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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?

outcome wellness patients results care benefit chiropractic chiropractor GP improvement cost

Feet back pain chiropractic chiropractor osteopath physiotherapy massage back pain neck pain treatment injury recovery Hampshire Emsworth Chichester Sussex

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

Five top tips for avoiding sailing injuries and back pain

Living and working in Emsworth and Langstone, you’ll know that sailing is an inherent part of our community here (so much so, we’ve included some photos taken by Philippa of our lovely harbour!) As such, it’s not uncommon for us to be treating professional or recreational sailors in clinic, and whether you compete professionally or just enjoy a turn about the Solent, sailing poses as much a risk of injury as with any sport.Sailing windsurfing sport water exercise fitness health sail sailor boat boating yacht yachting dinghy barge windsurf chiropractor chiropractic physiotherapy physiotherapist osteopath osteopathy injury exercise health hampshire langstone emsworth fareham Sailors often compete in extremely difficult conditions, battling high winds and rough seas, and as such the risk of injury during sailing is 8.6 per 1000 hours sailing when training, and 2.2/1000 otherwise.  In a study on the 2003 America’s Cup, researchers found that the upper limb was the most commonly injured body segment (40%), followed by the spine and neck (30%), and the most common injuries were joint/ligament sprains (27%) and tendinopathies (20%). (1)

Who is at risk of injury?

Mastmen are at greatest risk of acute injuries, helmsmen most commonly injury the upper-limb through steering, whilst grinders and bowmen are at the greatest risk of injury from repetitive strains.  High repetition activities such as hiking, pumping, grinding and sterring are major causes of overuse injury, even in the most experienced of sailors.  Windsurfers are also frequently admitted to hospital suffering from chronic lower back injuries as a result of “pumping” the sail.

 

Sailing windsurfing sport water exercise fitness health sail sailor boat boating yacht yachting dinghy barge windsurf chiropractor chiropractic physiotherapy physiotherapist osteopath osteopathy injury exercise health hampshire langstone emsworth fareham
Windsurfing in Emsworth- photo taken by Philippa!

It’s not just the professionals who are at risk of injury, as novice and recreational sailors commonly encounter acute injuries such as contusions or abrasions after colliding with the boom or other equipment whilst performing manoeuvres. (1)  Not only that, but there are other perils to consider:  tripping over ropes, winches and cleats; being swept overboard or falling down open hatches!

 

How and why do sailing injuries occur?

[clickToTweet tweet=”What are the main contributors to #sailing #injuries? Find out here! #Chiropractic” quote=”The main contributors to sailing injuries are: Heavy weather (23%), tacking (17%), jibing (13%), sail change (12%) and alcohol (7%)”]

  • Injuries may result from a lack of general fitness, overuse, overtraining, or macrotraumatic accidents.

  • Lack of warming up, stretching, and cooling down may also increase the risk of injury.

  • Muscles are placed at high risk when performing explosive, powerful moves, such as those frequently required when sailing.

  • Shoulder and arm injuries are common through constant handling of the mainsheet, and the sudden, strong movements in hiking may lead to back and knee problems.  (Remember Sir Ben Ainslie’s back injury? This was caused by repetitive, high strain hiking out!)Sailing windsurfing sport water exercise fitness health sail sailor boat boating yacht yachting dinghy barge windsurf chiropractor chiropractic physiotherapy physiotherapist osteopath osteopathy injury exercise health hampshire langstone emsworth fareham

  • Inadequate leg strength and poor hiking technique are thought to predispose the knee to injury.

  • Boats can be difficult to navigate around and result in crew members having to adopt awkward positions, often resulting in rotating, hyperextending, locking, or twisting of joints.

  • Incorrect lifting technique (more advice on this here!)

  • Postural problems are common in the majority of the population, and these inherent issues can lend themselves to musculoskeletal problems.

  • Poor fitness training may exacerbate common muscular imbalances associated with changing forces on opposing muscle groups while sailing.

If ignored, it is easy for these issues to progress into a chronic problem, the possible severity of which could impact on your participation and enjoyment in the sport.

So what can be done about it? Five simple steps to avoiding sailing injuries!

