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Vitamin D and Safe Sun Exposure

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The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight (ultraviolet B rays). This can happen very quickly (just 15 minutes for a very fair skinned person) particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D.

Exposing your skin for a short time will make all the vitamin D your body can produce in one day. In fact, your body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin D in just a little under the time it takes for your skin to begin to burn. You make the most vitamin D when you expose a large area of your skin, such as your back, rather than a small area such as your face or arms.

There are a number of factors that affect how much vitamin D your body produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight.  These include the time of year and time of day, where you live in the world and the type of skin you have.

The amount of vitamin D you get from exposing your bare skin to the sun depends on:

  • The time of day – your skin produces more vitamin D if you expose it during the middle of the day.
  • Where you live –  the closer to the equator you live, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight all year round.
  • The colour of your skin –  pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins.
  • The amount of skin you expose – the more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce.

Check out the app dminder to optimise Vitamin D levels while staying safe in the sun.

Protecting the Skin

While covering up to prevent too much sun exposure is an important step in protecting yourself from skin cancer, research has not always shown that sunscreen is the safest and most effective method.

Research has shown that sunscreen helps prevent squamous cell carcinoma, but has no effect in preventing basal cell carcinoma. For melanoma, research has been contradictory. Some research shows that sunscreen prevents melanoma, while other research shows that it increases your chance of getting melanoma.

For these reasons, the Vitamin D Council believes that covering up with clothing and/or going into the shade (after you get a little bit of sun exposure), is a safer way to protect yourself from too much sun exposure.

Another alternative is to use a non-nano barrier sunscreen after you have gotten enough sun exposure for Vitamin D production.

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What’s Your Posture Like?

Chances are you’re reading this while leaning over a desk. Your head is tilted forward; your shoulders are curved. If you’re on a laptop or mobile device, your shoulders are slumped and you’re looking down.

Am I right? Over time this could eventually cause the natural curvature of the neck to reverse – called forward head posture or ‘text neck.’

Gadget addicts are coming down with ‘text neck’ in their droves. Increasing numbers of patients are suffering neck pain from spending too much time hunched over phones and computers. The rise of smartphones and tablet computers has fuelled the problem. The extra capability for playing games and browsing the internet on smartphones means they tend to be used for longer periods. And unlike laptops, tablet computers are often placed flat on the lap, meaning users crane their neck over to view the screen.

Forward head posture can lead to irreversible arthritic degeneration if left untreated and anyone experiencing pain should get themselves checked by a chiropractor.

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Are You Sitting Too Much?

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You’d have thought sitting down would be good for your back. Surely taking the pressure off when you’ve been walking about gives your body a bit of a rest? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Sitting down for long periods has been shown to cause many physical problems, including back pain. This is particularly acute if you work in an office or are seated for the majority of the day.

It’s alarming how long we sit without moving at all. A study for BUPA found only one in five workers left their desk during the day to get a drink or go to the toilet (1). Which means an unbelievable 80% of people stay exactly where they are for their entire working day. All day, off their feet. Add into this equation that a lot of people then spend most of their leisure time on the sofa in front of the TV and you have a worryingly sedentary outcome. By contrast, the British Chiropractic Association recommends you don’t sit for more than 30-40 minutes at a time.

Sitting for long periods can weaken the back muscles, making it harder for your back to work properly. This isn’t a problem just for office workers and the elderly. Recent research from the British Chiropractic Association shows 40% of 16 to 34 years olds who said they had experienced back or neck pain spent the majority of their time ‘mainly sitting’, while 32% reported back pain was triggered by sitting still for long periods of time. Sitting is not only bad for your back, it has negative effects on your overall health.

Why sitting is bad for more than just your spine!

What can I do to prevent back pain caused by sitting? Aside from taking a job which requires you to be on your feet most of the day, undoing the effects of being seated for so many hours isn’t easy. Our advice is to avoid or minimise sitting as much as possible.

