HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 3 – Driving Home For Christmas

Cars are often cited as a cause for aggravation of back pain. Rather than buying every contraption possible on the internet we have some simpler tips to help you get comfortable for your Christmas getaway…

1. Pick Your Car

All people are different shapes and sizes so if you are in the market for a new car try and take this into consideration too as some cars provide better care for your back than others. This might not help this Christmas but equally if you have the choice between your friend’s amazing Lamborghini to drive the length of the country vs. your own sturdy VW Golf then pick the one that will let you stand up straight without crying in pain at the end (I mean the Golf….definitely the Golf).

2. Prepare Your Space

Unless you are just popping to the next suburb for your Christmas lunch, the likelihood is you will be driving over an hour. So spend 90 seconds getting the seat you will be confined to more suited to you. Raise the back of the seat relative to the front, implement the lumbar support if there is one and raise the head rest so you can actually rest your head onto it.The problem is that the human body isn’t designed to spend long periods of time sitting down. Sitting down for long periods of time, combined with using your feet means you can’t support or stabilise our lower body, as we might when sitting in a chair. This leads to problems and lots of muscle fatigue, particularly in the lower back and hip flexors.

3. Take a Break

Taking a break to stretch your legs and your back (and your shoulders and your neck!) is as important as taking a break when you are tired. It adds a couple of minutes to your journey and will mean you don’t spend the first day of your trip fighting off the remnants of the ache.If you have found yourself reading this after you have arrive home from Christmas, come and see our team and we will help straighten you out!

We will be offline next week so we would like to wish all of our patients a very healthy Christmas and New Year. Thank you for being part of our clinic and we hope you have an injury free 2017!

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it?

Ahhhh the festive season. Mulled wine, chocolates, work nights out with half a tonne of mini burgers, it can all be too much. Here is some advice on how to manage your nutrition during this period.

Manage your excess.

Don’t let one purple quality street turn into an empty box. It is fine to be a little more relaxed with your nutrition but you need to employ a smidgen of self-control. If you know you are going to have a big feast or a big night out then be disciplined in the time leading up to this. Get in credit which will enable you to fully enjoy the event!

You can also be smart when knowing there is potential to eat off plan. Lower your calories over the day so you can indulge slightly at a social event. HOWEVER MAKING DRASTIC CHANGES SUCH AS ONLY EATING 400 CALORIES OVER THE DAY SO YOU CAN EAT 1500 AT DINNER IS NOT ADVISED!

Do some glycogen depleting training.

Training with high intensity and volume will deplete muscle glycogen levels. You can then increase carbohydrate intake (helloooo roasties!). Depleting muscle glycogen will ensure that the majority of the carbs you are eating will be used to replenish your energy stores opposed to being stored as body fat.

Eat protein and fat first.

Can you have your Turkey & Trimmings and Eat it? Third Space Sports Medicine

How you eat your meals can make a big difference in the way the food is digested and stored in your body. More on this in January.

Fill your plate with veggies, protein, fats and carbs – IN THAT ORDER!

Doing this will reduce the amount of starchy carbs you put on your plate. Pile that turkey high!! Less room for the goose fat potatoes!

Eat before a night out.

Canopies, finger food and set menus. These are the devils for keeping your nutrition on point. Too easy to overeat with minimal nutritional value. The trick? Eat a fibre and protein rich meal before you head out. M & S superfood salad or a homemade mint and avocado chocolate smoothie. This will reduce the urge to mindlessly snack.

Xmas specific supplements.

Supporting the liver (number one priority) and taking certain nutrients to maintain body composition can be extremely helpful. Eating more of these foods can help support liver function.
With most of the patients we work with trying to employ the 80/20 rule is advised. Be on your plan for 80% of the time. 20% you can be more relaxed.

Forward Head Posture

HoHo..Oh. Back Pain Season, Part 2

The head is heavy and balanced on top of the rather thin spinal column. The average head weighs somewhere between 8 and 12 pounds if it is balanced happily atop the spine. But if the head moves forward to any degree, the weight the spine has to cope with increases.

That extra weight can be a problem, because it adds the tension to connective tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.

Forward head posture

Forward head posture, which is exactly what it sounds like, is one of the most common problems for the upright skeleton, especially with these days of walking and texting – AKA Text Neck

But if your head is forward trying to pull it back into a better position is not really the answer. You have to realign the rest of your posture to enable the head to move backwards. A simple three-step way to look at it is:

1. Chest Up
2. Shoulders Down
3. Chin Tucked In

If this doesn’t work in the medium term, we need to look further afield which is where Clinical Pilates comes in. This form of Pilates is a way to teach you how to recognise where your body is in space – a surprisingly difficult task – and enables the muscles to work appropriately and to take the tension away from the wrong muscles, ligaments and connective tissue and improve blood flow around the spine and neck and help you feel all round better.

If you would like to see Lucy or Claire at our London Bridge Clinic location for 1-2-1 clinical Pilates, please see the link here

Forward Head Posture Third Space Sports Medicine