Is Your Child At Risk Of Back Pain?

back care advice for you child from our stoke chiropractorMost people assume that back pain only affects older adults who have injured their back at work or are suffering from a degenerative disease.  Unfortunately, researchers have discovered that back pain also affects many children.  They found that 1% of seven year olds have back pain, a figure that increased to 6% for 10-years-olds, and 18% for 14 to 16 year-olds.

These figures are very concerning for any parent who is worried about their children unnecessarily being in pain.  To help your child avoid back pain, you should be aware of common back pain risk factors.  Our chiropractor in Stoke shares those risk factors and explain how chiropractic care can help your child avoid back pain.

Risk factors for back pain in children

There are several risk facts that increase the likelihood of a child experiencing back pain. They include:

Excessive weight

Childhood obesity has become a serious problem in recent years, particularly in developed countries.  In the UK, about 28% of children aged between 2 to 15 were considered overweight or obese in 2016 — a very worrisome statistic.  Unfortunately, being overweight or obese can have a significant impact on a child’s health, increasing their risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Obesity can also contribute to lower back pain because it adds weight to a child’s midsection.  This causes the pelvis to shift forward and makes the spine curve excessively inward.  Obesity forces the musculoskeletal system into an abnormal shape that can cause lower back pain.  If your child is overweight, speak with your doctor about implementing a weight loss strategy.

Poor posture

Poor posture is sitting or standing in a way that places additional strain on the musculoskeletal system.  When you are slumped at a desk, for example, although you may feel relaxed you are placing additional strain on your neck, lower back, and shoulders.

Having poor posture can lead to a wide variety of health problems including rounded shoulders, poor circulation, a slanted neck, poor digestion, joint pain, muscle soreness and of course — back pain.

If your child has poor posture, have them assessed by a chiropractor.  A chiropractor will be able to determine how your child’s posture is incorrect and develop a plan to address it.  Obtaining chiropractic care can help your child avoid back pain and many other health problems.

A sedentary lifestyle

If you child spends a significant amount of time sitting each day, they will have a much greater risk of experiencing back pain.  This occurs because sitting for extended periods causes abdominal muscles to become weak.  This makes back and shoulder muscles become stressed — leading to back pain.  To avoid this risk factor, encourage your child to be physically active every day.

Failure to get enough exercise each day will also lead to other muscles becoming weak.  Without a strong core, shoulder muscles and back muscles, the likelihood of back pain will be much higher.

They sleep in a bad bed

It’s common for adults to spend a lot of money on their own bed and mattress.  They do so because they know how much a quality mattress improves how well they sleep and how good they feel in the morning.

But when it comes to their children, they often skimp and buy a cheap foam mattress.  In some cases, the child may be given a high-quality mattress but it doesn’t get replaced for many years.

Most parents assume that if the child is not complaining about the quality of their bed, it must be acceptable.  Unfortunately, children often won’t mention the fact that they find their bed uncomfortable — they will just soldier on.  This can eventually result in your child developing a bad back.

Weight of schoolbags

Researchers have found that the incorrect handling of heavy schoolbags is a common cause of back pain in children between the ages of 8 and 13.  If you suspect that your child is carrying a very heavy bag to school, check the contents of the bag and remove unnecessary items. 

Inappropriate seating

Children who sit in uncomfortable chairs while at school are at risk of developing poor posture and back pain.  Another common problem with seating arrangements at school is that many students are not directly facing the teacher.  One research paper found that 74% of children sat with their sides facing the teacher.

Being seated sideways to the teacher causes students to twist their torso to look at them, placing strain on their lower back.  If you are concerned by the seating arrangement in your child’s classroom ask your teacher if it can be changed.

As you can see, there are many potential risk factors that can lead to a child suffering from back pain.  If your child mentions they are in pain or is clearly vulnerable to these risk factors, take action as soon as possible.

If you have concerns about your child’s back health then our chiropractors in Stoke and Newcastle are here to help. You can book an appointment at either Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic or City Chiropractic Clinic in Stoke.

Driving Home For Christmas?

It won’t be long now until we hear that great Christmas classic from Chris Rea on our radios – ‘Driving Home For Christmas’. As so many people take to the roads over the Christmas period, travelling to see family and friends, our chiropractors at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic thought it was a good time to remind people that driving can put a strain on your back.

