Monday, 17 February 2020

How to have a better morning.

Dr Abigail Parker

This time of year, when its still cold and dark in the mornings, it can be hard to simply just get out of bed! Let alone get up and feel your best for the day ahead. So here are some top tips, to help make your morning easier.

1. Fill a bottle of water the night before.
Either keep a bottle (reusable, of course!) on your bedside table, or in the fridge, with some cold water in for the morning - the cold water will help to wake you up feeling nice and fresh, and will also set you on your way to staying hydrated for the ahead. Also, if you've already prepared it, you're much more likely to use it.

2. Invest in a sunrise stimulating alarm-clock.
If you use your phone, or a traditional alarm clock to wake you up in a morning this can be quite a shock to the system. Especially in the dark!
An alarm clock that stimulates sunrise will wake you more gently and over a period of time, rather than suddenly, meaning you start the morning much calmer.

3. Stay off social media and emails.
Whilst we all like to check our emails in the morning, or see if there have been any changes to our diary or the day ahead, or even watch our friends instagram stories from yesterday evening, its important to give yourself a set period of time each morning where you don't check your phone or laptop. Maybe leave your phone on charge downstairs? (After all - you have your new alarm clock now, so you don't need to use it as a morning alarm anymore) Or decide you won't touch until after you've finished your cup of coffee (or cold bottled water!), to give yourself a clearer headspace first thing in the morning.

4. Day light.
Make sure you get to see some daylight as early as possible in the day. Daylight is really important both for your mental health and to absorb vitamin D for bone and muscle health. Try to either open the curtains once your up, or sit by an open window! But don't forget your sunscreen.

5. Mental Health focus.
Just spend 5 minutes, with no distractions - no radio, tv, phone or laptop, and run through your day in your own head. Do you have a busy day you need to brace yourself for, or are you grateful for an exciting day ahead? 

Friday, 31 May 2019

Importance of Staying Hydrated

There are 5 pillars of health that we work towards at the Optimal Chiropractic & Wellness Centre:
  1. Nutrition
  2. Movement
  3. Mindfulness
  4. Sleep
  5. Brain/Body connection - aka Chiropractic adjustments

In this blog we start to look at nutrition and in particular our hydration levels.

Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate your joints. Water is needed for overall good health.

Path to improved wellness
You should drink water every day. Most people have been told they should drink 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water each day, about 2 litres. That is a reasonable goal.

However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. You can work this out based on your weight. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.

If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine 

is usually colorless or light yellow, you are well hydrated. If your urine is a dark yellow or amber color, you may be dehydrated.

REMEMBER if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated!

Water is best for staying hydrated. Other drinks and foods can help you stay hydrated. However, some may add extra calories from sugar to your diet. Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas add to the amount of water you get each day. Even caffeinated drinks (for example, coffee, tea, and soda) can contribute to your daily water intake. A moderate amount of caffeine (200 to 300 milligrams) is not harmful for most people.
Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables (for example, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce), and in soups.

Sports drinks can be helpful if you are planning on exercising at higher than normal levels for more than an hour. It contains carbohydrates and electrolytes that can increase your energy and help your body absorb water. However, some sports drinks are high in calories from added sugar. They also may contain high levels of sodium (salt).

Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks. Energy drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine. Also, they contain ingredients that overstimulate you (guarana, ginseng, or taurine). These are things your body doesn’t need. Most of these drinks are also high in added sugar. According to doctors, children and teens should not have energy drinks.

If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some tips that can help:
  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water.
  • If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.

Don’t wait until you notice symptoms of dehydration to take action. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

Water makes up more than half of your body weight. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is really hot, when you are physically active, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid water loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

44 Whitchurch Road
CF14 3UQ
02920 373967

Friday, 17 May 2019

15 Ways to Tell Your Spine is Out of Line

15 Ways to Tell Your Spine is Out of Line

With Spinal Awareness Week last week, why not learn how to be aware of your own spine?! Below are 15 ways to know that things aren’t quite right and guess what? Only one of them is to do with pain!

