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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An Interview with Eastbourne Chiropractor Victoria White: Part 2
If you’ve been to Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, you may have spotted a tall lady with brown hair and a large smile on her face. That’s Victoria!
Dr White joined Lushington Chiropractic 4 years ago after moving back to the UK from the Middle East. I thought it would be a good idea for everyone to get to know Victoria a little better.
If you missed part 1 you can read it here
Part 2 of this interview is getting to know Dr Victoria White’s special interests!
We’ve spoken about chiropractic and how you became interested in chiropractic. My next question for you is, do you have a special interest in any particular conditions or groups of people?
Actually yes. I love treating people with headaches and migraine headaches, as they do very well very quickly and it is wonderful to see that fast response to chiropractic care.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I also love seeing people who are older and have had chronic problems. For them it’s less the case of “fixing the pain” entirely and more a case of helping them manage their condition and still do the things that they want to do in life. I feel that you can make a great difference to someone’s quality of life in this way, and by keeping people mobile so that they can enjoy their golf, gardening, or whatever other hobbies they may have.
Chiropractors are regulated by law and are required to maintain up-to-date knowledge and skills by regularly attending CPD courses.
Talk to me about your favourite CPD (continued professional development) seminar that you’ve been to so far and how it’s helped you as a chiropractor.
One of the most useful CPD courses I did was in dry needling, or western medical acupuncture.
When I was a teenager and suffering with headaches, this was one of the techniques that my chiropractor used. It has been one of the best things I have had as part of my own treatment which inspired me to learn how to do it too.
I did the dry needling course when I was at chiropractic college and found it very useful for my patients at the time. It’s a really great technique for loosening tight muscles and works really nicely for treating people with neck-related headaches, lumbar aches and other muscular type problems.
I therefore use the dry needling technique on patients here in Eastbourne, both of my own and those who are referred to me by the other chiropractors and practitioners.
Is there a particular case that you’d like to share with us today which has been the most rewarding so far in your chiropractic career?
It’s really difficult to choose one.
There are so many people who are in such a bad state by the time they come to see a chiropractor, that when you make a difference to how they feel and how they function, they are thrilled with the results. This is why it is so difficult to pick only one.
I understand this is a hard question because you must have helped thousands of people over the years.
Yes absolutely, there are so many local people to Eastbourne that I have helped it really is impossible to narrow it down. I could give you one though…
Yes, please let us hear the story!
One that particularly sticks out is a lady I treated several years ago who used to be a competitive swimmer in her youth. By the time I saw her, she was into her eighties and had not swum for years because of low back pain and immobility. I did a lot of work to help her with her mobility and she ended up back in the pool and exercising again, which was fantastic to hear.
It’s great to hear success with chiropractic as we can help people of every age and stages of life.
That’s true. I think that a lot of people don’t realise that we treat the very young, like you do Gemma, and through to the elderly as we all do here at Lushington Chiropractic.
It’s interesting you say this, Vicky, because in fact today I had my current youngest patient, followed directly after by my oldest patient!!
How old were they?
My youngest patient I first saw when he was 5 weeks old, and my oldest patient straight after him is 99!
In fact, my eldest patient today said to me, “Gemma, am I your oldest patient here at the clinic?” and I replied, “yes you are and look how well you’re doing!”
That’s amazing. I also think it shows how adaptable chiropractic care can be in that we can tailor and personalise treatment to be appropriately gentle for a tiny baby, an older person and everyone in between.
Thank you so much for your time today, Vicky. It’s been a pleasure hearing about how you became a chiropractor. I actually did not know this – I’d always been meaning to ask you, so it’s interesting to hear why you chose to come here and not back to Torquay.
You’re so welcome. I’ll be interviewing you soon to find out more about your chiropractic work, Gemma.
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.
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.
Standing in-flight exercises
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
Everyday Improvements: Part 2
Small Changes That Make A Big Difference
Using a standing desk
Let’s face it, humans did not evolve to sit all day long. It’s bad for our health because it leads to lazy weak muscles and it is also terrible for our backs. If you are a desk worker you are likely to spend months or years of your life in a sitting position. We may sit for 8-10 hours a day at work and then go home and go to bed – an incredible number of sedentary hours. Even if you are sitting in a reasonable upright position with a straight back, this is still not ideal. Most of us when sitting do not adopt this perfect posture and end up slouched and slumped with our heads slightly forward towards our computer screens and this can lead to chronic low back strains, neck pain, headaches and many other issues. In fact, the inactive desk job can also reduce your life span for up to two years compared to more physical jobs!
