London Back Pain – Recharge Your Back Now Spring Has Arrived

You wouldn’t think of revving up a cold engine after your car has been on the blocks for months. The same principal applies to the modern couch potato after hibernating in front of the TV all winter. Back injuries can occur when warm weather arrives and we shift into high gear or even train for the London Marathon!

Armed with information and a few health tips, London Back Pain  injuries are preventable.

The most common injuries

The most common back injury is the sprain—called a paraspinal muscle sprain—similar to what you might sustain in a lower extremity like pulling a hamstring. This happens when there is too much stress, too quickly—and the back muscles and other soft tissue fail to support the back. A classic example of this occurs when doing heavy lifting, i.e. gardening or snow shovelling. (Other common causes of back injuries are caused by pre-existing degenerative disc disease and osteoporosis).

The onset of pain is immediate, intense, and usually will stop you in your tracks. This pain, however, does improve over days or weeks after the inflammation calms down.

How do I know when it’s bad?

When there is a back injury, delicate spinal nerve tissue also can become involved. Typical back sprains—including degenerative disc flare-up—are not accompanied by neurological symptoms in the extremities.

Consult a doctor or your chiropractor when there is any neck or back injury that is accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, numbness, and severe radiating pain into the extremities.

What to do?

Stay away from pain in the first place – tips for prevention

  • Make sure your weight is in a healthy range.
  • Keep moving. A dedicated back strengthening exercise program can easily be performed at home. Abdominal muscles also help support the back so don’t neglect your core.
  • Learn appropriate lifting techniques for heavy objects. When lifting, a rule of thumb is to keep heavier objects closer to the body—rather than away from it—to decrease the load on your spine.
  • If you are a smoker, stop. Join a smoking cessation program or consult your physician.

If you have concerns about back pain or an injury, always consult your  doctor or chiropractor.

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Posted in Back Pain, Chiropractic Advice, Uncategorized

Gardening Advice – Back Pain

Before you start gardening it is important to have some simple gardening advice. Start by warming up muscles and joints by performing simple stretching exercises.  Start with smaller, less stressful jobs, and take regular breaks.

  • It is a good idea to kneel down to do your planting, place both knees on a knee pad or kneeler. You can even use an old cushion or blanket. This avoids excessive bending in the spine and cummulative stress with prolonged postures.
  • Rather than using a large spade to dig use a smaller one, this way you will put less strain on your back by lifting lighter loads. Avoid twisting movements.
  • Avoid repetitive strain injuries by switching tasks.
  • When lifting anything remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight (not rigid). If using a hover mower, you should push it in front of you and face the direction in which you are cutting the grass, rather than swinging it from side to side.
  • Use strong arm and thigh muscles to push and pull heavy objects, as opposed to using your back. If a load is too heavy, lighten it and make more than one trip, or recruit someone else to help you lift or pull.
  • Consider using long-handled tools since you won’t need to bend over as far and use slow, deliberate movements instead of rough or jerky ones. Tools with smaller blades that weigh less may also help you avoid straining your muscles.
  • Alternate tasks in your garden so that you are not working on the same one for extended periods of time. As is the case with avoiding a sore back, stand up and stretch frequently.
  • Be sure to set realistic goals for yourself so that you don’t rush to try complete a huge project in a short period of time, which can cause you to over-work and lead to injuiries and pain.

If you experience back pain as a result of gardening, please contact the City of London Chiropractor Clinic on 0800 043 7105

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Posted in Back Pain

Adjusting a Work Chair

Adjusting a Work Chair

 

How many hours in a day do you sit?

If you spend a good portion of your day sitting, your chair is the main support for your body. The key to adjusting your chair is to position your body in a posture where the body is well supported and comfortable. By removing potential causes of your pain you open the doors to a lifetime of reduced pain.

Evaluate your chair by checking for the following:

  1. Is the seat height easily adjustable?
  2. Does the back rest have an adjustable lumbar support? (Either the entire back rest may adjust in height or a mechanism inside the back rest may adjust.)
  3. If you are sitting and keying 4 or more hours per day, do you have armrests that can support your arms?