  1.  A robust exercise regime is crucial, which should focus on all aspects of physical fitness in order to ensure that your body can cope with the demands of sailing.
    – Cardiovascular training
    – Strength training (Competitive sailors should undergo regular health screening with specific strengthening of high-risk muscle groups, synergists and stabilizers. )
    – Flexibility training
    – Core stability training
    – For more advice on bespoke rehabilitation plans, please email us at acorn@acornhealth.org.uk or visit our Langstone clinic.
  2. Research has shown that aerobic training and fitness is directly related to an improved reaction speed to wind shifts, as well as enhanced endurance, decision making, and concentration, particularly in the later stages of races. Mental and physical recovery is faster for those who are physically fit. Suggested types of aerobic exercise that are most appropriate for sailors are rowing, cycling, swimming, stair climbing, or running.(3)/li>
  3. Regular checkups can help ensure joint movement and function is maintained, as well as provide an opportunity for assessment of joint strength and function.  Not only will this help reduce the risk of developing injuries, but it can also speed up recovery should you become injured.
  4. Technical skill and expertise is important– if your technique needs improvement, seek out advice and informed coaching to help minimise the risk of developing an injury as a result of poor technique.
  5. Taking frequent breaks and changing positions during long periods of sailing. This will help prevent postural stresses and strains from occurring and is a healthy spinal habit we all should follow.

Whilst we have focused on musculoskeletal injuries, there are a number of other safety measures to take into consideration. Above all, always wear a life jacket when sailing. In the UK, there were 35 sailing or water-sport related deaths at sea in 2014 alone. Safety at sea should always be taken seriously.

Want more advice or information on this topic? Email us at acorn@acornhealth.org.uk or call the clinic on 01243 379693.

Boat sailing acorn health chiropractic

References:
1. Neville, V., Folland, J.P. (2009) The epidemiology and aetiology of injuries in sailing.  Sports Medicine. 39(2) 129-145.
2. Nathanson, Mello, Baird “Sailing Injuries and Illness – Results of an Internet-based survey” Wild Env Med 2010
3. Allen, J.B., De Jong, M.R. (2006) Sailing and sports medicine: A literature review. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 40(7) 587-593.

Healthcare: What made the headlines in 2015?

They say money never sleeps, but in reality, it’s healthcare that never sleeps. Constant innovation, new technologies, new treatments, medications, therapies and more, healthcare is changing and developing fast enough to make your head spin.

Happy New Year!

With a New Year just hours away, we thought we’d take the opportunity to review the latest and greatest developments in healthcare throughout 2015, as well as popular healthcare articles that made headlines and our own most popular content.

1.  A cure for Ebola

This, without doubt, is top of our list of 2015’s successes. Since the 2014 ebola outbreak, over 11,300 lives have been lost but a new vaccine that has been heralded as a “potential game changer” saw a huge drop in the number of new cases. Whilst the disease has not been totally defeated yet with a risk of new outbreaks or long-term side effects still a very real issue, just two days ago, the World Health Organisation declared an end to the ebola outbreak in Guinea.

2. Sexism in the ER

One of the most widely-shared articles on the internet in 2015, this article from The Atlantic posed some interesting questions about how doctors interpret (or in fact, underestimate) women’s pain.  In America, men wait an average of 49 minutes before receiving an analgesic for acute abdominal pain. Women wait an average of 65 minutes for the same thing.  A harrowing and extreme example perhaps, but it highlights the ultimate need for all healthcare professionals to listen, understand and consider each person as an individual before making a clinical decision. There is no place for assumptions or generalisations in healthcare.

3. When the media gets it wrong

In a classic example of misinterpretation, a report from the American Journal of Cardiology caused quite a stir when it suggested that “strenuous jogging is as bad as no exercise at all.” The claims were quickly clarified by the NHS, as what the media failed to make clear here was the size of the demographic involved Acorn Health Mensin the study- once the 1500 participants had been split into groups based on duration, frequency, and pace, some individual groups – particularly the most active groups – were (by research standards) too small to draw any real clinical significance from, with just 36 runners classified as “strenuous joggers.” As a result, the analyses conducted were less able to detect what, if any differences were present between the two groups.  A classic example of needing to know the full picture when drawing a healthcare conclusion like this. (N.B.  The biggest concern with exercise is not “overdoing” it. It’s not doing enough! If you’re thinking of taking up a new hobby in 2016, let’s keep you injury free.)

