Tag: Lifestyle

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Leading the wellness revolution

The World Health Organisation defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” So what’s this concept of “wellness” all about? Well, wellness is basically healthiness… It’s the active process of becoming more aware of your health and making positive changes towards leading a healthier, more fulfilling life.

What is wellness?

The concept of “wellness” can often be a dirty word in healthcare circles, as it has long been associated holistic health chiropractic chiropractor nutrition nutritionist healthcare therapy rooms Emsworth Hampshire NHS healthy holistic wellnesswith antiscientific or pseudoscientific ideas… But that depends on what wellness means to you. To us, wellness is health. It’s living a healthy and fulfilling life, and taking responsibility for your own health. We’re taking ownership of the word wellness and are going to strive to clean up its reputation!

Go on then, how?

As an evidence based clinic, we rely heavily on what research tells us is effective for managing conditions or symptoms, and as such the treatment protocols that we utilise can vary quite dramatically depending on what the latest high quality research says is effective. We don’t sell long treatment plans, and you shouldn’t buy into one either- it’s impossible to know that someone will need 12 treatments to get you better when they first start seeing you- instead, a short course of treatment should be proposed and that should definitely include a review appointment where you discuss your progress and determine if you should be discharged from care.  We collect patient reported outcome measures to ensure that we do not over or under-treat our patients, and this provides us with an opportunity to identify how effective the treatment is that we’ve provided,
(P.S. We monitor how many treatments our patients receive on average- it’s just 5 appointments over a 3 month period!)

We promise you that as an ethical healthcare clinic we will never offer you ineffective, unnecessary treatment.

Why does wellness matter?

If you were lucky enough to be born in the UK, chances are you’ll have encountered the NHS once or twice. The NHS is a fantastic system for taking care of us, but it is overstretched, overburdened and not coping. When it was established in 1948, life expectancy for men was 66 years old, and for holistic health chiropractic chiropractor nutrition nutritionist healthcare therapy rooms Emsworth Hampshire NHS healthy holistic wellnesswomen, 71. Today those figures are 77.2 and 81.5. Over the past 60 years, the proportion of all deaths caused by cancer has risen, from 16.9 to 27 per cent. It took 50 years for the UK population to increase from 40 to 50
million between 1898 and 1948, but in just 24 years the population will increase by 10 million – and hit 70 million in 2029, according to the Office for National Statistics.  Simply put, there’s more of us, we’re living longer, with more diseases and more complex health needs than ever before. Our poor NHS can’t cut it.

The NHS will always be there for us when we get sick- but how about we work a little harder to stop ourselves needing it in the first place?

More and more people are recognising a need to take responsibility for their own health and are striving to lead a healthier lifestyle. This can be through small steps, such as reducing your alcohol intake, not smoking, regularly exercising or you might take it a little further, with bespoke nutritional programmes, chiropractic care to optimise performance and move well, in addition to regular care to address the stresses and strains we put our body through on a daily basis.

An holistic approach to health

Ahh, “holistic”. Another dirty word. Or is it? Philosophically, holism is described as “the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.” From a medical perspective, it’s characterised by “the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.” Doesn’t sound so bad to me- as humans we holistic health chiropractic chiropractor nutrition nutritionist healthcare therapy rooms Emsworth Hampshire NHS healthy holistic wellnessdo need to consider the person as a whole. Someone with back pain doesn’t just have back pain- they have a problem that’s preventing them from going to work (social issue), that’s causing them anxiety (psychological issue), that’s limiting their ability to walk (physical issue) and no doubt a whole host of other problems. So it would be churlish to only consider the physical issues- that’s probably not going to get them truly better, particularly for those with high anxiety levels as there’s a whole host of research that tells us they need more specific management to help with their back pain. We need to acknowledge their
needs as a whole. We need to ensure we address all these aspects in order for them to recovery.

We also need to consider the why behind their pain. For example, a smoker will report higher levels of pain perception than a non-smoker. That’s an environmental issue. So an holistic approach would aim to tackle the smoking also (not least for the hundreds of health benefits you see from being a non-smoker) and encourage you to take active steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle (there’s that wellness
definition popping up again!)

This is what we aim to provide for our patients- not just addressing the physical symptoms but ensuring that all your health needs are met.

So when we talk about taking an holistic approach to wellness, that suddenly doesn’t sound like such a bad thing, does it?

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Guest Blog: Calcium and Osteoporosis

Is Calcium supplementation alone always the answer in Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a multi-factoral disorder and nutrition is only one factor contributing to its development and progression.  Calcium supplementation is usually suggested yet we routinely exceed our dietary intake of calcium and therefore we shouldn’t be deficient on the modern diet.