There are many adjustments available on chairs but the three most critical are the seat height, the lumbar support and the arm rests.

If your chair is missing any of these features, you may need to contact your manager to see about getting a different chair. It is important to adjust your chair to fit you and not just use what is available.

Five Steps to Adjusting Your Chair

1.  Adjust your chair height so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor. There should be 5-8cm (a fist width) of space between the back of your knees and the edge of the seat. If the seat is too deep, add a cushion; if it is too shallow, see if you can angle the seat backward and move back on the seat.

2.  Adjust the back support so that your low back feels well supported. If you cannot get good support, you may need a lumbar roll or pillow.

3.  Adjust the armrest up and down/in and out (if they have this feature) to support your forearms/elbows, while your elbows are by your sides at an 80°-100° angle, and your shoulders are relaxed and level (Neutral Posture). If your chair has fixed armrests and do not allow for this posture, do not use them while keying or using the mouse. If they are too high or too low and restrict your neutral posture, have them removed.

4.  If you have an adjustable keyboard tray, set it so that you can key with your arms in a neutral posture. If you have to reach up or down, raise or lower the chair to position yourself in a neutral posture. You may need to place a telephone book or a large 3 ring binder underneath your feet.

5.  If you have any other  chair features such as tilt, tilt tension, seat depth adjustment, experiment with these features to see what feels the most comfortable.

If you are still in pain why not consider The City of London Chiropractor Back Pain Clinic. Phone Now on 0800 043 7105.

NOTE: It is a good idea to make minor changes in your chair adjustments periodically. If you change chairs or workstations, re-adjust your chair. Make this a regular habit.

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Posted in Back Pain, Neck Pain, Pain, Uncategorized, Work Related Pain

Whiplash Injuries

That dreaded sound of your car hitting someone else’s car. After making sure you are okay and checking the damage to your car, you start to think about the problems that will follow a car accident. Even in minor car collision, you may experience whiplash symptoms, which can easily turn to chronic pain if they are not addressed.

Whiplash symptoms can range anywhere from achy neck and shoulder muscles, tingling or numbness down the arms, to headache and stiffness in the neck joints.

When a car is hit from behind, the seat back pushes into your torso as your neck gets thrown backwards then forwards very quickly. This can put a very large strain on muscles and ligaments that help to support your spine. In a higher speed collision, your brain may be forced into the back part of your cranium as your neck is forced forward. This can lead to more severe symptoms such as vision changes or balance deficits.

If you have been involved in a car accident seek expert medical opinions and diagnosis at your earliest opportunity.

It is very common for whiplash symptoms to begin the next day or even several days after an accident. They may be short lived, or may persist for several weeks or months. In the case of a severe car accident, medical professionals will be involved immediately to help determine the best plan of care for you. If you were involved in a minor collision and are suffering from some muscle and joint aches and pains, here are some things that you can try to help alleviate your symptoms:

  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory:  With a whiplash injury, you most likely will have a build-up of inflammation through your cervical spine, which can be contributing to your pain. Make sure to follow the correct dosage written on the bottle or consult with your primary doctor about the best choice of medication for you.
  • Stretches:  Performing range of motion exercises for your neck will help to lessen the stiffness and help you regain your full mobility. Slowly rotate your neck from side to side 10 times each, several times a day. If you limit your motion, you will continue to experience stiffness through your muscles and joints, which may lead to chronic pain. A cervical collar should be used only in situations when warranted by a doctor.
  • Massage:  Performing massage to the muscles will help to relieve the tightness and discomfort felt after a whiplash injury. Soft tissue massage brings increased blood flow to an area to help with healing of the damaged muscles and tissues. It may also lessen symptoms of headaches. Make sure you inform the massage therapist about your accident and what symptoms you are experiencing.
  • Stability exercises:  Stability exercises will help to strengthen your neck muscles. Use your hand to gently push against your forehead. Use your neck muscles to resist the motion and to remain still. Repeat this 10 times while pushing from behind as well as from the side.
  • Chiropractic:  If symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, you may benefit from seeing a City of London Chiropractor. A chiropractor may perform manual stretches and massage to your joints and muscles as well as check your cervical alignment. They will give you an exercise program to help you restore your body’s natural balance of strength and stability after a car accident.

