Tag: health

Five Simple Steps for Headache Relief

Headaches are something that unite us. Whether you’re one of the lucky few who only has them on occasion… or whether you’re affected with them on a daily basis, it can be a familiar sensation for many.

“It feels like a vice around my head.”
“I get a shooting pain into my temples.”
“It starts at the back of my head and radiates around, even my eyes can feel sore.”

The problem with headaches

If you struggle with headaches, you’ll know how debilitating they can be. They can leave us feeling crabby, tired, tearful and short-tempered. And understandably so! Headaches can emerge from various sources – fatigue, stress, or even not giving our bodies the hydration they need.

So here are our five top tips for dealing with headaches.

Read more: Five Simple Steps for Headache Relief

Step 1: Hydration Station

Water often holds the key to diminishing headaches. Ensuring that we maintain adequate hydration throughout the day is a gift to our bodies. Keep a trusty water bottle by your side and sip thoughtfully – it’s a small action that can yield significant relief from those nagging headaches.

Step 2: Embracing Restorative Sleep

Sleep offers us a chance to reset and renew. Prioritising the right amount of sleep is vital for restorative sleep. Crafting a bedtime ritual that soothes your senses and invites restfulness can help you wake up feeling brighter. Hint: If you wake up with headaches, this could be a sign that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth at night. This is called nocturnal bruxism and it can be a good idea to speak to your chiropractor and dentist about it!

Step 3: Check your neck

Headaches that arise from problems in the neck or upper back are so common they have their own name- cervicogenic headaches. Joint stiffness, muscle tension, poor posture and stress can all contribute to problems in the neck that can lead to headaches. If you find your headaches are worse towards the end of the day, this could be the likely culprit.

Image shows a young man wearing a dark t-shirt clutching his neck and shouting in pain.

Step 4: Feeding Your Mind and Body Well

Our food choices can have a profound impact on our headaches. Opt for nourishing snacks like vibrant fruits, fresh veggies, and wholesome nuts. By steering clear of sugary treats and greasy fast foods, we offer our brains the sustenance they crave, which in turn aids in keeping headaches at bay. Ultra-processed foods contain preservatives and high levels of sodium which can trigger headaches and migraines. If you’re interested in finding out more about this, we highly recommend Chris van Tulleken’s book!

Step 5: Get Moving

Physical activity is a powerful tool against headaches. Incorporating movement into your daily routine, be it a sport you love, a dance session, or a leisurely stroll, can make a remarkable difference. It has a profound impact on our physical and mental health, giving us healthier bodies and reducing stress. Movement isn’t just about the body – it’s a journey towards holistic well-being.

Here’s a quick video to show an at-home release you can do to relieve pain from headaches.

A Note of Curiosity

If you frequently struggle with headaches, you’ll be pleased to know that chiropractic care is proven effective in the management of headaches, and migraine prevention.

Come and see us, and let’s get to the root cause of your headaches.

Stay ski-fit on the slopes!

Off skiing this winter? You might find it more of a workout than you expect.

Skiing involves a lot of the same muscles that are used when we squat, so one of the best ways to get yourself ski-fit is to practice your ski-squat!  Click here to view a short how-to video.

At altitude, the air is thinner, and so the heart and lungs have to work harder to pump blood and oxygen around your body. Bear this in mind, as you might find yourself getting more tired and out-of-breath than you would expect!

Start working out with your ski squats regularly a few weeks before you’re due to go on holiday, focusing on stamina and strength to ensure you can maximise your time on the slopes. Running, walking, and step machines, as well as squat exercises, are a great way to develop the muscular endurance needed for skiing and snowboarding.  You’ll be ski-fit and raring to go from day one on the slopes!

Monday motivation healthcare health wellness chiropractic chiropractor emsworth hampshire fitness healthy lifestyle injury sports sciatica back pain neck headache migraine whiplash sciatica sciatic osteopath osteopathy physiotherapist physiotherapy

Four steps to a successful week

So today, I woke up earlier than usual and have reached a rare moment of having achieved all of my urgent and important tasks on my list I needed to do today by 11:30 AM. This level almost never happens and it got me thinking- what was the difference in motivation levels today?

The truth is, there isn’t one thing, but instead a gradual accumulation of small changes that I’ve made to my lifestyle recently which I thought I’d share four top tips with you, that have helped me master Mondays!

First things first- I swear by my Lumie Bodyclock, and it is my best friend during the winter months. Waking up feeling groggy is horrible- as someone who used to have about 15 alarms on my iPhone to get me up (not even joking) a natural daylight lamp like the Lumie Bodyclock makes mornings slightly more bearable. It helps prevent what’s called sleep inertia– the inability to feel alert and perform when we first wake up. Studies have shown that these lamps help raise cortisol (an important hormone which helps with metabolism, memory and blood sugar), improve our reaction times and make us feel more refreshed. Not only that, but it’s lovely to wake up to daylight in these darker winter months. Step One: Wake up refreshed.