• Stand up while you are on the phone. Better yet, pace!
• Walk more around your house.
• Take the stairs.
• Walk after you eat lunch.
• Park your car farther away from your destination. Don’t look for that perfect spot up close.
• Take the long route!
• Get vigorous about your daily cleaning and cooking.
• Work your calves when you brush your teeth!
• Stand up and stretch when you’re at your computer a lot.
• Don’t send emails if the recipient is in walking distance. Get up, walk and talk.
• Stand up or do exercises while watching TV.
• Consider a standing workstation.
• Refill your water glass every hour.
• Reduce television and home computer use. Try recording programmes to allow you to fast forward the advertising.

1. Get Away From Your Desk – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/get-away-from-your-desk-207-news.aspx
2. Don’t sit back – British Chiropractic Association http://www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk/dont-sit-back-196-news.aspx
3. Sitting for long periods ‘is bad for your health’ – BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19910888
4. Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222,497 Australian adultshttp://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1108810

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Gardening Hints and Tips

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Now that spring is finally here, you’re no doubt going to spend time planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.
From when the gardening season begins in spring and until the end of the summer chiropractors have an influx of patients with back pain caused by over-zealous gardening.

Gardening is surprisingly hard on the body, particularly your lower back. It’s an enjoyable activity for many, but it’s important to treat it like a workout and stretch your muscles beforehand.

Consider some of these helpful tips to help you prevent back pain and other injuries when gardening.

– Warm up before you garden. A 10 minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up.
– Practice good posture. Always bend at the knees and keep your back straight when you pick something up. Never twist your body.
– Take breaks— 15 minutes for every hour — and stretch! Rest and hydrate!
– Switch up your activities. Do a little pruning, then digging, then maybe some weeding. The key is to vary your tasks frequently so that you’re not performing any repetitive motions for a long period of time.
– When you have to get down on the ground for work, consider a kneeling pad or better yet, a kneeler with arms to help you get back up.
– Keep a container full of your tools close by when you’re on your knees. You’ll have everything within arm’s reach so there’s less getting up and down.
– Choose tools with long handles so you don’t have to bend as much.
– Hire help. For heavier jobs, it can be worth getting some help!
– End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting.

If despite your best efforts, you end up with pain after gardening, call a chiropractor to schedule an appointment.

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Chiropractic for Runners

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Maybe you’ve never thought about chiropractic care. After all, as a regular runner, you’re pretty healthy. You’ve never sustained any lasting injuries and you don’t feel constant pain. What would be the point in seeing a chiropractor?

You’re not alone in your thought process. Athletes and non-athletes alike assume that chiropractic care is only beneficial if you are experiencing pain. Not so. In fact, many athletes and sports teams employ the services of a chiropractor on a regular basis. “Why,” you ask? Well, the answer is simple, really. It is much easier to keep a healthy person healthy than it is to treat a person already in pain.

Ideally, if you had perfect alignment, your body could handle almost anything. However, few people, if any, have perfect body alignment. While running, the musculoskeletal system may absorb up to 250-300% of the runner’s weight on the heel strike, and this exerts stress on the body. Additional issues in the feet, like flat feet or high arches, can also contribute to the problem. Running can put you at very high risk for conditions ranging anywhere from pain in the feet, shoulders, and lower back, to pinched nerves and sciatic pain.

Of course, the problems don’t occur overnight. Alignment problems take time to develop. It takes even longer for the pain to set in. Once you actually start feeling pain from your alignment issues, you are already in pretty poor shape. Now, instead of preventing injuries, your chiropractor will have to help repair injuries. While it doesn’t have to be this way, it is sadly all too common.

In preventive cases, a chiropractor can give a good overall evaluation, teaching the patient how to prevent injuries and maintain good alignment – thereby reducing the chance of injury. For those looking for preventive treatment, your chiropractor can help assess and evaluate your condition by offering scans of your feet, testing for strength imbalances and an analysis of your posture. In addition, the chiropractor can also suggest a program suited to your needs to prevent injury in the future.

