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Become a morning person this winter!

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It’s that time of year again. The clocks have changed, that highly-anticipated ‘extra hour in bed’ has been and gone. Soon the mornings will be darker than they were before. In some people, this can trigger SAD. Or at least an increased struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

With darker mornings, many people find it harder to wake and become motivated for the day ahead. There are several things that you can do to avoid repeatedly pressing the snooze button and instead, set a healthy tone for the rest of the day.

Wake up gradually

Many people become irritated by sudden and annoying alarm sounds. Start your day in a better mood by downloading an app that wakes you more gradually, with music or with a tone that gradually increases in volume, easing you in to your morning routine.

At this time of year, light alarm clocks are especially beneficial. These wake you with a gradually brightening light that simulates sunrise. Waking up naturally and gradually this way is much more welcome than being shocked out of a sound sleep.

Nourish your body

Feeling groggy, or even as if you have a hangover, isn’t uncommon when your alarm sounds. However, this may not caused by tiredness. Baring in mind that you have not consumed any food or drink for at least 7 hours (hopefully!), you may be dehydrated.

Keep a bottle of water by your bed to drink first thing. If you’re a coffee drinker, try to have a glass or two of water before your brew.

It’s also important to replenish your body with nutrients after a night’s sleep. Avoid opting for high-sugar and high-carbohydrate foods that will cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop just a couple of hours later. Instead, build your breakfast around complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, proteins such as eggs, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts. Having a nutritious, filling and enjoyable breakfast to look forward can also be a great motivator to get out of bed!

Exercise

Whether you’re a yogi, gym-goer or enjoy a revitalizing morning stroll, exercising in the morning will get your heart pumping oxygen-rich blood around your body, helping you to function more effectively. Exercise can also be a great way to clear your mind, preparing your for a productive and more stress-free morning, and obviously has huge benefit to your health.

Introduce these tips to your morning routine, aiming to commit for at least 21 days. This will help you to form healthy habits that both your mind and body will thank you for!

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Eat to beat pain!

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You’re probably aware of the primary factors that can cause or worsen pain. These can include poor posture, injury, too little (or too much) activity, and specific conditions such as arthritis.

But did you know that what you eat can also help to manage or relieve pain. It can even prevent it occurring in the first place?

Here are some of our top nutrition tips for managing pain.

  1. Ditch the processed foods

Processed foods generally refers to most things that come in a packet with a list of ingredients: from biscuits to ready meals to breakfast cereals. They often contain little in the way of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. They may worsen inflammation and pain because they contain higher levels of unhealthy fats – in particular, processed omega-6 fats and ‘trans’ fats, which have pro-inflammatory properties. Often they contain quickly absorbed sugars or refined carbohydrates too, which may exacerbate inflammation when consumed in excess.

In contrast, ‘real’ foods are as close as possible to how they are found in nature. They can include whole vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish, eggs and meat (whole cuts, not ‘deli’ or processed meats). These foods naturally contain higher levels of nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and pain, such as those we’re going to look at in more detail below.

  1. Eat magnesium-rich foods

One of the nutrients that may help to manage pain and inflammation is magnesium. Magnesium helps our muscles to work normally, including helping them to relax, which in turn helps to avoid or relieve muscle tension that can contribute to pain. This mineral is also important for the nerves.

Magnesium is found primarily in whole unprocessed plant foods – especially green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, seeds and nuts, and whole grains including rye and buckwheat.

  1. Include oily fish

Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies are high in omega-3 fats. These fats have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore may help to manage pain. The specific omega-3s in fish (EPA and DHA) can be more beneficial than the types of omega-3 found in seeds such as flax seeds.

Aim to eat a serving of oily fish around three times a week. These can include tinned sardines and salmon as long as they do not contain added vegetable oils (olive oil is fine). Note that ‘omega-3 fish fingers’ are not a good source of omega-3 fats – stick to the real thing!

  1. Get plenty of vitamin C

You may know vitamin C for its role in the immune system. But in fact the primary role of vitamin C is in making collagen – a protein that forms the basic structure of most of the body’s tissues, including the bones, joints and muscles. If your body can’t make collagen properly, these tissues will lose strength and function, contributing to not only day-to-day pain but also potentially painful conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Eating a variety of vegetables and fruit is the best way to get enough vitamin C. Although ‘five-a-day’ is the well-known recommendation, we should be aiming for at least seven portions a day, primarily of vegetables, in order to get good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include peppers, kale, broccoli, kiwi fruits, Brussels sprouts, watercress and red cabbage. If you can, get your veg and fruit from a local producer (e.g. a farmer’s market) as it can lose its vitamin C when it’s stored or transported for long periods of time.