Question for you- did you make your bed this morning? I did- and here’s why you should too. Watch this video (6.01 minutes) for some inspiration that will get you going today. Step two: Make your bed.

I significantly cut down on caffeine recently, and now tend to start my mornings with a few glasses of water with lemon in it- I prepare this the night before and leave it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold to wake me up. Your metabolic rate is boosted by about 30% by drinking two glasses of water and the added lemon gives you around 40% of your daily vitamin C- great for the immune system. It also contains vitamin B6 which supports a healthy nervous system, and flavanoids which support the immune system and have anti-inflammatory benefits. Step Three: Boost your brain.

Then, I ate the frog. Not literally (I actually had a rather nice omelette for breakfast). Eat that frog comes from a saying by Mark Twain- and it refers to doing the thing you dread the most first. So for me, this was catching up on some bookkeeping (*urgh*) BUT it means that I’ve now completed that task and have the rest of the day to fill with things that I enjoy- like taking care of my patients. Reading some new research articles. Enjoying the sunshine at lunch (instead of being stuck at my desk). Step Four: Eat that frog.motivation healthcare health wellness chiropractic chiropractor emsworth hampshire fitness healthy lifestyle injury sports sciatica back pain neck headache migraine whiplash sciatica sciatic osteopath osteopathy physiotherapist physiotherapy

So there you have it- four simple steps to help you get going on a Monday, or in fact any day of the week!

Until next time,

Philippa.

Acupuncture- what is it, and how does it work?

Acupuncture is often seen as a form of complementary medicine, although it is used nationally in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK. It is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as a treatment for lower back pain, and a range of other conditions.  If we decide together that acupuncture is a good choice for you within your chiropractic treatment, then we can start there and then!  Our chiropractor Philippa is fully trained and registered to use acupuncture as part of her treatments in clinic.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles (which are about the thickness of a human hair) into specific points in your body.  Mention “acupuncture” to someone, and you may think of someone with dozens of needles in their back looking like a hedgehog. It may surprise you to know that we tend to use a maximum of 6 needles in our treatments!  This is because we use a Western medical approach to acupuncture in clinic, which is different to traditional Chinese treatments.

Want to learn more?

A medical approach to acupuncture involves a few essential features:

  • Medical history, examination and clinical investigations (if necessary) are all used to form a diagnosis.
  • An appropriate plan of management, and appropriate needling points are identified.
  • As with all our treatments, the appropriate treatment is given, in a way that is carefully tailored to the individual.  This can mean using more needles (usually up to a maximum of 6), using percutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or increasing the length of time the needles are inserted.
  • Your response to treatment is monitored, and subsequent treatment is determined based on your response to this treatment.

Acupuncture is, in itself, a phenomenon- it produces an unique sensation, can alleviate pain in areas quite far away from where the needle is inserted, and patients have been known to spontaneously report feelings of improved wellbeing and deep sleep after treatment!  This treatment is also a powerful tool for pain relief, and this sometimes occurs immediately after removing the needles; several hours after treatment; or gradually accumulating over a course of several treatments.

So if acupuncture is a phenomenon, with varied responses for each individual, how do we know that it is an appropriate, evidence-based, effective treatment for you?

Here are five mechanisms to help explain how acupuncture works:

1) Acupuncture promotes healing.  It stimulates nerve fibres in the skin and muscle, and this leads to the release of a substance called CGRP- calcitonin gene-related peptide (no, we won’t quiz you on this later!)  This substance causes blood vessels around the needle to dilate, and increases blood flow, which encourages tissue healing.

2) When a needle stimulates nerve fibres, these travel to a specific part of the spinal cord, called the dorsal horn (which helps regulate pain signals). This stimulation helps to reduce the response of the dorsal horn to pain, and this is probably the main mechanism by which acupuncture relieves pain, and what it is most commonly used for.

3) These nerve signals then transmit up to the brain, and stimulate the body’s pain-suppressing mechanisms.  (Yes, our body can suppress pain- think about the times when you haven’t noticed a scratch or a graze because you’ve been concentrating on something else). This is why acupuncture is so helpful, as it can suppress pain throughout the entire body.

4) Parts of our brain that control emotion, behaviour and sleep are also stimulated by acupuncture, and so acupuncture has a calming effect and can improve our feeling of wellbeing.

5) When our muscles are strained or injured, it develops a small area of damage (called a trigger point) which can be slow to heal and can cause persistent pain.  Acupuncture helps to deactivate and reduce these trigger points.

If you would like to find out more about this type of treatment, what it can be used for and whether it could be a good option for you, book an appointment with us today!

Back pain in children

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.

Water

What is the single best drink for your health?

We recommend you visit this youtube link to find out more about why water is and will always be the best drink for you and your healthy body. Click here to see more.

Going out for a run this morning? Did you know that at even 5% dehydration, your maximal performance will have reduced from 100% to 70%!

Water is often ignored, and passed-up in favour of more exciting drinks, but it is the single best thing that we can consume to help our bodies function properly and recover quickly.

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Acorn Health © 2014 - 2022

Website Created by WebHolism