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!

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

 

Don’t Shoulder The Pain

Shoulder and upper back pain are so endemic that our patients often report that it is so common to feel it that it has become ‘normal’. Just to be clear, shoulder aches and pains in everyday life should never be ‘normal’.

The postural muscles around the scapular and thoracic spine are prone to getting chronically tight in response to postural behaviours like sitting at a desk or slouching as they try to keep the upper back and rib cage stable. This tension is then felt in those low grade but sometimes agonising pesky aches and pains.

This video shows an easy release for these muscles that can be done anywhere so try it today and get friends and family who get bogged down by headaches to try as well – you’ll be amazed at the immediate results you can have if these muscles are tight!

For other stretches please see our YouTube Channel here.

Open Up & Stretch

Sitting is a sad reality of modern life. So if we can’t reduce the amount we sit for whatever reason, we can try and do somethings to counteract the effects.

This single hip stretch can open out the hips, stretch the quadriceps muscles and  prevent that joint restriction and muscle tension from causing more problems above in your back or below in your knees.

Bag Yourself NO Injuries

Bags are functional, beautiful, essential, but also sometimes painful? 

Carried incorrectly a bag of any size or shape can cause you pain – in your neck, shoulders and back mainly. Your muscles have to work too hard and your joints start to ache.

However, it is possible to follow just three simple guidelines when carrying a bag to prevent this pain and allow you to carry the bag of your choice whenever you like! Hurrah!

Running Hot & Cold

Ice packs and heat packs are very useful tools in the management of acute and chronic injuries. However the advice about which pack to use when is often conflicting and inaccurate. 

This week our video explains why you use each, when and how to use them safely so you can get some first aid onto those injuries while you call our team for some specific treatment…

 

 

Olympic Level Pain?

Neck and back pain are incapacitating, something I was unfortunate to be reminded about this week. However, it can be really quick and easy to reduce the pain to at least get you moving and in less pain enough to seek some more specific and professional help! 

What I don’t mention in this video is to remind you to use your ice pack too – 10minutes max at a time, in between keeping moving. Rest will not help, even if it feels like that is the most appealing option!

If you try this or are already having problems with aches and pains, don’t hesitate to come and see one of our team, no challenge too big and we can get you BACK on track in no time. 

Sleep Easy

Did you sleep like a baby last night? Or like me, did you wake up and lift your head and immediately wish you hadn’t slept for 90% of the night face down into a pillow. Even osteopaths aren’t immune to poor positioning when we sleep so to coin an old phrase, “do as I say and not as I do”, watch this week’s newsletter.

I talk you through what type of pillow you should be using when, where and how you should position your body around it, whether you are naturally a side, back or face-squashed-in-the-pillow sleeper. This can even be useful if you are already in pain to alleviate tension through the joints as you sleep.

Stand Tall

In a nod to our wonderful monarch and her 90th birthday celebrations we are talking about posture for this weeks newsletter.

Two easy tips here in this video:

  1. Lift your sternum to the ceiling; this allows your shoulders and ribs to relax and improves muscular efficiency and ease of breathing.
  2. Scoop the back of your ears backwards and up in a J-shape; this lessens the strain on the back of your neck and allows you to stack your head on top of your spine, reducing the load and torsion through the the neck and back.

These easy steps will help you reduce pain and tension from joint and muscular related headaches as well as improving your balance, athletic endurance and even increase your ability to relax properly.