If you have recently been in a car accident and are experiencing any symptoms such as numbness or tingling, pain down the arm, changes in vision, hearing or balance or dizziness, please consult a professional promptly for proper treatment.

For further information please contact the City of London Chiropractor Neck Pain Clinic on 0800 043 7105.

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5 Tips to Reduce Back Pain London

Up to 90 percent of the entire London population will suffer back pain at some point in their lives. A little preventive effort could go a long way to reducing your chances of suffering from debilitating back pain London.

5 Spine-Healthy Tips to Reduce Back Pain London

1. Practice good posture by standing, walking, sitting, lifting and lying in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.

2. Maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and frame.

3. Take part in strength, stretch and aerobic programs to improve your fitness level, make you more resistant to injury, and speed recovery if you are injured.

4. Wear shoes that are well balanced, flexible and comfortable.

5. Stop smoking, as smokers experience more spine pain and heal more slowly.

Serious Symptoms in Back Pain

There are several warning signs, known as red flag signs, that may indicate that your back pain is caused by a more serious condition that requires immediate medical help. These include:

  • a fever of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above
  • unexplained weight loss
  • swelling of the back
  • constant back pain that does not ease after lying down
  • pain in your chest or high up in your back
  • pain down your legs and below the knees
  • pain caused by a recent trauma or injury to your back
  • loss of bladder control
  • inability to pass urine
  • loss of bowel control
  • numbness around your genitals, buttocks or back passage
  • pain that is worse at night

To obtain further information on whether the City of London Chiropractor Back Pain Clinic can offer an option for treatment phone 0800 043 7105 or email the clinic info@cityoflondonchiropractor.co.uk

 

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Posture Advice for Laptop Users

Many people use their laptop as their primary computer, so it’s important to have it setup correctly in order to avoid back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal injuries or strains. The problem is that laptop computers are designed with portability in mind rather than ergonomic principles. If the screen is at the right height then the keyboard is too high, and if the keyboard is in the right position, then the screen is too close and too low. Laptop touchpads and trackballs are never very user friendly. Given these challenges, here are 10 simple tips for the best laptop setups and posture advice:

