Is your Sacro-Iliac joint causing your back pain?

What on earth is a sacro-iliac joint I can almost hear you ask?

Well, the clue is in the name – it’s the joint that connects the sacrum at the base of the spine, to the ilium of the pelvis (hence sacro-iliac). It is essential in effectively distributing forces from the spine to the hips and lower limbs (and vice versa), but it can also be an often overlooked pain source in low back pain injuries.

The sacro-iliac joint (or SI joint for short) is normally a fantastically strong and stable joint, and can tolerate amazing amounts of downward force to create stability when we lift or move. This stability is largely generated by well-controlled contraction of the surrounding muscles and tissue creating “closure” of the joint. Problems arise when this balance isn’t adequate, the joint is not sufficiently stable, and tissues or cartilage become damaged as a result. This can be acute (sudden) or could be chronic (long term and recurring), but in all cases it tends to hurt quite a lot.

Pain originating from the sacro-iliac joint is often confusing as it can be mistaken for injuries to other structures. For example, acute SI joint pain can often refer to the buttocks and down the back of the leg mimicking sciatica or disc symptoms. It could also refer to the groin and anterior thigh, mimicking hip arthritis. Or it could simply radiate to the spine, mimicking a spinal joint issue.

Often with long term and recurrent problems, repeated flare-ups are caused by either too much movement (hypermobility) or too little movement (hypomobility) of the joint. Both can respond well to rehab and/or chiropractic adjustments and it is important to determine possible faulty or poor muscle activation around the pelvis, and improve these as necessary.

Chiropractic assessment

In all cases, it is vital to get checked out by a qualified and experienced spinal professional such as a chiropractor. We will assess and treat not only the painful symptoms, but also look to address the underlying causes.

We can help you to achieve better health. Why not come and see what our chiropractors and massage therapists 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)

Back bend

The hips don’t lie

One of the things I may ask my clients to do when I assess them is to try and bend forward to touch their toes (if they can), or perform a simple body weight squat.

Despite appearances, this isn’t really to test tightness of the hamstrings or flexibility of the spine, (although we do look at that as well). Instead, I’m particularly looking at the mobility and coordination of certain parts of the body as they progress through the ranges of motion.

Our bodies are amazing. From birth, we develop an innate ability to move in complex neuro-muscular patterns without even thinking about it. For example, if you watch a toddler playing or picking things up, they will often squat or bend over for long periods of time without any movement restriction and with immaculate form. No-one has taught them that – it’s an inherent and fundamental movement. Unfortunately, as we progress through life, these movements can become “corrupted” by factors such as posture, injury, and a general lack of mobility.

To move well, some areas of the body need stability and others need mobility. The feet, knees, low back, and shoulder blades for example, need to stay stable as a base for the more mobile joints such as the shoulders, thoracic spine, hips and ankles. If one or more of these areas becomes too mobile, or not mobile enough, then other areas have to compensate.

Rehab

The hips in particular, are prone to losing mobility largely due to the amount of time we spend being sedentary. When we sit for long periods, our hips are in a shortened, flexed position, and our spinal and abdominal stabilisers are mostly inactive. This can often combine to cause “switching off” of the gluteals (which are vital to optimal hip coordination), restricted hip mobility (important for relaxed, efficient forward bending and squatting), and poor abdominal/spinal muscle activation (important for stability). The end result can be a loss of the ability to “hinge” through the hips in a relaxed, coordinated way when squatting or bending, whilst still keeping your spinal stabilisers engaged. Over time, this can cause poor movement patterns and increased tension in areas such as the low back and hamstrings, often leading to an increased likelihood of getting injuries and pain.

How do you fix any problems you may have? Come and see us, so that we can assess your posture and movement, and can help you to restore normal function through education, manual therapy and corrective exercises.

We can help you to achieve better health. Why not come and see what our chiropractors and massage therapists 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)

Text neck chiropractic

What is “text neck”?

It’s an all too common scene that I’m sure we’ve all seen before: people standing in a queue; in the office; or even walking down the street with their head forward and down.

Their eyes are transfixed on the screen of their smart phone, texting furiously as if their lives depended on it. It’s become such a part of our lives that it’s now seen as normal. But, is this modern day phenomena causing us more harm than good? Yes, maybe, is the short answer. There’s even a term for it: “text neck” – and long term it could lead to all sorts of problems.

Essentially, “text neck” is a new-fangled term for yet another postural syndrome. Postural problems aren’t new; they’ve always been around (and always will be). However, with our modern obsession with smart phones, the prolonged forward head carriage posture we often see with computer, desk or laptop use is becoming far more prevalent in general everyday life. This is particularly true of teenagers and school kids who often seem to have their phones glued to their face.