Turning our attention to the nutrients that aid calcium’s absorption and retention, namely vitamin D and magnesium therefore seems more necessary as well as considering other lifestyle factors that could be depleting calcium stores.

Most of us are deficient in Vitamin D so having your levels checked with a GP is a good place to start when you are considering bone health.  The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium from your diet and it also maintains serum calcium and phosphate concentrations which enables bone mineralization.  If you don’t have enough vitamin D, calcium cannot be absorbed from the diet and the body will take it from its stores in the skeleton.  This process weakens existing bones and prevents the formation of strong, new ones.  Vitamin D is found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel (no more than 2 portions a week) as well as fortified foods.  Sunshine is also needed to synthesise vitamin D through the skin and just 10 minutes a day on your face and hands can be enough to increase your stores over the Summer (although please take precautions if you need to). Once you have had a test to determine your levels your GP can also recommend a vitamin D supplement to raise your levels.

The Role of Magnesium

Magnesium works with vitamin D to control calcium levels.  Magnesium is calcium’s pair in nature and it is the dietary ratio of these two minerals which ensures calcium absorption and retention.  If too much calcium is taken in the diet it suppresses the absorption of magnesium which results in calcium deficiency!  This ratio is exaggerated in the modern diet when tends to be high in calcium and low in magnesium rich foods.  For example in fish, there is 8mg of calcium and 26mg of magnesium whereas in milk there is 116mg of calcium but 12mg of magnesium – whilst milk contains more calcium it will be poorly absorbed due to the lack of magnesium.  Magnesium is another mineral that we are usually low in as the levels in our soil are depleted and most magnesium is found in the outer coating of grains which is removed during refining.  In addition, calcium is usually added to wheat which upsets the ratio again.  Start increasing your intake of magnesium rich foods by eating legumes, nuts and wholegrains so that the calcium you are eating can actually be absorbed!   Magnesium supplements are usually poorly absorbed but there are companies that make magnesium flakes that you can put in the bath (not Epsom salts) which are not only great for aching muscles but your body only absorbs what it needs from a more natural form.

Other factors to consider are sugar, high salt consumption, high protein intake, tea, coffee and alcohol which can wash away dietary magnesium so you must also consider these factors if you want to improve your bone health.  For your information, too little protein in your diet can be associated with poor recovery from osteoporotic fractures so make sure you include good quality protein at every meal.

What else can I do to help?

Resistance exercise (weights), in conjunction with the above dietary measures, can also have a beneficial effect on bone health as it increases bone density and reduces fractures.  These types of exercise works by putting tension on your muscles,  which puts pressure on your bones, which respond by creating fresh, new bone.  If you encounter pain or problems whilst exercising, be sure to let your chiropractor know so we can review your exercises and technique.
I hope this article has shown that whilst calcium has its place in managing osteoporosis and bone health, other factors are also necessary and should therefore also be considered once osteoporosis has been diagnosed but more importantly for its prevention.

This information is supplied by Registered Nutritional Therapist Nicola Russell from the Way to Eat, Midhurst.

To visit Nicola’s website, please follow the link here: The Way To Eat

T: 01243 379693
E: acorn@acornhealth.org.uk
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HotYoga: This Girl Can!

I like to practice what I preach, and so when I saw the “This Girl Can” campaign from Sport England, I thought it was about time I tried something new!  I grew up playing team sports, and freely admit I am much more comfortable charging around a lacrosse field in sub-zero temperatures than I am in a yoga studio, particularly one that is heated to a tropical 40 degrees, yet that’s exactly what I did yesterday.   I had heard a number of my patients mention hot yoga in Chichester, so after a brief chat with Natalie the owner, we went along for our first session.

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga postures with breathing exercises, and the temperature of the room is designed to warm and ease your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) to allow a deeper stretch, as well as adding a little bit of mental challenge to the exercises.  Anyone who thinks that yoga is a bit of deep breathing and a gentle stretch- think again!

Our clinic manager Rhiannon is already a bit of a yoga bunny, so she kindly accompanied me for moral support.  It may surprise you to know that chiropractors can suffer with back pain too (mine is related to one-too-many falls off a horse) so I was hesitant about contorting myself into the bizarre postures that I’ve seen yoga fans perform, envisaging a few days of the inevitable grumbling lower back pain and achey I’ve-done-a-workout shoulders afterwards.