  1. Use a large screen. Get a laptop with the largest screen possible for your needs to avoid the stressful posture that results from straining to see the text on a small screen. Many laptops offer large screens (15″ plus), but these can be difficult to use while on the go. There are a number of smaller notebook and ultra-portable laptops on the market, and while a smaller screen (12.1″) can be useful in mobile settings, make sure that you’re able to read the screen characters and easily use the keyboard (the smaller the laptop, the smaller the keyboard). If you find yourself straining to see your screen, increase the font size.
  2. Place the screen at eye level. Ideally, set your laptop height and screen angle so you can easily view the screen without bending or rotating your neck, and put it about an arm’s length in front of you. To do this, you will usually need to elevate the laptop a few inches above your desk, which you can do by placing it on a stable support surface such as a laptop stand or on a thick book. I always look around for the yellow pages or the BT phonebook.
  3. Don’t slouch. Despite the name “laptop”, you want to avoid propping your laptop on top of your lap as this requires you to slouch down to see the screen.If you have to work on your lap at least put the laptop on top of your computer bag or briefcase so you can raise it up slightly.
  4. Use a separate keyboard. When using the laptop for extended periods, use an external, full-sized keyboard with your laptop and position it at a height that allows your shoulders and arms to be in a relaxed position, with your elbows at a 90° angle when typing. Ideally, place the separate keyboard on a keyboard tray beneath your desk surface to help ensure that your wrists stay in a neutral position.
  5. Use a separate mouse. Be kind to your wrists by using an independent mouse rather than the mouse that’s incorporated into your laptop keyboard. Ideally, place the mouse on an adjustable-position mouse platform so you can keep it near your body and keep your wrist flat while using it.Recline slightly. If you can’t use a separate keyboard and mouse, an alternative is to find a chair that allows you to recline slightly. This will allow you to position the laptop keyboard and mouse with the least strain on your neck. Angle the screen slightly upward so that you can view the screen without having to bend your neck too far down.
  6. Recline slightly. If you can’t use a separate keyboard and mouse, an alternative is to find a chair that allows you to recline slightly. This will allow you to position the laptop keyboard and mouse with the least strain on your neck. Angle the screen slightly upward so that you can view the screen without having to bend your neck too far down.
  7. Prop up your feet. If you have to raise your chair so that your arms and wrists are positioned comfortably, check to see how your legs are angled. Your knees should be at about the level of your hips. If your hips are too high, you need to put a footrest or small box under your feet to prop them up and keep excess strain off your lower back.
  8. Make your chair work for you. The type of office chair you use is critical. Any office chair that is fully adjustable and has lumbar support will work, but you need to be sure to set it up correctly. There are several companies that offer a free chair assessment.
  9. Take a break. Take brief breaks every half hour, at the very least taking your eyes off the screen and letting them rest on something in the distance, and doing some simple stretches while at your desk, such as stretching your neck, shoulders, arms and legs. Every one or two hours, leave your desk to walk around to get your blood flowing and move your muscles. Use Brugger’s relief position as often as possible. If you do not have a copy of this position email the City of London Chiropractor Clinic and we will be happy to provide.
  10. Travel light. Be careful when carrying your laptop around. The power supply cord, spare battery and other accessories in your laptop bag may add a lot of weight. If you carry your laptop to work and home again, get duplicate power cords and other peripheral components to leave in each place so that you don’t have to carry everything back and forth. Carry your bag across your lower back in a messenger bag style, or use a backpack with dual padded shoulder straps (and avoid draping the bag over just one shoulder). If your laptop and components weigh more than 10 lbs, a roll-along carrier is the best choic.

I realise that not all of the above tips will always be practical, but if you use your laptop daily, paying attention to how you set it up will go a long way to easing back pain and strain on your joints and muscles. If you are using a hot desk always try and produce the best workstation with these principles in mind.

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Back Pain Advice for Parents

The arrival of a new born baby is a very exciting time, but it is also a time when parents  are at risk of developing back pain due to neglect of their own health. Here is some back pain advice on posture, lifting and carrying which can be used daily to help prevent pain developing back pain. It is hard to actively think about these all of the time; however, the more you do it, the easier it will get.

Breast/Bottle Feeding

  • Sit in a chair where the low back is well supported, this can be enhanced by placing a stool or thick book under your feet so they are flat on the floor and or a pillow behind the low back to support the curve.
  • Place a pillow under the arm that is supporting the baby, and if bottle feeding also place some support under the arm that is holding the bottle
  • Switch arms with each feed

Lifting and Carrying

  • Ensure you are standing with your feet shoulder width apart and as close as possible to your child before attempting to lift them
  • Keeping your back as straight as possible bend at your knees.
  • Retaining a straight back use both arms equally to lift your child then use your thigh muscles to stand up.
  • When carrying and moving a child, pivot with your feet until you are facing your destination, then lower the child by bending at the knees and keeping your back straight. Bending and twisting puts the most load on the lower back structures.
  • Try and alternate the side on which you are carrying your child or ideally carry them in the middle directly against your chest.

Putting Babies into the Car

  • When putting your baby into the car, hold them close to you as you move towards the vehicle.
  • Keep your back straight and only bend your knees when you have got as close to the car seat as possible.
  • Only at this stage should you reach out to put the baby in the seat.
  • If you’re carrying the baby in a chair, rest the chair on the edge of the car seat, then manoeuvre it into position within the car, keeping your knees bent and back straight.
  • Choose a baby seat which you can turn from the base.

Toddlers

As your baby grows and develops into a toddler there will still be many times when they will want/need to be picked up, however try to avoid directly lifting them.

