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!

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!

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.

‘Hip’ ‘Hip’ Hooray

After the overwhelming and humbling response from our video last week there is a repeat, of sorts. This time I will show you an easy and quick stretch you can do almost anywhere to help loosen the stubborn hip flexors as well as the back of the hip and pelvis.

Just click on the video below and it will open in a new window or youtube app.

Perfect Your Posture

Posture is something we all do – good, bad and ugly. So try these ten easy tips to improving your posture today.

  1. Identify the warning signs of back pain caused by poor ergonomics and posture. Pain that is worse at certain times of day or week (such as after a long day of sitting in an office chair in front of a computer, but not during the weekends); pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back? All these need to be addressed asap!
  2. Sit Tall. Yes, I know you try but using things like post-it notes on your laptop or screen can help remind you periodically. Eventually you won’t need them. Distribute your body weight evenly, align the ears, shoulders and hips on roughly a vertical line.
  3. Get Moving! Muscles that are over stretches which happens when you are sitting tire more easily, leaving us open to injury so keep moving little and often to prevent this from happening
  4. Use Props. Footrests, lumbar supports and carrying your bag in the best way possible all help. Even the correct glasses prescription falls into this category so you don’t lean forward to squint at the screen.
  5. Education and Feedback. This email is a place to start! Speak to people who have good posture, your osteopath and your family for feedback. Don’t just presume you are standing tall when you may actually be lilting over to one side. This also includes being conscious of when an episode of pain starts – does it coincide with a period of poor posture?
  6. Exercise! Walking, cycling, swimming and other similar activity will help you stay aerobically fit, some specific exercises can improve your ability to tolerate poor posture for periods of time and prevent injury.
  7. Check Your Feet. Poor footwear has a lot to answer for. Those trainers may be all the rage but if they don’t suit the anatomy of your foot you are literally walking into an injury. Some people can get away with incorrect footwear but these are few and far between…
  8. Link Activities to your posture. Good posture isn’t just when you are sitting at your desk. It is drinking a coffee, sending a text message, driving a car, brushing your teeth and countless other daily activities. Start to think about this throughout your day!
  9. Personalise. Within reason, you need to personalise everything to you – your computer screen height, desk height, car seat angle and everything in-between so that it is most appropriate to you. If you need help doing this, get in touch and we can help you!
  10. Relax! Being too worked up about your posture can be as bad as neglecting it. We need the muscles to be able to relax and bounce ignored to protect us. Hard task in todays hectic society we know.

All these are small changes you can make but do them all and they make a big difference.


How Does Posture Affect Your Brain?

Shoulders Back, Chin Up

The way we stand, sit and walk has far more longer reaching consequences than you may think.

What happens if you shake your head? You may be trying to say no to something, but does you body subconsciously say more than this to your brain? Studies have shown that when a person hugs themselves they were sometimes able to reduce their physical pain.

We also know that exercise is linked to happiness, what we don’t know for sure is if it is the physical exertion or simply moving our body that causes this improving mood.

Here are four more fantastic things that happen when our posture changes:

  1. Sit up straight and you are more likely to remember positive memories or think positively in general.
  2. Start walking with a spring in your step instead of a slow slumped walk and you will see a boost in energy, despite the increased effort.
  3. Your hormones changes (for the better) when you stand straight.
  4. Standing in a powerful pose will empower you – it will even make you take more risky bets. Good for some, less of others!

However, please do remember there is no one ‘best’ posture but indeed some things will always help so if you are ever worried about your posture or you think you need a reminder, please do get in touch with us here!

Below we have a wonderful talk in more detail about how posture and body language can improve our lives in lots of ways:


The Perils Of Sitting – The Solution

The Perils Of Sitting - The Solution Third Space Sports Medicine

After last week’s sobering list of things that can happen when you sit for too long, here we are with a lovely pictogram of what you can try, no special equipment (apart from a swiss ball) needed.

1. Wobble Sitting

By challenging your balance while you sit you may be able to fool your brain into thinking you are doing ‘proper’ activity. If you don’t have a swiss ball to sit on, try getting yourself a wobble cushion for your desk chair, or a very bouncy cushion to sit on and try maintaining your position using your core.

2. Stretching Your Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors get very tight when you sit so make it a priority to stretch this muscle group for a minute for every hour you sit down.

3. Get Up!

What better solution to sitting too much than simply get up and move around? TV commercials, making tea or refilling a water bottle, bathroom breaks, switching lights on can all be an excuse to get off your bottom and simply move your body!

4. Sit-Stand-Sit

This is a luxury not many people have, particularly at work, but standing at your desk instead of simply sitting can have a hugely positive effect on your wellbeing, from improved circulation to less joint stiffness.

5. Cat and Cow Stretches

This is simplified and generally any form of activity that encourages joint and muscle stretching such as pilates or yoga can vastly improve your general flexibility, muscle tone and joint mobility and ultimately your overall sense of health and wellbeing.

This article was shared from the archived work of Bonnie Berkowitz and Pattison Clark who interviewed leading biomechanists, National Cancer Institute investigators (US) and the inventor of the treadmill desk in Arizona. 

If you are struggling with any aspect of your health, get yourself booked for your treatment with us  here, now, we like helping!