The Value of Chiropractic Care in Birth Preparation

pregnancy spine
Chiropractic care during pregnancy is vital to assist the normal physiological function of both the mother and baby in pregnancy and birth. For example, chiropractic care helps the mother in pregnancy and birth by:
•Reducing interference to the mother’s nervous system, which co-ordinates all of the systems and functions in her body
•Helping to create a state of balance in the pelvic muscles, ligaments and bony structures, thereby preparing the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth
•Reducing torsion to the woman’s uterus (also known as intrauterine constraint) by removing tension on the ligaments that support the uterus
•Allowing for a safer and easier birth for the mother, thereby decreasing the potential for intervention
Chiropractic care also supports vital physiological functions for the infant by:
•Encouraging better baby development by removing interference to the mother’s nervous system
•Helping to create more room in the uterus for the baby to develop without restrictions to its forming skeletal structures, spine and cranium
•Thereby allowing the baby room to move into the best possible position for birth
•Significantly reducing the possibility of dystocia (delayed birth) and the resulting birth trauma that can be caused by intervention
intrauterine birth trauma
There are three main reasons why chiropractic should be a part of every pregnancy:
1.Chiropractic helps provide structural balance and stability for the mother, resulting in a more comfortable pregnancy.
2.Research studies have revealed that pregnant mothers who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancy tend to have a shorter labour with less medical intervention.
3.By supporting better function in the mother’s body, chiropractic care during pregnancy can help to create a healthier and more comfortable in-utero environment for the newborn, helping them to get a better start to life. In fact, research suggests that there is a strong link between the baby’s experience in the in utero environment and their lifelong health potential.

Chiropractic – Helping People with Arthritis

arthritis2

Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals suffering from this disease.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine(i) reported that 63% of patients who visited a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia conditions also sought some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Of these individuals 31% (almost half) chose Chiropractic care, making Chiropractic the most popular alternative used by this group of people. Importantly, 73% of these patients determined that Chiropractic care was helpful in controlling their chronic pain.

An additional aspect of this study was to determine why these arthritic patients chose CAM and the reasons they gave are somewhat typical;

(1) because their prescribed medication wasn’t working to control pain

(2) because they heard it would help;

(3) because it is safe;

(4) because it helped someone they know.

Reducing the use of prescription medicines or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs for pain relief means fewer harmful side effects and addiction from long term use. The lifestyle changes associated with chiropractic recommendations will also positively influence diet, exercise and overall health.

The ability to control some symptoms through Chiropractic care not only reduces the financial burden on the NHS (arthritis cases are set to double by 2030!) but more importantly it improves the quality of life of those suffering from the disease and may in some cases delay the necessity to take early retirement.

(i) Rao JK, Mihaliak K, Kroenke K, Bradley J, Tierney WM, Weinberger M. Use of complementary therapies for arthritis among patients of rheumatologists. Ann Intern Med 1999; 131:409-416

Why Walk Barefoot?

barefoot 2

It’s recommended for babies and children to walk barefoot as much as possible.

One of the simplest ways to motivate proprioceptive and vestibular development is to let our babies be barefoot. Another benefit to keeping babies barefoot is the encouragement of presence of mind and conscious awareness. As the little pads of babies’ feet feel, move, and balance on the surface that they are exploring, the information sent to the brain from tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular pathways quiet, or inhibit, other extraneous sensory input. This creates focus and awareness of walking and moving through space; babies get more tuned in to their surroundings.

This is a large part of the reason why some neurologists recommend flat shoes, like swim shoes, for children with certain neurological delays. Wearing shoes with less padding improves the feedback from the feet and helps improve walking in these children.

Wearing shoes prevents proper toe spread, which interferes with the foot’s ability to function properly, and prevents proper movement development, which can make children more susceptible to foot and lower leg injury. Studies show that a barefoot childhood will result in fewer instances of deformed toes, greater foot flexibility, stronger foot muscles, greater agility, better hip circumduction and more flexibility of the gluteal and hamstring muscles.

The benefits of going barefoot are plentiful!

Adults should kick off the shoes too!