Switching our regular sitting desks to standing desks has a multitude of benefits. It encourages us to move around more, which helps us burn calories. It also forces us to use our postural muscles instead of sitting and slouching, which keeps them stronger and working as they should. Studies have shown that using a standing desk instead of a sitting desk can increase our heart rate and burn up to 50 calories more an hour. Over a year this can mean 30,000 extra calories are burnt, which equates to 8 lbs of fat. All with no change to your diet at all – a worthwhile switch!
Walking to work
Switching your usual drive to work for a walk, or partial walk will make a huge difference to your overall health. We all know the theory that little and often can make a big difference, but it is remarkable how few of us put this into practice. If you live near enough to work that you can walk, (Lushington Chiropractic is close enough for some of my colleagues to walk to work), then it’s worthwhile getting up half an hour earlier and walking. This will get your metabolism working first thing in the morning, the exercise will strengthen your muscles and the fresh air will clear your head and prepare you for a busy day at work. If you live far from work then driving in a little earlier and parking slightly farther away will help tremendously too. Try to make this a habit and incorporate it into your daily routine. Most people find that they really enjoy getting some extra exercise in a way that is not too strenuous.
Thanks for reading
Airport and Flight Advice by Eastbourne Chiropractor
I’ve recently been away and what I have found out, is that you can take the chiropractor out of the Lushington Chiropractic clinic but you can’t take the clinic out of the chiropractor. What this means is that no matter what I was doing I still looked at everything with a chiropractic perspective. What I’m going to do is take you through some of the thought processes that I went through during my travels and it might give you some inspiration to look at things with a chiropractic mindset.
At the airport
The first thing was the airport. Airports are one of the most stressful places I have ever been, so dealing with this stress is really important. I found that the best way to do this is just to be early. My wife is particularly stressed at airports and we have to be there well in advance to calm her down. The realism is that it is a lot easier to get through airports these days and a lot quicker in general. You can now do online check-in, the bag drop is easier and security is pretty much just the same.
The other thing to watch out for is obviously your bag. If you are going long haul then you will usually have a pretty heavy bag so the way you lift it and the way you wheel it is important. Most people these days do have a suitcase that you are able to wheel and this is definitely something that I recommend, still with these there are also times that you are going to have to lift them. When lifting you bag make sure that the weight is close to you and that the place you are lifting it to is also close. Try not to swing it onto the place that you are putting it as this gives you less control and overall requires more force. When loading into a boot of a car always put it as close to you as possible and then if you need to push it further into the car rather than trying to put it there straight away. The opposite applies when getting it out where you should pull the bag closer to you and then lift it out.
Before your flight
One of the things that annoys me at airports are the seats. I am very particular about seats and the posture that we have on them, just ask my wife about when we went sofa shopping. Whenever I’m buying new chairs or a sofa the main thing I will look for is that it is ergonomically good for me. This is why when I go to the airport it can be quite irritating as most seats are really quite uncomfortable. What I try to do at the airport is not sit down too much because the realism is that soon enough I’m going to be sitting on a plane anyway. Sitting followed by sitting is not necessarily the best thing for us. I personally am not a shopper at the airport but will probably have a glance around just to keep moving. In reality everything is really overpriced and I would not intend to buy anything in the airport apart from food or a coffee, well hot chocolate in my case.
When we were on our way back and we stopped off in Melbourne, we were at the airport for a good 4 hours. As we’d already been off the plane to wonder around and we were both feeling the need for a shower, we decided to look into the airport lounges, we were flying with Emirates so we went up to their lounge and realised that it really was quite expensive and basically for the business and first class passengers for which it is already included. They did however recommend us to another one which was associated and it was 35 Australian dollars each, but for this we had four hours where they provide you with a towel, shampoo and shower gel so you can have a shower and also you have a separate section where you can sit where the seats are much more comfortable than downstairs, a separate Wi-Fi which is a lot quicker and also you get a buffet of food and drinks where you can eat as much as you like. There is also alcohol available but before a long flight I would not recommend this as it tends to dehydrate the body. We were going to go and get food and realistically we would have spent less money than this but it was definitely worthwhile for the great selection and the increased comfort. This is not something that we would do regularly but before a long-haul flight I’d highly recommend it. It was so much better for us and certainly something we would do in the future.