  1. Include anti-inflammatory spices

The spices ginger and turmeric in particular can have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Use fresh ginger and powdered turmeric in your cooking whenever you can. Make fresh ginger tea with a grated thumb-sized piece of ginger. If you have a good vegetable juicer you can even make fresh ginger juice to sip on. Watch out, it’s strong!

  1. Try avoiding nightshades

The ‘nightshade’ or solanaceae vegetables may worsen inflammation and pain for some people. These are aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes (not sweet potatoes), and peppers – including chillis and all types of chilli powder (cayenne, paprika etc.). If you’ve implemented the other changes for at least three months and not noticed a significant improvement in your pain, then try eliminating the nightshade vegetables.

  1. Consider eliminating gluten

Gluten is a protein that’s found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. The most severe reaction to gluten is coeliac disease.  This is where the sufferer has to avoid gluten for the rest of their life. But some people who do not have coeliac disease may also react to gluten in a less severe way. This can contribute to inflammation in the body. If you’re cutting out gluten it can be best to work with a nutrition practitioner (e.g. a nutritional therapist). They can help to make sure you’re not missing out on any nutrients.

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Is the cold weather making your back pain worse?

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Do you think your back pain gets worse in winter?

Did you know… Those who suffer with chronic back pain might notice it gets worse during autumn and winter.

In fact… Although there’s not much scientific evidence that shows a link between chronic pain and humidity, temperature changes and wind speed, weather changes can affect those, who suffer with joint pain conditions, especially arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Did you know… The most commonly accepted reasoning is that with colder temperatures comes lower air pressure, that can cause joint tissues to expand—further worsening joints already prone to swelling and tenderness

If cold weather worsens your pain, you can prevent it yourself and combat it with these three simple steps:

  1. Heat therapy

Including heat therapy in your daily routine can help to reduce stiffness and boost healing through increased blood circulation. Try applying a warm towel or a heating pad to your painful area for about 20 minutes for temporary pain relief. You can also go for over-the-counter heat wraps

  1. Water Therapy

If you like swimming, try to visit heated indoor pool with hot baths, Jacuzzis and saunas a few times a week for almost instant relief from your pain

  1. Stay active

As tempting as it is to just stay on the sofa during winter evenings. It is crucial to keep your spine mobile and stay active. If your pain is too severe to go to the gym, try long walks with hiking poles. Or try Pilates at home

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The Dangers of High Heels

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The Dangers of High Heels

With party season approaching, ladies are likely to be high heel searching! High heels can cause problems. Beyond the traditional parental warning of “you’ll break your ankle in those!”, there are many other issues, seen every day by professionals, that are caused by high heel wearing.

High heels are the worst possible shoes for your feet. When heels are excessively high, the ball of your foot absorbs the full amount of pressure on your foot and the weight of your body on this one area can cause a huge range of problems, including bunions, aching and tired feet, and a burning sensation in the balls of your feet.

As the fashion for higher and higher heels grows, as does the range of foot problems occurring. Conditions such as bunions are becoming more prevalent as women opt for skyscraper heels and the higher the heel, the greater the risk of falling and causing serious injury.

The height of the heel is directly proportionate to the increase in pressure on the ball of the foot and to how short each stride becomes.

It’s not uncommon to hear notorious high heel wearers complaining of bunions. High heels, especially those with pointed toes, force your foot to slide forwards, so that all the weight of your body is on this part of your foot. This crams your toes together and pushes your big toe in toward your other toes. Over time, this repetitive action can cause a permanent distortion, called Hallux Valgus as your foot tries to change its shape to fit such shoes. To protect the area a fluid filled sack builds up over the area called a bunion, when this becomes inflamed it can be very painful.

Wearing high heels can also cause issues beyond your feet. High heels cause the calf muscle fibres to shorten, even when not wearing heels. If you wear heels most of the time, your foot and leg positioning that is adopted in heels. This becomes the default position for your joints and the structures within your leg and foot.