4. Kinesiology tape

Our most popular post of 2015 was “Kinesiotape during Pregnancy”, which to date has had a whopping 22,800 social shares. Kinesiotape is paradoxically gentle, yet strong, and depending on the way it is applied, it creates an effect on skin that improves circulation, relieves pain and supports muscles and joints which can be a huge help for mums to alleviate some of the postural aches and pains associated with a growing bump!

5. Back pain and paracetamol

An article published in the British Medical Journal back in March of 2015 confirmed what many of us have known for some time- that paracetamol is ineffective for back pain.  With prescription of paracetamol being the most common approach to treatment used by general practitioners for spinal pain and osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, this has highlighted the need for a review and potential reconsideration of current recommendations that support the use of paracetamol for these groups.  The current guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence support the use of manual therapy for low back pain, alongside a structured exercise programme. Good news for Acorn Health patients who will know this is a fundamental part of our treatment programmes.

6. Our big news

2015 was a fantastic year for us as Philippa was accepted into the Royal College of Chiropractor’s specialist Pregnancy and Paediatric Faculty.  These specialist faculties recognise chiropractors who have undertaken Corporate office business work workstation assessment chiropractic chiropractor back pain health Emsworth Chichester Portsmouth Hampshire Farehamformal postgraduate studies and have specialist knowledge and expertise in their particular fields and Philippa was delighted to be welcome into the Paediatric Faculty in addition to her already acheiving Licenciate status with the specialist Pain Faculty.  Not only that, but 2015 also saw Acorn Health pick up
it’s second national award with the Royal College of Chiropractors, the Clinical Managment Quality Mark, which is awarded to those clinics that demonstrate excellence in terms of operating within a structured and managed clinical environment. The clinics must demonstrate excellence in a range of areas including clinical audit, incident reporting and patient satisfaction.

We were also delighted this year to have been accepted as a Dementia Friendly Business with the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, part of the Dementia Friends group.

7. #NHSWorkingXmas

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir beat out Justin Bieber for No 1 and the hashtag #NHSWorkingXmas became a Twitter trending sensation in the UK. Yes, 2015 was the year that the NHS fought back!  With the start of the year plagued with media coverage of Jeremy Hunt’s intention to impose new contracts affecting junior doctors throughout the NHS, doctors promptly took matters into their own hands and answered back with #ImInWorkJeremy, in response to the health minister’s comments on a “Monday to Friday working culture” within the NHS. With a number 1 single under their belt and a Twitter trend to their name, we felt that the NHS saw the year out on a high note!

8. Sugary Strikeback

red berries acorn health food fruit2015 brought sugar to the small screen in the form of the controversial Jamie’s Sugar Rush. One of our favourite pieces of the year was this article from the Huffington Post, showing what sugar does to your brain. In addition to being a key contributor to rising obesity levels, sugar is also known to impair memory, contribute to depression and anxiety and is linked to cognitive decline and dementia.  2015 was definitely the year that the UK began to combat the hidden sugars in our food, and began to make healthier dietary choices.

9. First Paracetamol, now Nurofen

The UK-based manufacturers of Nurofen, Reckitt-Benckiser were forced to defend their product after Australian courts ordered certain products off the shelves after finding each product, despite being marketed as able to treat specific pains, such as migraine, were identical to one another and contained the same active ingredient, ibuprofen lysine 342mg. Prices for these products also averaged around £3.49 for a box of 16 capsules. Why is it that snazzy packaging and good marketing so often tempts us in? We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. Save your money and buy generic. (They’ll cost you about 30p instead!)

10. Paraplegic man walks again

An accident 5 years ago left a 26 year old American man paralysed from the waist down, unable to use his legs. This year, scientists successfully rerouted nerve signals from the man’s brain to electrodes on his knees, enabling him to become the first person with paraplegia caused by a spinal injury to walk without relying on robotic limbs that are controlled manually.  Yes, our jaws dropped at this one too.  Around 50,000 people in the UK live with paralysis, and whilst this treatment surely won’t be appropriate or possible for each of them, it was a truly groundbreaking achievement in science, and a step on the path to giving this young man back his independence.

