The Importance of your Posture in the Working Environment

Common pain areas infographicAdvice relating to good posture should be nothing new to most people, particularly as we are often encouraged to undertake correct form and procedure from an early age. However, it is perhaps surprising that so many of us fail to practice or recognise the basics of good posture and form while in the workplace. Those of us that work desk jobs where we are required to work with a computer for long hours during the day may often find ourselves suffering from back, leg, foot or neck pain – and the unfortunate truth is that such strains and twinges are only likely to persist the more that we avoid taking on sound advice with regard to posture adjustment.

What does it do?

The fact of the matter is that adopting poor posture in the workplace can have a large knock-on effect for your physical health later in life. As some of us spend considerably long periods of time often hunched over a desk or computer, it can be easy to ignore the symptoms – ensure that you sit up straight, keep your feet level on the floor and that your PC is at comfortable eye level.

This being said, it can be tricky to program your mind to pay attention to your posture – after all, it is more a case of preventing further pain and injury than reaping any short-term benefits – but even by adopting a few of the most basic posture and form tips can ensure that your work life becomes more comfortable and that your physical health is altogether safeguarded. No one wants to suffer long-lasting pain anywhere in the body – and yet so many people risk neck and back strain by slouching over a PC for eight hours a day!

What you Should do About it

Advice on how to avoid bad posture and pain at work is widespread – your employer will likely have a guide or a training module set up to ensure that you understand and are ready to practice the basics at the very least – it is their legal responsibility to ensure that you are aware of risks to your health and safety in the workplace. Further to this, anyone struggling to get into adjusting their posture at work will surely benefit from a wide range of lumbar supports and accessories that can train your body and mind into adopting safe form for all future shifts. A licensed chiropractor, too, will be able to offer you bespoke advice on how to ensure that your body can remain healthy and free from pain while working long desk shifts.

As experienced chiropractors, we at Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic can help share tips on how to adjust your posture for the better and which will uniquely benefit for body – for more information or to arrange a consultation, simply Contact us today on 01707 3777 97 – and we will be happy to book you in and discuss any concerns you may have at your convenience!

Pregnancy and how it can cause pain in the back

While pregnancy is considered a wonderful time for mothers and fathers alike, it comes with its own set of regular pain and twinges that can be considered rather aggravating for expectant women as gestation progresses. Back pain in particular can be considered rather prevalent in pregnant women, and while the vast majority of expectant mothers will likely experience this type of discomfort, it doesn’t mean that they have to suffer with such pain without treatment or guidance. As your baby grows, so will pressure on certain areas of your body – but what exactly is it that causes pregnancy back pain, and how can it be avoided?

The Causes

pregnant women with her hands on her stomachAs your baby grows and as your uterus expands to accommodate them, strain will be placed upon your body in addition to the loosening of ligaments, which can arise due to changes in the level of hormones within your body. Lower back pain in particular can worsen later into pregnancy as your muscles and ligaments alter in order to accommodate your growing baby – and it can also worsen due to pelvic ligaments causing discomfort in the final few months.

Lower back pain during pregnancy isn’t just aggravated by the changes in your body, as certain movements can also make matters worse – walking for long periods of time, carrying heavy items, bending and turning suddenly can all provide low to severe discomfort for all pregnant women, even those who are carrying relatively light. Thankfully, there are ways in which such discomfort can be combatted and even prepared for – thanks to the intervention of exercise and/or a professional chiropractor.

The Cure

Pregnant woman laying downWhile there sadly is no precise cure for all of the pains and twinges you’ll be experiencing during pregnancy, there are a number of things you can do to relieve such aggravation regularly. Simple stretching and exercise, particularly that which benefits your pelvis, can be extremely beneficial long-term, particularly as your baby grows – and there are a whole host of aids and supports available for expectant mothers to help ease them through daily routines, such as assistance for sitting, laying down and manoeuvring, particularly for use in later months.