If you don’t want to end up with a back ache this Christmas then here are our chiropractors top tips for setting yourself up for back pain free driving.  There are four key positions to adjust to ensure you maintain a good posture and keep your back safe:

  • Seat – adjust the back of the seat to tilt slightly backwards so that feel comfortable in a seated position.
  • Steering wheel – adjust the steering wheel so that your hands should rest on it with a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Mirrors – adjust these to ensure you have visibility around the car while needing to make only the minimal of head movements.
  • Seat belt – your seat belt should rest across the top of your shoulder and should not rub against your neck or fall off your shoulder.

You can also watch a video that steps you through setting up your driving position and other useful advice on the Pain Prevention page on our website.

If you are suffering back pain or discomfort then why not get it checked and helped before Christmas. Our team of chiropractors at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic are here to help you. Call us on 01782 711 191 to book an appointment.

Simple Ways To Avoid Common Causes Of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the world’s most common health problems.  According to the World Health Organisation, it is also in the top 10 diseases and injuries accounting for disability-adjusted life years (number of years lost due to ill-health).  It can affect people of any age, potentially affecting their work life and general well-being.

Fortunately, there are some simple techniques that you can use to avoid the common causes of back pain.  This article will identify those techniques and explain how they can also reduce the level of back pain you are currently experiencing.

What are the common causes of back pain?

The human back is a complex system of muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments.  These components must work together to support the body and enable movement.  The spine also contains cartilage-like pads which are called discs.  They provide cushioning between the components of the spine.  Problems affecting any of the components of the back can lead to back pain.  The most common causes of back problems include:

Physical overexertion

Incorrectly picking up very heavy items or repeatedly bending over can strain the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the back.  Pain from overexertion can occur quickly or take many months to appear.

Injury
Back pain is often caused by an injury from an accident.  The most common accidents that cause back injuries include car crashes, collisions on the sporting field, and falls.  These injuries might include ruptured discs, broken bones, and torn ligaments or tendons.

Medical conditions
A variety of medical conditions can cause back pain, including osteoporosis, cancer of the spine, sleep disorders, kidney problems, arthritis, and sciatica.  In some cases, these conditions cannot be cured, so the pain they cause can only be managed.

Ruptured or bulging discs

The discs between each vertebra in the spine can sometimes rupture or change shape.  When this happens, more pressure is placed on the nerves in the back, potentially causing back pain.

Poor posture

Having poor posture can eventually contribute to back pain and may even cause long term damage.

How to avoid the common causes of back pain

Seek chiropractic help

Obtaining chiropractic treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce back pain.  A chiropractor is a medical professional who is trained to identify and treat musculoskeletal problems of the human body.  They can identify the root causes of back pain and suggest treatments that address them.

Some of the ways that a chiropractor can help you avoid causes of back pain include:

  • Ensuring your spine is correctly aligned
    Chiropractic treatment involves alignment of the spine and other joints in the body. Correcting the alignment of your joints will prevent premature wear and can reduce the likelihood of back pain occurring.
  • Identifying any issues with your posture
    Chiropractors can diagnose and correct postural problems that cause back pain.
  • Diagnosing any serious underlying illnesses or injuries causing back pain
    Chiropractors can also identify other serious health problems that may potentially contribute to back pain like ruptured discs and sciatica.

Sleep on your back

When you are sitting down, walking, running, and lifting objects all day, your spine can become compressed.  Laying down on your back gives your spine a chance to recuperate, reducing the likelihood of back pain.  

Exercise more
Exercise that strengthens the core muscles can be very useful for reducing or avoiding back pain.  The core muscles are the muscles found in the abdominal region and lower back.  If these muscles are well developed, they will take strain off of the ligaments and tendons in the back which can reduce pain levels.  Having a strong core also reduces the risk of a back injury occurring. 

Get a good pair of shoes

If you are on your feet for long periods, purchase a high quality pair of shoes that fit your feet well.  This will ensure that your body has a stable and well-balanced base that supports your legs and back.  It will help you avoid back pain associated with ligament, muscle or tendon strains. 

Have regular massages

Massages can help to relax the muscles in your back and increase blood flow.  This can help you remain flexible, preventing pain relating to sore muscles and ligaments. 

Have medical problems diagnosed

If you have unexplained back pain, it is a good idea to see a doctor.  They will be able to run tests to check your overall health and identify any health conditions that may be causing your pain.  Your doctor may also help you identify health problems before they worsen and cause even more back pain. 