Quick bits:

Gosh- you see what we mean about how much takes place in a year? We know there’s been hundreds of new developments, too many to even mention, but we wanted to highlight a few of our favourites from 2015.

We have an exciting year lined up for us, with a new clinic opening at ActivHealth, Langstone Technology Park, Havant. We also have big plans for the introduction of new and improved online resources, new courses and workshops to be held and a few surprises we have in store for you (but aren’t quite ready to share yet!)

May we wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

healthcare health emsworth hampshire chiropractic chiropractor

Falls elderly ice snow weather cold falling Emsworth chiropractic Philippa McKernan chiropractor Hampshire Chichester Sussex Havant Waterlooville

Tis the season for… fall prevention

It’s officially winter, and whilst this brings slippers, warm fires, mulled everything and of course Christmas, it can often spell a hazardous period for those most at risk of a slip or fall.Falls fall elderly ice snow weather cold falling Emsworth chiropractic Philippa McKernan chiropractor Hampshire Chichester Sussex Havant Waterlooville

Who is most at risk of falling?

Physical changes to our bodies, coupled with underlying health conditions and sometimes even our medication can mean that as we get older, we’re at increased risk of falling.  In fact, falls prevention is an important issue as falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly and account for 87% of all fractures in the elderly.

Falls fall elderly ice snow weather cold falling Emsworth chiropractic Philippa McKernan chiropractor Hampshire Chichester Sussex Havant Waterlooville
Source: Learnnottofall.com

Older people are more likely to have a fall because they may have:

    • Poor vision
    • Poor balance
    • Muscle weakness
    • Long term health conditions (such as heart disease, low blood pressure or dementia)

Interestingly, it is not necessarily the frail elderly who are most at risk of falling. Vigorous older persons living with more home hazards  (such as loose rugs, dimly lit rooms or shower trays without slip matting) are more likely to fall than frail older persons with home hazards!

Falls are also a common cause of minor injury in pregnant women, but the truth is everyone is at risk of falls (how many times have you tripped rushing around at home, caught your foot on a rug or slipped over on a patch of ice?)

What to do if you have a fall

If you are hurt:

  • If you are hurt but able to move, getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.
  • Keep calm, if there is someone nearby ask them to call for an ambulance.
  • If you are alone, try to get someone’s attention by calling out for help, banging on the wall or floor, or using your emergency call button.
  • If possible, crawl to a telephone and dial 999 to request an ambulance.
  • Try to keep yourself warm. If you can reach a blanket or towel, put this over yourself (particularly your legs and feet).
  • Stay as comfortable as possible, try to change your position at least once every half an hour or so and wait for help to arrive.

If you are unhurt:

  • If you are unhurt and can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side, then rest again to allow your blood pressure and body to adjust.
  • Slowly get on to your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy piece of furniture (such as a bed or chair).
  • Put your hands on each side of the piece of furniture and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor.  Keep your other knee bent so your knee is on the floor.
  • From this kneeling position, slowly get yourself up and turn to sit on the bed or chair.

Ten top tips for fall prevention

  1. Route planner: Think about the best route to your destination and don’t rush on the way there. Allow yourself some extra time to make your journey.
  2. Don’t rush: If your destination involves a trip outdoors, avoid rushing or taking shortcuts over an area where there is snow or ice. Walk slowly, and never run over icy ground.
  3. Centre of balance: Take small steps to keep your centre of balance beneath you.
  4. Risk reduction: If you are in the “at risk” category, minimise your trip hazards at home.  This could mean installing handrails, removing loose rugs, and always keeping the stairs and hallway clear of objects such as books or shoes!)
  5. Shoes: Appropriate footwear is a must, indoors or outdoors.  Flat footwear with rubber soles provides better grip and traction than leather soles or high heels. At home, avoid slip-on shoes such as mule slippers.
  6. Handrails: Use handrails where possible to support yourself.
  7. Resist your pockets: Don’t put your hands in your pocket- keep them both free for balance.
  8. Watch out for cars: If getting in and out the car, hold on to the vehicle for support.
  9. Carrying sensibly: Avoid carrying your children or lots of heavy shopping bags, particularly on stairs.
  10. Use floor mats: Wipe your shoes when entering a building to remove moisture on the soles of your shoes. This not only reduces your risk of slipping, but means others walking behind you are less likely to slip on a wet surface too!