It should also be noted that specialist care can also have a great effect on your back health during pregnancy – any professional chiropractor will understand that areas of your body such as your pelvis and spine are at risk of pressure and pain, and will therefore propose ways in which discomfort can be alleviated. At home or away, massage can also be considered a fantastic way to relieve stress and pain.

If you’re pregnant and are worried about pain or discomfort in your back during the later months, we have all the advice and support you could ever need. Why not contact Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic today on 01707 3777 97 and arrange a one-on-one appointment? Together we will aim to help make your pregnancy as smooth and as pain-free as possible – our friendly and professional team are here to assist!

Sleeping positions that are great for you

When we go to sleep at night, it’s not very likely that we’ll be paying attention to the way in which we do so – how many of us will honestly say that we consciously aim to sleep on our sides, on our front or on our back each night?  Unless we have been advised to by a professional chiropractor or GP, it’s highly unlikely it’ll ever pass our minds.

However, it’s widely agreed via a number of studies that there are one or two sleeping positions which hold fantastic health benefits for your body long term, and that these may not be as obvious as you may have thought!  For your reference, we’ve decided to have a closer look at the two healthiest and most beneficial sleeping positions you can adopt.

Sleeping on Your Side

sleeping ladyMany people choose to sleep on their sides as it’s easy, comfortable and flexible – it’s a very natural position for sleeping couples and can also be considered one of the healthiest positions you can adopt at night.  Falling in line with what is also known as the ‘foetal position’, side sleeping is a comfortable option for sufferers of sleep apnea and other problems that prevent them from sleeping on their backs.

Side sleeping is said to provide considerable relief from digestive problems such as acid reflux and is also the safest natural sleeping state for pregnant women, who need to avoid sleeping on their backs and on their fronts to avoid back pain.

While some state that side sleeping may put pressure on your organs, there are more conclusions drawn from chiropractors and doctors the world over to suggest that it is an incredibly healthy way to get some much-needed rest.

Sleeping on Your Back

While perhaps not as commonly adopted as side sleeping, back sleeping is often heralded by chiropractors and professionals alike as the healthiest and most natural option for resting, as it provides your back, neck and spine with the full support of a mattress that is designed to do such a job – and it allows you to lay your body out in full in a flat manner that avoids bunching up or curling up your body in an unnatural way.

To help your neck and back long term, back sleeping is ideal as despite you resting on them, they are given perfect posture support and are at no risk of being strained.  If you are to consult a chiropractor about any problems you may have while sleeping or are looking to change some of your habits for the healthier, it is very likely that you will be recommended back sleeping as a remedy.

The way in which you sleep is unique to you and should only ever be changed drastically if you have concerns or if you have been advised to be a medical professional – and even then, it is for the best that you always consult a chiropractor before making any changes whatsoever to your sleeping regime.  For help and support on how to get the most out of your sleeping position, call us here at the Hertfordshire Chiropractic clinic today on 01707 3777 97 at your convenience!

What’s really causing your back pain?

Back pain, unfortunately, comes in all shapes and sizes and can occur to all manner of people from all walks of life.  It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a catch-all solution to every pain in the back.  There are, however, a select number of conditions and causes that may well point towards the reason(s) as to why you are finding your back straining on a regular basis – and sometimes, the reasons can point away from your back altogether!

Back Strain leading to back painBack Pain and Strain

Common pain in younger people and those that work in physical labour is very likely to be attributed to problems related to posture and improper form when lifting and carrying heavy objects.  If this sounds like something that you carry out on a daily basis, it is always important to learn and observe the basics of lifting and handling processes to avoid both long and short term pains in the back.

Downward Tilting

The world is evolving to the point where many of us find ourselves glued to our smartphones and tablets on a regular basis!  While health and safety procedures are in place at all legitimate businesses and corporations the world over when it comes to using a PC for long periods of time, the ‘smartphone neck’ is a relatively new phenomenon – meaning that if you spend a fair amount of your day craning and poring over your social media or text messages, you’re likely to be contributing heavily to both a stiff neck and considerable lower pain in the back both short and long term.  This type of downward tilt may even lead to spinal misalignment or problems that could prevent you from carrying out work or other activities without considerable back strain.