Practice good ergonomics and improve your posture

Good posture involves standing, sitting, and moving in a way that reduces the amount of strain on your body.  When you exhibit good posture, your joints will be well aligned — reducing the risk of injury or wear-and-tear on the joints in the back.  This reduces the risk of long term injuries occurring which cause back pain.

 

Will You Be Doing Your Christmas Shopping Online?

The clocks have gone back, half term is over and the countdown to Christmas is underway. For many people this means one thing starting the Christmas shopping.

In the good old days this meant hours of parading around shops coming up with ideas and finding the perfect gifts. However, in the digital age we live in, it means opening up the laptop and spending the hours searching online for the perfect gifts.

If you are an online shopper then our chiropractors want to remind you that shopping from the comfort of your own home can have its own hazards. In particular hunching over you laptop on your sofa or sitting with bad posture in front of your PC can be harmful to your back.

Before starting on your online Christmas shopping be sure to set your self up to maintain good posture and reduce the risks of back pain.

Our Pain Prevention page on our website has a great video you can watch to ensure you maintain a good posture when using your computer. Take some timeout now to watch it and keep your back safe.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help All Your Family

Contrary to popular belief, chiropractic care isn’t just for adults who are suffering from back pain. Chiropractic treatments can be used to treat a wide range of ailments and improve the health of your entire family.

Chiropractors can help your family members recover from illness, heal their injuries, improve their fitness levels, and enjoy a better quality of life. This article will identify the many ways that chiropractors can help your family live a healthier life.

Better flexibility

One of the greatest benefits of visiting a chiropractor regularly is that it promotes better joint health and greater flexibility — which is useful for people of all ages. Children and teenagers will find it easier to participate in sports and will experience less growing pains.  Adults and seniors will enjoy better joint function and are less likely to injure themselves.  Having better flexibility will also help seniors maintain their balance and avoid fall injuries.

Injury prevention

A chiropractor will ensure that the members of your family have correctly aligned spines, loose joints and relaxed necks. This will reduce the risk of injury while performing common tasks like lifting heavy objects, gardening and standing for long periods. Your family members will also be less likely to suffer from an injury during the sporting activities they enjoy. This includes a reduced risk of strained muscles, sprains and sore joints.

Posture improvement

Posture is the shape that your body takes when laying down, sitting, and standing. Having good posture means that you are positioning your body in a way that places a minimal amount of strain on your muscles and joints. It’s a good idea to maintain good posture whenever possible as it will keep your joints correctly aligned, make it easier to breathe, improve digestion, prevent back pain and improve physical performance.

Regularly visiting a chiropractor will help your loved ones understand how healthy their posture is. The chiropractor will identify any behaviours that are causing postural problems and offer techniques to correct them.

Improved general health

A surprisingly high number of health issues are associated with misalignment of the spine and joints.  Among those issues are:

  • Improper gaits
  • Headaches
  • Sporting injuries and injuries from falls
  • Back and neck pain

Chiropractic care can often help correct or avoid these common health issues for your family members.

Dealing with the effects of a sedentary lifestyle
Many adults are vulnerable to ailments caused by living a sedentary lifestyle. This can include back pain, neck pain, poor posture, nerve irritation and poor blood flow.  Chiropractic care can be used to address these common issues.

Most chiropractors will use a combination of stretches, spinal and joint adjustments, and massage to correct these problems.  In addition they can provide advice, information and exercises to help avoid the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. This will reduce your pain levels and help you avoid other chronic health conditions as you age. 

Better mobility and balance for seniors

The ageing process causes muscles to deteriorate, which can affect the spine and place pressure on nerves.  Chiropractic treatments can be used to counteract this decline — improving posture, mobility, and reduce any pain caused by poor spinal health.  

Improved sleep

It can be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep if you are suffering from headaches, back pain, or neck pain.  Chiropractic care helps by correctly aligning the spine, releasing tension, and reducing pain levels.  Most people also enjoy better circulation and feel more relaxed after a visit to the chiropractor, making it even easier to go to sleep.  A chiropractor can even offer advice on the best ways to sleep.

Boosted immune system

Researchers have discovered that spinal manipulation by a chiropractor reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the blood levels of immunoregulatory cytokines.  This strengthens the immune system, making it more resistant to infections and diseases.  This is a great benefit which keeps your entire family happy and healthy.

