Back Pain The Billion Pound Problem

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10 million work days were lost last year due to back pain at a cost of more than 1 Billion pounds to business.

 

A sedentary lifestyle is only making things worse, as sitting for prolonged periods of time increases the compressive forces on the structure of the spine and muscles leading to increased muscle and joint fatigue and ultimately muscle strain, joint sprain and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.

 

Around 4.2 million working days were lost by workers aged 50-64 alone in 2014.

 

Those aged 25-34 were absent for 1.89 million days due to back pain, while those in the 35-49 bracket missed 3.86million work days.

 

In 2013 the figure was 7.7 million lost days, up to 9.96 million last year, and is likely to get worse due to the sedentry lifestyle that much of the population leads.

 

If you are one of the many sufferers you may find that chiropractic treatment can help alleviate the pain and get you back to work sooner.

 

If you are one of the many sufferers you may find that chiropractic treatment can help alleviate the pain and get you back to work sooner.

Sports Injuries

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Sports injuries can be brought about by traumatic events or repetitive stress patterns. This will cause deformity of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.  This will lead to a build up of trigger points in the muscles of the legs and arms, rotator cuff and shoulder girdle and the postural muscles of the spine and pelvis.

Trigger points are hyper-contracted bands of muscle and connective tissue with hyper-sensitised pain receptors interwoven into them.  Trigger points cause pain, stiffness and weakness in the effected area, but can also lead to pain referral, stiffness and weakness in neighbouring areas. Over time the build up of trigger points will lead to faulty biomechanics of the spine and pelvic joints and the peripheral joints of the body, such as the knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists.  This in turn will lead to wear and tear or what is better know as osteoarthritis.

Sports injuries of the hamstrings, knee and ankle muscles, can be aggravated by a build up of trigger points in the pelvic muscles (primarily the gluteus muscles) and lower back muscles (primarily the quadratus lumborum).  Many shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries can be aggravated by faulty biomechanics of the neck and a build up of trigger points in the supporting muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle.

Chiropractic treatment at our clinic in Basingstoke at the Aquadrome, can help restore function to the injured muscle, tendon and ligament joint complex. This works through deep pressure therapy into the trigger points, helping them to diminish, and manipulation of the joint, helping to restore their movement patterns. This in turn restores strength to the affected muscle and removes pain.

Seek Sports Injury Help for:

  • Running Injuries
  • Rowing Injuries
  • Tennis Injury
  • Football Injuries
  • Swimming Injuries
  • Golf Injury

Why Aquadrome Chiropractic Clinic?

  • Conveniently located at the Basingstoke Aquadrome
  • Ample car parking
  • Experience sports injury chiropractor on site
  • Fast, effective sports injury rehabilitation
  • Get you back to sport quickly

The Role of Omega 3

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Omega -3 ; promote a healthy heart – support for concentration, memory and learning – blood sugar health – healthy joints with an increase in joint comfort – fighting signs of ageing – healthy brain and nervous system function and development – protection for cell membranes – cholesterol and other blood lipid health – healthy liver function – bolstering your immune system – healthy mood support –  optimal skin health.

Respiration is the process whereby the body converts glucose and oxygen to energy and vitality.  This occurs at the level of the cell, by structures known as mitochondria.  A by- product of this process is what we term free radicals.  Free radicals are very reactive molecules which react with the cells and tissues of the body, causing oxidation of the tissues and chronic systemic inflammation. This inflammatory process wears out the tissues and organs of the body and is a leading cause of degeneration, degenerative disease and chronic pain.

The essential fatty acids are omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9.

To combat free radical attack we take into our body anti-oxidants, through the fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and the oily fish that we eat.  Anti-oxidants are the vitamins and the essential fatty acids present in our food.  They work by modulating inflammation in the body.  Many of the foods that we eat are actually inflammatory to the body and are a major cause of the health crisis that industrialised populations face.  Foods that are high in saturated fats, trans- fats, sugars and simple carbohydrates, cause inflammation in the body and are termed inflammatory foods.

The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in our diet should be 1:1.

Optimal health is achieved by ensuring a plentiful supply of anti-oxidants and therefore, natural anti-inflammatories in our diet.  Essential fatty acids (EFA) are a vital source of anti-oxidants.  Since the body is unable to make its’ own, it is necessary to include them in our diet.

The essential fatty acids are omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9.  Omega -3 is present in oily fish, flaxseed, and walnuts.  Omega-6 is present in nuts and seeds and other vegetable oils and omega-9 is present in olive oil.

