All change this month... so please bear with us - we say goodbye to Andrew who will reduce his hours to two days while we wait for Miss Troy Magowen to arrive at the end of August.
As Sophie and Alex have now had their holidays they are increasing their hours so there will be plenty of appointments for everyone. Please note that there will be times that reception closes early or opens slightly later; so please use the answerphone to leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as it is open again.
Don't forget to use the out of hours help line if it is urgent advice you need: 07854707873 - not for changing appointments though please!
We eagerly await the arrival of the new chiropractic beds this month - Alex is hoping they will be the last ones she buys in her working life - no. 8 and 9 coming our way covering thirty years in practice.
There is only one thing worse than going into your local supermarket and seeing the christmas decorations in the shops in September, and that's starting the school holidays with the Back to School slogan for school uniform there too! So now you're well into your holiday period, a new school term is looming so why not listen in to BBC Radio Nottingham when Alex talks with Alan Clifford from 3pm on Tuesday 27th August to pick up some great postural advice for your kids?
Back pain in children is on the rise due to their increasing sedentary life style so get techno and posture savvy and let us help you reduce the misery of back pain in young people.
Dangers of Back Pain at School
When the new school year is well underway, children will be back in the classrooms, running around playgrounds and playing sports. However, children, like adults, can be prone to back pain, and there can be several causes.
The most common causes of joint and back pain in school children are:
- Lack of exercise or excessive exercise
- Weight of school bags
- Bad posture
- Poorly set up desks
- Use of a computer or computer games
- Sports injuries
- Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes
Lack of exercise and excessive exercise
The general finding from various studies is that children involved in competitive sports and those who are sedentary are more prone to getting low back pain while those that participated in moderate activity were protected. The children involved in competitive sports run the risk of getting repetitive strain injuries. Those children who are sedentary are often those who sit and watch a lot of television or play on a computer. The implication of this will be discussed below.
Weight of school bags
School bags are exceptionally heavy for those attending secondary school due to the number of different subjects covered and therefore the number of textbooks required and the fact the children often have to move between classes. Not all children have access to lockers, which mean that books have to carried with them. Bags carried on one shoulder causes an asymmetry of the body and therefore certain muscles will have to tighten and others lengthen in order to carry the bag. These kind of imbalances can cause long-term problems.
All aspects of life can induce bad posture; lack of exercise, weight of school bags, spending too much time playing computer games or on the computer, incorrect shoes, and growth. Those children who grow faster and become taller than their peers may slouch in order to not tower above their friends and this can ultimately lead to bad posture.
Poorly set up desks
Whether at school or home, ill fitting desks can lead to bad posture. School desks and chairs cannot cater for individual heights of children and, as mentioned earlier, the children often have to move between classes. The desks and chairs are uniform and unable to be altered to the child’s individual needs. Guidance on correct desk set up should be implemented at home; not just for the kids but also for everyone in the family who uses the desk. At school this can’t be done, but by advising the child to sit upright and not to slouch and not to cross the legs will help.
Use of a computer or computer games
Anybody position requires certain muscles to shorten and others to lengthen. This occurs every time we move. If we were to stay in one position for too long those muscles will eventually stay that particular length. When children play on computer games it quite often requires time. This leads to the above situation with muscles. Children should be encouraged to not spend longer than 30-40 minutes at any one time playing games, using a computer, or even doing homework before having a break. The child should spend a few minutes walking around and then returning to the game/homework by reviewing their posture and sitting correctly.
Those children who play a lot of sport and those who play contact sports such as rugby may be injured either by direct contact or by overuse of certain muscles. If a child is injured it is advisable that they are seen by a chiropractor as problems unresolved can lead to compensations, ie walking differently due to sprained ankle leading to low back pain, a rugby tackle causing neck pain and headaches.
Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes
Children are conscious of fashion, which can affect their shoe wear. Girls particularly may wear shoes with a high heel. This causes the calf muscles to shorten and pushes the body forward. To prevent falling over the girl would have to lean back and causing an increase in the low back curvature which can not only cause low back pain but also pain between the shoulder blades.
Wearing improperly fitting shoes can cause many problems from blisters, pressure sores and ingrowing toenails in the short-term, to feet deformities like hammer toe, and knee and posture problems in the long-term. It can take up to 18 years for feet to fully develop, so teenagers feet need to be looked after just as much as younger children’s.
Shoes should be the correct size and offer the right amount of support. When purchasing new shoes, get the child’s feet correctly sized by the shop assistant and ensure that the shoes are the correct length as well as width.
Here’s some advice to help your child:
- Rucksacks should be worn across both shoulders and the straps adjusted so the bag is held close to the body.
- If a locker is available, encourage your child to use it and ensure they only take the books and equipment needed for that day.