90 minutes? 40 degrees? We must be mad!  However, fuelled with images from Sport England’s advert of women looking exhausted but triumphant, I decided that I wanted to be one of them and was determined to give Bikram a go.  Trying something new and totally different was a little nerve-wracking (“What on earth is a tree pose? Who is savasana and why do they keep asking her to lie down?”) but after a while, and with some gentle advice from the instructor, I managed to get the hang of the exercises.

There’s a moment when you’re exercising or trying to get fit, where that little voice in your head tells you “It would be so much easier if you stopped”, or better yet “You really can’t do this. You’re never going to look like that girl over there so why bother?”  Ignoring that little (or not-so-little) voice in your head is the real challenge.  For me, that little voice kicked in after about an hour, when I caught sight of my red, puffy face in the mirror and realised that no, my leg really doesn’t bend that way.  So I took a break. Yep, I stopped, sat down, reassessed, and watched everyone else sweating and stretching away.   This Girl Can is encouraging us all to “wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgment is a barrier that can be overcome.”  So when I sat down in a sweaty heap on my mat, a part of me expected to receive the inevitable raised eyebrows or smug “I’m-fitter-than-you” smirks.  But no, not ONCE did I feel embarrassed about it, or lazy, or feel like a failure.  I was amazed to receive a smile and a wink from the instructor, the girl next to me gave me a relieved s
mile and then plonked down on her mat for a minute, and the chap at the end of the room mouthed “You ok?” to me.  That was when the dawning realisation came to me that we were all there trying to acheive the same thing- relaxation, fitness, flexibility, and I’m sure a few other things too!  There was no shame in taking a break (yes, I got back to it a few minutes later) as we were all supporting each other to help get through what was a challenging activity!

Taking breaks when it becomes too much allows you to establish where your limits lie, and gives you an opportunity to identify problem areas that you might want to work on in the future.  We all have to start somewhere, so whether you are an exercise addict already, or just want to try and get back in to shape, try something new, bring a friend with you, make it social and fun, or do like we did and go to Bikram and make it sweaty!

We conquered HotYoga, and although I am a little achey today, I know I’ll be going back.  Because this girl can!


Nutritional Therapy & Chiropractic

We’re delighted to welcome the first of our guest blog writers.  Nicola Russell is a registered Nutritional Therapist based in Midhurst, who works closely with her clients to address how optimum nutrition can be the key to a healthy lifestyle.

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease

Thomas Edison, US Inventor 1847-1931

“I became interested in Chiropractic care after suffering from a bad back in my early 20’s following a fall from a horse when I was younger.  However, I have continued seeing chiropractors from that pred berries acorn health food fruitoint onwards as I came to understand that keeping my spine, joints and muscles flexible and moving freely ensures my body stays pain-free and able to cope with what I ask of it during day-to-day life.  Chiropractic care is not just for bad backs!

Nutritional Therapy looks at addressing nutritional imbalances which also effects chemical reactions and bodily functions, and works with clients on many levels to support the body towards healing itself.  Co-management of certain clients therefore makes sense and I think Chiropractic care and Nutritional Therapy naturally go hand in hand.

For those already suffering from musculoskeletal complaints, dietary modification could help with pain management.  For example, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) is implicated in the pathophysiology of Metabolic Syndrome (a collection of risk factors that can lead to diabetes, strokeacorn health lettuce green and heart diseases) which may be linked to musculoskeletal pain (Seaman & Palombo, 2014).  An elevated body mass index could also indicate a pro-inflammatory boy chemistry and be seen as a potential initiator/promoter of pain too (Seaman, 2013) and it therefore may be incumbent upon chiropractors to identify those at risk and refer them on.   Insulin resistance, weight gain and other conditions can be reversed with the help of a Nutritional Therapist though the use of multiple strategies such as dietary and lifestyle modifications.

Chiropractors also work to encourage dietary and lifestyle modifications as they have recognised the importance of looking at the whole person in order to obtain optimum health.  I believe that proper nutrition, chiropractic care and regular exercise are the keys to good health!

Chiropractic health nutrition exercise fitness

Nicola Russell  BSc, mBANT, CNHC.T
The Way to Eat
07789 881622

Follow the Way to Eat on Facebook and Twitter.

If you would like any help or information about how nutritional therapy could help you, please contact nicola@thewaytoeat.co.uk

 

References

Seaman, D. (2013) ‘Body mass index and musculoskeletal pain: is there a connection?’ Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 21:15

Seaman, D. and Palombo, A. (2014) ‘An overview of the identification and management of the metabolic syndrome in chiropractic practice’ Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 13(3): 210-9

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