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!
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.
Headaches affect most people at some time in their life and the causes range from hormonal and stress to postural and traumatic causes. All types have a knock on effect on the muscles of your shoulders and neck.
Of particular interest in this is the Suboccipital Muscles that connect the base of the skull to the upper neck. They are prone to getting chronically tight in response to headache pain as they try to keep the head and neck stable. The problem is this only exacerbates the headache by pulling on the scalp and reducing blood flow around the muscles of the upper neck.
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!
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.
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.
Neck pain strikes most of us when we least expect or want it, ok, no one ever wants it. But what do we need to do to get rid of it as quickly as possible? Symptoms range from stiffness and inability to move your head to one side to an accompanying headache, shoulder pain or even pain that radiates down your arm.
So what are the main three causes of neck pain and what can you do at home to help before you seek our advice?
Muscle Strain: Aside from a traumatic event that causes a whiplash, a muscle strain is usually caused by poor posture or awkward positioning can fatigue your muscles and send them into spasm.
Relieve this by avoiding these positions, trying to adopt a more neutral position when you sleep (no face sleeping!) and stretching regularly to improve blood flow to the muscles to heal any micro trauma before it becomes a bigger problem.
Cervical Spine Disorder: Joint strain, intervertebral disc (the cushion between the vertebra) and compression of the spinal cord canal can all cause symptoms arising from the bony tissue, the ligaments or the nerves that exit the spine at these levels.
These problems can be harder to self treat in order to remove the cause so please do consider a trip to see an osteopath. You can help relieve the symptoms by keeping the neck moving as much as possible, using an ice pack to reduce inflammation within the joints and gentle stretching of the shoulders, neck and upper back to improve blood flow around the spine and flush out any damaged tissue.
Infection: This is a rare cause of neck stiffness but understandably a more serious cause. If your neck symptoms are accompanied with fever, headache, nausea vomiting or other signs of infection seek medical help immediately.