On the plane
The next difficult thing is getting your seat right on the plane. I always feel embarrassed to put my seat back as I feel that this will affect the person sitting behind me, obviously that doesn’t stop the person in front of me putting their chair right back. On long-haul flights you are provided with a cushion and I believe this is supposed to be for your neck but I always use it in my lower back and pop it in the small of my back to help to give me the extra support and give me a better posture, you can always ask for a spare cushion as well which you can then use for your head, I like to take a neck pillow just to help support my neck in the rarity that I do fall asleep. Having a slightly reclined position has been shown to reduce the pressure on the disc in the lower back but this then changes if your low back is rounded and you’re slouching.
Regularly getting up is important as it helps to get the blood flow going and get the muscles working. If you do not move enough on a long-haul flight this does increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis. There are some exercises that I tend to do when I’m on a long-haul flight which I found really help. It really surprises me when I see people on these long-haul flights and they do not get up for the entire flight. This to me can be quite dangerous and it is important that you do get up and move around. I personally believe that it would be a good idea for there to be a treadmill on planes so that people can walk but the feasibility of this is not that high. If you would like to see the exercises that I do on the plane then have a look out for my next blog on aeroplane exercises.
After your flight
Most long-haul flights have a stopover somewhere and this is where lots of people miss the opportunity to have a break from sitting and move around a bit. Often you are tired so it is very tempting to jump on that escalator and sit in those chairs but I always make the effort to take the stairs and walk around instead of sitting as not long from now I’ll be sitting on the plane again. This helps to get the blood flowing and switch the muscles back on the help to protect you from injury, this is something that I highly recommend.
One of the things that we also did was get a foot massage when we arrived in Thailand. This was a fantastic experience and certainly something that our feet were very happy about after this long flight.
Yours in health,
Everyday Improvements: Part 1 . Switch old bad habits for new.
Small Changes That Make A Big Difference
Wellness magazines are full of useful “switches” that you can make to improve your diet and your health. Switches such as eating healthier yoghurt instead of ice cream, eating low-sugar dark chocolate instead of the calorific milk chocolate, and eating fruit instead of sugary unhealthy snacks. This has got me thinking about how we can apply postural and movement advice in the same way; switching out our old bad habits for new habits. This blog aims to start this “switching” process and help you improve your health in small, convenient and most importantly effective ways. We have already written in previous blogs about the best sleeping positions for your back, a topic so important that it deserved its own blog! If you wish to read about that, please follow the link here. Once you have read that, feel free to read on as we are going to start with how to get out of bed….
What is the best way to get out of bed?
When we first wake after a night’s sleep our lumbar discs are particularly vulnerable. This is because after lying horizontally for so long they are well hydrated and slightly plumper than normal. Getting out of bed in the wrong way can lead to disc damage or back strain and significant pain as the body has not yet warmed up for movement. For the same reason, it’s not a good idea to leap out of bed and start doing yoga exercises first thing in the morning – something that the more energetic among us may be inclined to do! So, how you get out of bed is important. Firstly, roll onto your side and bend your knees allowing your feet to drop from the side of the bed. After that keep your back straight and push yourself up with your hands into a sitting position. Take your time and make sure you keep your back straight.
Getting out of bed in this way will ensure that you don’t do what most people do, which is a combined movement of lumbar flexion and twisting in an effort to go from a supine face-up lying position immediately into a sitting position.
Lifting heavy items, for example shopping
This is a very important change to make. Many of the patients who come in our doors at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne with low back injuries have done the damage through poor lifting techniques. Let’s face it, most of us try to make life as easy as possible for ourselves, which means that when putting the shopping in the back of the car we tend to combine the movements of bending forward, lifting bags and twisting to turn to put them in the car. In fact, what this does is that it combines all the activities that the low back does not like and leads to a far greater chance of lumbar sprain/strain injuries.