Adults who go barefoot have naturally shaped feet, straighter toes, free of corns, hammer toes, bunions and calluses, and well-shaped legs resulting from a natural and balanced gait. Barefoot running and exercise is becoming a growing practice showing better performance, less ankle sprains, less plantar fasciitis and less lower back disc problems due to more of a natural motion and foot awareness. Many top companies are trying to produce shoes that can emulate the bare foot such as Nike “free” and Merrill. Going barefoot, your feet and legs tire less, circulation is better, and endurance is increased. If you have been a shoe person all your life, you will have to start slow to develop all those muscles again. Start by wearing no shoes at home and perhaps going for a walk on the beach. Yoga practise is also great for the feet.

Barefoot Shoes: A Healthy Compromise?

For those who aren’t comfortable with being completely barefoot, new minimalist and barefoot shoes are the best of both worlds. These are also great for everyday use in places where shoes are needed.

Being barefoot is the best when possible. When that isn’t an option, there are some great barefoot shoes that provide almost the same benefits. In general, shoes can be considered “barefoot shoes” if they:

– Do not have a raised heel. The shoe should be flat and all the same thickness from heel to toe.

– Allow free movement of the toes. Many shoes have thin or even pointy toe beds and constrain the toes. A barefoot shoe should be open or allow free toe movement.

In other words, barefoot shoes provide a basic protective barrier between the foot and the ground and not much else. Barefoot shoes also qualify as minimalist shoes, though not all minimalist shoes are technically barefoot shoes.

Recommended Barefoot Shoes

Adults – Vivo Barefoot. For a true barefoot shoe, their Eclipse model is great. Five Fingers is another popular brand.

Babies and Toddlers – Robeez

Thankfully, walking barefoot is a little more socially acceptable before age 2 or so! When going barefoot isn’t allowed, Robeez (or similar) shoes are great. There are many options for kids on the website Happy Little Soles.

If you have any concerns about foot alignment or how this may be affecting your spine, just ask Dr Graeme at the clinic.

Vertigo and Chiropractic

vertigo
Vertigo (dizziness) refers to the sensation of rotatory movement, either of the individual or the environment, and having difficulty to orientate the body in relation to surrounding subjects.
It can have many causes and in most cases it is a treatable condition. The treatment used obviously depends on the cause.
Dizziness is a common condition seen in the Chiropractic office. Individuals with cervicogenic (coming from the neck) dizziness will usually present with neck pain and may also experience headaches. Neck pain may only occur with palpation (when touching certain areas of the neck); therefore, many people may not realize that their neck is a problem. Cervicogenic dizziness may occur in the absence of an injury or may occur months to years after a head or neck injury.
Approximately 20-50% of people who have sustained a whiplash injury will experience symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, or decreased balance. These symptoms can be coming from the vestibular system, central nervous system, or neck. Dizziness may also occur as a result of arthritic changes, herniated disc, instability of the cervical vertebrae, muscle spasm, or postural adaptations such as scoliosis. Cervicogenic dizziness may occur gradually with continual worsening of symptoms or the onset may be rapid.
Faulty mechanics of the neck due to injury, muscle tightness, or poor posture may cause a sensation of dizziness. This is due to the connection between the nerve receptors in the upper neck and the vestibular system (inner ear and balance). The nerve receptors in the neck supply information about your head position and help with balance. This balance information works together with information from your eyes and inner ears to tell you what position your body is in with relationship to gravity and the ground. This gives you a sense of balance.
If the neck receptors are not providing the correct information and do not agree with the signals coming from the eyes and inner ears, the brain may get confused. This can result in the symptoms associated with cervicogenic dizziness. This connection between your neck, eyes, and inner ear also helps to improve your hand eye coordination, postural control, and balance. Therefore, damage or altered mechanics of the neck receptors may result in a sense of dizziness or disequilibrium and may decrease your coordination.
Chiropractic is a very effective treatment for cervicogenic vertigo as it is able to address joint dysfunction in the neck which is a major cause of the condition. The joints of the neck provide the brain with major input as far as head and body positioning. Joints that are fixed or immobile give the brain bad input and may cause vertigo. Chiropractic adjustments normalize the function and position of the joints and allow the joints to send the brain correct positioning information.
If you or someone you know suffers from vertigo or dizziness, call our clinic today!