Advice

Advice is not to wear heels or flat shoes all the time, but both in moderation. Also, if you wear heels day-to-day, kick them off wherever possible. This allows your foot to relax back to a better position. So, enjoy heels during party season but give your feet some TLC, too, allowing them time to recover between festivities.

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How Are Migraines Different From Headaches, And How Should You Treat Them?

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A lot of people will only suffer from migraines once or twice in their lives and are not too adversely affected by them. However, there is a severe type of headache called a migraine that can keep returning and be incredibly debilitating. One in every five women suffer from migraines. One in every 15 men suffer from migraines. This is an estimate by the NHS. They usually begin in early adulthood.

The Cause

The exact cause of migraines is still somewhat unknown; the current understanding is that there is a temporary change in the chemicals and blood vessels of the brain.

A Migraine are typically experienced as a severe headache. Often with a throbbing pain in the front or sides of the head. Some people have other symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound or smells. Migraines can last from a few hours to a few days.

There are different types of migraine. You can get migraines with aura, which is where there are warning signs of the migraine in the form of visual disturbance such as seeing spots, lights or blurred lines. There are also migraines that occur without warning, and it is even possible to have a migraine aura without the accompanying headache.

There are also many different possible triggers;

  • Stress
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Sleeping patterns
  • Hormones
  • Tension

How to Treat them

In order to manage migraines in a regular sufferer, identification of a specific trigger is essential. Behavioural or lifestyle changes playing an important part in the treatment. This includes avoidance of certain foods. Maintenance of a regular sleep pattern. Chiropractic treatment also has the ability to alleviate some contributory factors or after effects including relieve of restriction in movement of the neck, muscle tension in the neck, upper back and shoulders and helping correct any postural issues that may influence the occurrence of both migraine and tension headaches.

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Don’t let RSI slow you down, here’s how to reduce the risks…

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Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) can affect any of your joints and muscles. RSI is often associated with upper limb disorders and is a potentially debilitating condition. Due to prolonged repetitive, forceful or awkward movements of the joints.

Common causes include sports, computer work, manual jobs and heavy lifting etc. The result of RSI includes damage to muscles, tendons, nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and hand. This can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or impairment of motor control.

Not only can joint problems in the spine cause neck pain and headaches.  Muscle spasm in these areas can cause referred pain into the arms. If the nerves that exit the spine get irritated, muscles in the arm and hand can weaken increasing the likelihood of RSI.

If your job involves sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time, there are a simple exercises you can introduce. Make sure you set up your equipment properly, take regular breaks and of course get treatment and advise early on. However, it is important to mention that even if you sit correctly at your ‘perfect’ workstation you can still get problems with RSI if you do the wrong things, especially if you have an underlying neck problem. So, make sure you have a checkup with a chiropractor if you suffer any pain or discomfort.

Exercise decreases the risk of developing RSI. Make sure you stop at regular intervals and do exercises to increase the circulation:

  • Pulling fingers back to stretch your forearm
  • Shaking hands out
  • Massaging forearms
  • Squeezing shoulder blades together
  • Squeezing a squidgy ball
  • Shoulder rolling
  • General stretching of your neck can be counter-productive, especially if you have pre existing neck problem. Make sure your chiropractor checks your neck first.

 

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How tight are your hip flexors?

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Your hip flexors are an important muscle group. If they are tight, your spine can become more unstable. Painful misaligned pressure is then added to your lower back. This happens as your muscles try to realign your spine.

Prolonged sitting is one of the biggest reasons for short hip flexors and they can tighten up if your core muscles are not working well. Tightness of the hip flexors will make your back arch more and put pressure on the spinal joints. It will also inhibit the core muscles of the stomach that support your spine, making it unstable and vulnerable to injury.

Tight hip flexors can result in a lot of pain and discomfort and it can make even the simplest everyday tasks seem like a challenge.

Stretches and exercises that have been designed to relax, lengthen and strengthen your hip flexors will form one important part in helping you help protect your joints and improve your mobility to help prevent injuries from occurring.

Here are a few exercises and stretches to help loosen up your hip flexors and improve your mobility.

Stretching: Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Lye on your back on your bed
  2. Shuffle to the edge so your left leg starts to hang over the side
  3. Bend the right leg and lift it so you can take hold of your right knee
  4. Bring it up towards you chest as far as you can and let the left leg fall down as far as you can
  5. Relax in to this position and old for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times on each side.

