up as well as it can possibly be, to allow you to sit straight and in the best possible position for your muscles, joints and nerves. Improving your posture is key to healing as it means that there is minimal extra strain on the body, allowing it to recover faster and more effectively. All of these tips will be covered in much more detail in next month’s blog: Self-Help Advice for Neck Pain and Headaches. Please read the blog for more information, and of course, ask your chiropractor if you have any questions regarding your individual treatment for your neck pain and headaches.
Thanks for reading,
Sunglasses and Why They Are Important
Why are sunglasses important?
What damage can sunlight cause to the eyes?
There are several well-known effects of over-exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. Included in these are cataracts, which are a clouding of the lens of the eye which causes distortion of the vision. According to research, some twenty percent of cataracts are caused by ultraviolet exposure to the eyes. Too much sun exposure can also damage the retina and lead to macular degeneration, which affects the vision in the centre of the field of view. In addition, sunlight damages the pterygium, the layer of tissue located over the white of the eye. Damage here may change the curvature of the eyeball and result in astigmatism which again damages your vision.
What to look for when buying sunglasses?
I will admit, I have been very bad at this myself for many years. For a long time, I only purchased cheap sunglasses that in hindsight (ha!) didn’t block a high proportion of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, simply because they are cheaper. Sadly, I’d always find out they were cheaper because they were badly made and they would fall apart within a year or two – a false economy in the end. Now I purchase decent eyewear that blocks 99-100% of UVA/UVB radiation and often will use a hat as well, to shield my eyes especially if I’m abroad. I use my sunglasses when driving on a sunny day, even in winter in the UK, after all Eastbourne is known as sun trap of the south!
Polarised sunglasses are great because they also block horizontal light waves, the waves which are reflected from surfaces such as water or the road. This means that when you’re wearing them you will get less eye fatigue and damage. A good trick to finds out if your sunglasses are polarised is to look at a LCD computer or phone screen with them on. If they’re polarised, then you won’t be able to read it properly as it will be darker due to the blocking of the horizontal light. Go for these but avoid the brands that only paint a cheap polarising layer on top of the lens as it can easily scratch and lead to UV exposure.
So who should wear sunglasses?
Everyone! Particularly children as they have larger pupils which naturally let in more light. This makes them particularly susceptible to sun damage of the lens and retina.
I hope you’ve found this blog useful. You can find lots of hints and tips from the chiropractors and other practitioners here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne by looking at our website and our chiropractic blog site.
Perhaps now is a good time to book that eye test that you’ve been meaning to have…? I’m off to book mine….!
Thanks for reading,
What’s the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic? Read on to find out.
So what is the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic?
If you have read my most recent blog on probiotics and their use (read it here) then you know all about the importance of taking probiotics at certain times in your life. Here in this blog I’ll explain what prebiotics are and why they’re useful. In addition, you don’t even necessarily need to buy them as an extra supplement; you can eat them as part of your normal diet.
Prebiotics are substances that are not able to be digested by the human body, but that within the body stimulate the growth and successful multiplication of beneficial probiotic bacteria.
This all happens within the intestine and colon, where digestive probiotics mainly reside. The prebiotic substances are usually dietary fibres and non-digestible sugars (by humans) that give probiotics a good ‘boost’ by providing them immediately what they need to be successful. This allows the probiotics to thrive and take up residence on the gut lining so they can do their work and help with your digestion and immune system function. By providing this probiotic-nurturing environment in the colon and small intestine it encourages the healthy bacteria to proliferate, which in turn means there are less pathogenic bacteria in the gut. There is only so much space, after all, and if it’s being taken up by probiotics then bacteria like E.Coli and Salmonella have less chance of thriving.
Another benefit of prebiotics is that they aid with removal of cholesterol from the body.
This occurs because they bulk up the volume of indigestible fibre passing through the intestine, increasing the amount of waste solids you pass and therefore the cholesterol that is removed along with it. This helps keep your intestine and colon healthy because it doesn’t allow carcinogenic toxins or waste products from digestion to sit too long in contact with the gut wall – it flushes them through your body the same way that water flushes out your renal system. In addition, high fibre diets are correlated with lower bodyweight.