If you are a runner and you have never seen a chiropractor, now is the best time to start taking advantage of chiropractic care.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Do you have tingling, numbness or pain in the hand, fingers and wrist?

The Carpal Tunnel is in your wrist. Your carpal (wrist) bones form a tunnel-like structure—the carpal tunnel—through which pass nine tendons and one nerve— the median nerve. CTS occurs when the median nerve is irritated.

If the carpal (wrist) bones are moved out of their normal position they will compress the Carpal Tunnel where the median nerve and artery run through. If this is the case, a chiropractor can adjust the wrist bone back to its normal position and relieve the pressure on the nerve. If the pressure on the nerve is relieved, the symptoms improve, and the patient has a solution to their problem.

It is common for a chiropractor to examine the elbow, shoulder and neck joints as well as the wrist. These joints are all found on the distribution pathway of the median nerve as it exits the spinal cord and makes its way to the hand. Compression of the nerve along this path can also produce symptoms in the wrist and hand.

In many cases the wrist isn’t the cause of the problem but a neck problem is the root of the nerve irritation and requires a chiropractic adjustment. Surgery performed on the wrist will then be pointless and ineffective as the cause isn’t addressed properly.

One research study found that 57% of patients still have recurring numbness, tingling sensations and/or pain within 6-years following the surgery (Source: Nancollas, et al, 1995. J. Hand Surgery).

Surgery should always be a last resort! Try chiropractic first!

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Headaches

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If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten people suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

New research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.

Chiropractic gives relief to many headache sufferers, not only in our practice but also in several studies. One study found that the majority of people who suffered from spinal misalignments had their headaches relieved or their condition improved through chiropractic care. And in follow-up studies of the same patients it was found that many were still without recurring headache pain two years later.

The greatest majority of primary headaches are associated with muscle tension in the neck.  Today, people engage in more sedentary activities than they used to, and hours are spent in one fixed position or posture, like sitting in front of the computer for hours. This can increase joint irritation and muscle tension in the neck, upper back and scalp, causing your head to ache. If you are suffering from headaches, please see a chiropractor. Chiropractic has been proven to help headaches, it’s what we do!

Please feel free to contact the clinic on 02893 366446 for advice or to arrange an appointment.

 

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Sciatica

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Approximately 25% of our patients come to us with a specific complaint of lower back pain running down the leg. Often referred to as SCIATICA, the discomfort can be described as a deep dull ache or a sharp and burning pain. The pain may be continuous from the back of the thigh all the way to the foot. It is not uncommon for patients to also complain of pins and needles or numbness in their limbs especially when sitting or driving.

There are two main causes of sciatica; the nerve may be trapped under or within the piriformis muscle, a muscle deep in the buttock, or there may be misalignments of the spine, causing irritation on the small nerves which form the sciatic nerve.

The symptoms can be brought on by old injuries, repetitive strains, poor posture, motor vehicle accidents or just everyday living.

In several studies conducted in the UK, Australia and North America to establish the efficacy of spinal manipulation as a treatment for lower back pain researchers reported that “the trend for spinal manipulation to produce better results than any other form of treatment to which it was compared was very consistent”. Patients have consistently reported to have had longer lasting results, fewer relapses and much faster recovery from back and leg pain.

If you suffer from
• Pins and Needles in the leg
• Sharp stabbing pain in the leg
• Difficulty sitting, standing or walking
• Lower back pain
• Muscle spasms and stiffness

– then it’s time to see your Chiropractor!

sciatic nerve pain

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Planning a New Year Exercise Regime?

Has the festive period taken its toll and you are starting 2017 determined to be fitter and healthier?
January often sees a surge in gym membership with people wanting to loose some unwanted weight or fulfilling a new year resolution to live a healthier lifestyle. In recent years, it’s not just gyms that have see this seasonal increase, extreme programmes such as boot camps are popular too.

