Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when you feel chronic pain. But if you’re inactive, your muscles lose their conditioning, your body won’t function as well as it could do and you’ll actually feel more pain!
As difficult as it may sound, exercise and general physical activity is likely to be part of your ongoing treatment for chronic pain. Your doctor or chiropractor may tell you to rest for a little, but gone are the days when you’ll be advised to take it easy in bed! If you want to ease pain, then get moving!
There are simply too many benefits to exercise to list, but some specific ones for chronic pain sufferers are:
1. It helps to keep your joints moving well.
2. It helps to keep your muscles strong.
3. It helps to maintain a positive mood.
Remember that those who don’t make room for exercise will sometime or another, probably have to make room for illness.
Many of the patients who visit our Newcastle Under Lyme chiropractors come to us as a result of a back injury. The back is an intricate structure of muscle and bone, which is supported by ligaments and tendons and nourished by a network of blood vessels and nerves. It also bears a significant amount of the body’s weight and is subsequently prone to injuries – especially in the lower back.
Two of the most frequent back injuries that we deal with include sprains and strains. But what exactly are these commonly-heard complaints and why do they occur?
Back strain is a term used to describe an injury to either a tendon (the tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones) or a muscle. A strain is usually diagnosed if the spine-supporting muscles and tendons are pulled, torn or twisted.
A back sprain, on the other hand, involves the ligaments that support the spine. Ligaments are the fibrous bands of tissue that connect two or more bones at a joint and prevent the joint from moving excessively. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn.
The symptoms of a sprain and a strain are often similar with the majority of patients experiencing one or more of the following:
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Muscle cramping or spasms
- Difficulty walking, bending forward or sideways, or standing straight
If you suspect that you have sprained or strained your back, you should stop doing the activity that caused the injury and rest for the first day or two. Ice packs and compression can be effective in reducing painful symptoms.
You should then try to return to normal activities 48 hours following the injury, as despite what many people think, staying inactive for too long can prolong symptoms and slow down your recovery period.
Most people with back strain/ sprain will see a significant improvement in their symptoms in about two weeks. But you should contact your doctor or chiropractor if your symptoms continue for longer, your pain is too severe to return to your normal activities after 48 hours or your symptoms or pain worsen at any time.
You should contact your health care provider immediately after the injury takes place if:
- You have severe pain and cannot walk more than a few steps.
- You have numbness in the area of injury or down your leg.
- You have injured your lower back before.
- You have a lump or area that looks like an unusual shape.
- You have pain that interferes with sleep.
Our chiropractors are here to help you, so contact us for advice.
Back pain is common and very rarely an indication that something is seriously wrong with your health. But there are a few “red flag” signs that everyone should be aware of. These are signs and symptoms that may indicate to your doctor or chiropractor that you have an underlying medical condition.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Saddle anaesthesia, which is a nerve related symptoms in the area of your seat. With this condition, you are likely to notice numbness located at the bottom of your pelvis and around the area of your seat.
Bladder or bowel problems.
Weakness and numbness, especially if it is severe or keeps getting worse.
Our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor is here to answer any of your questions on back pain and symptoms.
January is in full swing, and for many of us it’s back to the daily grind of alarm clocks, commutes and deadlines. It’s a tough month, but if you work in an office, it could get even tougher. According to our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor, hunching over a computer is a leading reason why so many office workers end up with crippling back pain. But a few small changes in the way you work can make your pain disappear. This is what you need to be doing ASAP:
Keep your head up
When you’re working at your keyboard, focus on aligning your head and neck right above your shoulders instead of hunching over or straining forward.
Keep your mouse close
Ideally, your mouse should be placed right next to your keyboard so you don’t have to overreach or twist your shoulder, arm, or wrist when clicking.
Choose your chair wisely
Pick a chair that allows your lower back to rest comfortably against a lumbar support. You should also be able to tilt the back of the chair so that it’s very slightly reclined.
If you suffering from back pain why not make an appointment to visit our experienced chiropractors at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic.
There’s no doubt that January is one of the most depressing times of the year; December’s festivities are over, our wallets are emptier and it’s back to the daily grind. But could the January blues cause back pain? Quite possibly, according to our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor.
Depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic back pain. Depression can cause pain, and pain can cause depression. Sometimes, back pain and depression result in a vicious cycle where the pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression increases the feelings of pain.
For some people, depression can cause unexplained physical symptoms such as back pain, neck pain or headaches. For many, this kind of pain is the first or only sign of depression. Inevitably, pain and associated problems can wear you down over time and have a negative impact on your mood. As well as this, chronic pain can cause a number of problems that can lead to depression, including sleeping problems, stress and low self esteem.
The type of depression that accompanies chronic pain is referred to as major depression or clinical depression. These feelings go further than what would be considered normal sadness or feeling “down” for a few days.
Some of the symptoms of depression may include:
- A predominant mood that is depressed, sad, blue, hopeless, low, or irritable, which may include periodic crying spells
- Reduced appetite or significant weight loss or increased appetite or weight gain
- Sleeping issues
- Feeling restless or experiencing feelings of fatigue
- Loss of interest in activities/ hobbies
- Reduced sex drive
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Concentration or memory problems
- Thoughts of death, suicide, or wanting to be dead
To get symptoms of pain and depression under control, you may need separate treatment for each condition. However, for some people, certain treatments may help with both.
Remember that it’s relatively normal to feel a little “blue” in January, but it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of depression, including chronic pain.
The gift wrapping season is upon us and while most of us think of it as just a pesky chore, you could be putting yourself at serious risk of back and neck pain if you overdo it with the wrapping this year. Our Newcastle chiropractor has a few things for you to keep in mind to make sure the presents still get wrapped in time while minimising your risk of back, neck or shoulder pain.
