Tag: help

The dreaded “Holiday Weight”

January is the time of year when some of us will set a new years resolution, and it’s not uncommon for these goals of “lose weight” or “get fit” to be at the top of the list. So why is it, that only after a mere 6 months later, only around 8% of us will have managed to stick to those resolutions?

“Lose weight”, in itself, is a vague term. How much weight? How quickly? How am I going to achieve this? The way to success is to set yourself an achievable goal with tangible results. “I want to lose a pound a week, and my end goal is to lose half a stone. To do this, I’m going to cut down on the amount of fatty food I eat, and make sure I take a 20 minute walk around the town three times a week.” Avoiding overindulgence at Christmas will also put you in the right frame of mind to start 2023 off right- don’t set yourself up for failure by jumping on the scales  and berating yourself for the amount of mince pies or cheese you enjoyed, this is only going to make you feel worse! A positive attitude towards health and weight loss is important to ensure success.

Christmas weight is, in itself, no harder to lose than any other weight. In fact, research suggests that sudden weight gain (the average person gains around 2lb between November to January) is easier to lose than weight that has been put on gradually, over several years. So why do we tend to put on weight over Christmas? A lot of us indulge in the occasional treat every now and then, but at Christmas we tend to indulge in fatty foods more frequently than we do throughout the rest of the year. It’s not just the food we need to think about, but the amount of alcohol we consume over the festive season- a 250ml glass of red wine contains around 230 calories. A few pints of beer soon adds up to a significant calorific intake at 170 calories a pint. Perhaps this is why dry-January is so popular to counter-weight the calories.

Turkey is a low-fat, high protein meat source so provided you can resist the temptation of the fatty skin on the outside, that won’t add inches to your waistline either so keep on enjoying those leftovers. Planning meals is key to ensuring you get the right nutritional balance to give you the energy for a jog, cycle or swim. There are plenty of apps to help you plan your calorie intake for the amount of exercise you do – here’s some suggestions.

The traditional post-Christmas walk is also an excellent idea, and it might surprise you to know that this has a solid research backing. Even just a 15-minute walk after a meal can improve digestion, helping to avoid the dreaded post-Christmas-dinner-bloat, and it will also reduce spikes in your blood sugar levels, which is excellent if you are a diabetes sufferer. Adding a post-lunch or dinner walk to your daily routine is also a great opportunity to catch some rays of sunshine to help boost your mood.

Winter walk suggestions in Amesbury courtesy of Komott.

Remember, always wear correct footwear when walking especially if icy underfoot!

Chiropractic Awareness Week 2022: Stay Active

Happy Chiropractic Awareness Week everyone!

Are you aware that over half of us regularly suffer with backaches, neck pain or headaches? So why not seek out professional advice sooner rather than later to sort out those pesky niggles before it becomes a serious problem.

Take care of the back you have, because we have never heard of a replacement spine, have you?!

Here are our top 5 tips to help you to spinal health bliss:

Sitting Posture: Support your lower back when sitting down at your desk or at home, try not to curl up on the sofa, as it’ll twist your spine causing back ache and possible problems in the future.

Bedtime: Sleeping on your back (with a pillow behind your knees) is best for your spine. If you really want to sleep on your side, then put a pillow between your knees so you don’t twist into the recovery position.

Keep active! Get into the habit of taking a brisk walk daily. Try to make it fun or work out with a group like  class or running group.

Pain is often a warning sign. If something is hurting, don’t ignore it. Particularly important this time of year when we start hitting that gardening again!

Ice. If you’re achy use an ice pack, wrapped up in a tea-towel for 5-10 minutes every half an hour to calm any swelling and promote recovery.

We hope this helps, but if you would like more specialist advice for your particular problem please do not hesitate to contact our principal chiropractor Philippa Oakley.

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Autumn back care

Autumn can be a wonderful time of year, yet there can also be unexpected problems. Sudden drops in temperature causing us to bundle up in lots of layers, which we then struggle to peel off when the sun briefly pops out again! As the leaves start to drop, they can make the pavements slippy. If you are gardening and raking up these leaves, this can also cause problems with shoulders and backs unaccustomed to these repeated one-sided movements.

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Back pain at Christmas- How to recover as quickly as possible

This time of year, we see an increase in people coming to see us for new episodes of back pain. These often follow a similar sort of story- carrying heavy bags of Christmas shopping, twisting awkwardly bringing the decorations down from the attic, or falling off ladders putting up festive lights.

If you’re struggling with back pain at Christmas, there are a few simple things that you can do to help yourself recover from an acute episode of back pain.

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Two reasons why your back still hurts…

Why do so many of us have back pain?

We (as a society) throw huge amounts of money at back pain. There’s new gadgets, research, more effective drugs, better surgeries and dozens more practitioners out there all touting to be the next big thing in curing back pain, yet back pain remains as prevalent as it ever was. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.

So why is it that back pain is still such an issue?

