Tag: Physiotherapist

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!


Save a life

As of October 2014, you are no longer required to display your tax disc in your car. Why not put your holder to good use today and you may save a life.

The Acorn Health emergency tax disc can hold vital information that an emergency first responder can use to save your life in a accident. Please note all personal details are kept hidden to passersby while in the car tax disc holder.

Download, print and fill out the below pdf to start benefitting. This is a free document that anyone can utilise so please share our link.

Acorn Health Emergency Tax Disc 2015


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, then we can start the treatment 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, and about 1 inch long) into specific points in your body.  Mention “acupuncture” to someone, and you may think of something like the image below, using dozens of needles.

Acupuncture back pain chiropractor Emsworth Hampshire

 

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 at Acorn Health, 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 chiropractic back pain injury Emsworth Hampshire
Philippa using acupuncture to treat an elbow condition

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.

Brain acupuncture chiropractic back pain Emsworth Hampshire3) 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 children neck pain rucksack backpack school toddler teenager children weight pain growth injury spine health emsworth chiropractic chiropractor

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.

Source: telegraph.co.uk
Source: telegraph.co.uk

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!
Source: blog.corewalking.com
Source: blog.corewalking.com
  • 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!
Source: gettyimages.com
Source: gettyimages.com

 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.


PPQM award chiropractic Emsworth Hampshire

PPQM Award

We are excited to announce Acorn Health in Emsworth has been awarded the highly regarded Patient Partnership Quality Mark (PPQM) from the Royal College of Chiropractors which recognise excellence in terms of meeting patient expectations. This award is a great contribution to the Emsworth health care community as less than 150 clinics in the whole of the UK hold a PPQM.

Philippa Oakley, principal Chiropractor adds, ‘We are thrilled to have been recognised as one of them in just over 6 months from opening and we are looking forward to going up to London to collect the award in January! As part of the mark, we are required to demonstrate that we meet patient expectations in a wide range of areas including; accessibility, communication with our patients, privacy, patient aftercare and record keeping.’

For more information about the Quality Marks, visit the Royal College of Chiropractors website here.

1, 2, 3, Lift!

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.

Lifting man
Source: chiroone.net

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.

Woman files
Source: woman.thenest.com

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.

Golfer’s lift-

Golfers lift
Source: experiencelife.com

When to use: Great for picking up light objects out of deep bins/containers or picking up small objects off the floor

How:

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.

Tripod lift-

When to use: Good for heavy objects with uneven weight distribution (such as sacks of food)

Tripod lift
Source: veitchphysio.com

How:

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.

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