Find out if chiropractic care can help you. Call us to book an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors.

Back Safe – Back To School

The Bank Holiday Weekend is over and for most parents their attention will be turned to preparing for the new school term. For some this will be the first time with all the excitement and trepidation that brings. Whether your children are heading off to school for the first time, starting a new school or simply moving up a class, our chiropractors at Newcastle Chiropractic Clinic want to help you to keep your child’s back safe with these few tips:

Backpacks

Backpacks are a great carry option, however, there are some things to be aware of.

The backpack needs to be carried and adjusted properly. The backpack should be carried on both shoulders with the straps adjusted to ensure that the backpack rests as close as possible to your child’s back.

Most children carry way to much weight in their bags. It’s a good practice to empty out the contents on a regular basis and remove unnecessary things from the bag.

Posture

Maintaining a good posture is important for a healthy spine. Nagging your child to sit up straight or stand up straight may not get you very far. To help improve posture the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has developed a simple 3 minute programme. The programme has been designed for people of all ages so you can join in with your children! You can watch the video below.

Our team of chiropractors in Newcastle under Lyme wish your children all the best for a new school term.

The Many Benefits Of Good Posture

Having good posture is an important part of remaining healthy.  It helps you avoid back pain and premature wear on your bones, improves lung performance, and much more.  In this article, we will explain what good posture is before explaining the many benefits that it provides.

What is good posture?

Posture is the form that your body takes when you are sitting, standing, and laying down.  Maintaining “good” posture is positioning your body so there is less strain placed upon your body’s muscles and ligaments when in these positions.

It requires your body to be as close to its natural shape as possible.  So if you are sitting down, this would mean:

  • Keeping your chin up and looking forward
  • Keeping your shoulders back (not slouching)
  • Bending your knees at a right angle
  • Keeping your feet flat on the floor
  • Keeping your back straight enough that all 3 natural curves of the spine are present.

Sitting with good posture distributes weight more evenly across your muscle groups — helping you avoid neck, shoulder and back pain.  It also allows you to comfortably work for longer periods and avoid some serious long-term health problems.

Having a chair with lumbar support will help you maintain good back posture.

What are the benefits of good posture?

Protects your future health

Having good posture will keep your joints correctly aligned, protecting the joint surfaces from abnormal wear-and-tear.  By preventing this type of wear-and-tear, you can lower your risk of various illnesses including arthritis and postural hunchback.

It makes it easier to breathe

The diaphragm is a large muscle that is responsible for respiration.  When the diaphragm moves, it changes how much pressure there is within the thorax — causing air to either enter or exit the lungs.

Posture affects breathing because it changes how much room the diaphragm has to move.  If you are slouched in a chair or while walking, the diaphragm cannot contract or expand as easily, preventing you from taking deep breaths.  As soon as you correct your posture, you will immediately notice how much easier it is to breathe.  This is a particularly useful benefit for anyone who has a health condition that affects their breathing.

Can help prevent back pain
Developing good posture can eliminate back pain caused by stressed muscles and poor joint alignment.  It does so by actively reducing the strain placed on the muscles and joints by spreading weight across the entire body.  This ensures that certain muscles or joints are not overworked or damaged.

Over time, having good posture will even improve the alignment of your spine, which will improve the condition of your back and reduce the risk of back injuries.  You will be less likely to suffer from herniated discs, muscle strains or other back problems. 

Improved physical performance

Good posture requires the use of more muscle groups.  Not only does this reduce the chances of straining a single muscle, it can lead to an improvement in overall physical performance.  Having the ability to engage muscles more evenly will help you perform better during daily activities and any sports that you play. 

Strengthens the core

If you have already made improvements to your sitting posture, you will have noticed that your abdominal muscles feel more engaged.  Your abdominals will be “sharing the load” with your back muscles as they keep your torso stable.  The more you improve your posture, the stronger your core will get, thus improving the alignment of your spine, reducing stress on your back muscles, and improving your mobility.

Makes you look more attractive
Have you ever seen an actor or actress on a talk show?  Did you notice how impeccable his or her posture was?  Actors and actresses concentrate on having good posture because they understand how much it affects their appearance.  By sitting tall in their seat and keeping their chin up, they will look much more beautiful or handsome to the viewers at home.  You will gain the same benefits as you improve your posture.