Why is this important? Posture is talked about all the time in the health professions, and blamed for a whole host of problems. There’s a reason for this – good posture puts less stress on muscles, joints, discs and vital organs! Although the human body is a fantastically adaptive and tolerant structure, if you have poor posture for long enough, then sooner or later it will start to show symptoms. There’s nothing good about the body adapting to a non-neutral forward head posture (FHP). Prolonged FHP can lead to premature disc and joint degeneration, pinched nerves, muscle pain, decreased respiratory capacity and changes to the curvatures of your entire spine. Once a poor postural pattern is set in, movements can become dysfunctional and follow us into everyday activities, including exercise. This is when further injuries can occur, often seemingly unrelated to your neck.

Chiropractic assessment

How do you fix it? Come and see us, so that we can assess your posture and movement, and can help you to restore normal function through education, manual therapy and corrective exercises.

We can help you to achieve better health. Why not come and see what our chiropractors and massage therapists 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)

Featured Image By Helar Lukats, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48993365

Chiropractic can help your back pain

“I’ve got Sciatica!”

As an experienced chiropractor, I am frequently presented with the phrase ‘I’ve got sciatica’. But did you know that ‘sciatica’ isn’t really a diagnosis?

‘Sciatica’ is a term that loosely describes any injury in the low back that causes pain down the legs or buttocks. It is derived from the name of the largest and longest nerve in that region: the sciatic nerve.

There are also different types of sciatica. True sciatica (also known as neurogenic or radicular pain) is typically caused by an injury to a spinal (intervertebral) disc, and can lead to irritation or damage to the nearby spinal nerves which then form the sciatic nerve. This frequently leads to pain in a particular pattern down the leg, often past the knee, and can also be accompanied by pins and needles, sensation changes and muscle weakness. Usually the leg pain is far worse than the back pain.

Non-radicular sciatica (or referred pain) is much more common and is caused by an injury in the muscles, joints or ligaments of the back which then radiates pain into the buttock and/or leg. This typically stays above the knee and doesn’t cause symptoms such as pins and needles or loss of strength (although severe pain may cause weakness). The back pain is generally worse than the leg pain.

In all cases it is essential to get a diagnosis with suitable treatment and advice as soon as possible.

As chiropractors, we are experts in assessing and treating these types of injuries so that the most appropriate treatment, education or referral can be given. The most important step is to take a detailed case history, and perform a thorough neurological and orthopaedic examination, prior to any treatment plan.

Most people respond well to treatment. Once a certain level of improvement has been achieved, appropriate exercises will be offered to help stabilise the spine and take control of your health. Depending on your circumstances, regular chiropractic care and exercises may be recommended to help to maintain spinal function, so that in the long term the problem is less likely to return.

We can help you to achieve better health. Why not come and see what our chiropractors and massage therapists 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)

Why Chiropractic care is different and how it works

I love being a chiropractor and being able to help people. Whether it is through improvement of spinal function; exercise; or general lifestyle advice, our main goal is often helping you to achieve your potential and not just about chasing pain and symptoms.

Whilst we often use many manual and rehab techniques to suit you and your complaint, chiropractors primarily focus on improving joint function through mobilisation and manipulation. We are experts in this respect and train for many years to deliver safe, effective techniques to peripheral and spinal joints that are restricted (or “dysfunctional”).  However, how this works is often a subject of debate. Recently, I attended a very interesting and inspirational seminar which highlighted some of the exciting neurophysiological research that is occurring in Chiropractic. In particular, how manipulation of the spine affects our body’s awareness and brain function.

Why is this important?

Imagine you are doing something apparently simple like picking a ball up. What happens? First, your brain tells your core abdominal muscles to “switch on” to create a stable platform; then you lift your arm and reach out; then you anticipate the shape, weight and size of the ball from past experience and visual input; then you pick it up. Although this all happens subconsciously in seconds, during that time billions of signals are being sent from the tissues to your brain (and vice-versa) to carefully control and modulate your muscle contractions and keep you stable. The nerve signals from your limbs, and the position and movement of the joints and small muscles around the spine are essential in this process. If this is working at its best, you are unlikely to get joint or muscle pain.

Why is this important to Chiropractic?

Research has shown that the brain can interpret these signals differently if spinal joints are not moving well. This can lead to poor control of your body movements, decreased stabilisation and potential injury or long term adaptive changes (often known as “compensation”). Correcting these dysfunctional spinal joints can aid in the “normalisation” of the information from the spine to the brain, and help the brain to accurately perceive what is happening in and around the body. When this happens it can help the muscles and nerves to respond more accurately and appropriately, and can reduce your likelihood of injury or painful conditions.

We can help you to achieve better health. Why not come and see what our chiropractors and massage therapists 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)

Glute activation for a healthier back and hips

Making sure you have good gluteal activation is essential to help with stabilising the lower back and hips through movement. Unfortunately with our generally sedentary lifestyles, the glutes are often ignored and can end up inhibited through lack of use. These exercises can help to get them fired up again!

