Gardening Tips


Portrait of a smiling mature florists working in the garden

Over Spring and Summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.

One of the fundamental causes of back pain when gardening is prolonged stretching and overuse of the ligaments and joints in the spine. Digging, stooping and bending over whilst planting place considerable stress on the lower joints of the lumbar spine and can cause them to become inflamed and tender.

Here are a few tips to help prevent injury.

Is Pain Getting in the Way of Your Exercise Routine?

New consumer research from the BCA has found that two fifths (41%) of people have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain.

Furthermore, a quarter (25%) of respondents reported their back or neck pain has deterred them from physical activity for up to a month, with a further 9% stating their back or neck pain has led to them avoiding exercise for over half a year. An unfortunate 34% felt it was exercise itself which triggered their pain.

To help people of all ages and fitness levels back pain-proof their work-out routines the BCA has developed these top tips:

• Know your equipment at the gym: When trying a new activity, it’s always best to make sure you ask your instructor how your equipment should be set up, and make sure it’s right for you. For example, if you’re cycling or spinning, you need to set your saddle and handlebar to the correct height so that you are in a comfortable position that isn’t putting tension on your neck or back

• Know your limits: Even professional athletes aren’t born ready, it takes time to build the intensity of your practice. If you try a new sport, or want to intensify your workout, it’s important to take a slow approach and not to push your body’s limits. It is always advisable to visit a professional who can assess your body’s capabilities and advise on a safe way of training based on your body’s limitations

• Warm up and cool down: Before starting any form of physical activity, you should warm up any muscle groups which might be affected whilst you exercise. If you use them without preparing them first, your muscles could get a shock, causing you pain which could have been prevented

• Reduce the impact: If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body keeping your muscles mobile!

• Not all exercise is the same: The fittest of athletes will still find it difficult to adapt to a new sport, as each sport uses some muscle groups more than others. With this in mind, always approach a new activity with care and don’t assume that you can jump in at the deep end!

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days then you seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated.

The Value of Chiropractic Care in Birth Preparation

pregnancy7

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 and Dizziness

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.

Is Your Child Developing ‘Tech Neck?’

 

“Text Neck” or “Tech Neck” is when there are changes to the shape of a child’s spine due to bad posture. This can be caused by spending too much time looking down at a smart device, or by being hunched over a computer.

You can tell by looking at someone’s posture from the side. Does their head jut forward? Are their shoulders rounding forward?

More often than not these changes can be present without symptoms. Over time, text neck tends to get worse and can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and mid or lower back pain. It can even cause numbness and pain into the arms and hands and may lead to behavioural issues and difficulty concentrating.

Whilst this used to be more common in office workers, it’s now not uncommon to see children as young as 12 suffering from text neck.

What can you do?

Prevention is better than cure!

– Start the day with stretches. When you wake up your child in the morning, take five minutes to help them stretch. Stretching helps them to stay flexible and can help take strain and stress off the spine. It’s crucial to do this before they spend the whole day sitting at school or starting an activity in which they’ll be seated.

– Make sure your child gets at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.

– When using smart devices encourage your child to have them at eye level and not on their lap. Ensure their head isn’t hanging from their shoulders. A great way to encourage good posture is to have your child balance a book on their head while using their device. There are also many ipad stands on the market that can be placed on a table so your child is looking straight ahead.

See here for ways to hold your mobile device
Ways to hold your phone

– Ensure adequate hydration. The discs of the spinal column are mainly made up of water; therefore, it is important to stay hydrated during the day, in order to maintain flexibility and health.

– Limit screen time. Limiting screen time and helping your child to find a balance between the online world and the real world is important. This might be easier said than done, but to help your child stay healthy, it’s important to help them find other activities to fill their time.

If in doubt – please ask a chiropractor. Many of our patients report a big improvement in their posture after starting chiropractic care. Of course – the worse your posture, the more work can be involved, so correcting the problem sooner than later is advised!

Migraine Headaches

Those who suffer from migraine will know too well that it is much more than just a headache. It can strike anywhere and any time, often without warning.

Migraine affects about 15 in every 100 people in the UK and is most common in adults aged between 20 and 50. Women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men.