Exercise: Pulse Lunges

  1. Resume a lunge position and make tiny pulsing movements to activate your hip flexors
  2. Repeat for 30 seconds on each leg for three sets
  3. Reverse lunges with knee charge
  4. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  5. Take a step backwards with your right foot and lower into a deep lunge position
  6. Shift your weight onto your left foot and drive your right knee upwards, until your knee is parallel to the ground
  7. Repeat this movement for 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg
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Top Tips to Avoid Back Pain at Christmas

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As we approach the Christmas season, you might be more worried about piling on the pounds. We begin worrying about feeling like a Christmas Pudding on the big day than anything else. However you’d be surprised how many people hurt their back over the festive period!

Did you know…

There is an increase in patients coming in to the clinic with backaches and pains that have appeared during the Christmas period.

In fact…

There are many ways you can hurt your back this season. Bending and lifting heavy items like Christmas trees and furniture.  Even lifting the turkey can easily strain your back or exacerbate existing aches and pains.

If you do hurt your back or neck during the holidays, your first thought might be to put your feet up on the sofa and watch some festive films and wait till the pain disappears.

But remember…

Although this may seem like the obvious option, it is much more beneficial for your back to keep your muscles moving.

Here are our top tips to avoid back pain at Christmas:

  • If you’re lifting heavy or awkward objects like the Christmas tree or furniture. Always ask for help and make sure you also bend your knees when lifting heavier items!
  • When you’re putting up decorations, use a stepladder. This can avoid over stretching or straining your back or neck.
  • Make sure you go for regular walks over the holidays, and if you don’t have time, make sure you’re supporting your back at all times with a small cushion.
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Back Pain Myths

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In the UK, back pain is one of the most common reasons people miss work, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. With something so common, it has easy for people to get confused about back pain and misconceptions to arise!

We know that the easiest way to tackle back pain is to keep moving, but sometimes these myths and misconceptions can stop people from doing exercise or seeking proper treatment.

One of the most common myths about back pain is that people think it’s not going to happen to them. In fact 4 out of 5 of us will be affected by back pain at some point in our lives!

Here are the top myths about back pain debunked:

MYTH – Exercise will cause or worsen back pain

Firstly staying bed bound with back pain can be one of the worst things you can do! Without exercise muscles become weakened, deconditioned and stiff. To reduce back pain you should rest, calm the pain, followed by gentle exercise.

MYTH – If you see a spine specialist you will end up getting surgery

Spinal surgery is only recommended in about 1% of cases. In most cases the treatments recommended will be non-surgical, such as exercise, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.

MYTH – Back pain is a normal part of ageing

Some people believe that back pain is a typical part of getting older but it shouldn’t be a normal part of your day. We all get aches and pains as we age, however with all the options to ease back pain available today you shouldn’t suffer in silence.

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Eating to Beat Stress

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Chronic stress can have a negative effect on our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing. It can play a role in our susceptibility to illness and disease, but also in day-to-day functional problems such as pain and stiffness.

There are of course many steps we can take to improve our ability to cope with stress. Today we’re focusing on the role of nutrition – what and how to eat to better manage stress.

Balancing your blood sugar

To cope well with stress, we need our food to provide us with balanced, sustained energy. Foods that quickly break down into glucose and are quickly absorbed – such as sugary foods and fast-releasing carbohydrates – may give us a burst of energy, but can cause our blood sugar to peak and then dip. This can actually increase our body’s stress response and stress hormone levels, as well as making us feel irritated and out of control.

Here are the three fundamental steps to balancing your blood sugar:

  1. Eat primarily whole foods: vegetables, animal foods (eggs, fish, unprocessed meat, unsweetened dairy foods), nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and some fruit. Avoid sugary snacks, refined carbohydrates and other processed foods such as breakfast cereals.
  2. Making sure every meal includes a good serving of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. The primary protein foods are the animal foods mentioned above, and nuts and seeds, and beans and lentils. Healthy fats are found in nuts and seeds, oily fish, avocadoes, and coconut. Complex carbs are found in vegetables, whole fruit (i.e. not fruit juices), whole grains, beans and lentils.
  3. Eating regularly. Skipping meals or leaving too long between meals can cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, which can also trigger a stress response.