  • When they want a cuddle sit down and try to encourage them to climb onto your lap instead of lifting them up.
  • At bath time avoid directly lifting them, instead assist he/she to step over the bath, thus minimising the  weight you have to take, work together and encourage them to develop their own body movements and control, while still keeping them safe with complete hands on assistance and supervision.
  • Use the push chair when you’re out so as to prevent you having to hitch them on your hip when they are too tired to continue walking any further.
  • Use a step for toilet training.
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Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD)

Are you pregnant and having difficulty rolling in bed, getting in and out of your car, climbing stairs, or walking due to pelvic pain? You may be suffering from a common condition called pubic symphysis dysfunction.

The pubic symphysis is located at the front of the pelvis where the two sides of the pelvis meet. This is typically a fairly stable joint. Changes in hormones levels during pregnancy relax the ligaments and allow for increased movement. The movement can result in misalignment and more importantly pain. Pubic symphysis dysfunction is thought to affect up to 1 in 4 women during pregnancy. It can range in severity from mild discomfort during daily activities to inability to bear weight on the legs.

The main symptom of pubic symphysis dysfunction is pain at the front of the pelvic girdle. Many women also complain of lower back pain, leg pain, or lower abdominal pain. Women who are experiencing pain may also walk with a waddling gait and have pain with walking, lifting and carrying objects, rolling in bed, climbing stairs, getting in and out of the car, and standing. Any activity that requires asymmetrical movement of the legs is likely to cause pain due to shearing forces at the pubic symphysis.

Diagnosis can usually be made on symptoms alone as many imaging techniques are not recommended during pregnancy. Ultrasound may be used during pregnancy, and if symptoms persist after pregnancy, a pelvic x-ray or MRI may be indicated.

Chiropractic as a Treatment Option

Many women suffering from symphysis pubis dysfunction during pregnancy respond favorably to treatment. Treatment may include soft tissue mobilisation/massage, strengthening and stabilisation exercises to improve support of the pelvic girdle, pelvic floor strengthening exercises, postural exercises, and education on body mechanics and strategies to minimize pain with activities of daily living. Anti-inflammatory medication is not recommended during pregnancy, but applying ice to the pubic symphysis regularly may help with pain and inflammation. Heating surrounding musculature may decrease muscle spasm and tightness to decrease pain. Bracing or external supports may also be beneficial in providing additional stability and decreasing pain with activity.

Discussing a birth plan with your obstetrician or midwife is important to minimize pain and further damage to the ligaments during labor and delivery and postpartum pain. It is important to tell nurses and others assisting with your delivery that you have symphysis pubis dysfunction so that aggravating positions such as squatting and reclined sitting with the legs wide apart are minimized. Realise that if you have an epidural you will not be able to feel the pain during labor and delivery, which you may believe is good, but you may be causing further irritation/damage to the area that you will certainly feel once the anesthesia wears off. Alternative pushing positions such as hand and knees or side-lying may be utilised.

Tips to Manage Pain Associated with Everyday Activities:

  • Sit down to perform activities when possible.
  • Avoid periods of prolonged weight bearing.
  • Avoid deep squatting.
  • Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects when possible.
  • Avoid stepping over objects.
  • Avoid stairs if possible or try going up sidewards.
  • When rolling in bed, place a pillow between the knees and keep the legs together as you roll.
  • When getting in bed, sit on the side of the bed with the legs close together, lie on your side first and then bring both legs up sideways.
  • When getting in to the car, sit down on the seat first and then bring the legs whilst together into the car.
  • When getting out of the car, bring both legs out of the car first and then stand up pushing equally with both legs.
  • Avoid twisting movements of the body.
  • Before performing activities that are painful, contract the pelvic floor muscles to give additional pelvic stability.

The good news is that if you can manage your symptoms during pregnancy, the majority of symphysis pubis dysfunction resolves after pregnancy as the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels. If you believe that you have symphysis pubis dysfunction, discuss with your doctor or midwife.

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Posted in Back Pain, Pain, Pregnancy Joint Pain Clinic