EPA is essential for the functioning of the brain and for nerve stimulation.

The ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in our diet should be 1:1.  However, the western style diet heavily favours omega-6 and is low in omega-3.  This ratio is closer to 1:20 making it detrimental to health due to the increased risk of systemic inflammation and thus degeneration of the body. These conditions contribute to chronic pain syndromes.

DHA is now thought to constitute the building blocks of the brain.

Omega-3 fatty acids are used in the building and functioning of cell membranes.  They are therefore essential for maintaining the integrity of the cell, by influencing the transport of life supporting molecules into and out of the cell, and acting as a barrier to unwanted molecules.  Omega-3 also act as the precursor for cell messengers called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help mediate inflammation in your tissues and are essential for combatting chronic inflammation due to free radical attack.

Omega 3 is present in oily fish and krill as the active ingredients eicosapentaenoic acid ( EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid( DHA) and in plants such as flaxseed, hemp, and walnuts as the active ingredient, alpha-linolenic  acid (ALA).  Plant based ALA is converted to EPA and DHA by way of an enzyme mediated process. However age and well- being status reduces the efficiency of this conversion process and scientists believe that even though it is important to take in plant based omega-3, it is even more vital to get adequate level of fish or krill based EPA/DHA.

DHA is now thought to constitute the building blocks of the brain, forming about 8% of the brain by weight.  This is why it is important for pregnant mothers to maintain an adequate supply during pregnancy.  EPA is essential for the functioning of the brain and for nerve stimulation.

There is debate about whether Krill oil is superior to fish oil and whether EPA is more potent than DHA. Also not all omega-3 products are created equal so make sure you buy quality products that guarantee their potency as well as their purity.

Triglyceride fish oils are at risk of going rancid due to oxidisation and as such they need to be taken with high dose anti-oxidants to reduce the effect of free radical attack.  Krill oil is at less risk of this as it contains the potent anti-oxidant, Astaxanthin.  Krill oil is a phospholipid rather than a triglyceride like the omega-3 fish oils.  This enhances it’s bio-availability which means it can be taken in smaller doses than fish oil to achieve the same effect.  Krill oil is also less likely to leave a fishy after taste.

If you are suffering from a chronic pain syndrome you may benefit from supplementing with omega -3.  If you would like any further advice then feel free to call us at the Aquadrome Chiropractic Clinic.

Does the posture kneeling chair reduce the risk of back pain?

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In the lower back the lumber spine maintains a curvature known as the lumbar lordosis, which balances the compressive forces through the spine, between the lumbar discs and the facet joints.

In the sitting posture the lumbar spine straightens and consequently these compressive forces are disproportionately managed by the disc.  For those who sit for long periods at a desk, it can be very difficult not to slump.  This in turn can cause a reverse curve in the lumbar spine and therefore increase the stress through the discs even more, which can cause dehydration and fatigue of the disc, ultimately leading to degeneration and pain.

The disc is made up of a fibrous outer layer the annulus fibrosis and a gel nucleus. Increased force through the disc can lead to tearing of the annular fibres allowing the nucleus to prolapse posteriorly. The posterior outer fibres of the disc contain pain receptors that can be activated by continuous strain through the disc.  The postural muscles of the lower back also contain pain receptors, which can become active as the these muscles fatigue under the strain of the compression to the spine  If the outer fibres of the disc are breached, the nucleus will enter the spinal canal where the spinal cord is housed or reticular canal, where the nerve roots are housed. This can cause major irritation to the membranes covering these structures, causing severe back and leg pain, often referred to as sciatica.

 

The anatomy of the spine is not really designed to be in a seated posture for long periods.  Ancient civilisations and indigenous populations of today, tend to squat, rather than sit.  In the squat position the lower back adopts the lumbar lordosis of the standing posture and balances the compressive forces through the discs and facet joints reducing the risk of degenerative changes and pain.

 

It is important therefore for those that sit for long periods to use an ergonomic chair that promotes good posture.  There is debate as to whether the kneeling posture chair is better suited to this role than the straight back chair.  Studies are mixed on the superior benefits of the kneeling posture chair which is designed to share the strain of sitting through the shins and the buttocks, so as to reduce the compressive forces through the lumbar spine.  One study found that the posture kneeling chair allowed the lumbar spine to adopt a curvature closer to that of standing posture, during sitting, typing and writing.  It suggested that this may aid treatment of lower back injury.   This design ensures the thighs are dropped to an angle of 60-70 degrees from vertical, whereas in a straight back chair the thighs are at 90 degrees.  This modification in the angle of the thighs tilts the pelvis to promote the standing lumbar curvature.