- Check their shoes are correctly fitted, supported, relatively flat, and are not too worn.
- Encourage your child to enjoy regular exercise, such as swimming and cycling.
- Use of the computer, playing computer games and homework should be in blocks of no more than 30-40 minutes. Advise them to have a little walk before returning and again that they sit with their shoulders down and back (not slumped) and their legs are uncrossed.
- See a chiropractor if your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, or even just to get a check-up.
How Are Migraines Different From Headaches, And How Should You Treat Them?
Most people experience headaches sporadically through their lives and are not too adversely affected by them. However, there is a severe type of headache called a migraine that can keep returning and be incredibly debilitating. It is estimated by the NHS that around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men are affected by migraines, which usually begin in early adulthood.
The exact cause of migraines is still somewhat unknown; the current understanding is that there is a temporary change in the chemicals and blood vessels of the brain.
A migraine is typically experienced as a severe headache, often with a throbbing pain in the front or sides of the head. Some people have other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound or smells. Migraines can last from a few hours to a few days.
There are different types of migraine. There are migraines with aura, which is where there are warning signs of the migraine in the form of visual disturbance such as seeing spots, lights or blurred lines. There are also migraines that occur without warning, and it is even possible to have a migraine aura without the accompanying headache.
There are also many different possible triggers for migraines. These can include, stress (and how stress is handled), food and drink triggers, sleep patterns, hormones and tension; especially in the neck.
In order to manage migraines in a regular sufferer, identification of a specific trigger is essential. Behavioural or lifestyle changes playing an important part in the treatment, such as avoidance of certain foods or maintenance of a regular sleep pattern. Chiropractic treatment also has the ability to alleviate some contributory factors or after effects including relieve of restriction in movement of the neck, muscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders and helping correct any postural issues that may influence the occurrence of both migraine and tension headaches.
Can You Be Too Supple?
Some people are very flexible, while others aim to improve their flexibility through yoga classes and stretching exercises. However, have you ever considered that there is such a thing as too supple?
Hypermobility means that you can move some or all of your joints in a way that most people cannot, without pain. Joint hypermobility is what some people refer to as having “loose joints” or being “double-jointed”. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
Many people with hypermobility do not experience any problems. In fact, people such as dancers, gymnasts and musicians can actually benefit from the increased flexibility. However, there are times that you should seek medical advice and treatment for hypermobility.
People should seek treatment if they experience:
- Pain in the loose joint during or after movement
- Sudden changes in the appearance of the joint
- Changes in mobility, specifically in the joints
- Changes in the functioning of your arms and legs
Often additional symptoms are minimal and may only become apparent after minor trauma.
In addition to genetic factors, hypermobility can be caused by weak muscles supporting the joint.
Other causes of hypermobile joints can include trauma, developmental issues, and hormonal factors.
During pregnancy the female body increases production of the hormone oestrogen and produces the hormone relaxin. The function of these hormones is to increase ligament laxity enabling the female pelvis to accommodate the growing foetus and helps to open the birth canal during labour. It can also cause hypermobility of the lumbar spine and of the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis.
Treatment for hypermobility syndrome can include strengthening exercises that will stabilise the joint. It is also useful for people to develop an awareness of what the normal range of motion is for each joint in order to avoid hyperextension. However, those with related medical conditions or who are pregnant should seek the advice of their chiropractor to establish a safe exercise plan.
Improving Balance and Co-ordination
Balance and co-ordination is an often overlooked part of fitness and should be trained as much as strength and endurance.
It is known that balance and co-ordination is controlled by several parts of the body, namely the eyes and the ears. These senses pass on the data it has gathered via the nerves to the muscles to appropriately move about gracefully. In older people though, these senses deteriorate and as a result, balance may worsen. Improving balance and co-ordination can benefit everyone, especially the elderly, to increase health and mobility.
There are many factors that may hamper one’s balance and co-ordination. The alignment of your neck, your spine, and your pelvis is one. Age and disease is another problem. For example, when your pelvis is misaligned, your body needs to compensate for that misalignment. Your neck may shift to one side to promote balance, but this, in turn, may cause you stiffness and neck pain.
Age and disease can also contribute to poor balance. With poor balance, the elderly are prone to slip and falls. It hinders mobility and lessens the overall quality of life. Diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis can also hamper balance and co-ordination.
Exercise improves flexibility and strength and, through these, balance and co-ordination. Nutrition is another important aspect of a healthy life. Important nutrients for balance and co-ordination include sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium as they are needed in regulating nerve impulses and muscle activity. Without them, you would experience painful cramps. Blueberries in particular are a superfood that contains many nutrients for improving balance and co-ordination.
With the right exercise and nutrition you will increase you chance of living a full healthy life.