Improved digestion of food

Sitting or standing with good posture will ensure your internal organs are in their natural position.  This makes it easier for the body to digest food and perform other important functions like maintaining good blood circulation. 

Can improve your mood

Researchers from the University of San Francisco have discovered that having good posture can help improve a person’s mood.  They found that improved posture could also increase energy levels and reduce the risk of mental illnesses like depression.

Improving your posture can deliver some amazing benefits to your health and lifestyle.  If you are interested in developing good posture, talk to a chiropractor or general practitioner.  You can also use online resources like NHS choices to learn more.

Is Life Damaging Your Spine?

Is modern life becoming a pain in the neck? Are you like the millions of people who spend hours on end every day using a Smartphone or another mobile device? If so, you could be at risk of “text neck”, a new age epidemic that could lead to permanent damage.

You probably don’t put that much thought into the hundreds of messages you send every week on your Smartphone, but texting it is a dangerous habit. The posture we adopt as we stare at our phones significantly increases the stress on the neck and can lead to excessive wear and tear. This is how bad it can be: our heads weigh between 10lb and 12lb, but as we bend our heads downwards to use our phones, the effective weight on our necks increases – a lot! At a 15-degree angle, the head weighs about 27lb, and rises to 60lb at 60 degrees!

With most of us now spending an average of two to four hours a day with our heads dropped down, this results in about 700 to 1,400 hours a year of excess stresses on the cervical spine! This can cause head pain, neck pain, arm pain and even numbness.

Eventually, in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle, “text neck” could lead to serious consequences. With “text neck” on the rise as more and more people carry out their lives over a mobile phone, it’s important that we’re all aware of how to reduce our risk of developing this modern condition.

The best thing anyone can do to lower the risk of “text neck” is to use voice recognition and make phone calls instead of text messages. It’s also important to take regular breaks and alter your texting positions to avoid problems. You can find a list of useful exercises on the NHS website.

Modern technology moves at a quicker speed than the human body can adapt to, and this is not the first time we have been warned about the dangers of texting.  In 2011, mobile phones were blamed for an increase in pedestrian deaths in the US, with some towns even considering issuing fines for people who text while walking.  Then of course, there was “Blackberry thumb” (repetitive strain injury caused by texting) and “iPad hand” (aches and pains caused by swiping and typing on a tablet).

The list of ailments grows longer with every new piece of technology, and while we can’t ever expect anyone to ditch their devices, we can all put the measures in place to stay healthy as we move with the times.

Try This To Help Improve Your Posture

Did you know that your posture could be contributing to your back pain?

Our chiropractor in Newcastle under Lyme cannot stress enough how important it is to have and maintain good posture. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to  improve your posture and help reduce the risk of back pain.

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) have developed a great programme, designed to improve posture and help prevent back pain called Straighten Up UK. The programme is designed to be done on a daily basis – just like brushing your teeth!

It’s a set of simple, three minute straighten up exercises. The programme is divided into three simple sections:

  1. Stars: Warm Up
  2. Flying Friends: Posture Care
  3. Core Balance: Finish the Session

Whatever your age you can participate. However, check with your health care provider before undertaking any new form of new exercise.

Here is a video for you to follow:

Easy Health Tips for 2018

It’s January and you’re probably feeling bombarded with advice on healthy living. From diet fads to miracle weight loss gadgets, every page we turn and channel we flick to will no doubt promise us a quick and easy path to our New Year health goals. But here, our Stoke on Trent chiropractor sorts out the myths from the facts with our top 5 ways to improve your health this January:

1: Do not ‘go on a diet’; even if Vanessa Feltz’s two-week tummy trimming recipes guarantee to shred you of all your festive weight, don’t go on a diet. Instead, switch to healthier eating habits that you can continue long term. When you lose weight gradually, you are more likely to keep it off.

2: Eat a varied diet. Look for different, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as these provide plenty of nutrients.

3:  Exercise regularly. Activities such as walking, jogging and cycling are easy enough to fit into your weekly routine and will help to improve your overall health and fitness.

4: Laugh a lot. Not only does laughing release the happy chemicals in your brain, but it also strengthens your tummy muscles and relaxes knotted muscles.

5: Stand up straight. A good posture offers a host of health benefits, including a healthier spine.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly to make a positive difference to your health this year. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that have the biggest impact.