A better switch is to separate the movements. With your shopping at your feet, keep your low back straight and bend your knees so you can go into a squat. Tighten your abdominal muscles to brace your low back and lift your shopping so that you straighten into a standing position. Once you are upright keep your abdominal muscles braced and turn your whole body so that you can put your shopping in the car, or onto the kitchen work surface, etc. By separating the lumbar flexion and the twisting movements into two distinct movements, and keeping your abdominal muscles raised, you are far less likely to suffer a lumbar injury in this way.
Thanks for reading
Eastbourne Chiropractor Recommends Walking
I’m James Revell a Doctor of Chiropractic and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne and I recommend walking as a great form of exercise. I have worked in Eastbourne since 2004 and have always taken an active approach to keeping fit and healthy. In this blog I would like to share some tips on self help ideas to explore when walking. I have been a member at many of the local gym’s in Eastbourne and as a chiropractor I am always keen for my guests (patients) to keep active.
Chiropractors Recommend Walking As A Way To Keeping Active
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. However, for some walking can aggravate aches and pains, or they simply cannot understand why it is supposed to be enjoyable and easy.
Walking as a form of movement can bring many benefits but when walking consider the following and explore these actions.
Keep Your Head Up
Many people look down when they are walking, worried that they may trip or fall. Looking down brings the neck down with it which puts strain on the muscles and a compression of the spine. Looking out pushes the chin forward and can squash the back of the neck.
Pay attention to the top joint of your spine between your ears and allow that area to be a little freer. If you need to look down then let your eyes drop first and allow a gentle nod of the head without shortening your neck column. When going up hills, try to visualise the crown of the head leading the way.
The Weight of the World on Your Shoulders
We can get into bad habits with the way we use our arms and shoulders for emotional and psychological reasons. Walking is a great time to release a lot of that tension. Allowing the arms to float out to each side will widen the front and back of you. Swinging your arms naturally results in rotational movement throughout your whole body. Try not to restrict your hands and fingers by holding anything or putting them in your pockets. If you need to carry a bag try a rucksack so that the weight is evenly distributed.
Walking On Air
Think of how you are walking, do you have a heavy tread for example. Try to let the hip joint be free and allow the leg to swing like a pendulum. Be aware of the space around you which can help you expand and breathe more freely.
Spring In Your Step
Once in this more relaxed swing try to keep your feet more underneath you and stride out to lessen stiffening of the foot and ankle. Wear shoes that enable your feet to be at their natural shape, range of movement and flexibility. Even walking barefoot stimulates the arch muscles and wakes up the sensory awareness of your feet.
Our busy lives and thoughts can interfere with our balance, breathing and using our energy effectively. Try to practice being attentive to yourself and your environment. For example pick something in the distance ahead of you and as you walk imagine that you are on a travelator. Try to relax the eyes and let them move freely to what draws them. When we are rushing around we often pull in our chests and this can compress the back. Try walking backwards while thinking of your back becoming long and broad, then when you turn forwards again see if you can keep this sense of your back. This is good to try going up hills and here in Eastbourne we have Beachy Head and The Seven Sisters which are great places to try this out!
Any of the Chiropractors here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne can give you more self- help tips and advice on a range of topics.
Walking on a treadmill in a gym can have its benefits but to maximise your physical and mental wellbeing, seek out natural environments that can give you pleasure. Exposure to nature and green space positively affects our health and well-being.
Whatever your age or ability, walking and keeping on the move will improve balance, co-ordination, freedom of movement and confidence.
For more information and other self-help ideas and tips you can also check out my personal site where I share my back care top ten tips. If you’re in Eastbourne, Seaford, Hailsham, Bexhill or the surrounding East Sussex areas then we’d love to see you at our clinic. We’re based in Eastbourne town centre. However if you’re not local then we suggest you ask friends for personal recommendation for a chiropractor local to you.
Chiropractor and Clinic Director at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne
Common gardening mistakes that are bad for your back
This time of year, everyone starts going out into the garden and they tend to overdo it a little. Here at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne I have more and more people coming in with injuries related to what they’ve done in the garden. Some have just overdone it but others will continue to do things that are bad for their backs and necks. So I thought I’d go through and describe some of the most common mistakes that people do that aggravates their body.