Whole grains (for example flaxseeds, wheat germ and oats) have prebiotic chemical properties, because they are not absorbed in the gut but break down by fermentation into short-chain fatty acids which are used by the beneficial bacteria to survive. Probiotics sources also include Spirulina, raw chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic and leeks, banana, wheat bran and flour, and fermented dairy products like kefir, cheese and sour cream. So add them to your shopping list!
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, please ask your chiropractor next time you come in to see us in Eastbourne.
Supplements for Energy
Feeling tired and lacking energy? This blog will help you decide on the best supplements to take in order to feel more energised
We are all accustomed to that feeling you get when the alarm clock goes off early in the morning and all you want to do is ignore it. Most of us have also experienced that sense of mid-afternoon exhaustion when your body is crying out for a nap to recharge (but the boss wouldn’t appreciate it!).
Do these sound familiar to you? If they do, then perhaps its time to reassess your diet and look at taking certain supplements to improve your energy levels.
In any discussion surrounding supplements it is important to say that nothing makes up for a poor diet. It is really necessary to assess what you are eating and decide if there are vital nutrients and minerals missing before you look at any other form of sustenance. Eating a well balanced meal and enjoying adequate sleep are by far the best ways of keeping your energy levels high throughout the day.
If you’ve done this already and think that you have a pretty good diet, then read on for some tips about how to get more energy.
A good multivitamin is a great place to start. It can be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need every day unless you are single-minded enough to plan each perfectly balanced meal. There will be days when your body needs more of certain nutrients than usual. For example when your muscle cells are healing after a hard gym session. Because of this, it’s a good idea to take a high-quality multivitamin on a regular basis. I use BioCare but there are many others out there such as Lamberts.
I find that taking additional Vitamin D is a great way of keeping my energy levels up. Vitamin D is used by the body to help with calcium absorption, so it supports the building of strong bones (deficiency is linked with soft bones, or rickets).
Vitamin D is fat-soluble so is best taken in liquid form. You can buy capsules or use a dropper. The one I take requires only one drop to be placed under the tongue, once a day.
Also good are daily Vitamin B complex solution/suspensions (as they are water-soluble). Vitamin B in its various forms is used by the body during energy metabolism, so it is absolutely crucial for sustaining life. Vitamin B9 is used in the repair of damaged DNA; vitamin B2 helps to activate other vitamins; vitamin B1 allows the body to gain energy from carbohydrates taken through the diet. These are just a few of the many functions of B vitamins! A good quality complex will often contain vitamin B1 (which is thiamine), B2 (also called riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and also vitamins B6 and B12. Taking these supplements daily may help you feel much better on first waking up, and hopefully to avoid the groggy early-morning feeling!
I hope this post has been useful, thanks for reading
For more information, hints and tips from all of the chiropractors here in Eastbourne, why not explore the rest of www.backblog.co.uk
Choosing Your New Mattress
So you have read Dr Mason’s blog article ‘Do I need a new mattress’. Now, you’ve decided to buy a new one. Here are some tips to help you decide which to go for. Let’s begin with the main types:
This has been one of the most popular types of mattress for many years. The springs are sewn into individual fabric pockets to keep them in place, giving you good support across the width of the mattress. However, if you choose a pocket sprung mattress then be aware that the more springs the better, which will of course be reflected in the cost! This is because the more springs there are in your new mattress, the more support your body will get when you lie on it.
This is particularly true if you share a bed with a partner. If there are two of you, a cheap, minimally-sprung mattress may result in you rolling towards one another at night! This will both leave you lying in an uncomfortable position, may reduce the support your body receives and can impact on the quality of your sleep.
Finally, pocket sprung mattresses are typically cooler than memory foam mattresses. This is because they are less dense and aren’t activated by heat. They may be a better choice if you often find yourself too warm at night. Check the description and aim for 1000+ pockets if you can.
This type of mattress is topped with a layer of temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material (memory foam). One brand that helped to popularise this technology is Tempur, although there are now many brands on the market, offering variations on the same theme. The shape of the mattress changes to fit the shape of your body, and as the topping is dense it tends to make the mattress feel warmer. Be aware, if you jump on or sit down quickly onto this mattress you won’t feel the ‘bounce’ you expect!
Less common and more expensive, latex has some of the advantages of memory foam and may last longer. They are made up of layers of springy latex.