First of all, make sure you are prepared! Gather all your presents, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape and scissors so you aren’t running around looking for materials. Then, find a suitable place to wrap, such as at a table that comes to your waist level to ensure you don’t have to bend over a lot. While wrapping ensure your wrists are straight and that your elbows are close to your body to eliminate the need to reach. Your neck should also be straight, so that you are not leaning over. And of course, if you have a lot of gifts to wrap, take regular breaks, get up and walk around.
Nothing is worth the risk of back pain, especially at Christmas time.
Christmas: it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the busiest. For many of us, much of the festive period is spent standing in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove. And of course, time in the kitchen means time on your feet, and that can lead to neck or back pain.
So with just a few weeks left before the Christmas cooking marathons begin, we thought it was best to share some spine-friendly tips that you can use in the kitchen:
Get your moves right
The way you move in the kitchen may not be something you particularly think about, but it should be! According to our Newcastle chiropractor, proper bending, lifting and reaching techniques are essential while cooking. To begin with, make sure you keep your go-to ingredients on a lower shelf to avoid straining your neck from reaching too high. Whether you’re lifting a 20-pound turkey out of the oven or popping in a tray of roast potatoes, make sure you lift or bend with your legs instead of your back as this will to reduce the risk of injury.
Keep a level head
Heard of “dish neck”? Ok, so it may not be such a well known term as text neck, but it comes with the same risks of back pain. Remember that the average person’s head weighs 10 to 12 pounds in a neutral position. Leaning your head forward just 15 degrees can equate to your neck supporting 27 pounds! That’s a lot of extra weight to carry! Try to keep your neck as straight as possible when doing the dishes to avoid any unnecessary pain.
Share the foodie fun
Putting together the perfect Christmas meal isn’t an easy goal to reach on your own. Recruiting a few helping hands means sharing some of the work while making it fun for everyone. Not only will this relieve stress on your neck and back, but enjoying the social aspect of cooking can release endorphins that help reduce muscle tension.
Being the Christmas chef should be fun, and with these top tips, neck or back pain while cooking shouldn’t be on your festive menu this year!
Want to know three easy ways to avoid back pain? Our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor has them right here:
Work Your Core!
You spine loves exercise! And it needs it to function properly. Unfortunately, most of our core muscles (which are vitally important to good spine health) are not used much during the day. These muscles need to be toned through targeted exercise – even just 20 minutes a day can help support your spine and take pressure off your lower back.
Wear Good Shoes
Your shoes need to support your spine, whether you’re walking for exercise or just going about your daily business. Buy shoes from a reputable shoe shop and ask a store assistant to point you in the direction of shoes that provide a supportive base.
The discs in your lower spine are under 3 times more pressure while sitting than standing, so avoid sitting for long periods whenever you can. You should also maintain good posture – whether you’re seated or not!
Put these tips into practice and you could significantly reduce your risk of developing a painful back condition.
Back pain is an indication that something isn’t working quite the way it should. So when something is wrong on the inside, it’s time to look on the outside to see what you could be doing to reduce you symptoms.
Here are three positive habits from our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor that will help to keep your spine in good health:
Exercise is one of the cornerstones of a healthy spine. Put simply, if you want your body to function well, then you need to maintain a healthy weight and keep your muscles strong and flexible. It’s especially important to work your core muscles to help keep your spine in optimum condition.
A healthy spine depends on healthy nutrients. A diet full of fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables and whole grains will help your body to handle stress better and keep your central nervous system functioning properly.
See the Chiropractor
One of the best ways to keep your spine in optimum health is to see a chiropractor. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help to keep your body functioning as it should and keep your spine healthy too!
We hope these tips help!
At one time or another, most people feel the misery of lower back pain. Think about it; the upright spine is as unique to being human as having an opposable thumb. But where it’s easy to see that using our hands and fingers involves every aspect of life, we can’t always say the same about our backs.
We’ve all said things like “My back went out” or “I must have hurt my back”. But these flippant statements fall short of an adequate explanation for back pain. There is always a reason for back pain; it may be common but it’s certainly not normal.
If you’re suffering from back pain, it’s important to distinguish between chronic and acute pain. Acute pain is typically intense and lasts from a few days to several weeks. This kind of pain is generally due to sprains and strains and usually gets better within just a few weeks. Chronic pain, on the other hand, lasts longer than three months. This kind of pain is typically more complicated when it comes to forming a causative diagnosis.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to evaluating the cause of your pain. Our Newcastle under Lyme chiropractor has put together the following check list for you to consider as possible reasons for your back pain:
- Physical stress on the spine
- Having a sedentary job
- A lack of exercise
- Psychological issues
- Depression, stress or anxiety
- Sudden changes in your physical routine
- Poor sleeping patterns
- How well you deal with stress
- Previous injuries or traumas, such as car accidents and sports injuries
- Unknown predispositions
- Medical problems
- Poor posture
- Unhealthy habits such as having a poor diet or smoking
Bear in mind that the complex structure of the human spine makes it prone to accidental sprains and strains. These types of incidents are by far the most common cause of lower back pain. Sprains usually occur when ligaments are overstretched or torn from their attachments. Strains happen when muscles are ripped or torn. Poor posture alone can cause sprains and strains, so it’s always important to consider lifestyle factors when it comes to evaluating the cause of your back problems. The good news is that most of the things that put you at risk of developing back pain can be changed or even eradicated from your life.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Don’t ignore it; it is there for a reason. You wouldn’t let an itch go without scratching it, would you?