Do you know someone who is at risk of a slip or fall this winter? If so, please do share this information with them.  If you’ve had a fall and are in need of our assistance, you can call us on 01243 379693 or book your appointment online here and start your journey to a pain-free festive season!
Falls fall elderly ice snow weather cold falling Emsworth chiropractic Philippa McKernan chiropractor Hampshire Chichester Sussex Havant Waterlooville

7 simple steps to choosing a new mattress

The clocks are going back, and speaking of time, is it time for a new mattress?  It can be difficult trying to work out which one is going to be the best for you (and your partner!)  Did you know it’s recommended that you replace your mattress every seven years? A recent survey of over 2,000 adults found that more than one in ten (11%) adults have never replaced their mattress at all and the same number would only do so if they slept better on a different bed!

So, to make the decision easier for you, we’ve put together our six top tips for choosing a new mattress.

So which mattress should I choose?

  1. We’re going to let you in to a little secret… There is no single mattress style or type that works for all people with low back pain. Ultimately, if you find a mattress that means you sleep without pain, then that’s the one for you.  Choose the mattress that you find comfortable, which will depend upon your height, build and personal preference.
  2. Memory mattresses. Love it or hate it, memory foam can be a fantastic solution as it allows your mattress to support every contour of your body.  The only issue is, memory foam can be very expensive, and can cause sleepers to overheat.  If you’re committed to a full memory foam mattress, look for one with ventilation to stop you cooking gently overnight.  We’d suggest a memory foam toppers as it’s more affordable than a full memory foam mattress but offers many of the same health benefits as a full memory foam mattress.
  3. Balance.  Achieve a balance between back support and comfort. The old way of thinking was that a firm mattress offers more support, but what we know now is that it can cause pressure points as you have fewer areas of your body in contact with the mattress.  A medium-firm mattress may be more comfortable as it allows your shoulders and hips to sink in slightly.  If you want a firmer mattress for back support, we’d suggest one of those memory foam toppers we’ve mentioned earlier.
  4. Sleep quality is pivotal for those with low back pain so pay attention to the mattress components.  Mattresses can play a huge part in disturbed sleep- if you’re tossing and turning all night, you’re going to keep your partner awake.  Equally, you’re not getting a restful night’s sleep and there is a strong link between sleep quality and pain.   Mattresses with multi-zone pocket springs or unlinked pocket springs are a fantastic choice to eliminate partner disturbances- linked pocket springs tend to relay movement to adjoining springs, creating a ripple of movement across the mattress that’s bound to wake your partner up.  You could also explore the option of zip or link beds if you still can’t avoid waking each other up!
  5. When testing a new mattress, have someone look at the position of your back when you’re on the bed. If you are lying on your side on the bed, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and it should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate you’ll be able to tell if it’s the right mattress for you. Take your partner with you when you go to test them out.
  6. Don’t forget to try new pillows with your new mattress. There’s no point spending several Sleeping chiropractic back pain new mattress neck pain osteopathy physiotherapy Hampshire Emsworth Sussex Chichester Sleeping Posturehundred pounds on a new mattress if your pillows are as old as the hills- it’s important that you have a pillow that appropriately supports your head and neck too.
  7. Lastly, think about the height of the bed too.  If you have the world’s most perfect mattress but can’t physically get out of the bed comfortably, it’s not going to help with your back pain.  Make sure you can get in and out of the bed with relative ease before you commit to buying.

So, to summarise:

  • Choose the mattress that you find comfortable.
  • Consider a memory foam topper before investing in a full memory foam mattress.
  • A medium-firm mattress (with or without topper) is a safe bet.
  • A multi-zone pocket spring or unlinked coil spring will reduce partner disturbance.
  • Spend as much time lying on the mattress as possible before you buy it.
  • Your pillow needs to be appropriately supportive too!
  • Can you get in and out the bed easily? If not- don’t buy it.

A good night’s sleep is hugely important in recovering from any type of pain or injury.  If you need help or advice on coping with your pain, don’t hesitate to contact us on 01243 379693 or book an appointment here.

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Acorn Health © 2014 - 2022

Website Created by WebHolism