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

Chiropractic assessment

Why should you see a chiropractor?

With the likes of Google and social media readily available to most people, it’s fairly easy to find news and information about what chiropractors do nowadays. Despite this, I still see a surprising number of people who are unsure of the conditions we can help with and our level of skill, qualification, and competency.

Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health (World Health Organisation, 2005).

In 2005 when I decided to train to become a chiropractor, I assumed that because it wasn’t seen as ‘mainstream’ medicine that it wouldn’t be too difficult. I was very wrong. As part of our training, we had to complete a four year full-time undergraduate Masters of Chiropractic degree which included extremely high standards of education in anatomy, neurology, physiology, radiology, psychology and general diagnosis. We also spent many, many (many!) hours learning specialised manual (hands-on) methods such as joint and soft tissue manipulation and exercise rehab. There were no weekend courses here!

In the final year, those that passed a stringent entrance exam worked within a training clinic for 12 months with the general public. We needed to see 40 new patients and perform 400 treatments within this time, as well as write up the cases and present them to tutors, attend lectures, revise for exams, write a dissertation and create a reflective portfolio. Then, after passing an even tougher clinic exit exam, you were considered as competent to go out into the wider world.

Completing the degree was really just the beginning though. Like all healthcare providers, chiropractors are always learning! Every year the General Chiropractic Council check that chiropractors continue their professional development (CPD), and that we have appropriate qualifications, adhere to competency and criminal records checks, and have professional indemnity insurance. All of this helps to ensure that patients are protected and get the best care possible.

In short, you should see a chiropractor because they know what they are doing. They safely help millions of people a year worldwide with their nerve, muscle or joint problems, and you can be re-assured that you are in good hands.

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)

Is your sacro-iliac joint causing pain?

Is your Sacro-Iliac joint causing your back, hip or leg pain?

In this blog, our Stafford and Newport chiropractor talks about the Sacro-Iliac joint. But, what on earth is a sacro-iliac joint I hear you ask?

Well, the clue is in the name to a certain degree – 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 lower back injuries.

The sacro-iliac joint (or SIJ 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 SIJ 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 facet 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 muscle activation around the pelvis, and improve these as necessary.

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. Remember: Good spinal function is essential for movement; Good movement is essential for health; Chiropractic helps to maintain good spinal function.

If you need help, then come and see what chiropractic and massage can do for you. We look forward to seeing you.

Chris Mallett
Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness – Stafford and Newport

Featured image by RadsWiki (RadsWiki) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Stafford Chiropractor Chris and massage therapist Liesa run the Stafford 10k

Chiropractor Chris runs the Stafford 10k!

First of all – a big thank you to everyone who helped our Stafford and Newport chiropractor Chris and massage therapist Liesa raise money for Spinal Research!

A few months ago, it seemed to like a good idea to sign up with a few of my friends and colleagues in running the Stafford 10k. “It’s not that far”, I thought to myself. As I ran the final stages through the town centre with a ferocious “stitch” to the point of having to walk, I realised that maybe I should’ve done a bit more training, and also not eaten so many jelly babies half way round!

Once I’d recovered, it turned out I hadn’t done too badly. A 55-minute 10k with not really much training was pretty good for me. With the guys from the gym also doing well and (more importantly) enjoying it, we’d managed to raise a decent amount for charity and had fun too. Well done to everyone who took part!

I’d avoided doing much running in the 12 months leading up this event. This was partly due to injuring my knee in April; partly because I’m not a keen runner; but mainly because I’d developed a lot of calf and heel pain when trying to run any sort of distance since doing the half marathon in 2016. I’m not a natural runner and if you’re anything like me at running, then you will tend to “plod” rather than “glide” along. For me, this created a lot of tension in my feet, legs, pelvis and lower back and often led to shin splints, with accompanying back and heel pain.

There was a good reason for this, and it’s the same reason a lot of amateur athletes get pain and restriction: I was terrible at post-exercise stretching! Much like everyone else, as I became fitter, I also became complacent about warming down and stretching after training.

As we age, unfortunately our bodies don’t recover or regenerate as quickly as they used to. It’s absolutely vital that we warm down and stretch adequately to ensure that we don’t develop myofascial restrictions which can easily lead to changed movement, restricted mobility, and painful conditions. I now do this after every workout (finally listening to my own advice!), and have noticed a huge improvement in my ability to run pain free.

If you want help too, then why not see what chiropractic and massage can do for you. We look forward to seeing you.

Chris Mallett
Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness – Stafford and Newport

Our Chiropractor rides the Alps!

I’m pleased to report that I managed to survive a week of mountain biking in the French Alps relatively unscathed despite one high speed crash and a few scrapes and bangs on the head.

My knee performed well, although a bit achy, and after 175 miles of downhill (and even some uphill), I came home feeling like I needed another holiday!

The area we were in (around Briançon in south-east France) was hosting part of the Tour de France this year, which provided the inspiration to hire a road bike for a day with some friends. I’d never ridden a road bike before (the lycra look and the UK roads put me off!), but this was France and the Alps are amazing, so we decided to ride up the Col du Galibier, one of the highest mountain passes on the tour. Overall, it was an awesome experience, and although I didn’t find the climb too bad, holding my head up on the 45 mph descent was agony! I can now fully understand why I see cyclists with painful necks as chiropractic patients!

Stafford and Newport Chiropractor

Recently, back in the Stafford and Newport chiropractic clinics, I’ve seen a few clients who seem surprised when I say that I can look at their foot, knee, ankle, hip or shoulder problems as well as their back pain, neck pain or headaches. Many people think that chiropractors only treat backs, but that’s simply not the case. Chiropractors are well trained in recognising, treating and giving advice and rehab plans for many different neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle and joint) conditions. The main difference between chiropractors and other therapists, is that we also look to identify and address any spinal joint dysfunction i.e. movement issues in the small joints of the spine. Without a stable and well-functioning spine and torso, your peripheral movement, strength and coordination will almost certainly be compromised too.

Good spinal function is essential for movement; Good movement is essential for health; Chiropractic helps to maintain good spinal function.

Whatever your injury or movement problems, we will work tirelessly to help you to get back to your optimum and stay that way. See what chiropractic can do for you – I am available in Newport on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and also in Stafford on Wednesdays and Fridays. I look forward to seeing you.

Chris Mallett
Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness – Stafford and Newport