High Heels

high heel foot
Leonardo Da Vinci was right when he called the human foot “a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”
Each of your feet is made up of 26 major bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons.
Your feet are designed to provide you with balance and strength. If we were meant to wear high heels, our feet would have been designed like this!
Here are some tips if you really must wear high heels:
• Minimise the length of time you spend wearing heels in general
• Try not to stand for too long at any one time in high heels
• When sitting, remove your shoes and stretch out your feet
• Carry flat shoes with you in your bag, so you can swap shoes when walking long distances
• Remove your shoes when in the house and wear flat slippers
• Avoid open back or slide-on shoes that require toe gripping. This can result in hammer toes and foot tension.
• While the ideal height is no heel, a two-inch heel will cause less pain or damage than higher ones.
• Regularly visit a Chiropractor

Cycling Injuries and Chiropractic

cyclists
Cycling is great! You help save the planet, burn calories and save money!
Unfortunately there are some downfalls… Musculoskeletal injuries and imbalances are common among cyclists due to body posture / position and repetitive use of certain muscles.
Overstretching to reach the handlebars, backwards-sloping seats, wrong seat heights and soft tyres are just some of the factors that can contribute to neck and back pain in cyclists. According to the BCA, a staggering 73% of cyclists weren’t fitted for their bicycles last year* and one in five (22%) have experienced back or neck pain whilst or as a result of cycling**.
Tim Hutchful, a chiropractor from the BCA, says: <em>“It’s great to see more and more people taking up cycling as it’s an excellent way to keep fit. However it’s really important to take the time to ensure you’re sitting comfortably and properly fitted to your bicycle, to avoid injuring your neck or back.
For beginners, a hybrid bike is regarded as a good all-rounder because whilst it is not as heavy as a mountain bike, it has thicker tyres than a road bike making it more stable. The frame of a hybrid bike also allows for a ‘relaxed’ cycling position, which you won’t get with a racing bike, for example. A chiropractor in your local area can advise you on how to approach cycling safely and tell you what signs to look for if you’re overdoing it.”
Some common cycling injuries include:
– Low back pain due to forward flexed posture during cycling
– Neck pain due to facet joint irritation, pinched nerves or strain to posterior neck muscles
– Shoulder pain
– Wrist and hand pain
– Knee pain
Make an appointment with our chiropractor to resolve any issues you may be experiencing, prevent injuries and enhance your cycling performance!
*Research conducted on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association in March 2013 of 485 UK adults.
**Research conducted on behalf of the British Chiropractic Association in March 2013 of 432 UK adults.

Back Pain and Gardening

gardening-pain
Now that spring is finally here, you’re no doubt going to spend time planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. From when the gardening season begins in spring and until the end of the summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.
Gardening is surprisingly hard on the body, particularly your lower back. It’s an enjoyable activity for many, but it’s important to treat it like a workout and stretch your muscles beforehand.
Consider some of these helpful tips to help you prevent back pain and other injuries when gardening.
– Warm up before you garden. A 10 minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up.
– Practice good posture. Always bend at the knees and keep your back straight when you pick something up. Never twist your body.
– Take breaks— 15 minutes for every hour — and stretch! Rest and hydrate!
– Switch up your activities. Do a little pruning, then digging, then maybe some weeding. The key is to vary your tasks frequently so that you’re not performing any repetitive motions for a long period of time.
– When you have to get down on the ground for work, consider a kneeling pad or better yet, a kneeler with arms to help you get back up.
– Keep a container full of your tools close by when you’re on your knees. You’ll have everything within arm’s reach so there’s less getting up and down.
– Choose tools with long handles so you don’t have to bend as much.
– Hire help. For heavier jobs, it can be worth getting some help!
– End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting.
If despite your best efforts, you end up with pain after gardening, call a chiropractor to schedule an appointment.