  1. Your Heels Wear Out Unevenly. This can be due to uneven leg length caused by a misaligned pelvis.
  2. You Can’t Take a Satisfying Deep Breath. Restrictions in the upper back and ribs (thoracic spine) can cause restricted breathing and/or expansion of the chest due to the improper motion in the joints.
  3. Your Jaw “Clicks”. This can be caused by neck misalignment and severe tension in the upper neck. The upper neck and jaw are very much linked so one will often affect the other.
  4. You Have to “Crack” Your Neck, Back, or Other Joints Often. This is your body telling you that something is out of alignment. It can be caused by areas of your spine that are restricted and unable to move in their normal pattern.
  5. You Can’t Twist or Turn Your Head or Hips to Either Side Easily and Equally. Reduced range of motion comes from misaligned vertebrae.
  6. You Are Often Tired. An unbalanced spine drains your energy. Your body is having to do so much work to maintain your unbalance posture even at rest.
  7. You Have Poor Concentration. Misalignment in your spine affect the Brain-Body connection.
  8. You Have Low Resistance to Disease. Chiropractic adjustments to reduce nerve pressure have been shown to help increase white blood cells throughout the body. Studies show that every time you get adjusted, your Interleukin-2 (IL-2) levels go up immediately. IL-2 is what your body uses to kill viral and bacterial assaults.
  9. Your Foot Flares Out When Walking. This test is easy as long as you don’t cheat. Merely look at your feet as you walk. Do they both point forward, or does one foot appear to flare outward or inward? Do both? Foot flare may be a sign of a problem in the lower spine or hips.
  10. One Leg Appears Shorter Than the Other. Keep your shoes on, and lie down. Have someone stand behind you, look down at your feet, and gently push your heels toward your head. Compare where the heels meet the shoes. One foot may appear anywhere from 1/8” to 1” shorter than the other. A lot of people describe this a normal, it isn’t, its just prevalent. In fact, it is one of our most common findings and when the cause is due to spinal alignment, it corrects.
  11. You Have weight distribution. Stand on two-bathroom scales, one foot on each. The weight distribution should be about the same over each foot. If it is not, that’s a good sign that your spine, hips or head are off line.
  12. You Have Headaches, Back Aches, Sore or Tender Spots in Muscles or Joints. All are  common signs of a spine out of alignment. Pain is your body is telling you something is wrong. As Chiropractors we need to find the root cause and not be guided purely by symptoms.
  13. You Have a Constant, Stressful Feeling and Tension Especially in Muscles and Joints. Nerve irritation from misaligned spine results in muscle tension. No matter how many massages you have. Unless the alignment of the spine is corrected then things will quickly revert.
  14. You Feel Stiffness in Your Back or Neck. Stiffness may be a sign of degenerative changes in your spine. Imagine a car tyre, it has the normal wear from the road, just as our joint do from aging. When a car tyre is out of line it wears far quicker, the same with our joints.
  15. You Just Don’t Feel Right, You Are in General Poor Health. If your Nervous System is not in total balance, your health will not be in total balance.
Getting your nervous system checked and making sure your spine is in alignment will ensure your nervous system can communicate properly with your body. When this happens, it is only a matter of time before your body begins healing properly and true health and vitality can be achieved.

If these things ring true for you let us know and get booked in for your consultation to see your local Cardiff Chiropractor.

02920 373967
44 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3UQ

Monday, 5 November 2018

Ergonomic computer workstation set-up advice

How to reduce the risk of long term injury at your desk

At home, at school or college, at work, or on the move, more and more of us are spending large parts of our day using a computer.

When sitting and concentrating on the screen for so long, we may not be aware that the position we are in could be harmful to our spine. Bad habits and incorrect posture can lead to short-term pains and aches that can turn into long-term injuries.

Essential Adjustments

Always take the time to adjust your chair, particularly if you share your computer with others following the 7 steps below:

  1. Balanced head, not leaning forward.
  2. Arms relaxed by your side.
  3. Forearms parallel to desk.
  4. Sit back in chair ensuring good back support.
  5. Screen approximately arms length from you.
  6. Top of screen about eye level.
  7. Space behind knee.
  8. Feet flat on floor or on a footrest

Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees and your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You may need to put the screen on a stand or even on a ream of paper to bring it to the right height.

Relax when sitting into your chair, making sure you have your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades are touching the back rest of the chair.

Arms should be flat and your elbows level with the desk or table you are using. Use a seat with arm rests.

Take regular breaks. When you take a break, walk around and stretch a little; do something completely different.

Remove any obstacles from under your desk to ensure you have enough leg room.

Monday, 22 October 2018

School Bag Tips for Parents

With the new school year now well underway we offer parents tips on how to minimise the weight of their school bags as young children are being literally weighed down them. There is concern that in many cases, children are carrying much more than the recommended maximum of 10% of their body weight, leading to posture and potentially spinal problems.

For young children, 10% of their body weight might only be a few kilos so if they’re carrying lots of books and things they don’t really need, this will be too much weight for them. You see it every day, children with their heavy backpacks, leaning forward as they’re walking.

Carrying that sort of weight every day can certainly affect children’s posture and set off issues that may develop in the future. Children can start to experience back pain from the age of 11-15 and if it starts then, there is a greater likelihood of it continuing into adulthood. Often, they and their parents don’t take back pain seriously because it comes and goes. Previous international studies suggest that as many as 80% of children believe their backpacks are too heavy and almost half of children feel their backpack is causing them back ache.

Here is a list of tips to prevent potential back problems for schoolchildren:
·         Always wear backpacks on both shoulders
·         Buy a bag with thick shoulder straps to distribute the weight evenly
·         Choose a bag made of lightweight material and has multiple compartments for better weight distribution
·         Adjust the straps on a backpack to ensure the bag sits above the waist which reduces the pressure on the spine.
·         Bags with a waist strap are also recommended.
·         Use school lockers where provided, use lightweight packed lunch containers and, crucially, to carry only what is absolutely needed.
·         Ideally, parents should buy backpacks that are chiropractor-approved.

Parents can also look out for tell-tale signs that their child is struggling under the weight of their bags.

Warning signs include a change in posture when wearing their backpack, tingling and numbness in the arms and hands, and back, neck or shoulder pain.

Contact us to find out more about booking a consultation for your child
02920 373967

Monday, 8 October 2018

7 Surprising Ways Posture can affect your Health

When you're at your desk sending last-minute emails, or deeply focused on editing that board presentation, your posture is probably the last thing on your mind. Though most of us probably don't actively think about our posture throughout the day, we should: Posture can affect your health in some seriously surprising ways.
Good posture can greatly improve your energy levels. By limiting pain, alignment faults, and sequelae of other injuries caused by poor posture, people are more likely to live an active lifestyle and do so for longer. Good posture allows for easier respiration as you are putting your diaphragm in the optimal position for breathing, which in turn can reduce pain.
While good posture can have major health benefits like better energy and respiratory health, poor posture can actually contribute to other health issues beyond neck or back pain.
1. Headaches

Many different things can trigger a headache, but did you know your posture can play a role? There are many kinds of headaches, but cervicogenic headaches originate in the neck.These headaches start in the base of your neck and radiate up. They are typically caused by forward head posture (i.e. head in front of your shoulders and trunk), which places increased stress on the joints and muscles in your upper neck."
2. Fatigue & Sleep Issues
Poor posture can make you feel more fatigued than usual. The body must work harder and expend more energy to keep the body upright in the proper posture position, while fighting poor posture habits. This requires increased energy and leaves one feeling tired. Postural deficits can lead to pain and alignment changes that make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. This kind of pain can often wake people at night.
3. Hip, Knee, Or Ankle Pain
It's common knowledge that poor posture can contribute to pain in your upper body, like neck or back pain, but it can also cause discomfort in your lower body. It’s hard to believe you can injure your lower extremities while sitting. However, the joints in your lower extremities are very much connected to your spine and posture — literally and figuratively. Altered posture and muscle imbalances caused by poor posture can place strain on your hips, knees and even feet.
4. Digestive Problems
Digestive health problems can be caused by a wide range of factors, but poor posture can contribute to stomach issues like acid reflux or heartburn. When one assumes a slouched posture, the organs are compressed in the abdomen, which makes it harder for the body to digest food, and decreases one’s metabolism.
5. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
So, you may not have heard of this syndrome before, but it's no less uncomfortable. Forward head posture and slouched shoulders can restrict nerves and [blood] vessels in the lower neck, and upper chest that supply your arms. Symptoms are often diffuse and mild tingling, and/or numbness. This is known as thoracic outlet syndrome, and is often improved with better posture," 
6. Stress
Yes, poor posture can cause both physical and mental stress. Poor posture affects your body’s natural alignment, which puts physical stress on the body and causes soreness and pain. This can also translate into mental stress, decreasing one’s motivation, and overall mood." Moreover, TIME reported that a 2014 study found bad posture negatively impacts your mood, and can contribute to depression and fear.
7. Arthritis
The organization Arthritis Research U.K. explains that, in the long run, poor posture can be extremely detrimental to your joint health, and can be a contributing factor in developing arthritis. Posture is often modifiable, i.e. we can change it. However as we age, poor posture can lead to joint degeneration, arthritis and limited mobility, which turns into 'fixed' poor posture. Making small changes now can prevent long term posture changes in the future.