Misalignment

A misaligning of hips can occur if you are experiencing lower back pain as a resulting carrying a heavy object or two regularly on one particular shoulder or arm, or side of the body.  This can also occur as a result of weak muscles in your lower back, core or pelvis, or can even happen as a result of improper footwear.  In any case, physiotherapy and a change of footwear to balance your walk can be of huge benefit.

Sitting

Believe it or not, even by doing absolutely nothing, you’re running the risk of causing yourself considerable pain in the back.  By sitting for long periods at a desk or in a position by which you are slouching or not moving, you are running the risk of spine compression – this, and any associated pain, can be remedied with regular exercise and movement, ergonomic or specifically-designed seating or equipment, and proper form when using PCs or desk equipment for prolonged periods.

If you are concerned about back pain and would like to know more about the potential causes and treatments available to relieve pain and provide long-term relief, Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic can help – simply call us on 01707 3777 97 and we will be happy to discuss your concerns and arrange for a one-to-one session with a qualified and expert chiropractor at your convenience.

Reduce Head, Neck and Back pain by Improving Posture

Young man with a pain in the neck
Hundreds upon thousands of people suffer from regular pain associated with the head, the neck or the back on a daily basis – and while there may be a number of reasons for such aggravation that may vary from person to person, a major cause of this type of pain can be sourced back to the way that they are sitting.  Believe it or not, while sitting may well be the easiest thing any of us do today, the way in which we do so can have a huge impact on how we feel later on in the day, the week, and even in longer term.  It’s all down to posture.

Poor posture affects many people, however, those with neck pain, back pain or headaches are most likely to have earned them by sitting at a desk or at a computer in a position that their body is not used to being put into – and, over time, slouching can strain the body to the point where pain can be a regular occurrence.  However, this does not mean that such pain or habits can be eradicated altogether, as there are a number of great ways to get you thinking more about your posture and how you can mould your body back into a safe and healthy seated position, ready for work and leisure.

Ways that you can improve posture

While working at a computer or desk, you should ideally be making sure that your chair supports your muscles rather than your back doing all of the hard work is essential – there are a number of supports and chairs which actively help back pain and strains, however, providing you sit as far back in your chair as you can while still being able to perform your work, you’ll reduce the risk of pain and strain dramatically.  Further to this, make sure that your feet are firmly on the floor – this way, you’re not dangling and making sure that your body is firmly and securely rooted as much as possible.  Adjusting all of the above could make a serious difference to any neck, head or back pain you have been experiencing – and ahead of consulting any chiropractic care.

Make sure that your set up is correct

It’s important to ensure that the equipment or furniture that’s in use is also supporting you as best as it possibly can to provide a healthy posture.  Make sure, if you’re using a computer, that your monitor is an absolute maximum of 60cm away from your eyes (with a minimum suggestion of around 40cm), and that your eyes are in line with the top of your monitor’s screen.  This will make a huge difference in particular to neck pain and eye strain.  In addition to this, make sure that any desk you are using is at a height that allows you to bend and move your arms comfortably, and that you are relaxed in using the keyboard at all times.  This way, you can prevent back pain by slouching less.

Be sure to take some breaks

No matter where you work or how you may sit, it is always essential to break regularly.  Moving and stimulating your joints and muscles at least briefly every 30 minutes will be far healthier than keeping perfectly posed for hours at a time – why not take a brief walk if you can, or get up and do some simple stretches?  Your body will thank you, and not just in the short term!  However, if you do notice head, neck or back pain regularly, you may benefit from close chiropractic care.

 

If you’re suffering from back pain, neck pain or headaches and feel that it may be the result of posture problems or the way in which you conduct yourself or your work, Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic will be happy to hear from you.  To organise a consultation at your convenience, simply contact us on 01707 3777 97

Keeping Up with the New Year’s Resolutions

Here we go again – 4 months into the New Year!

2016 resolutionsHow are you keeping up with the New Year’s resolutions? Have you started to go to the gym more often to lose those extra pounds that you wanted to get rid of for ages or did you promise yourself on New Year’s day to finally change your diet but forgot all about it a week later? You are not alone!

