Turn over a new leaf this year and take a fresh look at your healthcare priorities! The New Year provides us with a great opportunity to change our lifestyles for the better! If you have suffered from back, neck or muscle pain, we can help you find a long-term solution to these problems with our award-winning musculoskeletal care.
With that in mind, we are offering all new patients a 10% discount on their initial consultation with us in January!
To take advantage of this offer, simply call to book in your new patient consultation on 01243 379693!
Terms and Conditions:
– Offer valid during 1st – 31st January 2015 only.
– Offer does not include any follow-up treatment which is charged at usual rate.
– No obligation for follow-up treatment with Acorn Health.
For more information about the services we provide at Acorn Health, visit here.
Do you have back pain? Do you remember when it started? A lot of our patients don’t, it’s just “crept on over the years”, which often means that it is mistaken as an “older person’s problem”. Unfortunately, back pain is something that is becoming more of a problem in younger generations (one study of 34,076 participants found that over 50% first experienced back pain before the age of 20!)
So why is back pain affecting young people? Let’s divert slightly and talk about teeth for a minute- most babies cut their first tooth at around 6 months old. This is when parents then bring out the baby toothpaste and start encouraging healthy dental hygiene habits. Babies can start to roll from the age of 4 months, and gradually progress through important developmental milestones, but when do we start promoting healthy spine habits in our children? Unfortunately, we don’t. It’s an area that has, and continues to be, overlooked. Our aim is to promote healthy postural habits in children of all ages to help them grow “from little acorns to mighty oaks” and avoid having back, neck and postural pain.
You can help us do this, by continuing to promote healthy habits in your children as they grow up and start going to school. A recent study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood analysed 1403 children, and found that 61.4% of these children had backpacks that weighed in excess of 10% of the child’s bodyweight! Those carrying the heaviest backpacks and a 50% higher risk of back pain, and girls had a higher risk of back pain in comparison to boys.
What can I do to help?
Babies: Minimise the amount of time spent in baby equipment. Yes, it’s easier to pop munchkin into a baby carrier so you have your hands free, but babies often spend their time being transferred from bouncer to car seat to baby swing back to car seat, and get very little time to develop the new motor skills that come from being able to wriggle around, practice, and experience using their arms and legs! Occasional use is fine, but just be aware that every minute that little one is in baby equipment, is a minute of lost experience, so try to give them as much wriggle time as possible!
School aged children: Check your children’s rucksacks when they get in from school- remove any books that don’t need to be there. (A good opportunity to also remove the toys, twigs, sweetie wrappers, stones or anything else that has been “acquired” by kiddo throughout the school day!) Also, don’t underestimate the importance of good footwear. Children are forever running around and supportive, soft-soled shoes with a good grip will make it easier for your little one to carry a school bag and avoid strains or sprains from poorly-fitting footwear.
Teenagers: Encourage regular breaks. Yes, schoolwork is important, but taking a break every 30 minutes will help to stop postural pains and stresses from creeping on. Ensure their desks are set up suitably- if you’d like some advice about workstation ergonomics and correct setup, let us know!
Remember- if your child continues to report back pain, it is important to consult a medical professional for appropriate advice. If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
If you have any further questions you’d like to ask, please feel free to get in touch by calling 01243 379693 or book your appointment today.
Back injury is the number one cause of days off work in the UK, and so injury prevention and rapid return to work of injured workers is a major focus of industries throughout the world. The burden of low back pain is huge, both financially for companies, and emotionally for workers. Reducing injury at work is crucial, for both employee and employer.
Many companies try and counterract this by paying for employees to take manual lifting courses, teaching us to “bend through the knees and hip, not the back.” Unfortunately, this conventional method of lifting isn’t always possible, or appropriate. Objects have to be lifted from the floor, from parts bins, from above- any number of possibilities, and so this conventional lift won’t help avoid injury in these situations.
The thought process behind a conventional lift is that it reduces physiological load (the amount of stress put on your joints and muscles) and is more energy efficient, however the validity of this depends on a number of different factors, such as the size, weight, and density of the object, coupled with where we are moving it from and to, over which terrain, and how many times we have to repeat the lift. Squatting repeatedly throughout the day is physically tiring, and we know that many workers end up stooping to lift objects as they tire throughout the day.
If there is no one perfect lift, how do we help avoid injury?
Remove the stressors that are causing or aggravating the injury
Enhance the activities that build healthy supportive tissues
Injuries don’t often occur as the result of one major event- often because minor injuries accumulate over time, amounting to pain and problems when eventually the structures are no longer able to cope with what is being asked of them. It is therefore more important to address the cumulative causes of the injury in order to prevent reoccurrence.
You may think that injuries are more common in those with physical jobs, however injuries are just as prevalent in those who have sedentary jobs. Gagnon (2003) studied “expert lifters” and concluded that their personal body movements, as well as their individual lifting strategies, were key to their avoidance of injury- in fact some evidence exists to suggest that our personal spine movements (how we naturally move our backs) can influence whether or not we will become injured.
Olympic weightlifters often provide the best example of lifting technique, as they have recognised the importance of avoiding lumbar flexion (bending from the lower back) to prevent injury. We therefore need to stop emphasising the importance of stooping or squatting to lift, and instead work on placing the load closer to the body to help reduce forces on our joints, and avoiding full flexion of our lumbar spines when lifting. This avoidance of full flexion is really the key element in lifting.
So what other lifting techniques could be used?
Here’s two alternatives for the conventional technique and when they could be used.
When to use: Great for picking up light objects out of deep bins/containers or picking up small objects off the floor
1- Place one hand on a stable surface next to the object to be lifted- this is to help stabilise your upper body during the lift.
2- Keeping your back straight, lean forward, allowing the leg opposite the stabilising hand to swing out straight behind you as you lean down. This will act as a counterbalance to the weight of your body.
3- Prepare for the lift: Look forward, and begin to push down on the stable surface with your hand as you lower your leg to the floor. Focus on keeping your spine straight.
Tips: Good for people with knee problems.
When to use: Good for heavy objects with uneven weight distribution (such as sacks of food)
1- Put one foot next to the object, keep your spine straight, push your buttocks out and lower yourself down to the floor, keeping one knee bent up, one knee on the floor.
2- Position the object close to the knee on the ground.
3- Slide the object from the ground on to the mid-thigh of the knee on the ground.
4- Keeping your spine straight, lift the object on to the opposite thigh.
5- Palms upwards, put both forearms under the object and hug it into your chest.
6- Prepare for the lift: Extend your legs with your back straight, pushing your buttocks out, keeping the load held close to your body.
Tips: This is a good lift for people who may not have great arm strength.