  1. Everyone is different. Gosh, wasn’t that a groundbreaking statement. Yes, well, forgive me for stating the obvious but, it’s true. If we treated your back pain the same way we treat everyone else’s, we’re not going to get very far, as unfortunately everyone’s backs behave differently (and misbehave differently!) That’s why all of these treatment that work for everyone else don’t necessarily work for you- because your back is different to theirs and you need to find the approach that works for you!  P.S. This is why whenever someone asks me if I get bored “cracking backs all day” I can answer with a resounding NO! a) Because I don’t “crack backs” and b) because I have to not only work out what’s going on and diagnose it correctly but also work out how best to treat it based on what’s happening and what you want! It’s not quite as simple as handing over a pill and sending you out the door. Blimey, how boring would that be!
  2. We’re treating it far too literally.
    This is the big one! So many treatments out there focus on treating the area of pain as though that’s the cause of the pain. Pain in the lower back, treat the lower back. Monkey see, monkey do. Do you follow? Well, there’s two problems there. Firstly, if it was that simple to treat back pain, it wouldn’t be such a massive problem. Secondly, if we isolate our treatment and just focus on the spine, we are ignoring everything the spine connects to (and you don’t need a genius to tell you that the spine connects to everything!) As such, treating just one thing in the giant jigsaw that is your back pain is going to end up in tears and a lot of wasted time (and money). Of course we need to treat the site of pain (duh, that’s where it hurts!) but pain in itself only tells us there’s a problem, not where the problem is or what it is. Treating the site of the pain is lazy- we need to look at everything inside your body that impacts on the area of pain and could, as a result, be affecting it. Then, we need to look at everything outside your body (like your job, hobbies, environment) and see if that’s having an impact too!

    back pain diagnosis treatment Rolf Rolfing neck pain treatment Hampshire Emsworth chiropractor chiropractic massage therapy osteopath physiotherapy
    Image source: siguy.ca

    As a really simple demonstration of this, do me a favour- Google “Cervicogenic headache.” Done it? What does it say? That it’s pain referred to the head from structures (i.e. soft tissues and joints) in the neck. So as you see, you could take a paracetamol or sit with an icepack on your forehead but as this isn’t the source of the pain, it’s not going to do much good in the long term. A good clinician needs to look further afield to find out what’s actually causing that pain.

    Have a look at the image below- see how forward head carriage can cause dysfunction in your back and thoracic extensors?! What a waste of time it would be just treating the back and not addressing the forward head carriage (i.e. the issue that’s actually causing the pain!)

    back pain diagnosis treatment Rolf Rolfing neck pain treatment Hampshire Emsworth chiropractor chiropractic massage therapy osteopath physiotherapy
    Image source: fixtheneck.com

So if back pain is really so tricky to treat, what can we really do about it? Here’s two super simple tips.

Feet back pain chiropractic chiropractor osteopath physiotherapy massage back pain neck pain treatment injury recovery Hampshire Emsworth Chichester Sussex1) Get in touch with mother nature. No, we don’t mean making skirts out of hemp and running naked through the wilderness (although feel free, if that’s your thing). We mean take your shoes and socks off and feel the ground.

The nerves in your lower back run all the way down to your feet for a reason! Your feet provide feedback to your brain that not only tells your brain where you are in space, but they also provide invaluable feedback to help stabilise your body. Stick some bulky trainers on to stop your feet from being able to feel the ground and those feedback signals sent to your brain get confused, which leads to instability. When the brain feels unsafe, or unstable, it’s going to make things hurt and reduce the amount of movement in the area.

(While we’re on the subject, where most people go wrong is that at this point, right when they have less movement, they strain against it to push the body beyond that threshold. As soon as you go beyond where your body is happy to go, the body has a habit of going into shutdown- it tenses up and produces pain to stop you from doing it again!)

Simply put- the more skin in touch with the ground, the more sensory input your brain gets, which it in turn feeds forward to your spine, giving you more stability and in turn reducing pain.

2) Breathe!
You’d think, given it’s something you’ve been doing your whole life, thatPosture Chiropractic work desk office neck pain injury help health pain back pain chiropractor Hampshire Emsworth Fareham Havant Osteopath Osteopathy Chiropractic Health Fitness Exercise Sport you’d know how to breathe by now. But I bet you don’t! Do yourself a favour- for the next 24 hours, try and pay attention to how you’re breathing when you’re moving. My bet is that you hold your breath when you’re performing dynamic movements. Why? Read on, dear friends and all shall be made clear.

Breathing is closely related to spinal stability. If you think of your body as a barrel, the diaphragm is the top, and the pelvic floor the bottom. The diaphragm regulates our intra-abdominal pressure and contributes massively to our spinal stability. So when our spine is unstable and weak, we hold our breath to perform movements. This is an ill-informed attempt by our brain to increase our intra-adnominal pressure and maintain spinal stability because it’s worried that if we don’t, we’ll become unstable and get injured. Pull that belly button in towards your spine and breathe OUT as you perform dynamic movements- this will engage the good ol’ core musculature and take the pressure of your diaphragm and stop relying on the diaphragm alone to provide spinal stability. 24 hours, focusing on your breathing, that’s all I ask. Being mindful and aware is key to changing your habits.

In a nutshell,  part of your treatment programme is going to involve teaching you how to breathe!

So there you have it!

Now you understand why back pain can be such a nuisance to treat. Fortunately, you’ve got those two simple steps to reducing your back pain. Doesn’t that sound like a great catchphrase?! Honestly though, if I could give one (okay, two) pieces of advice to every person I see in clinic, it would be those. Create some healthy habits to help your spine and I guarantee you’ll see an improvement.

Until next time…

Philippa Oakley
Chiropractor

Are you feeling sleepy?

Want to know a secret? There is no other activity that delivers so many benefits with little effort then sleep. Restful sleep is one of the five pillars of health and getting a good night’s sleep should be at the top of your to-do list this month. Everyone knows there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep for feeling refreshed and alert in the morning. Let’s take on 2017!

Emma’s sleep workshop is on Saturday 28th from 10-12pm at Acorn Health. Tickets must be booked in advance and are £25.00 cash on the day of the event. Please call 01243 379693 to book. We are a small group tackling the common problem so many of us have: how to get a really good night’s sleep.

Read more about the event here.

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