How Essential is Water for Health?

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Dehydration is the greatest stress to the body on both a global and a cellular level. Water is essential for life. All processes require a plentiful supply of water for optimal function whether it is industrial or physiological. Without a plentiful supply of water, processes grind to a halt.

The composition of the body is mainly water about 75% with the remaining 25% comprising of proteins, minerals and fat.

Percentage water composition by body parts:

• Brain 85%
• Lungs 80%
• Liver 73%
• Skin 71%
• Heart 77%
• Kidneys 80%
• Muscles 73%
• Blood 79%
• Bone 22%
• Teeth 10%

On average the body requires about six to eight glasses that is two to two and a half litre of water a day . Urine should be clear, or straw coloured. If it is yellow you are dehydrated. The intensity of the yellow is a good indicator of the level of dehydration. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration and at this point the body is under stress and consequently is not able to function at optimum levels. It is wise not to wait to be thirsty to drink water, but to hydrate the body in measured amounts over the day. This will be affected by environmental temperature, humidity and the degree to which you lose water as a result of exercise.

It is also important to note that whole foods which were designed for the human body; ripe fruits and fresh vegetables contain a high percentage of water, which helps hydrate the body. Processed foods are generally stripped of their water, along with their nutrients, and causes dehydration due to the high levels of processed salt, sugar and man-made carbohydrates that they contain.

When the body is dehydrated the brain can receive a hunger signal instead of one for thirst. This is because as the human brain, nervous system and body was evolving, the body would get a high percentage of it’s water from the foods we ate, since fresh water would at times be difficult to come by. Fast forward to present day living where the standard UK diet is highly processed and devoid of water, then these hunger signals contribute to even further dehydration and the added consequence of weight gain and obesity.

Increasing evidence indicates that even mild dehydration plays a role in the development of many diseases and pain syndromes. When you understand just how crucial water is to life this starts to make sense.

When the body is experiencing drought conditions, there is a hierarchy of needs for water. The brain and nervous system get first call on the available supply followed by the vital organs. This would make sense as these organ systems ensure survival of the organism.

At the bottom of the hierarchical pile are the bones, the muscles and connective tissue (comprising our joints) and the skin. If you are not yet aware, the majority of our sensory receptors which include our pain receptors are located in all of these tissues. They allow the brain to monitor any changes to the environment that may represent a potential threat to the organism, so that it can initiate an appropriate response by way of the nervous system to the skeletal muscles, to move away from the threatening stimulus. In a dehydrated state there is an increase in toxic substances which stimulate the pain receptors, and thus lead to acute and chronic pain states, particularly of the muscle and skeletal system.

The intervertebral discs are a major part of the muscle and skeletal system. They act as shock absorbers for the spine and are composed of a fibrous outer layer and a gel nucleus. They require an abundance of water as they support the weight of the body by hydraulic pressure. The gel nucleus is mainly water and supports about 75% of body weight. If the body is dehydrated, and because the disc is low on the hierarchical scale for water, it quickly dries and fails to support body weight adequately. This leads to drying of the discs and the supporting muscles and connective tissue. If this drought state persists the movement pattern of the discs and other joints become faulty, leading to weakness, stiffness and hypersensitivity of the pain receptors. If this turns into a persistent chronic dehydrated state then degenerative changes occur to the discs and joints and physiological changes occur to the muscles and connective tissue.

Connective tissue runs throughout the body and does exactly what it says. It connects the body tissues together. It is comprised of three compound:

• Collagen fibres that give it structure and strength.
• Elastin which allows for flexibility.
• Ground substance which is a watery substance that nurtures and nourishes the tissue.

If the body is dehydrated the collagen fibres weaken, the elastin is depleted leading to stiffening of the tissue, and the ground substance becomes very gelatinous, compromising it’s nurturing function.
Overall the tissue that holds the body together becomes weakened, more rigid and under nourished. This is a forerunner to chronic degenerative changes and chronic pain syndromes.

There is no substitute for water. Caffeinated drinks are diuretics and make us lose more water than we take in. Sugared drinks reduce the availability of the water between the cells, as when glucose (sugar) is taken up by the cells water follows. Artificially sweetened water poses a serious risk to the body’ as the artificial sweeteners metabolise into compounds that are known to be toxic and can cause neurological damage leading to chronic fatigue states, seizures and brain tumours, to mention but a few.

Water is essential in reducing risk of all illnesses including diabetes, allergies, pain syndromes, inflammatory and degenerative diseases. For a more comprehensive understanding of the therapeutic and physiological effects of water see Dr. F Batmanghelidj book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.