Weeding in the garden
The first one that lots of people do that causes injury is weeding. This can be a very bad thing for the back when done with poor posture. We don’t consider it necessarily that bad because we’re not necessarily carrying a heavy weight. The realism is that as we are pulling, yanking, tugging on these weeds this provides the same increased pressures as lifting. The stronger we have to pull the heavier the weight it could be compared to. This means that a lot more pressure is put on the muscles, the joints the ligaments and even the disc in the spine. As a result of this I am seeing lots of people who have aggravated their back’s, especially if they already had low back issues.
Obviously, what we also do is we aim to do a small area in the first place for half an hour or so but that area soon gets bigger and becomes longer. This then results in us suffering for a few days. This means that you have actually injured your spine, it may not cause you a long-term problem now but with repetitive use and repetitive damage like this it can lead to a real problem. So, it is best to adopt good positions whilst weeding now rather than when you actually have a back problem.
First keeping your back straight you can usually do this by kneeling, this gets you closer to the weeds and therefore easier to get into the area but also without putting that pressure through the spine.
Using specific tools can be very helpful also, they help to loosen the soil and release the weeds which means it takes less pressure to pull them out. Some people won’t be able to do it like this because they can’t bend due to their knees. In this case you can do what’s called a golfer’s lift where you can grab on to the weed and used your momentum going backwards to pull it out without having to round your back. Again, the use of tools to help to loosen the weed and the soil around it is very very useful so that you don’t have to use as much pressure to pull it out.
Trimming the hedges
The other thing we do at this time is we like to reshape our garden so it grows in the right way. This means we’re out there with the secateurs and big scissors trimming things back. What we tend to do when we do this as we tend to reach and crane and try and get into awkward positions to get those little bits. Realistically what we should do is just move because some things can be quite high. Getting a step ladder is very useful so we can get those top bits without having to reach so far. Reaching can lead to pulling in lower back muscles that can lead to aggravating the shoulders, it can also lead to the neck craning so can lead to injury. Especially if you do this a lot and the likelihood is the next day you will wake up with a pain or two and if you do this repetitively, once again this can lead to long-term issues.
The other thing that we do at this time is replanting. This means that we are digging and moving soil. With this we need to make sure that we move things in the best way possible with digging getting your body behind the way as you put the pressure into the ground is really important that again keeping the back straight is incredibly important. What we tend to do is we tend to round our backs as we do this which again can lead to injury as that is a position that the back is very susceptible to injury.
Moving soil can be very detrimental also, when we move it with a shovel or spade it is important again to keep the back straight and you want the pressure to go through the legs instead again what we tend to do is round the back and use our back to help us to move the soil this is not ideal and again can lead to injury.
You want to adopt a long forward stance and this can help to keep the back straight. When moving bags of soil, it can be incredibly heavy so if you do you have a wheelbarrow this can be very helpful, alternatively having someone help you carry them is definitely a good option. This means that you spread the weight which means you are literally carrying half the weight that you would have been.
Yours in health
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor
Returning to Eastbourne and being back in practice at Lushington Chiropractic
It’s strange being back at the Lushington clinic, most people have been asking me that I must be planning my next trip. The realism is that I’m really enjoying being back in practice. It’s a fantastic feeling, helping people again, and I can’t wait to help more people. While my wife and I were away it was a fantastic experience but I felt like my purpose was to be away and to travel and for me that wasn’t enough for the long term. Since returning I feel like I have my purpose back. I’m helping people again and that makes me happy. Here is an example of someone who I have seen since I’ve returned and I’m really proud of how well we have worked together to get her back to where she wants to be.
First new patient back
This lady I’ve recently started seeing has been seeing chiropractors for years for her neck. This had been where she was previously living and also since she had moved to Eastbourne. She only came to see me because she had acute low back pain and the person that she normally saw wasn’t open. This pain was severe and debilitating and had come on when she had bent over to pick something up. This is a really common onset of pain but the key thing for me was finding out what had caused the issue.
For me, she clearly had an underlying issue, as she had done this kind of bending a million times before and it wasn’t this one occasion that started this all off.
