Back Pain – don’t let it stop you!

As I was sorting through some of our old things a few days ago, I happened to come across something really quite interesting.

It was an old MRI scan of my lower back when I was in my first year of chiropractic school, at the ripe old age of 28 (I’m now nearly 42!). I was suffering quite severe back and leg pain at the time, and I can still remember being told that I had the “spine of a 65 year old” by one of the doctors. However, as I looked at it, I realised that it was very similar to many other MRI scans that I have seen since graduating, and I’m not concerned in the slightest!

Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen clients who are so afraid that they will damage their back due to “disc bulges” or a “crumbling spine”, that they are almost too apprehensive to move. I can appreciate that. Severe back or nerve pain is excruciating. Debilitating. Until you experience it, it’s difficult to describe how painful it is and you will do anything not to experience it again. However, allowing your fear of injury to control you is not the answer for long term management.

One of the main challenges with persistent back problems is learning how to move better again with confidence and coordination. A big part of this is building stability, strength and mobility through exercise, a healthy lifestyle and techniques such as Yoga, Pilates, massage and Chiropractic. Getting good advice and maintaining good movement is essential.

Being out of pain, or trying to get fit is most people’s goal when exercising but I think it’s also a great idea to find something you enjoy doing and train towards being able to do that more. For example, strength and mobility training helps me to do what I really love: riding my mountain bike. Having recently completed the brilliant ‘Ard Rock Enduro in Yorkshire, I can confidently say that I feel fitter and stronger than I’ve ever felt on a bike. But I’ve had to work hard at it – there are no shortcuts!

My message for all those with chronic, recurrent back pain is this: OK, so you’ve got back problems. Now, what are you going to do about it? Your spine is far stronger and more resilient than you may be led to believe, and back problems don’t have to stop you doing the things you love. Unless you let them.

Let us help you to achieve better health. You can book an appointment with our chiropractor Chris or massage therapists Liesa or Matt, by calling 01785 530911 in Stafford, or 01952 825042 in Newport. Alternatively you can book using our online diary.

We look forward to seeing you.

Pure Health Chiropractic

Image by Jerry Tatton of DialledInUk

Which pillow do we recommend?

As a chiropractor in Newport and Stafford, I’m always being asked which pillow is best to help with neck or back pain.

Well, for the last few years we have been stocking a particular pillow that has proved hugely popular and helped some of my patients get the best night’s sleep they’ve had for years: The Complete Sleeprrr Original pillow.

Like many pillows, it is therapeutically designed in luxurious memory foam and has a gently contoured shape to encourage natural spinal alignment. However, the main difference between this pillow and many others is that it can be altered to suit your needs.

It has a huge range of adjustments (up to 12) to enable you to change the height, depth and firmness of the pillow by adding or removing selected pieces. To alter the height to suit your comfort and postural needs, there are two removable inserts.

You can also alter the firmness of the pillow by taking out or adding the surface “foam noodles”. This unique customisation helps to take the risk out of your pillow being too high, too low, too hard or too soft. One size suits all!

Everyone who has tried one so far (including me) has loved it and in my opinion its one of the best on the market. It is also around half the cost of some of the leading brand orthopaedic memory foam pillows at only £55 (RRP £79), and could make a great present.

This offer isn’t available in shops, and you can only get them through UK clinics, so if you would like to know more then please contact us or drop into our Stafford or Newport chiropractic clinics. You can also get further information by visiting the Complete Sleeprrr website at www.completesleeprrr.co.uk.

Straighten Up UK!

Recent consumer research by the British Chiropractic Association has shown that people of all ages are experiencing higher levels of back pain and discomfort and much of this is related to poor movement or posture. In the Midlands particularly, incidences of back pain have increased 12% on 2017, and we are the most likely to develop back pain before the age of 30!

As a nation, we live busy and yet sedentary lifestyles. We are dashing about one minute, full of stress and time pressured, and then subjecting ourselves to long periods of sedentary behaviour by driving for long periods, playing computer games or watching television. This often leads to de-conditioning, fatigue and ultimately poor movement, stiffness and pain. Every year, back pain results in billions of pounds in losses to the nation due to lost days at work and sickness benefit payments; not to mention the significant impact this is having on a sufferer’s quality of life.

Chiropractors are keen to highlight this issue to show people in the UK ways in which they can help themselves towards a healthier lifestyle through education, advice and if necessary a treatment plan.

As part of this, the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has introduced an exciting programme called Straighten Up UK, designed to improve posture and help prevent back pain by promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine. Chiropractors want to encourage adults and children alike to start using this set of simple, three minute straighten up exercises. They are designed to be done on a daily basis and become part of the daily routine, just like brushing your teeth.

The exercises can be adapted to suit individual capabilities (although please discuss with your GP, chiropractor or other healthcare practitioner first). There are kids’ and adults’ versions of the website and leaflets, so everyone can take part. Further information about chiropractic and the programme can be obtained by visiting www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk.