However, taking on exercise regimes your body is not used to can take its toll and the British Chiropractic Association urges people to prepare before embarking on their exercise programme.

According to research by the BCA, exercise is the trigger for 30% of those experiencing back or neck pain. For people embarking on an exercise regime, especially one that is new, the risk of suffering neck or back pain can be higher so it is important to be well prepared.

To help people who are preparing to take up exercise this new year, the BCA has developed the following top tips:

•    Seek professional advice to check that there are no medical reasons why you should not exercise, particularly if you are not normally physically active. Also, a chiropractor can help you address any injuries before starting an exercise regime.

•    Remember to warm up and warm down before and after any activity. Start with less strenuous activity like walking or jogging and finish with some light stretches at the end of an exercise session – this may help minimise muscle stiffness and reduce the chance of muscle strain.

•    Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise – this will help your muscles work more efficiently and will reduce aches and pains after exercise.

•    Make sure you wear the right attire for your chosen activity.  Wearing tight clothes when exercising could constrict your movement and lead to injury.

•    Wear appropriate footwear for the type of exercise you are doing – most specialist sportswear retailers will be able to advise you on this.

•    If you are enrolling in a gym, make sure you receive training on any equipment and if you are signing up to a programme, try and make sure you get proper training, advice and ongoing supervision.

Rishi Loatey, a chiropractor from the BCA, says: It’s great that people want to get fit and having a goal to aim for can really help achieve this but endurance activity can put the body under huge amounts of stress, particularly if it’s not used to it and you’re not prepared. A chiropractor can advise you on how to approach a new exercise routine and tell you what signs to look for if you’re overdoing it.

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Stressed?

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The modern world is becoming increasingly complex, and the demands on our time and attention are many. It’s often said that stress is one of the most destructive elements in people’s daily lives, but that’s only a half-truth. The way we react to stress is more important than the stress itself!

There are three types of stress that affect the body: chemical stress, physical stress and emotional stress, all of which can create nerve interference in the body.

Chemical stress includes things you ingest or inhale. Preservatives in food, medications, alcohol, smoggy air and pollen are just a few examples of chemical stressors that can irritate the nervous system.

Physical stress includes repetitive motions, improper posture (such as leaning over your computer keyboard or falling asleep in an awkward position) and traumas such as car accidents or falling. Physical stress can result in muscle tightening or loss of muscle tone, which can contribute to joint and disc problems, ultimately resulting in the nerve disturbances that cause pain and immobility.

Emotional stress is less tangible, but often the bigger problem. Emotional stress includes worrying over finances, grief, anger or frustration, that result in tension in the body, particularly in any areas that are already weakened or overworked. This tension can lead to tight muscles and irritation of the nerves.

Chronic Stress means you never completely relax. Many studies of people who have been subjected to chronic stress have found evidence of negative health effects. These effects include high blood pressure, damage to muscle tissue, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune response, and slowed healing from disease and injury. Stress reactions are also at the root of disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and stress has been linked in human and animal research with cardiovascular disease.

The Chiropractic Approach

Chiropractors work primarily with the spine, the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel from the brain to the rest of the body. One effect of chronic stress is prolonged muscle tension and contraction. This muscle tension creates uneven pressures on the bony structures of the body, often leading to misalignment of the spinal column.

Chronic stress also leads to nerve irritation. Chiropractic adjustments release muscle tension and reduce spinal nerve irritation, which helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state. These changes can, in many cases, convince the brain to turn off the fight or flight response, beginning the process of healing.

A chiropractor cannot make a job less stressful, or create a quieter, calmer world. What chiropractic treatment can do is help you develop healthy responses to stress, reducing potential physical damage.

If you or someone you know has been under a lot of stress, maybe it’s time for a chiropractic check-up?

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