Migraine is a complex entity, usually characterized by unilateral head pain of a pulsating or throbbing quality. Clinically, migraine is subdivided into five phases: prodrome, aura, headache phase, headache resolution and postdrome. The prodrome is experienced by about 60% of migraine sufferers and is characterized by mood changes, food cravings, increased or decreased appetite, nausea, numbness and tingling, an inability or difficulty to speak and clumsiness/weakness of one side of the body. This is followed by an aura phase, experienced by about 20% of migraine sufferers, typically characterized by bright dots of lights in the visual field and saw tooth crescents of light. Following the aura phase, the headache begins, lasting anywhere between 4-72 hours. The headache is then followed by the postdromal phase, which is characterized by fatigue, irritability, mood changes and food intolerance.

Dysfunction of the cervical spine can be related to pain in the head /migraine, via the trigeminocervical complex (figure 1). In simplified terms this involves convergence of the greater occipital nerve (second cervical nerve, C2), with the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve, V1) as it conveys pain sensation from the periphery towards the brain. This convergence can result in the brain interpreting pain as if it were originating in the head, when actually it may be originating in the joints of the cervical spine, thus resulting in a headache.

Figure 1

Chiropractic care may reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches, particularly in those patients with a cervicogenic/neck component to their migraine. Furthermore, the amount of medication required by migraine sufferers is often reduced during and following care. Some patients even report their migraines stop altogether! This can have a profound effect on people’s lives. Frequent migraines can be debilitating and can render a person unable to work, unwilling to socialise or even to get out of bed.

Find studies on migraine headaches and chiropractic here

Many patients find relief of migraines through chiropracticare. Please don’t suffer! If you would like to arrange a consultation, please call one of our clinics to make an appointment.

Is Exercise Causing Pain? Is Pain Putting You Off Exercising?

New consumer research from the BCA has found that two fifths (41%) of people have been prevented from exercising due to back or neck pain. Furthermore, a quarter (25%) of respondents reported their back or neck pain has deterred them from physical activity for up to a month, with a further 9% stating their back or neck pain has led to them avoiding exercise for over half a year. An unfortunate 34% felt it was exercise itself which triggered their pain.

To help people of all ages and fitness levels back pain-proof their work-out routines the BCA has developed these top tips:

• Know your equipment at the gym: When trying a new activity, it’s always best to make sure you ask your instructor how your equipment should be set up, and make sure it’s right for you. For example, if you’re cycling or spinning, you need to set your saddle and handlebar to the correct height so that you are in a comfortable position that isn’t putting tension on your neck or back

• Know your limits: Even professional athletes aren’t born ready, it takes time to build the intensity of your practice. If you try a new sport, or want to intensify your workout, it’s important to take a slow approach and not to push your body’s limits. It is always advisable to visit a professional who can assess your body’s capabilities and advise on a safe way of training based on your body’s limitations

• Warm up and cool down: Before starting any form of physical activity, you should warm up any muscle groups which might be affected whilst you exercise. If you use them without preparing them first, your muscles could get a shock, causing you pain which could have been prevented
• Reduce the impact: If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise to reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body keeping your muscles mobile!

• Not all exercise is the same: The fittest of athletes will still find it difficult to adapt to a new sport, as each sport uses some muscle groups more than others. With this in mind, always approach a new activity with care and don’t assume that you can jump in at the deep end!

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days then you seek professional help, as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term problems if left untreated.

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

How to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

1. Have your spine checked! Chiropractic care helps keep our nervous system working optimally, which may boost your immune system and natural healing ability.

2. Take a Vitamin D supplement.
Originally known for its crucial role in maintaining calcium levels for bone health; it is rapidly becoming apparent that we have vastly underestimated Vitamin D’s significant importance for our overall health and wellbeing. The sunshine vitamin plays a key role in boosting the immune system, researchers believe. In particular, it triggers and arms the body’s T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses.

3. Juice.
Did you know that 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in the juice of raw fruits and vegetables? Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion because of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet. We would need to eat 2 lbs of carrots, 10-12 apples, or 8 lbs of spinach to get the same amount of nutrients you receive in one 16 oz juice. When you drink juice, highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes rapidly enter the bloodstream absorbing all the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables and giving your digestive organs a much-needed rest.

4. Crush a garlic clove finely before bedtime
Leave to oxidise for 5 minutes, place in a spoon and swallow quickly with water. Garlic is antibacterial, antifungal and a natural antibiotic.
WARNING: don’t chew it or this healthy routine will affect your social life!