As a footnote – be aware that too much water is also detrimental to health, as it can lead to hyponatreamia (lowered sodium levels), a condition whereby your cells swell due to an increase in water. This is particularly dangerous if it affects the brain cells. It is therefore important to regulate your sodium intake and a dab of rock salt or sea salt on the tounge can be beneficial. It is important however if you are sufferring with high blood pressure and on a low salt diet to discuss this with your medical doctor first.

The best way to monitor your level of hydration is to monitor the colour of your urine and then drink water accordingly.

Tips for Staying Healthy

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  • Drink 6 to 8 cups of water a day (that’s 2 to 2.5 litres). There is no substitute.
  • Build up to 20 minutes of sun on 40% of your skin surface daily during the summer. This is how we make Vitamin D3. Don’t burn!
  • Take moderate exercise, a brisk walk daily for between 20 to 40 minutes.
  • Get plenty of fresh air and stay in touch with nature.
  • Eat a whole food diet, low in calories and high in nutrition (2000 calories for women, 2500 calories for men – use as a guide).
  • Love life and develop loving relationships.
  • If all else fails, consult your chiropractor.

Reducing Postural Stress

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  • Sit back into your chair. Your chair should have a bottom cushion short enough for your buttocks to reach the backrest while your back is erect.
  • When sitting ensure that your hips, elbows (when flexed to 90 degrees), shoulders and ears are in vertical alignment to achieve best sitting posture. Use a back support that gently shapes your back when sitting if necessary.
  • Ensure your feet are flat on the floor; otherwise you are likely to slump forward. Use a footrest if necessary.
  • Adjust your chair height so that the underside of your elbows are at desk height and can rest on the desk surface when the elbows are flexed to 90 degrees and are in vertical alignment with the shoulders.
  • Ensure that your monitor is directly in front of you, 50-70 cm distance from your eyes and the top of the monitor at eye level, to reduce eyestrain and neck strain.
  • If using a laptop, use a raising devise with separate keyboard attachment to achieve optimal positioning.
  • Ensure you take plenty of breaks away from your workstation, 2-5 minutes at a time and stretch and mobilise your shoulders, neck and upper back to relieve any tension.

Nutrition’s Role in Healing Pain

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Most of us are aware that good nutrition is vital to health and well-being.   However did you know?  What we eat can help get us out of pain, or can contribute to pain in the muscles and the connective tissue of the body.

Unfortunately much of the population tend to lead lives of over consumption and under nutrition.  The vitamins and minerals in our foods are essential for the proper metabolism in our body.

The standard UK diet is highly processed,  high in sugar, salt and trans-fat.  These ingredients cause oxidative stress (internal stresses related to our biochemistry).

Oxidadative stress is due to free radical production.  Free radicals are very reactive molecules that attack the tissues of the body leading to chronic systemic low grade inflamation in the body, ultimately causing degenerative changes and disease.  Free radicals also stimulate pain receptors in the muscle and connective tissue. This is why many chronic pain conditions become chronic in the first place.

Free radicals are mopped up by anti-oxidants.  The body produces some anti-oxidants itself, but most are ingested in our foods.  Examples of anti-oxidants are vitamins.  Therefore it is important to eat a whole food diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

If we eat junk food we make junk parts.

Be aware of the food you eat.

Is your diet abundant in nutrients?

Or is your diet inflammatory.?

You are what you eat at the end of the day.

Magnesium Helps Reduce Back Pain

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Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is essential for life and deficiency is implicated in a plethora of health problems.

Magnesium is no longer as plentiful in the foods we eat due to depletion in the soils as a consequence of modern intensive farming practice.

Magnesium regulates more than 325 enzymes in the body, the most important, produce, transport, store and utilise energy.

Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function. Deficiency can lead to muscle spasm and pain. It is nature’s muscle relaxant as it acts as a calcium channel blocker to prevent over contraction of both skeletal and smooth muscles.

Skeletal muscle spasm causes back pain, neck pain, headaches and many more painful conditions. Smooth muscle spasm can cause migraines, strokes and heart problems by disrupting blood flow.

Optimising magnesium levels is also vital to reduce the risk of a many other serious conditions, including:

Anxiety and panic attacks Asthma Blood clots Bowel disease Cystitis Depression Detoxification Diabetes Fatigue Heart disease Hypertension Nerve pain Obstetrical and gynaecological problems Osteoporosis Raynaud’s Syndrome Tooth decay

If you would like further information please call our clinic today.