I think it’s my age…
At Chiropractic Works, we here this all too often. Yes age does play a factor with spinal problems but the majority of the time it is not the causative factor. A point in case is the increase in the number of students that we have seen recently.
[ezcol_1half]One trigger for the students who have been in to see us is exam time! Prolonged periods of sitting, working on the computer or staring at books. Not to mention the extra stress, long hours and by the time you throw in a poorer diet due to time constraints, eventually something has to give.
Most students that we see come in with upper back and neck problems from the long periods of studying. So here are some tips on how to minimise the strain that studying puts on you:
- Plan your day, know what you are doing and when you are doing it – as dull as it sounds this will free up a lot of your time, and if you have planned well it will be a case of looking at what you should be doing and getting on with it.
- Have a work free area, a sacred space where no studying takes place, this is especially problematic if you study in a bedroom – you want to keep that area as a sleeping/relaxing zone.
- Plan down time – meet up with friends, play the Xbox or catch up on tv. Be strict with yourself, you don’t want to end up doing a marathon of Game of Thrones.
- Take regular breaks, prop your books/laptop up so you are looking ahead not looking down.
- Snack well – ditch the chocolate and energy drinks, stick to fruit & veg and the odd tea/coffee.
If you have any questions give us a call on 0114 266 5959, or if you would like to book a complimentary 15 minute consultation to discuss how we can help you get in touch.
Driving and back pain
Driving is a tricky subject, we all do it, some for longer than others and at some stage we all feel the effects of driving. Whether it’s your daily commute or a longer drive to see family or friends it can all rack up and put more stress on your spine and your health.
Why does it create strain?
Sitting creates strain on the spine, that’s why we advise people to take a break from sitting every 45 – 60 minutes. When we drive we usually are not sitting in the optimal position for our bodies. Generally, the sportier your car the worse the position is likely to be due to space constraints.
Sitting in the car creates a lot of strain in two key areas the low back/pelvis and the neck. The low back is affected as the normal curve (lordosis) is usually reduced – the aim of a lumbar support is to maintain the curve while you are sitting. The second area affected is the neck, I think part of this is because we are so focused on the low back we ignore the fact that we sit in our cars with our heads poking forward – this increases the strain onto the neck as your body has to work harder to keep your head up!
So what can you do to reduce the impact of driving?
1. Take 30 seconds to sort out your car!
This is really important if you share a car, put the mirrors, seat and back support into the correct position FOR YOU. If you don’t you will be under/over-stretching to reach the wheel and pedals.
2. Relax your shoulders.
Make sure you aren’t holding yourself in an artificial position. On your daily commute there’s enough to deal with without overloading your postural muscles and increasing stress on the spine and nervous system. This will also allow you to breath more easily which is always handy.
3. Take regular breaks.
It is always tempting to do a 4 hour journey in one go, I would recommend taking at least one break. You do not need to go into the services and buy a latte and a disposable tooth brush, instead have a brisk walk, do some basic stretches or tai-chi. It will only add 5 minutes to your journey but the difference it will make to your spine will be much greater.
Many cars now come with in built lumbar supports but they may not be suitable for everyone. Although car seat designs have improved significantly they are still built for the masses, or built to fit a ‘standard’ person, as we are all unique it means that for some it will work and others it wont. The solution is simple, a small pillow or a rolled up towel placed in the low back with the purpose of maintaining the curve.
There are two key factors with head rests:
1. The top of the headrest should be level with the top of your head.
2. The head rest should be as close to your head as possible, no more than 10cm from your head.
For some great advice on how to adjust your car seat have a look at the BackCare information sheet
If you feel you are struggling due to driving allow us to help you, book an examination or a 15 minute complimentary consultation on 0114 266 5959.
Back pain still leading cause of disability.
I came across an excellent article in nursingtimes.net – I will admit I am not a regular reader, it was the topic that was interesting to me.
The summary of this article is:
…lower back pain causes more global disability than any other condition. With the ageing world population, this burden can be expected to increase…
What also interested me was that this is a publication specifically aimed at nurses – a group of the population that I know can suffer with their back complaints due sometimes in part to work stresses.
This is why I am invited to local businesses to discuss with their workforces ways in which they can limit days off due to back pain, preventative steps they can take and what to do if someone has a history of back pain.
What can I do to prevent back pain.
Many of the cases of back pain we see at Chiropractic Works are due to segmental dysfunction. When the articulations of the spine are not able to function as they are intended it results in segmental dysfunction, this causes an insult to the nervous system which will then result in secondary symptoms (back pain, muscle spasm, joints cracking).
For more info please read our FAQ or call us on 0114 266 5959.
Chiropractic Works, 945 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, S11 8TL.
No one can dispute that posture can have a positive effect or a negative impact on our bodies.
Whilst we usually associate posture problems with people who are deconditioned, sit all day and are not as active as they should be. To be honest, everyone is at risk of poor posture. When we do repetitive actions all day it leads to overload and fatigue. This means not having the correct desk set up or looking at your phone for long periods can be harmful.
Research shows that mobile phone use for texting, Facebook and internet browsing is building future problems, especially as the users are getting younger and younger. Newspaper articles in the Telegragh and Daily Mail highlighted the impact of using mobile devices for too long on our posture and health.
Are your text habits affecting your neck?
Chiropractors have long looked at the structure of the body to assess function and as indicators to what is happening in our bodies whether it is a dropped shoulder, a pelvis imbalance or increased thoracic curve. These indicators can relate to headaches, neck pain or other symptoms people may experience. Equally though it may be many years before we feel the impact of how posture affects our body.
So how can Chiropractic help you?
Chiropractors work with the imbalances (misalignments) in your spine to reduce the impact that they have onto your body, allowing it to adapt to what life throws at it more easily. We also give advice and suggestions on how to minimise the impact of our lifestyles on our posture.