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!

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

What is Chronic Neck Pain?

Everyone at some time in their lives will experience some form of neck pain – however, there are different types of neck injury and pain that affect people.  Acute pain, for example, describes a scenario where pain is occurring as a result of an underlying problem or cause within the body.  Chronic pain, however, often occurs if such underlying causes go untreated or unnoticed, and, as a result, does not show any biological purpose.
Portrait of tired tailor woman with neck pain

The neck is a highly sensitive part of the spinal column and, as a result, is made up of a number of vertebrae and ligaments that hold up and allow the head to manoeuvre around.  As the neck often has a great weight to bear and is in need of much flexibility, it is not uncommon for strains, pains and even chronic neck pain to occur.  While some forms of chronic pain can appear after surgery or after symptoms of an illness have subsided, it can also manifest itself due to a number of different factors.  Causes of pain, much like anywhere else in the body, can be numerous and varied.

How is Neck Pain triggered?

Neck pain can commonly be triggered by lifting heavy equipment incorrectly, muscle or soft tissue sprain, or from motoring accidents that could cause whiplash.  While these are more severe opportunities for chronic neck pain to develop, a pain in the neck can also stem from awkward sleeping positions and posturing.  While more serious issues such as herniated spinal discs or nerve damage can be prime causes of pain, it is also important to understand that looking after your neck and your posture can be just as good a prevention as it can be a cure.

If you struggle regularly with neck pain and are unsure of steps to take to alleviate your condition, you may consider chiropractic care.  Here at the Hertfordshire Chiropractic, our team will assess your history of pain in close, confidential detail, examining previous hospital visits, x-rays, regular routines, habits or work conditions that may be pointing towards the causes of pain.  Once we are satisfied with our analysis of the root of the problem, we will then discuss the options available to you to help rehabilitate your neck to full health.

Contact us for Beneficial treatment!

Orchard Chiropractic do not simply analyse and diagnose – we seek to rehabilitate and provide advice on how you can avoid pain symptoms and further aggravations in future, all in all making your visit to us both effective in relieving your neck pain and eradicating any chance of the condition reoccurring in the future.  If you have any concerns regarding pain that you are currently experiencing, have a long history of neck problems or would like to know more about both the cures and preventative measures available, you can call us today on 01707 3777 97 – and we will be happy to discuss the relief and rehabilitation that both you and your neck are searching for.  Why not call us and let us see what we can do to make work and leisure less painful for you?

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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