What’s Your Posture Like?

text neck
Chances are you’re reading this while leaning over a desk. Your head is tilted forward; your shoulders are curved. If you’re on a laptop or mobile device, your shoulders are slumped and you’re looking down.
Am I right? Over time this could eventually cause the natural curvature of the neck to reverse – called forward head posture or ‘text neck.’
Gadget addicts are coming down with ‘text neck’ in their droves. Increasing numbers of patients are suffering neck pain from spending too much time hunched over phones and computers. The rise of smartphones and tablet computers has fuelled the problem. The extra capability for playing games and browsing the internet on smartphones means they tend to be used for longer periods. And unlike laptops, tablet computers are often placed flat on the lap, meaning users crane their neck over to view the screen.
Forward head posture can lead to irreversible arthritic degeneration if left untreated and anyone experiencing pain should get themselves checked by a chiropractor.

Are You Sitting Too Much?

evolution

You’d have thought sitting down would be good for your back. Surely taking the pressure off when you’ve been walking about gives your body a bit of a rest? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Sitting down for long periods has been shown to cause many physical problems, including back pain. This is particularly acute if you work in an office or are seated for the majority of the day.

It’s alarming how long we sit without moving at all. A study for BUPA found only one in five workers left their desk during the day to get a drink or go to the toilet (1). Which means an unbelievable 80% of people stay exactly where they are for their entire working day. All day, off their feet. Add into this equation that a lot of people then spend most of their leisure time on the sofa in front of the TV and you have a worryingly sedentary outcome. By contrast, the British Chiropractic Association recommends you don’t sit for more than 30-40 minutes at a time.

Sitting for long periods can weaken the back muscles, making it harder for your back to work properly. This isn’t a problem just for office workers and the elderly. Recent research from the British Chiropractic Association shows 40% of 16 to 34 years olds who said they had experienced back or neck pain spent the majority of their time ‘mainly sitting’, while 32% reported back pain was triggered by sitting still for long periods of time. Sitting is not only bad for your back, it has negative effects on your overall health.

Why sitting is bad for more than just your spine!

What can I do to prevent back pain caused by sitting? Aside from taking a job which requires you to be on your feet most of the day, undoing the effects of being seated for so many hours isn’t easy. Our advice is to avoid or minimise sitting as much as possible.

• Stand up while you are on the phone. Better yet, pace!
• Walk more around your house.
• Take the stairs.
• Walk after you eat lunch.
• Park your car farther away from your destination. Don’t look for that perfect spot up close.
• Take the long route!
• Get vigorous about your daily cleaning and cooking.
• Work your calves when you brush your teeth!
• Stand up and stretch when you’re at your computer a lot.
• Don’t send emails if the recipient is in walking distance. Get up, walk and talk.
• Stand up or do exercises while watching TV.
• Consider a standing workstation.
• Refill your water glass every hour.
• Reduce television and home computer use. Try recording programmes to allow you to fast forward the advertising.

1. Get Away From Your Desk – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/get-away-from-your-desk-207-news.aspx
2. Don’t sit back – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/dont-sit-back-196-news.aspx
3. Sitting for long periods ‘is bad for your health’ – BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19910888
4. Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222,497 Australian adultshttp://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108810

Chiropractic – Helping People With Arthritis

Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals suffering from this disease.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine(i) reported that 63% of patients who visited a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia conditions also sought some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Of these individuals 31% (almost half) chose Chiropractic care, making Chiropractic the most popular alternative used by this group of people. Importantly, 73% of these patients determined that Chiropractic care was helpful in controlling their chronic pain.

An additional aspect of this study was to determine why these arthritic patients chose CAM and the reasons they gave are somewhat typical; (1) because their prescribed medication wasn’t working to control pain (2) because they heard it would help; (3) because it is safe; (4) because it helped someone they know.

Reducing the use of prescription medicines or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs for pain relief means fewer harmful side effects and addiction from long term use. The lifestyle changes associated with chiropractic recommendations will also positively influence diet, exercise and overall health.

The ability to control some symptoms through Chiropractic care not only reduces the financial burden on the NHS (arthritis cases are set to double by 2030!) but more importantly it improves the quality of life of those suffering from the disease and may in some cases delay the necessity to take early retirement.

(i) Rao JK, Mihaliak K, Kroenke K, Bradley J, Tierney WM, Weinberger M. Use of complementary therapies for arthritis among patients of rheumatologists. Ann Intern Med 1999; 131:409-416