If you are struggling with back pain that won’t settle after more than a few days, it’s recommended that you see a qualified professional, such as a chiropractor, who can assess you and recommend a care plan to help get you moving again.

Let us help you to achieve better health. You can book an appointment with our chiropractor Chris or massage therapists Liesa or Matt, by calling 01785 530911 in Stafford, or 01952 825042 in Newport. Alternatively you can book using our online diary.

We look forward to seeing you.

Pure Health Chiropractic

Stafford Sports Massage

Get £10 off Stafford Sports Massage

Do you have a sports injury you can’t shake, or feel tight after that event? Or just want some help recovering from training? Get yourself booked in now, and get back to your best!

To celebrate our new Sports Massage Therapist joining the team, we are having a special introductory offer of £10 off Sports Massage in Stafford with Matt until the end of September 2018.

Terms: Expires 30th September 2018. Valid for Sports Massage in Stafford with Matt Price (Sports Massage Therapist) only, usual price £35. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Sports Massage Stafford

A huge welcome to our new Sports Massage Therapist, Matt!

Do you have a sports injury you can’t shake, or feel tight after that event? Or just want some help recovering from training? Good News! Our new sports massage therapist Matt will be available in Stafford from 19th July to give you a helping hand. Get yourself booked in now, and get back to your best…

Shockwave is here!

No, it’s not the next superhero movie, but it is something quite new and exciting! We are pleased to reveal that we now have a revolutionary type of treatment called Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) available at both of our clinics for new and existing clients.

It has been shown to be particularly successful in treating stubborn soft tissue conditions in the shoulder, hip, knee, foot or ankle, that are struggling to respond to conventional therapy.

Why not see what shockwave can do for you? For more information, please visit our Shockwave Therapy page or Contact Us. We look forward to seeing you.

Mountain biking is bad for your health! (cervicogenic headaches…)

For some reason, I seem to be on a subconscious quest to experience a variety of injuries, perhaps in a bid to gain empathy for my clients. Having personal experience of pain certainly makes you a better clinician as it helps you appreciate what can often help, but to be honest; I’d rather not have to!

Over the years I’ve suffered with: disc prolapses; microdiscectomy surgery; wrist sprains; carpal tunnel syndrome; plantar fasciitis; knee sprains; shoulder sprains and most recently (after landing on my head falling off my mountain bike), neck pain and headache. Most of these injuries are fitness related and usually avoidable and recoverable, but who ever said exercise is good for you!? I guess it depends on what sort.

So, after my latest excursion head butting the ground, I am currently suffering with what is commonly known as “neck headache” or “cervicogenic” headache. I see quite a few clients with this problem, and now I know how it feels!

It’s important to note that headaches can be a sign of something more serious, so it’s important that you are examined by a qualified professional and if necessary referred for appropriate tests. Once confirmed though, cervicogenic headaches are generally regarded as secondary headaches arising from problems with the joints or muscles of the neck. Symptoms can include tenderness in the upper neck and base of skull; dizziness; nausea; neck stiffness; pain into the face or side of head; and blurred vision. The headache typically starts in your neck, and can sometimes mimic migraine symptoms.

The pain is often chronic and relentless and there can be a variety of causes including prolonged poor posture; joint or disc degeneration; inflammation of a neck joint or nerve; or a history of whiplash or trauma causing joint movement issues.

Fortunately it’s been shown that Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, dry needling, and exercises can help to get on top of the problem. It’s a good job I’m in this business!

Why not see what chiropractic can do for you. You can book an appointment with our chiropractor Chris or massage therapist Liesa, by calling 01785 530911 in Stafford, or 01952 825042 in Newport. Alternatively you can book using our online diary.

We look forward to seeing you.

Chiropractic can help your back pain

Suffering back or neck pain? Here are some helpful tips

New research finds increasing numbers of Midlanders suffering from back and neck pain

New research released to mark Chiropractic Awareness Week (9 – 15 April), has found that more than two fifths (41%) of people in the Midlands are currently experiencing back or neck pain, a 12% increase on 2017.

The research, which was carried out by the British Chiropractic Association, found that for sufferers in the Midlands, the top triggers for this pain were;

  • Lifting or carrying heavy objects (53%)
  • Sitting for long periods of time (43%), and;
  • Poor posture (35%)

Notably, incidences of neck and back pain among younger people are also on the rise, with 40% of people in the Midlands experiencing neck or back pain by age 20.

 

GB back pain

 

Local chiropractor, Chris Mallett from Pure Health Chiropractic in Stafford and Newport, comments on these findings:

“The BCA’s research findings align with what I see in my clinic on a day to day basis, however it’s particularly interesting that lifting and carrying was the most cited trigger for neck and back pain. It really highlights the importance of maintaining a strong and active body that can move well and cope with the demands you are making of it.