Getting enough food

As well as eating regularly, getting enough food is important when you’re dealing with stress. Going on a weight loss diet – whether it’s low-calorie, low-carb or low-fat – during a stressful time can be particularly bad for your stress levels. Instead, now is the time to focus on balancing your blood sugar as outlined above, by eating regular meals, getting enough protein, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables and cutting the refined carbohydrates and junk foods. You should find it easier to manage your weight – or lose weight – by eating in this way anyway.

Healthy snacking

Although regular snacking is not the best thing for everyone, it can be helpful if you’re coping with stress, again by helping to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. Your snacks need to be based on whole foods, and contain some protein and complex carbohydrates.

Examples include:

  • Two or three oatcakes with one of the following: a tablespoon of hummus, guacamole, cottage cheese, half an avocado, a hard-boiled egg or a teaspoon or two of nut butter (e.g. almond butter).
  • A pot of natural yoghurt (without added sugar) with some berries and/or a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds mixed in.
  • A wedge of left-over home-made frittata/omelette.

However, you shouldn’t need to be snacking more than once between meals; constantly ‘grazing’ can have a negative effect on your weight and your digestion!

Magnesium-rich foods

The mineral magnesium plays a vital role in our psychological health, including our mood and how well we cope with stress. It’s thought that both physical and emotional stress can increase the body’s need for magnesium; and that having a low magnesium to calcium ratio (i.e. too little magnesium compared to calcium) can actually increase the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline. [1]

The best food sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard and spinach; seeds and nuts; and whole grains – especially buckwheat and rye.

B vitamin-rich foods

Like magnesium, B vitamins also play a vital role in our energy as well as our psychological function.

The various B vitamins are found in different foods, but the best all-round sources include eggs, oily fish, organ meats (especially liver), seeds and nuts, and beans and pulses. Luckily these are also foods that are great for our blood sugar balance!

Avoid overdoing stimulants

Many of us turn to stimulants such as tea and coffee when we’re feeling stressed. But stimulants of any kind also trigger the body’s stress response. Try to keep your coffee consumption in particular to a minimum. Tea can have a gentler stimulating effect so can be better tolerated, but keeping it to one cup a day can still be advisable. Try to introduce calming herbal teas such as chamomile and spearmint – especially later in the day.

Note that alcohol can also act as a stimulant as well as a relaxant. It also disrupts your blood sugar balance. Keep alcohol to a rare treat and stick to one drink only.

 

Source:

  1. Seelig MS. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Oct;13(5):429-46.

 

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Calf Injuries – Cause, Symptom, Prevention and Tips

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Calf Injuries

With long distance running marathons and triathlons becoming increasingly popular as well as a increasing array of high intensity exercise classes like Zumba, Barry’s Bootcamp, HulaFIt, calf muscle injures are seen more commonly.

Calf strain occurs when the muscle at the back of the lower leg becomes damaged or inflamed. This can be caused by excessive strain or force being placed on the calf muscle. These injuries often arise from sports that involve repeated jumping or change of direction. They can also occur with explosive sprinting or long distance running.

Calf muscle tears get more common as we get older due to loss of elasticity in our muscles and tendons. Soft tissue injuries get more common if you over train a certain structure and eventually it breaks. Injuries can start with micro-tears in the calf muscle and achilles tendon – this can result in a complete tear.

Patients are likely to feel aching and stiffness which becomes more apparent first thing in the morning and often the calf will feel weak. This results in the patient unable to resume activity and sometimes bear weight resulting in a limp.

If you’ve been inactive for an extended period of time, to prevent injuries you need to start off very slowly. Start with non-ballistic exercises such as calf raises. Then progress the program to eventually include ballistic exercises, maybe 3 months later.

Warming up and stretching after exercise is always recommended. Just be careful not to overstretch or put excess force on calf muscles. Stretch until there’s light tension in the muscles, taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling. Hold that position for 15-to-30 seconds, relax and repeat up to four times. Stay still and don’t bounce during stretching. Don’t push yourself to the point of pain; ease the stretch until it is comfortable.

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The Art of Mindfulness – How and Why?

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The Art of Mindfulness – How and Why?

Do you feel like you’re constantly multi-tasking? Constantly switched on and available to all via numerous modes of communication? Constantly planning for the future? Did you even notice the colour of the sky this morning?

Whether you have an important work deadline to meet or a dentist appointment to book. We are all guilty of succumbing to the pressures of a never ending to do list.

With our fast paced and demanding lifestyles, we tend to put the majority of our thoughts to the back of our mind. However, when we are not able to recognise the relevance or influence of individual thoughts they can filter into the physical body as muscle tension or inflammation. This is why the practice of mindfulness can be beneficial.

Mindfulness is the practice of becoming aware of yourself in the present moment, enabling you to identify how you feel inside and out. With this mind-body approach, you can clear your mind of negativity and unnecessary strains. This ultimately can help against physical aches and pains.

Mindfulness allows you to understand your pain and teaches you how to let go of any anxiety associated with it. These thoughts can contribute to increased tension, forming a vicious cycle of increasing pain.

As well as stress and chronic pain, mindfulness can help combat anxiety, sleep and eating disorders. Mindfulness increases positivity and energy levels. This then encourages healthier life decisions. It also improving your overall sense of wellbeing. So not only are you likely to make better food choices but you should be able to finally relax when it comes to getting a good nights sleep too.

Tips on Mindfulness

Simply take 10 minutes out of your day to practice mindfulness, by working on five basic tips.

  1. Sit comfortably and relax
  2. Focus on your breath
  3. From your head to toes, bring awareness to each body part
  4. Identify any sounds or smells and let them pass
  5. Acknowledge and accept how you feel emotionally
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Avoid Back Pain When Flying

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Avoid Back Pain When Flying

Anyone who is a frequent flier will be quick to tell you that long-haul flights don’t do anything to help aches and pains. They don’t have to be!

Cramped leg room, uncomfortable seating and being confined to a small space. These are all the aspects of long-haul flights which people dread. Especially when you already suffer from back pain.

All these factors can contribute to lower back pain during and after a flight. Holding any position for an extended period of time is sure to cause aches and pains. This can cause you to strain your muscles. This is only exacerbated when the position you’re in is a constricted space.

Did you know… that according to a survey by Spine Universe, an overwhelming 88% of people report experiencing increased back or neck pain after a flight.

Remember… If you are on a long-haul flight, it’s important to keep moving around. This can prevent muscles and joints from stiffening up.

How to reduce the risk of back and neck pain before your flight:

  • Keep up a regular exercise and stretching regime, particularly in the week before, so your muscles are as relaxed as possible prior to your flight
  • Pack lightly so you don’t have the added strain of carrying or lifting your luggage
  • Make sure you have ibuprofen or another form of pain medication in your carry on bag, ready to use if the pain becomes really uncomfortable

How to alleviate back pain during your flight:

  • Support your back and neck with small pillows or blanket throughout your flight. Also keep your knees and hips levels, as to reduce the stress on the lower part while you’re seated
  • Walk up and down the aisles, and use the spaces at the ends to stretch out your neck, back and legs
  • Stay hydrated! Keep drinking water throughout your flight to avoid dehydration, which in turn can cause joint stiffness and can make your journey more uncomfortable
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How To Kick Away Typical Football Injuries

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How To Kick Away Typical Football Injuries

According to the Football Association, one in five adults play football in some shape or form across the UK and it’s on the rise. In sport, injuries comes with the territory and football is no different.

As football is very popular sport it is important to understand common risks of injuries and how to avoid them. It is also useful understand how to recover from any injuries you may have developed.

There is no doubt that being active is beneficial to your health. However, there are always risks involved and it is paramount that you also look after your body. To minimise the risk of injury enables individuals to remain active for longer, improving health over a lifetime. There are a couple of injuries that footballers commonly sustain but in the context of sport injuries, football is relatively safe compared to activates such as rugby. The majority of football related injuries are trauma-based injuries affecting soft tissues. Owing to the nature of the sport a large proportions of the injuries affect the lower extremities. Common injuries often affect the hamstrings, knees and ankles.

Injuries

Repetitive straining can cause injuries. These often develop when individuals do not leave enough time to recover between training and fail to cool down or stretch properly. Injuries can include shin splints, pain in the back of the knee (Patellar Tendinitis) and pain at the back of the ankle (Achilles Tendinitis). In severe cases overuse it can even lead to stress fractures.

Trauma-based injury is the second type of injury common among footballers. These can arise from overextension or contact between players. These injuries can often be more serious and in some instances may even require surgery. Common trauma injuries include ankle sprains, hamstring stains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) strains and cartilage tears.

