Discs

Discs

We are not talking about LP’s, vinyls or even mini discs… This may be music to your ears but you have discs in your spine too.

The discs in our bodies are great, they are a series of flat, fluid filled gel-like discs, their main job is to aid movement and to provide stability in the spine. So every time we move forward, twist then these discs absorb some of that impact and also facilitate some of that movement, it’s not just joints that move!

different stages of disc degenertion

There’s two parts to a disc a tough outer layer which is a series of fibres that helps to contain the second part of the disc, the inner gel like layer that is made up of a stonking 88% water. Also the disc makes up 25% of the overall height of the spine.

It’s essential that we keep these discs healthy by providing them with adequate water, good nutrition, and good movement/spinal function and minimise bad habits that could affect the health of discs. Surprisingly one of the key things to avoid is smoking as this can affect the chemistry of the disc itself and then ends up affecting the make up of the disc which can result in higher incidence of disc degeneration or even prolapse.

Disc problems can result in back pain, buttock and leg pain and in severe cases can even lead to changes in sensation or muscle strength in the leg. A lot of people think nothing can be done for degenerated discs, and although we can’t undo the degeneration that is there we really want to maximise the function that remains before it to deteriorates. Our job at Chiropractic Works is to restore spinal function as best as possible which is aimed at reducing pain and improving the symptoms and function of the spine.

✔ You got this!

  • Keep mobile, movement is key for the spine.
  • Drink plenty of water – keep those discs hydrated.
  • Watch your sitting and driving position!
  • See your Chiropractor!

 ✘ Not this!

  • Any neurological change (loss or change in sensation/muscle strength) should always be thoroughly assessed.
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious condition where the discs in the lower part of the spine compress the nerves and can cause permanent damage.
  • If you have a change in baldder/ bowel habits or a loss of sensation in the genitals/saddle area seek immediate advice.

Ready to Book?

Use the online booking facility or ring us on 0114 266 5959

Backcare Awareness Week 2018

Backcare Awareness Week 2018

The theme of this years #Backcare Awareness Week is Back Pain in Older Adults.

For many older adults this is something that people live with on a daily basis, whether it’s a niggle here and there or something more persistent that affects how you do the things you enjoy and the jobs around the house. All too often I have patients who come in and have been told ‘Oh, it’s arthritis, there’s nothing we can do’ or ‘It’s just your age’.

Well at Chiropractic Works we don’t say the ‘A’ word. We find that many people who have a condition such as osteoarthritis or spondylosis can be helped, and whilst we aren’t saying we can do miracle cures, for many we can help manage the problems they are having in a better way.

What is osteoarthritis anyway? Osteoarthritis is when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. Bony growths can develop, and the area can become inflamed. When this happens it is irreversible, what we can have an impact on is how the joint functions and moves. This will reduce the pain and discomfort people experience from osteoarthritis.

Chiropractic offers relief for many back and neck pain sufferers. It’s not a long term fix, it is gentle, it can be very effective in increasing the range of motion within the area i.e. flexibility and also reducing pain and stiffness levels.

It is well known that exercise helps with many conditions of the body. This is true of many back conditions too. However, sometimes you need that relief of discomfort or pain before you feel you can exercise. This is where Chiropractic can help. It could be the stepping stone you need in order to do that exercise which will help you feel fitter and keep you well.

Quite often it is a concerned family member who recommends chiropractic care. So if you think it may help someone then we suggest a 15 minute complimentary chat as an introduction to your chiropractor and allow any of your queries to be answered.

For more information about backcare and what they do check out their website backcare.org.uk.

Ready to Book?

Use the online booking facility or ring us on 0114 266 5959
Migraine Prevention Week 2018

Migraine Prevention Week 2018

This week is Migraine Awareness Week (here’s a link to the Migraine Trust). In this blog post I’ll be looking at what a migraine is, common triggers and what we can do to help migraines.

First of all, some migraine facts:

  • 1 in 7 people suffer with migraines.
  • Migraines affect three times as many women as men.
  • Severe migraine is classed as amongst the most serious debilitating disease.
  • Migraines are the second most common reason for short term absence from work.

What are migraines?

The latest evidence suggests migraines are a genetic condition ref. In clinic I will quite often see familial links, especially where mothers and grandmothers have also suffered with migraines.

Older theories focused on a problem to do with the blood vessels in the brain but it is now believed that these changes to the blood vessels contribute rather than initiate migraines.

So what are the symptoms of a migraine?

The most common symptoms of migraine are throbbing headache, sensitivity to light, lethargy, feeling sick and being sick. Another common feature of a migraine is an ‘aura’, this is most commonly a visual disturbance such as tunnel vision, zig-zag lines or flashing lights. Not all migraines have auras.

What can we do about migraines?

Firstly identify if there are any triggers, these can often initiate or exacerbate migraines. The most common triggers are: 

  • Changes in routine.
  • Stress.
  • Sleep (too much or too little).
  • Caffeine.
  • Hormone changes
  • Environment/Work
  • Certain foods
  • Lack of food
  • Additives
  • Alcohol
  • Cheese
  • Dehydration

What next?

The second thing to do is if you haven’t already is to speak to your GP regarding any treatment options you have.

Then what?
After that the best thing to do is to see if there is anything else that can help to reduce or manage your migraines. We’re big fans of chiropractic care for migraines. Chiropractic care for migraines works on the basis that when the joints of the spine are unable to move correctly this creates joint and nerve irritation which can then sensitise other structures and contribute towards neck problems which can then trigger the migraines. We find this especially useful for people who find stress and work ergonomics contribute to their migraines.

Ready to Book or want to have more info?

Use the online booking facility or ring us on 0114 266 5959

Flip flops!