On further questioning it was revealed that she had actually been getting a mild low back pain on the left-hand side for about six months. This pain was very infrequent and not severe therefore was not concerning her, but I believe this was the initial signs that this acute low back pain was going to happen. On examination she had no radicular signs, meaning she had no pain in the legs or tingling or numbness, there was also no weakness present. Examination revealed that the pain stemmed from the sacroiliac joint, which are the joints that connect the pelvis and the lower back.
As this pain was acute I recommended ice immediately as this helps to reduce the inflammation and therefore reduce the pain.
With ice ensure that it is wrapped up and not put directly on the skin. The treatment that I decided to deliver was using sacro-occipital technique, which is a technique that I have learnt post-graduation as part of my continued professional development. I have found this technique very useful, especially in cases with sacroiliac joint pain, it is also a very light technique which is helpful in acute pain. We are now two weeks into her care and the results have been excellent.
On our last visit she reported a 100% improvement in her lower back pain.
There is still some dysfunction present and we are continuing to address this so that episodes like this do not occur again. We have also been treating her neck, for which she has had treatment for years, and this is also improving. As this is a chronic issue it will take longer to resolve but I’m very happy with the progress so far and movement has certainly improved around the neck.
This kind of case really helps me to appreciate the difference that I and chiropractic can make.
I really enjoy helping the people of Eastbourne and the surrounding area but it is also very helpful when these people want to help themselves.
People always improve quicker if they are willing to do what is required to help things to improve quickest. The long-term aim for me, as long as my guests want this also, is to obviously improve how they feel but also to prevent problems in the future. I want everyone to be functioning as well as they possibly can.
Yours in health,
Shoulder Strengthening Exercises to Do at Home
Who are these exercises for?
If you have suffered from a shoulder injury then these exercises may be for you. This blog will help those of you who have had a shoulder injury to gently strengthen the shoulder musculature and therefore work to stabilise the shoulder joint itself. Simple home-strengthening exercises for the shoulder can be done daily, however, make sure you check with your chiropractor at Lushington clinic in Eastbourne first. This is in order to ensure you’re ready for these exercises, since doing them too early may cause further injury. An injury may include rotator cuff tears (chronic or acute), weakness from osteoarthritis or muscle strains. Read on to find out how you can potentially strengthen your shoulder at home with some of these simple exercises.
Internal rotator cuff muscle strengthening exercises
The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the body, with a huge range of motion in many directions. This gives you the mobility and strength to lift your kids, your shopping, to push open a door, and many of the other things that we take for granted in life! However, it does make the shoulder more prone to instability and therefore more prone to injury. Injury can often affect the rotator cuff muscles and their tendons (where those muscles attach to the bones of the shoulder). The rotator cuff muscles are the four main muscles that support the shoulder joint and help with movements such as internal (inwards) rotation, external (outwards) rotation, and abduction (lifting the arm out to the side).
To exercise the internal rotators, use a TheraBand or other resistance band. This is a stretchy piece of elastic band about 3 inches wide, and made in varying degrees of resistance. Start with the easiest/most stretchy one (usually yellow in colour) and take a length 1 metre long. Tie a secure knot at the end and trap it in a door frame by shutting the door with the knot on the other side of the door. Stand with your bad shoulder at 90 degrees to the door and tuck your elbow into your side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Now, slowly bring your lower arm into internal rotation (i.e. the wrist moves away from the door) and back to the neutral starting position. It’s very important to keep the elbow tucked into your side. Repeat 15 times.
External rotator cuff muscle strengthening exercises
Set up your TheraBand as above, for the internal rotator cuff muscles, but stand with your good shoulder towards the door. Do the same movement where the wrist moves away from the door, and repeat 15 times. Keep the elbow tucked into your side.
Abductor rotator cuff muscle strengthening exercises
Step on the knotted end of the TheraBand, and keeping the elbow locked and arm straight, raise the arm and then lower it slowly. Don’t go above the shoulder. Making sure you keep the arm straight ensures that you’re working the correct muscles. Repeat 15 times.
If you have any questions about these shoulder exercises then please ask your chiropractor, and remember to check with them or another medical professional before you begin your shoulder rehabilitation program. A key point is to do little and often, to minimise strain on your injured shoulder, and to do the exercises with good posture. You can also use TheraBands with more resistance as you progress and get stronger. You can get in touch with us at Lushington chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne to book your shoulder assessment and treatment.
Thanks for reading