Often more serious injuries to lower extremities such as cartilage tears or ACL damage can lead to instability problems, which in turn can lead to alignment problems. This occurs as weight becomes unevenly distributed across the legs in order to overcompensate for the injury. This can amount to problems such as a misaligned pelvis and back pain.

elvis and back pain.

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Dangers of Back Pain at School

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The new school year is well underway. Children are back in the classrooms, running around playgrounds and playing sports. However, children, like adults, can be prone to back pain, and there can be several causes.

The most common causes of joint and back pain in school children are:

  • Lack of exercise or excessive exercise
  • Weight of school bags
  • Bad posture
  • Poorly set up desks
  • Use of a computer or computer games
  • Sports injuries
  • Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes

Lack of exercise and excessive exercise

The general finding from various studies is that children involved in competitive sports and those who are sedentary are more prone to getting low back pain while those that participated in moderate activity were protected. The children involved in competitive sports run the risk of getting repetitive strain injuries. Those children who are sedentary are often those who sit and watch a lot of television or play on a computer. The implication of this will be discussed below.

Weight of school bags

School bags are exceptionally heavy for those attending secondary school. This is due to the number of different subjects covered and therefore the number of textbooks required and the fact the children often have to move between classes. Not all children have access to lockers, which mean that books have to carried with them. Bags carried on one shoulder causes an asymmetry of the body and therefore certain muscles will have to tighten and others lengthen in order to carry the bag. These kind of imbalances can cause long-term problems.

Bad posture

All aspects of life can induce bad posture; lack of exercise, weight of school bags, spending too much time playing computer games or on the computer, incorrect shoes, and growth. Those children who grow faster and become taller than their peers may slouch in order to not tower above their friends and this can ultimately lead to bad posture.

Poorly set up desks

Whether at school or home, ill fitting desks can lead to bad posture. School desks and chairs cannot cater for individual heights of children and, as mentioned earlier, the children often have to move between classes. The desks and chairs are uniform and unable to be altered to the child’s individual needs. Guidance on correct desk set up should be implemented at home; not just for the kids but also for everyone in the family who uses the desk. At school this can’t be done, but by advising the child to sit upright and not to slouch and not to cross the legs will help.

Use of a computer or computer games

Any body position requires certain muscles to shorten and others to lengthen. This occurs every time we move. If we were to stay in one position for too long those muscles will eventually stay that particular length. When children play on computer games it quite often requires time. This leads to the above situation with muscles. Children should work a maximum of 30-40 minutes at any one time. This could be playing games, using a computer, or even doing homework before having a break. The child should spend a few minutes walking around and then returning to the game/homework by reviewing their posture and sitting correctly.

Sports injuries

Those children who play a lot of sport and those who play contact sports such as rugby may be injured either by direct contact or by overuse of certain muscles. If a child is injured it is advisable that they are seen by a chiropractor as problems unresolved can lead to compensations, ie walking differently due to sprained ankle leading to low back pain, a rugby tackle causing neck pain and headaches.

Ill-fitting shoes/improper shoes

Children are conscious of fashion, which can affect their shoe wear. Girls particularly may wear shoes with a high heel. This causes the calf muscles to shorten and pushes the body forward. To prevent falling over the girl would have to lean back and causing an increase in the low back curvature which can not only cause low back pain but also pain between the shoulder blades.

Wearing improperly fitting shoes can cause many problems from blisters, pressure sores and ingrowing toenails in the short-term, to feet deformities like hammer toe, and knee and posture problems in the long-term. It can take up to 18 years for feet to fully develop, so teenagers feet need to be looked after just as much as younger children’s.

Shoes should be the correct size and offer the right amount of support. When purchasing new shoes, get the child’s feet correctly sized by the shop assistant and ensure that the shoes are the correct length as well as width.

Here’s some advice to help your child:

  • Rucksacks should be worn across both shoulders and the straps adjusted so the bag is held close to the body.
  • If a locker is available, encourage your child to use it. Also ensure they only take the books and equipment needed for that day.
  • Check their shoes are correctly fitted, supported, relatively flat, and are not too worn.
  • Encourage your child to enjoy regular exercise, such as swimming and cycling.
  • Use of the computer, playing computer games and homework should be in blocks of no more than 30-40 minutes. Advise them to have a little walk before returning and again that they sit with their shoulders down and back (not slumped) and their legs are uncrossed.
  • See a chiropractor if your child is experiencing pain or discomfort, or even just to get a check up.

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