According to the NHS just 1 in 10 people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution goals like weight loss, more exercising or to finally quit smoking. So why do we resolve at the beginning of every New Year to finally start changing our lives and to realize a couple of months down the line that we are not achieving our goals?

Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire who conducted a study about New Year’s resolutions suggests that the trick is to keep it simple.

Just make one New Year’s resolution, break it down into small steps and reward yourself after achieving your goals. But most importantly, be realistic! Nothing is more depressing than making a New Year’s resolution that is impossible to achieve. Therefore it needs to be something that you can integrate into your daily routine without much hassle.

Your Hertfordshire Chiropractic Team suggests ways to make the rest of your 2016 a healthier one! Here are 5 amazing tips to help you keep on track with your healthier future.

 

Here are our 5 tips

1. Practice your balance! Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. ​ ​ The older you get the harder it is to keep your balance as you lose your proprioceptors with age. Make sure you have a good balance to prevent injuries and falls!

 

2. Do some stretches! ​ No more waiting around when you put the kettle on – do hamstring, quadriceps and calf stretches while you wait. Stretch each side 3 times for 30 seconds. Even though the research found stretching just to be very slightly beneficial for injury prevention, it is still great for your flexibility.

 

3. Stand up straight!​ If you have a look into the mirror, don’t just check how amazing you look, also check if you are standing up straight. According to the NHS bad posture can potentially lead to pain due to the increased strain and tension in the muscles from prolonged slouching.

 

4. No more sitting around!​ Sitting at work all day? Make sure you get up once an hour and walk around for a bit. Sitting is a static posture that increases the load on your discs in your spine which can potentially lead to back pain.

 

5. Use your legs!​ ​​ Now that the weather is getting better, leave the car at home and don’t use the escalator, use your legs. The American Heart Association suggests to walk 10.000 steps (approx 5 miles) every day to reduce the risks of heart disease and improve overall health.

 

If the New Year has been holding you back because you have been suffering from back pain, neck pain or any other aches and pains, get in touch with the Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic in the Goslings Sports Park to find out how chiropractic treatments can be suitable for general aches and pains including those of joints, muscle spasms and cramp, prevention of ‪‎migraine, and more. You can contact us on 01707 3777 97 for a free chat and advice from the Hertfordshire Chiropractic Clinic.

Causes of Acute Back Pain

Back pain will, sadly, affect most people at some point in their lives – however, how this pain comes about can vary from person to person, lifestyle to lifestyle, and it can also be brought on through certain incidents or accidents.  Causes of pain will vary, however, the difference between acute pain and chronic pain in the back must also be differentiated.

Man with dorsal back painAcute pain is brought on typically following tissue damage, or strains made to the back, and while it may persist for a relatively short space of time, it candevelop into chronic pain if left untreated.  Lower back pain can be treated in a variety of different ways, just as how it can be caused by a number of different factors.  Improper lifting of heavy items, poor posture, sleeping positions or sudden movements could cause damage to your lower back – and while pain symptoms may come and go from a minor annoyance to an aggravating and regular problem, it is strongly advised that such back pain does not go untreated for too long.

Does Acute Back Pain Lead to Chronic Pain?

Acute pain, in the lower back or elsewhere in the body, can develop into chronic pain, which develops following poorly-treated or untreated acute problems, and is generally seen as unhelpful and unwarranted – as it is essentially an echo of a problem that once existed, and can reoccur without there being any biological need to warn the brain.  Chronic pain can last on a long-term basis, which is why it is all the more important to nip back pain in the bud as soon as possible.  This may involve changing some lifestyle choices, how you conduct yourself and hold your posture, your diet or even the way that you walk.  There are a whole host of ways in which the causes of pain can be wiped out and kept out of the way for future.

Where can you be treated?

