The clocks have now changed…..
……. and the days are getting shorter by the minute. This month we at Beeston Chiropractic Clinic have challenge you to try and get as much natural sunlight as possible and exercise more to help avoid the dreaded Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD). Please also find some information on how to correct your posture, when to use Ice or Heat for back pain and why magnesium is vital for healthy muscles and nerves.
Buzz Buzz Buzz..... Clinic News
We are proud to announce that with your kind donations we raised £300 during our Macmillian coffee morning. Thanks to each and every one of you for your kind donations.
World spine day passed us on the 16th October last month, but don't forget that any of your friends or family can take up the offer of £10 off an initial consultation if they quote WORLD SPINE DAY when booking their first appointment. They have to book before the end of November 2016.
Correct Posture At Your Computer Can Prevent Days off Work
Many people spend their working day in front of a computer screen. Correct posture when you are spending a lot of time in front of a computer is extremely important, especially when you consider that for those with back pain and related conditions absence from work takes up an average of 13 days a year. Follow the do’s and don’ts below to ensure your posture is as correct as possible:
Ensure your chair has adequate back support
Use a desk of an appropriate height
Take regular breaks to rest eyes, neck and shoulders
Stand up and walk around at least once an hour
Loosen neck and shoulders whilst sitting
Relax wrists while typing
Use a low table or desk
Sit for too long at a time
Tense your neck, shoulders or wrist
Cross your legs
Bad posture habits start in childhood when we sit in front of the television, and at school desks, and they continue into adulthood, not only with computers, but when we are driving and slouching in chairs. Sitting and inactivity automatically worsens posture and in later life can cause osteoporosis and arthritis, making pain inevitable.
In order to achieve a correct natural posture you should flatten your back against a chair or wall, roll your shoulders back and down, and tuck in your chin whilst you glide your head backwards. Try to adopt this position every 20 minutes or so and eventually it should occur automatically, to improve your posture and prevent pain and longer term damage.
When to Use Hot or Cold Treatment for Back Pain
When you are suffering with back pain, whether it is in the neck, between the shoulder blades or in the lower back, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do. Do you sit, rest, keep active, use heat or cold?
The most common cause of back pain is when the joints of the back become restricted due to abnormal stress such as incorrect posture, degeneration and emotional stress. This causes tightening and inflammation around the joints resulting in the muscles tightening (in order to protect that area of the spine from further trauma). Muscle tightness causes the joint to be even more restricted in movement and therefore causes more joint inflammation and the cycle continues. People suffer from different types of back pain, some with tightening but others without, and therefore they will require a different treatment plan.
Chiropractors have the skill of removing joint restriction by using spinal adjusting to address the underlying problems of back pain.However, secondary problems of muscle tightness and joint inflammation require ongoing treatment so there are certain things a patient can do to relieve the pain.
The recommended treatment for back pain without muscle tightness is a cold treatment. This is simply a cold pack applied to the injury, which acts like a painkiller reducing the inflammation.
A Cold treatment can be used in any area of inflammation. i.e. spine or joint inflammation and restriction, knee swelling, sprained ankle etc.
For back pain with muscle tightness a hot pack is more suitable. Tight muscles are usually tender to touch, you can sometimes feel pea-sized knots and crystals in the muscle. Using heat relaxes the muscle and improves flexibility. Hot treatment can be used alone over tight muscles when they have contracted due to overuse, or for aches following the muscle being used in a different way.
Hot & Cold Treatment
Leaving a hot pack on the spine for a long time can increase the inflammation and cause the pain to increase. In this case once relaxation has occurred a cold pack is placed over the area to help decrease the joint inflammation.
It is always best to consult a Chiropractor first but the advice is not to rest, but to try and keep active, manoeuvring the joint at least every 20 – 30 minutes. Combine this with the hot or cold method of treatment and you will help relieve the pain resulting in a quicker recovery.
Take Care of Your Back at Work
An NHS study revealed that half of us are affected by back pain and 8 million working days are lost due to work-related back pain each year. But here are many ways to avoid and ease back pain when working:
Be aware of your posture; when standing try to distribute your weight evenly across the front, back and sides of your feet. When seated, sit up straight; align the ears, shoulders and hips in a vertical line as much as possible.
Avoid prolonged positions; even a good sitting position can be tiring and put a strain on muscles. Try alternating sitting positions by sitting at the front of the chair then sitting at the back of the chair. Try to also get up and move about every 30 minutes. Take 2 minutes to stretch, stand or go for a short walk. This will not only stimulate your muscles, but also your mind!
Avoid unbalanced posture such as sitting with your legs crossed, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward or tilting the head up.
Position your monitor at your natural resting-eye-height. This will avoid straining the neck as you look up or hunch down to your screen.
Exercise regularly; a good combination of cardio and strength training will strengthen muscles and protect against back injuries.
Get moving: the body was designed to move, and it is so important to keep moving. Even if you are suffering from back or neck pain, limiting movement will only exacerbate the symptoms. Try to do lots of gentle movement within a relative pain free zone, in order to prevent everything from locking up.
The most common cause of neck pain is when you hold your head forward for long periods of time. This places undue stress on the joints of the lower neck, as well as muscles of the neck and shoulders. By trying to pull the neck and shoulders back into alignment, and doing some nice gentle stretches for the neck and chest, you can easily correct this, before it becomes too problematic.
Are you getting enough magnesium?
Most of us are aware of the importance of calcium for our health, especially for our bones. However, magnesium is another vital mineral for our bones, as well as for our muscles and nerves, it can actually be more difficult to get enough of this mineral in our diet than to get enough calcium.
The many roles of magnesium
Magnesium is needed for normal muscle and nerve function. Without
magnesium, our muscle fibres wouldn’t be able to relax after they have contracted, and nerve impulses wouldn’t be able to travel around our body properly.
Magnesium is vital for strong bones and teeth too. If you’re trying to improve or maintain your bone strength, it’s essential to include lots of magnesium-rich foods as well as calcium-rich foods.
Magnesium is also necessary for our cells to convert the food we eat into usable energy, and also for healthy ‘psychological function’ – including mood and how we deal with stress.
For these reasons…
Symptoms of not getting enough magnesium may include: muscle cramping, tight or weak muscles, increased pain, and loss of bone strength, as well as lack of energy, low mood, greater susceptibility to stress, and even poor sleep or insomnia.
As chiropractors we regularly see patients with these symptoms – especially pain and muscle dysfunction, of course. If any of them ring true for you, you are likely to benefit from getting more magnesium into your diet.
Where can we find magnesium?
The main sources of magnesium in our diet are plant foods, particularly the following:
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach
Seeds and nuts – particularly pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds
Whole grains – especially buckwheat and rye
Beans and pulses.
How much magnesium do we need?
The general adult recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 375mg. Like any nutrient, our requirements can vary, and the amount of magnesium present in foods – even the foods mentioned above – can also vary. But as a general rule, we need to eat four to five servings of one of these foods a day to get enough of this mineral. (One serving is about 80 grams or one handful green leafy veg, or two tablespoons of seeds, for example.)
Drinking milk or eating cheese to get your calcium is not enough on its own to maintain strong bones – make sure you get plenty of those plant foods too! Also, don’t forget that weight-bearing exercise is one of the most important things to maintain bone strength.