Subscribe for more content from Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness for more advice, exercises, and product reviews:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCes0… 
Website: http://www.purehealthchiropractic.co.uk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phchiro/

Follow our chiropractor, Chris on his channel MTBChiro for general advice and mountain biking adventures:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmWx…
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/177911
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themtbchiro/

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.

A good year for Chiropractic & Massage?

Amazingly, Pure Health Chiropractic will be eight years old this month and that’s largely due to the many grateful and satisfied clients that have kindly referred their family and friends to us. If you are one of those lovely people, we would like to say a huge thank you for supporting us, and enabling us to help those you care about get well again.

As we age, maintaining some form of activity is vital since movement helps to promote good health. However, this isn’t easy for all of us, particularly as many of us now have to work into old age and with longer hours. If you suffer with back or neck pain, this can become a daunting prospect, and movement can become very restricted.

In 2012, the British Chiropractic Association unveiled consumer research that highlighted the need for action for those over 55. Some of the results were eye-opening: 51% suffered from back or neck pain with 33% of those complaining that they suffer daily and 24% stating they have endured their complaint for more than 10 years. 13% of those suffering from back or neck pain experienced difficulties with going to work – a clear concern for the ageing workforce. Perhaps more worryingly 13% found their pain impacted on their ability to socialise with friends and family.

With such concerning findings, it’s clear that getting the right advice and care is important. Although some exercises and hands-on treatments may seem daunting, they may be perfect for mobility and fitness if done at an appropriate level.

If your joints are not moving well, you are more likely to be in pain. Chiropractic treatment or massage can often help to restore or improve issues with joint and muscle restriction, particularly when combined with suitable postural, stabilising, and movement exercises. Adding just a few minutes of exercise or stretches to your daily routine could be a huge benefit. We can help you to find the most tailored solution to your problems.

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.

Spare your back with the “Hip Hinge”

When it comes to low back pain, being able to move through the hips in a relaxed way is essential to help avoiding injury. Our Chiropractor, Chris explains why the “hip hinge” is so important in everyday activities, but also when riding your mountain bike!

Subscribe for more content from Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness for more advice, exercises, and product reviews:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCes0… 
Website: http://www.purehealthchiropractic.co.uk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phchiro/

Follow our chiropractor, Chris on his channel MTBChiro for general advice and mountain biking adventures:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmWx…
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/177911
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themtbchiro/

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.

Help your back pain with the Dying Bug

If you suffer with a back injury or pain, it can be a real burden getting back to normal movement.

The Dying Bug track is a progression of exercises designed to help you learn to engage the spinal and pelvic muscles again, and give you the confidence to return to normal activities. Here, our Chiropractor Chris runs through some of the steps of the progression and explains why it is so important.

Subscribe for more content from Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness for more advice, exercises, and product reviews:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCes0…
Website: http://www.purehealthchiropractic.co.uk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phchiro/

Follow our chiropractor, Chris on his channel MTBChiro for general advice and mountain biking adventures:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmWx…
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/177911
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themtbchiro/

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.

Sleeping and your bed

As a Chiropractor, I am often asked for advice on pillows, beds and mattresses and which ones can help to prevent back or neck pain. In truth, there is no single answer that suits all.

Research by the British Chiropractic Association in 2013 showed that of those experiencing back or neck pain, 30% said that their pain could be brought on by a night’s so-called ‘rest’. We all come in different weights, shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common: we spend more than a third of our lives in bed, so choosing the right bed, pillow or mattress is essential to help reduce the risk.

Which is better, a hard or soft mattress?

The best mattress is a ’supportive one‘. A 16 stone person sleeping on a mattress may not get the same support as a 10 stone person sleeping on the same mattress. If you are lying on your side, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and your spine should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate this feeling will be.

Your pillow should be an extension of this i.e. your neck should be a continuation of the straight spine and not too high or too low. In clinic we sell the fantastic Complete Sleeprrr pillow and highly recommend it if you suffer neck problems and need a new pillow. For more information visit: Which Pillow Do We Recommend?

 

How do I know if my current bed/mattress needs replacing?

Are you and your partner getting comfortable nights sleep? If the answer is no, your bed may be the problem. Can you feel the springs through the mattress? If the answer is yes, it is definitely time to buy a new one. Is the bed more than 8 years old? If the answer is yes, consider purchasing a new one – beds wear out and may sag or lose support with time.

How do I minimise back or neck problems?

Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back. For example, lying on your side is better than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side. Also try to avoid being in any one position for too long, and if your partner moves around a lot at night, try separate beds for a while as your partner’s movement could aggravate YOUR back condition!

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.