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.

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Sugar, Sugar, Everywhere

How much Sugar?

Fizzy drinks have been again making headlines this week, it’s no surprise that fizzy drinks contain high amounts of sugar, but it might surprise you when you see the figure in teaspoons of sugar per 330ml serving.

Sugar intake health sheffield chiropractor

Why do we care about Sugar intake?

Sugar has a massive impact onto our health, especially the higher quantities of refined sugar that we are consuming. While sugar (carbohydrates) make up an important part of a balanced diet, the sugar found in a piece of fruit also has other nutritional benefits. Think of it as a piece of fruit as being a complete package, with sugar, fibre and other vitamins and minerals, and compare this to having a fizzy drink which offers sugar, usually with additives or colourings and not much else of nutritional benefit.

The WHO has put the cost of dental disease  at 5-10% of an industrialised countries health budget, they believe in part due to increased sugary drink intake. That is even before we consider the other health implications that a diet high in refined sugar has.

I’m not against sugar, more so we need to ensure that what we are putting into our bodies is going to be beneficial to us.

Have a look through the table below and see how many teaspoons are in your fizzy drinks.

Thanks to The Guardian for the data.

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Students and Studying

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:

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  • 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.
  • Stretch.
  • 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 and Back Pain

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.driving back pain

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.

 

Lumbar supports

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.

Head rests

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.

Nurses and Back Pain

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. backache sheffiled

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.