“For those who are finding that sedentary lifestyles and sitting for long periods are causing them a problem, we would encourage they make a change. We are designed to move and if you hold your body in any position for an extended period of time, it is likely that you will feel pain.

“To help counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and help prevent back and neck pain occurring, there are a number of simple exercises and small changes you can incorporate into your daily routine. For example, shrugging and circling your shoulders whilst sitting and taking the stairs are easy ways to improve your back health – these may sound simple but I know from my patients that they really work!”

Chris’s top tips to help local residents to prevent and manage neck and back pain are:

  • Take a break: When sitting for long periods of time, ensure you stand up and move around every 30 minutes. When at work, also make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.
  • Keep on moving: Physical activity can be beneficial for managing back pain, however it’s important that if this is of a moderate to high intensity that you warm up and down properly to get your body ready to move! If a previous injury is causing you pain, adapt your exercise or seek some advice. Activities such as swimming, walking or yoga can be less demanding on your body while keeping you mobile!

Other things which you can bear in mind are:

  • Lifting and carrying: Remember to bend from the knees, not the waist when lifting heavy items. Face in the direction of movement, and take your time. Hold the object as close to your body as possible, and where you can avoid carrying objects which are too heavy to manage alone, ask for help or use the necessary equipment.
  • Sleep comfortably: The Sleep Council recommends buying a new mattress at least every 7 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Everyone has different support requirements, so when purchasing your mattress ensure it is supportive for you. If you share a bed and require different mattress types, consider two single mattresses which are designed to be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.
  • Straighten Up!: The BCA has created a programme of 3-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine

The BCA recommends that, if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days you should seek professional help, for example from a chiropractor, who can assess you and help you to get moving again without pain. You can book an appointment with our chiropractors Chris or Nick, by calling 01785 530911 in Stafford, or 01952 825042 in Newport. Alternatively you can book using our online diary.

We look forward to seeing you.

Congratulations to our massage therapist Liesa!

After over two years of hard work, study and practice we are very proud to announce that our massage therapist Liesa has recently become a fully qualified NLSSM practitioner!

Congratulations to Liesa, who trained at the well respected NLSSM School of Sports Massage to obtain one of the highest standards of massage therapy training: a BTEC Level 5 Professional Diploma in Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy. After already gaining many hours of experience whilst training at our Stafford clinic, and enjoying seeing her regulars, Liesa looks forward to helping more people during her future career as a massage therapist!

As Liesa has now completed her massage training, she is now able to officially charge a fee for her services and so prices for appointments will be going up to £35 for an hours session (which is still excellent value!). She will, however, be honouring her appointments up until the end of March for those already booked in.

Stafford Massage Room

Appointments can be booked online or by calling us on 01785 530911.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you.

Chris Mallett
Principal Chiropractor, Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness (Stafford and Newport)

Yoga Pose Balance Chiropractic

Balance, coordination, spinal health and Chiropractic

In this blog, our Stafford and Newport chiropractor talks about the importance of balance and coordination, and how it can be an indicator of spinal and nervous system health.

Balance and coordination are vital to our normal everyday movements and a good quality of life.  If one or both of these areas are compromised, it can profoundly affect our strength, mobility and overall wellbeing.

There can be many reasons that your balance and coordination can be adversely affected, and if you do find that you are suffering with balance problems or changes in your coordination, it’s important that you are assessed thoroughly by an appropriate healthcare professional to rule out potential underlying medical causes. However, in this article I’m going to discuss how changes in balance and coordination can be affected by your spinal biomechanics; or in other words: problems with your back or neck.

As a chiropractor, I see lots of clients with back and neck problems, and we are experts in assessing and treating spinal conditions. It’s very common in my experience for clients to become biomechanically unstable after an injury i.e. unable to tolerate movements in the neck or low back without sharp pain or re-injury. Why do you think this is? Why does the body struggle to contract and engage the spinal and neck stabilisers when the muscles are still there? The answer lies in the nervous system.

The spinal structures, including the joints and the surrounding small muscles, ligaments and tendons are constantly sending messages to the brain via mechanoreceptors (nerve endings) which sense pressure, movement and stretch. This feedback is sent to the brain, which then combines it with input from various other areas (including visual and inner ear) and decides how best to stabilise the area and control coordination of movement. This subconscious awareness of position, stabilisation and coordination occurs thousands of times per second, and is often known as proprioception.

It is thought that acute injury or long term movement dysfunction issues (such as osteoarthritis), can disrupt or override this feedback mechanism and lead to further instability, injury or damage. It’s not surprising that a lot of clients I see with acute or chronic spinal issues have terrible balance and coordination. Chiropractic techniques, combined with appropriate exercises for balance and strength have been shown in various studies to help with improving proprioception.

If you need help, then come and see what our chiropractors in Stafford and Newport can do for you.

We look forward to seeing you.

Chris Mallett
Principal Chiropractor, Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness (Stafford and Newport)

 

Yoga Image By Matthew Greenfield (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons