Monday, 16 March 2020

Pregnancy & back pain – are they linked?

Dr Tom Barnett MChiro LRCC

Starting a family is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated, many congratulations if you’re pregnant and reading this blog. During pregnancy your body will be undergoing lots of changes, some with good side effects like your skin glowing and hair being stronger and some with not so good side effects like tiredness, morning sickness and low back pain.

As Chiropractors, we will focus on lower back pain in this blog and why this happens. Not every woman will develop pregnancy related back pain but you are more likely to suffer if you have had back pain previously or had PGP (pelvic girdle pain) during a previous pregnancy.

So the question you’re probably thinking is, do I have to put up with it? Is there something that can help me?

Well in short the answer is, you don’t have to put up with it and yes there are many things that can help relieve symptoms of pregnancy related back pain, Chiropractic being one of them.

Chiropractic care is safe during pregnancy and has been recognised by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to be an effective therapy to help combat pregnancy related lower back pain.


Why do we get back pain during pregnancy and what can chiropractic do for me?

There are 3 joints within the pelvis, 2 sacro-illiac joints at the back and 1 pubic symphysis joint at the front. To allow you to give birth, these joints become looser so they are able to move more. Great for the baby, not so great for the mother. These extra movements can contribute to lower back pain.

As your baby grows, you grow too. This leads to a change in your posture that unfortunately is inevitable for the majority of pregnant women. Posture is so important, it helps keep your spine and pelvis moving the best way that it can. With the increasing weight and size of your bump, your centre of gravity will increasingly shift forward meaning the lower back will curve inwards more, this puts excess pressure on your spinal joints that can lead to discomfort and pain.

Chiropractic can help relieve pain by helping joints move as best as they can and by releasing built up pressure and tension with-in the joints and surrounding muscles. The best thing to do is to have a consultation so your chiropractor can work out what care is going to be best for you.


What happens after I give birth and will I still get back pain?

For many women, especially if it’s your first pregnancy and had no previous history of low back pain there can be little or no pain soon after having your baby (natural or C-section).

However, you might find you also experience post-pregnancy spinal stiffness or discomfort, this happens for many reasons including; the stress and strains of giving birth, a relatively quick change in overall body posture and position, or a build up of tension on the spine through pregnancy. So it’s really important to have a re-examination check up with your chiropractor after giving birth, even if you don’t have any pain anymore. Sometimes this can lead to worse problems in the future and worse pregnancy related pain if future pregnancies.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Posture – why is it so important?

By Dr Tom Barnett MChiro LRCC

We have all heard about the importance of having good posture. So many of us have heard time and time again that sitting tall, holding your head high and keeping good posture is very important. However, besides looking poised, healthy and professional, why is having 'good posture' so important?

When you maintain your good posture, you will reinforce the important alignment in your neck and back, and you can keep your spine straighter. Studies have shown that good posture can help you have more energy, less stress and avoid fatigue. In fact, good posture is essential if you want to stay physically fit. It is often said that good posture is a sign of good health.

If you have poor posture, it is not only bad for your spine in the present, but it can also have disastrous effects later in life as well.

Here are a few ways poor posture can impact your health and wellbeing:

Changes your Spinal Curves

One of the most prominent negative effects that we tend to see from poor posture is a change in the spinal curves. Your spine naturally has certain curves. However, if you spend year after year sitting or standing with poor posture, perhaps sat at a computer all day or looking at your phone or tablet for long periods, your spine is put under a great deal of pressure. This is because you are putting your spine in an unnatural position.

These changes in the spinal curves can not only cause long-term pain and discomfort, but it can prevent your spine from being able to naturally absorb shock and maintain proper balance.

Poor Digestion

Studies have found that sitting all day with poor posture can impact your digestive organs. Poor posture compresses your digestive organs and leaves them incapable of functioning the way they should.

This can not only slow down the digestive process and impact your metabolism, but over time long-term compression of the digestive organs can seriously impair your body’s ability to consume and process food. You may ultimately find yourself with life-altering metabolic issues.

Increased Chances of Cardiovascular Issues

Both an Australian study on poor posture and life expectancy and an English study on poor posture and sitting found that individuals that sit all day with bad posture have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular issues. You may not only experience a shorter life expectancy, but one study found that those who sit most of the day experienced a 147% increase in developing cardiovascular disease.

Varicose Veins

When you sit all day with poor posture, you are preventing your body from getting the necessary circulation it needs. This can lead to the formation of varicose (spider) veins. This is particularly common in women.

Back Pain

If you spend enough time sitting with bad posture, you can start to experience chronic back pain and disc degeneration. Many people who maintain poor posture experience back pain day after day with no clue as to why they’re having issues. Unfortunately, these issues can often be traced back to posture problems from all the extra stress that has been put on the spine.

Overall, your poor posture may be doing more than just impacting the way you look. Take the time to try and get up and move during the day, suck in your tummy muscles, sit up taller with your shoulders back and your spine straight and visit your chiropractor for regular adjustments. Taking the time to do these things can not only help you have better posture, but can also prevent you from dealing with several serious health issues later on in life.

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?