Flip flops!

Now that we are well and truly into the summer season I thought I would use this blog post to look at the impact of flip-flops on your lower back and pelvis. Although for the brave flip-flops are a mainstay for some people throughout the year many of us only put them on during the summer months.

Now, not focusing on the types of problems they specifically cause with feet like hammer toe, bunions not to mention fungal infections – although that may be enough to put most people off wearing them. Instead I’m focusing on how they can change the way you walk and thereby how it loads the spine.

The key changes are altered gait due to:
-It being a supeflat shoe
-It has minimal cushioning for heel strike

When you wear a flat type of footwear the main change usually occurs in the arch of the foot, really it depends on the biomechanics of your foot, so if you have a high or low arch it may affect you more. It also usually affects you more if you have flat feet or have been told that you over-pronate.

Heel strike is when our heel makes contact with the ground, this means it goes very quickly from zero force to almost all of the force being carried by the heel before the midfoot and then the toes come into contact with the ground to dissapate the forces and prepare to spring off for the next step. When we walk with shoes on we actually take longer strides as the shoes provide cushioning, when we are barefoot we take shorter strides as it results in less force going through the heel. So flip flops encourage us to walk with longer strides when really we should be taking shorter ones due to the reduced cushioning.

Sometimes you see people who are walking in flip flops and there is a distinctive slapping sound as they are (sometimes not conciously) avoiding the heel strike and allowing the midfoot and forefoot to take more of the strain. Whereas when people run barefoot they commonly avoid a heel strike, when we walk, even barefoot we should have a heel strike. This and the other changes in gait can have a big impact on the way the forces are transferred up the legs and into the pelvis and spine. This results in compensations and eventually secondary conditions such as pain/discomfort or isolated cases of hip pain or low back pain.

Where does Chiropractic Works come in to this I hear you say? Well I can’t stop you from wearing flip flops (as much as I may recommend it to some people) but I can do is assess the spine to see if it is having any detrimental impact on you and then what is the best plan of action to correct these shifts in the spine.

Focus On: Headaches

Focus On: Headaches

There are a number of causes for headaches, of which I will be focusing on the one most commonly seen in the clinic, cervicogenic headaches. Cervicogenic headache literally means that the headache itself is as a result of a problem in the neck.

So what is causing the headache?

Usually to be classified as a cervicogenic headache the spinal dysfunction has to be within the upper three vertebrae in the neck whereby these have been shown to have the highest correlation of dysfunction, with onward pain referral into the head.

What does it feel like?

Really this varies from person to person, generally it begins as a tightness/pressure at the top of the neck which then extends into the back of the head (the occiput) and then sometimes extends to the top of the head and can go into the eyebrow/back of the eye region. Interestingly some people don’t even feel the neck pain or discomfort!

What causes the joint dysfunction in the first place?

First of all there are a number of potential causes. I find there is a high correlation with cervicogenic headaches and anterior head syndrome (AHS), this is a postural/structural condition that puts increased strain onto the joints and muscles of the neck and upper back. If a person also has degenerative changes within the spine, which can be seen on an x ray or MRI scan, along with AHS then this usually indicates that the condition has been present for quite a while.

What causes AHS?

Unfortunately it’s the usual suspects:

-previous neck trauma (e.g whiplash)

-inappropriate desk set up

-poor sleeping positions

-sedentary lifestyle

-prolonged use of computers, tablets

Can anything be done for cervicogenic headaches?

The evidence is good supporting chiropractic care for cervicogenic headaches. At Chiropractic Works I focus on working to correct the structure which in turn helps to improve the function of the spine decreasing joint dysfunction, muscle tightness and ultimately the headache.

 

References:

1. Haas M., et al. , Dose response for chiropractic care of chronic cervicogenic headache and associated neck pain: a randomized pilot study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2004. 27(9): p. 547–53 [PubMed]

2.Haas M., et al. , Dose response and efficacy of spinal manipulation for chronic cervicogenic headache: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Spine J, 2010. 10(2): p. 117–28 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

3. Jull G., et al. , A randomized controlled trial of exercise and manipulative therapy for cervicogenic headache. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2002. 27(17): p. 1835–43; discussion 1843. [PubMed]

Sleeping habits causing you pain?

Sleeping habits causing you pain?

The way you sleep could be causing you unnecessary aches and pains. We are told time after time that we should be sleeping flat on our backs, but many of us have already developed habitual sleeping patterns, which are hard to get out of. However, if you suffer from neck or shoulder stiffness, muscle tension or more commonly back pain, you might want to think twice about curling up into a ball next time you reach for the sheets.

Incorrect alignment and poor support of your spine and limbs will put pressure on different areas of the body, which is why you may sometimes wake up with pain or discomfort.

Your spine also plays a huge role in sending nerve signals around the body; delicate nerve tissues help control all the systems within your body.

Follow these sleeping tips and give your back a break:

  • Refrain from sleeping on your stomach as this causes your spine to arch unnaturally and usually results in both back and neck stiffness

  • Laying on your back or side is the ideal position, however to perfect your alignment try to use an orthopaedic pillow to give your neck adequate support

  • If you sleep on your side, consider placing a pillow in-between your knees for support to prevent your back and pelvis from twisting

  • If you sleep on your back, consider placing a pillow under your knees to take the tension off your lower back

  • Acknowledging and correcting your posture throughout the day will help you find ease when it comes to sleep

Importantly, remember that an underlying neck can cause poor quality sleep or back problem causing increased muscle tension. So if you are experiencing poor sleep, see a chiropractor to have your neck and back checked.

Ready to Book?

Use the online booking facility or ring us on 0114 266 5959