5. Take a good quality fish oil daily
Omega 3’s are part of every single bodily reaction, and a deficiency will cause ill health. Your fish oil should be triple molecular distilled for purity, and cold-pressed for stability of the molecules.

6. Take a Probiotic/Eat Probiotic Rich Foods
Probiotics can give your immune system a real boost. Your body is filled with billions of different types of bacteria that help you to do everything from fight off infections to maintain healthy internal organs. Bacteria may have a negative connotation, but the truth is that you can actually stay healthy by putting the right types of bacteria into your body.

7. Take Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are rich in flavonoids that are organic compounds with antioxidant qualities that safeguards cells against injury or infections. Elderberry also includes vitamin A, B, considerable quantities of vitamin C, and amino acids. All these nutrients can allow you to stay healthy by improving your immune system.

9. Take Echinacea
Echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells. Echinacea loses its effectiveness if used continually. It is best to take two weeks on, two weeks off for better results. It is particularly useful in winter months and in spring, when hay fever and allergies are most common.

10. Decrease your bread, pasta and potato consumption
Simple carbohydrates have either been stripped of their fibre through manufacturing or are naturally low in fibre to begin with. Eating too many simple carbohydrates can lead to weight gain because the quick blood sugar rise triggers the release of the hormone, insulin. Insulin’s main function is to lower blood sugars but it also transports fat around your body.

11. Drink green tea or Rooibos instead of tea/coffee. It is full of antioxidants and cancer fighting goodness. And it tastes nice!

12. Take a warm cup of water with fresh lemon on waking every morning. This helps alkalise your body and cleanses the digestive tract.

13. Eat berries every day, blueberries and blackberries being the best! They are high in anti-oxidants and full of cancer fighting goodness.

14. Exercise
Exercise moderately but don’t over train – Working out for up to 45 minutes, 3-5 times per week makes immune cells more active, with some studies showing that women who exercise had half the sick leave days of those who did not. However, extended exercise can do the opposite. Long sessions of high intensity exercise like 90 minutes of running raise levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol which can suppress immune-system activity for up to 3 days. So, if you are specifically training for an event like a marathon, make sure that you drink 1 litre of a glucose drink every hour of exercise as the sugar can cause the adrenal gland to release less cortisol.

15. Reduce stress
Many studies have proven the link between stress and illness, making people 3 times more likely to catch colds. Reduce the stress in your life and if you are going through a period of stress you can’t avoid like divorce, redundancy or monetary problems, make sure you put time aside for yourself to relax. Also watch your favourite comedy films or TV sitcoms as a good laugh can counteract many of the effects of stress.

AVOID
Sugar! It’s an immune suppressor. As little as 3.5 ounces can suppress your immune system up to 50 percent. Most sugar is void of nutrients, and get this: It actually requires nutrients to metabolize sugar and, therefore, pulls minerals from your body. Sugar also impairs your white blood cells from doing their job, which is to scavenge up bacteria that can make you sick.

Cigarettes. Smokers suffer higher levels of respiratory infection than non-smokers as well as having higher risks of a whole list of other diseases.

Autumn Gardening

In the Autumn as the leaves start to fall and plants start to die back, our minds turn to the many jobs in the garden that need completing before Winter sets in.

Whether you are digging, raking up fallen leaves, or wheeling a wheelbarrow it is important to take your time and look after your back.

Here are some tips to prevent back pain:

Clothes – Wear warm clothes that will keep you dry but avoid wearing clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.

Warm up and stretch – Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Take a 10–15 minute walk to warm up your muscles and start with the lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of any muscle strain. Stretch before and after.

Take regular breaks and stay hydrated –-Vary your activity to prevent your body from being in one position and avoid repeating the same actions for a long period of time. Take a break every 20 minutes to stand up straight and stretch. Gardening is a form of exercise, so it is important to bring a water bottle and stay well hydrated.

Use your wheelbarrow – Many injuries occur when lifting and moving heavy weights. Use a wheelbarrow to transport heavy loads and remember you don’t have to move everything at once – it is much better to divide the load into smaller and lighter loads. Ask a family member or neighbour to help you move any heavy or awkward objects.

Remember Your Posture! – Bend using your knees, not your back. Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles.

Keep the rake or shovel near your body – Keep your body in line with the rake or shovel, use short precise movements and avoid twisting movements.

Pay attention to any numbness, tingling, weakness or pain. A chiropractic check-up could be needed.