By wey001, May 11 2016 09:43AM

GPs say increasingly more patients complain of back pain caused by car journeys. Many people experience neck or low back stiffness after driving. Back pain, headaches and leg cramps can become routine, even for drivers who only drive short distances.

Modern life involves spending so much time in cars, it is imperative that car seats support our spine. Unfortunately, as the engineering and design of our cars has evolved, the comfort and ergonomic design of car seats has been neglected.


Back and Neck Support; Driving with poor posture will cause back and neck ache, as well as poor concentration and fatigue. Sit back in the chair to support your spine. If your seat does not offer sufficient support you can buy a lumbar support or place a rolled-up towel in the small of your back to support the spine’s “S” shape. To reduce the risk of whiplash, reduce the distance between the rest and your head.

Steering Wheel and Chair Position; Adjust the wheel so your arms are not stretched or cramped, which could strain your shoulders and neck and lead to fatigue. Adjust your seat to allow you a comfortable view of the road. If you are small, jack up your seat to prevent overstraining your neck. Ensure that your feet are not too far from the pedals. If you are tall, slide the seat back to avoid cramp.

Long Distance Driving; Sitting in one position for a prolonged period will result in stress and strain on the spinal joints, muscles and ligaments. Stop for a few minutes each hour. Walk about to ease the spine and minimise aches and pains.

Getting in and out of your car; Swing your legs in and out of the car with your knees together. Never climb into or out of the car one leg at a time. After a long journey walk for a few minutes before you unload your boot. Your joints and muscles are cold and can be easily injured by such heavy lifting.

If you do suffer from recurring pain when driving, consult your chiropractor for a thorough spinal assessment. Chiropractors are fully qualified manipulative practitioners who diagnose and treat disorders of muscles, joints, bones, ligaments and tendons. Your chiropractor will advise you on how to make a good recovery and achieve effective long-term results.

By wey001, May 5 2016 12:05PM

If 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 muscles tightening in order to protect that area of the spine from further trauma. However, 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.

Secondary problems of muscle tightness and joint inflammation require ongoing treatment so there are certain things you can do to relieve the pain.

Cold Treatment

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.

Hot Treatment

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, heat relaxes the muscle and improves flexibility. Hot treatment can be used alone over tight muscles when they have contracted due to overuse, or ache following 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.

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.

By wey001, Apr 25 2016 02:04PM

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.

By wey001, Apr 13 2016 07:52AM

You’re probably aware of the primary factors that can cause or worsen pain. These can include poor posture, injury, too little (or too much) activity, and specific conditions such as arthritis.

But did you know that what you eat can also help to manage or relieve pain, or even prevent it occurring in the first place?

Here are some of our top nutrition tips for managing pain.

1. Ditch the processed foods

Processed foods generally refers to most things that come in a packet with a list of ingredients: from biscuits to ready meals to breakfast cereals. They often contain little in the way of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. They may worsen inflammation and pain because they contain higher levels of unhealthy fats – in particular, processed omega-6 fats and ‘trans’ fats, which have pro-inflammatory properties. They often contain quickly absorbed sugars or refined carbohydrates too, which may exacerbate inflammation when consumed in excess.

In contrast, ‘real’ foods are as close as possible to how they are found in nature. They can include whole vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish, eggs and meat (whole cuts, not ‘deli’ or processed meats). These foods naturally contain higher levels of nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and pain, such as those we’re going to look at in more detail below.

2. Eat magnesium-rich foods

One of the nutrients that may help to manage pain and inflammation is magnesium. Magnesium helps our muscles to work normally, including helping them to relax, which in turn helps to avoid or relieve muscle tension that can contribute to pain. This mineral is also important for the nerves.

Magnesium is found primarily in whole unprocessed plant foods – especially green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, seeds and nuts, and whole grains including rye and buckwheat.

3. Include oily fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies are high in omega-3 fats. These fats have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore may help to manage pain. The specific omega-3s in fish (EPA and DHA) can be more beneficial than the types of omega-3 found in seeds such as flax seeds.

Aim to eat a serving of oily fish around three times a week. These can include tinned sardines and salmon as long as they do not contain added vegetable oils (olive oil is fine). Note that ‘omega-3 fish fingers’ are not a good source of omega-3 fats – stick to the real thing!

4. Get plenty of vitamin C

You may know vitamin C for its role in the immune system. But in fact the primary role of vitamin C is in making collagen – a protein that forms the basic structure of most of the body’s tissues, including the bones, joints and muscles. If your body can’t make collagen properly, these tissues will lose strength and function, contributing to not only day-to-day pain but also potentially painful conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Eating a variety of vegetables and fruit is the best way to get enough vitamin C. Although ‘five-a-day’ is the well-known recommendation, we should be aiming for at least seven portions a day, primarily of vegetables, in order to get good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include peppers, kale, broccoli, kiwi fruits, Brussels sprouts, watercress and red cabbage. If you can, get your veg and fruit from a local producer (e.g. a farmer’s market) as it can lose its vitamin C when it’s stored or transported for long periods of time.

5. Include anti-inflammatory spices

The spices ginger and turmeric in particular can have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Use fresh ginger and powdered turmeric in your cooking whenever you can, make fresh ginger tea with a grated thumb-sized piece of ginger. If you have a good vegetable juicer you can even make fresh ginger juice to sip on – but watch out, it’s strong!

6. Try avoiding nightshades

The ‘nightshade’ or solanaceae vegetables may worsen inflammation and pain for some people. These are aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), and peppers – including chillis and all types of chilli powder (cayenne, paprika etc.). If you’ve implemented the other changes for at least three months and not noticed a significant improvement in your pain, then try eliminating the nightshade vegetables.

7. Consider eliminating gluten

Gluten is a protein that’s found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. The most severe reaction to gluten is coeliac disease, where the sufferer has to avoid gluten for the rest of their life. But some people who do not have coeliac disease may also react to gluten in a less severe way, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. If you’re cutting out gluten it can be best to work with a nutrition practitioner (e.g. a nutritional therapist) for support to make sure you’re not missing out on any nutrients.

By wey001, Mar 22 2016 09:33AM

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) can affect any of your joints and muscles but RSI is often associated with upper limb disorders and is a potentially debilitating condition, resulting from prolonged repetitive, forceful or awkward movements of the joints.

Common causes include sports, computer work, manual jobs and heavy lifting etc. The result of RSI includes damage to muscles, tendons, nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand, which can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or impairment of motor control.

Not only can joint problems in the spine cause neck pain and headaches but muscle spasm in these areas can cause referred pain into the arms. If the nerves that exit the spine get irritated, muscles in the arm and hand can weaken increasing the likelihood of RSI.

If your job involves sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time, there are a simple exercises you can introduce. Make sure you set up your equipment properly, take regular breaks and of course get treatment and advise early on. However, it is important to mention that even if you sit correctly at your ‘perfect’ workstation you can still get problems with RSI if you do the wrong things, especially if you have an underlying neck problem. So, make sure you have a checkup with a chiropractor if you suffer any pain or discomfort.

Exercise decreases the risk of developing RSI. Make sure you stop at regular intervals and do exercises to increase the circulation:

• Pulling fingers back to stretch your forearm

• Shaking hands out

• Massaging forearms

• Squeezing shoulder blades together

• Squeezing a squidgy ball

• Shoulder rolling

• General stretching of your neck can be counter-productive, especially if you have

pre existing neck problem. Make sure your chiropractor checks your neck first.