At the Hertfordshire Chiropractic, we offer a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment scheme for anyone suffering with lower back problems or general back pain, whether they are experiencing acute pain or problems on a more chronic basis – and we are keen to prescribe preventative measures to patients as much as we are a cure.  Our simple and straightforward diagnostic procedure will see you being asked a few questions about your back history, any work or leisure conditions that could be aggravating your pain symptoms, any medication you may have taken, and, where necessary, we may need to access details relating to any operations or medical procedures that you have undergone to tackle the problems head-on.

Back pain needn’t exist – and we understand that many people suffer on a daily basis with both acute pain and pain symptoms that point to a more long-term cause – however, in any case, our team have the experience and willing to help you in any way they can.  If you are experiencing lower back problems or are curious regarding the causes of pain, why not call us today on 01707 3777 97 – and we will be happy to talk with you about any concerns or queries you may have, and can arrange a consultation with you at your convenience.

4 Things you Didn’t Know about Chiropractic

sports-injury-trion-zAs a chiropractor I encounter various preconceptions about what we do. These range from “putting bones back in place” to “fixing people’s backs”. These perceptions exist because of the inevitably different ways chiropractors communicate what they do and because our understanding shifts as we make more scientific progress. The latest research conducted by Heidi Haavik, in New Zealand, over the last 15 years has given us new insight into exactly what chiropractic does…and much of this may come as a surprise. Her research suggests that chiropractic improves brain function. This happens in a variety of ways:

 

  1. Improvement in body awareness

Our brain has an internal map of where our body is in time and space. Imagine all the different muscles of the spine feeding back information to the brain. When we have a healthy spine the muscles attached to the vertebrae send information to the brain as they stretch when we move. This tells the brain the precise location of each vertebra. If any of these parts of the spine stop moving then the muscles stop telling the brain what’s going on. When the brain loses this information it goes back to the moment when it last received input and assumes that this is where the vertebra still is.

This typifies the brain’s immense capacity for adaptation which is commonly referred to as plasticity. In this case it may not be such a good thing. When the brain gradually loses its accurate picture of what is going on in the body there is a greater likelihood that our body will express symptoms. In other words our brain can learn to function poorly (what we call maladaptive plastic changes), just as it can help us to learn how to ride a bike. It is not just pain that we may experience – these maladaptive changes may result in poor co-ordination (e.g. we may bump into objects more often, or our performance may drop off in sport and exercise).

What a chiropractic adjustment does is improve the communication pathways between our brain and our body. It ‘resets’ or breaks the cycle of negative messages coming from our body.

 

  1. Joint range of motion increases

When we lose range of motion in our joints it typically happens gradually so initially we don’t notice it. We may only become aware for example when we can no longer turn our head to look over our shoulder when we are driving or we simply put it down to getting older.

A chiropractic adjustment can help restore normal motion to areas of our spine that are no longer functioning at their optimal level.

 

  1. Pain symptoms decrease

Most patients visit us when they are in pain; it’s a great motivator for us to seek change. Pain is a late showing in any form of poor health. We may think that our back pain was caused when we bent over to pick up the shopping but common sense would make us wonder why it happened on this specific occasion and not another. The reason is that we have gradual maladaptive plastic changes in our brain over time as a consequence of our poor lifestyle choices. Thus when we lift our shopping this may simply be the final straw that “breaks the camel’s back”.

Research has shown that when we are in pain (especially if it has become chronic) then the body’s capacity to protect itself is reduced. So if we have chronic low back pain, for example, we may have ongoing inhibition of our core tummy muscles which means we are more likely to injure our low back.

Chiropractic reduces the maladaptive plastic changes that have built up and reduces our pain. Many of our patients enjoy maintenance care because it reduces the build up of poor function caused by poor lifestyle.

 

  1. Muscle strength and reaction time improves

Many elite athletes these days use chiropractors because they appreciate that any improvement in function can give them the edge over their competitors.

Our brain creates our own “inner reality” through the senses of sight, hearing, touch, proprioception (sense of body position) and smell. This input is blended together by the brain to create a picture of what is happening in our body and the environment (multisensory integration). The more smoothly this integration occurs the better our body works.

For more information on Heidi Haavik’s research see http://heidihaavik.com/


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