Continuous and Open Coil
Continuous coil mattresses are made from a single looped wire, and open coil from single springs fixed together by one wire. These are typically the cheapest mattresses, but they have a downside – because the springs move as one unit you’re more likely to be disturbed by your partner moving around during the night, and the coils wear out more quickly than those in pocket sprung mattresses. This will again lead to the rolling-into-the-middle situation. However, if you intend to replace it every few years then this may be the option for you!
I hope this post has helped inform you – good luck with your mattress shopping and thanks for reading!
Exercise For The Faint-Hearted
Exercise for the faint-hearted – Confession time!
Like a lot of the guests I see at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic I am not a fan of the gym. When someone suggests I exercise, my response tends to be a groan and an eye roll. However, I’ve found that keeping fit can be done in Eastbourne in many ways and some of them are even enjoyable!
My first experience of fun, organised exercise was salsa dancing near Eastbourne seafront. As a beginner, I spent more time trying not to step on my partner’s feet than anything else but it really adds to your step count. I wear a pedometer and on a ‘dancing day’ can easily do 12,000 steps. Perhaps you prefer line-dancing? Or tango? They would also be a superb way of getting fit without even realising it, as well as learning body control and balance.
Swimming is also a great way of exercising in a non-arduous way. It allows core strength to build without putting weight on the joints so is brilliant for people who prefer more gentle exercise or who don’t think they are ‘gym people’. Try it and see if you like it. If you do then Eastbourne has several pools for you including the Sovereign Centre and Motcombe Pool.
I know that working my core muscles makes them stronger, that swimming strengthens my shoulders and makes them less likely to get injured in the course of my work and that better flexibility and endurance are good things for my body. However, it is the feeling of alertness I get after a fast swim that is well worth it. I know it is that feeling which keeps me going to the pool.
So my advice is to try a few sports and exercise classes and see which ones make you look forward to doing them again, as making yourself do things is rarely sustainable unless you have incredible willpower. And even if you do have that willpower, why do exercise you don’t enjoy when there are so many fun and exciting ways of getting fitter?!
Are there any sports or classes you enjoy locally?
Exercise for the faint-hearted… it doesn’t get more fun than running a pancake race in Eastbourne!
For more exercise and health tips, read our other posts – we have plenty to keep you going.
Thanks for reading!
Why Have Dry Needling?
The team at Lushington chiropractic in Eastbourne discuss the merits of dry needling.
Here at Lushington we offer both Chinese Traditional Acupuncture and also Western Medical Acupuncture/Dry Needling. What’s the difference? Well, Chinese Acupuncture has been practised for thousands of years and is now one of the most widely recognised complementary therapies. In traditional Chinese medicine the focus is completely holistic, aiming to balance the body’s “energy”, known as “qi” (pronounced Chee).
The traditional Chinese theory is that qi is the activating force for all life and in the body. It flows in channels called meridians and supplies energy to all the organs, body tissues and the mind. Therefore Chinese Acupuncture takes into account the whole person, including their physical, emotional and mental aspects of health.
Robert Bowley practises these techniques at Lushington Clinic.
This holistic type of care also resonates well with chiropractic because we too look at the individual as a whole. For me this means using various techniques on top of the core ‘chiropractic’ values, and includes the use of Dry Needling techniques; ‘dry’ because there is no injection of fluids through the very fine needles used.
This is a modern adaptation of Chinese Acupuncture using current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, and its practitioners no longer adhere to concepts such as Yin/Yang and circulation of qi. It is also considered to be part of conventional medicine rather than “alternative”, and is principally used by conventional healthcare practitioners, most commonly in primary care settings.
Dry Needling is a simple but very effective method of releasing tight muscles, in which fine needles are put into the tight muscles and the body’s response is for those muscles to relax, the blood flow to increase to the area (promoting healing since blood contains oxygen and nutrients), and certain chemicals to be released by the adjacent tissues. These chemicals include opioids which are naturally-occurring substances in the brain that can induce sleep and relaxation (but most importantly, they work to reduce pain!); neurotransmitters, which are substances that either stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses; and other hormones which change the activity of organs or organ system.
Dry Needling techniques can be used to treat musculoskeletal pain and to give adjunctive relief from the pain of tension-type headaches, migraines, chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, temporomandibular (jaw) pain and osteoarthritis knee pain. A typical course of acupuncture treatment consists of 5-8 sessions and might be once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals as the condition improves.
If you would like to find out more on how dry needling may help you, just give us a call on 01323 722499 to book an appointment.