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Aching Backs and Stiff Necks

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During the holiday season we see lots of patients with bad backs and stiff neck issues! Research has shown that sleeping in a strange bed is one of the culprits! Judging from what our patients say, their aching back and stiff neck has been caused by either sitting for hours in a cramped aeroplane seat, sleeping in a different hotel bed or sleeping underneath the air conditioning that’s blasting out cold air.

So, these tips should help…

  • Try to stretch your legs a bit on the flight home…if, of course, you can squeeze past the refreshment trolley!
  • You can’t change the hotel mattress, so try to have a stroll before breakfast to loosen up muscles and joints.

    tips and help to avoid neck pain at Lagos Health Chiropractic

    “I knew I’d get a bad back after sleeping on that lumpy mattress!”

  • Finally, to avoid a stiff neck, DON’T sleep with the air-con on all night! Have it on for half an hour before you go to bed to cool the room, but then turn it off once you snuggle down. If you wake up sticky during the night, turn it on for 5 minutes and then switch it off. In the morning, get up slowly and try not to make any sudden neck movements.

Come and see us

If you do have problems, come and see us at Lagos Health Chiropractic…we’re in the big pink building by the Lidl roundabout, about 10 minutes walk from the Marina. We’ve helped so many people these last few weeks, I’m sure we’ll be able to help you too.

By the way, have you ever experienced any of the issues mentioned here? If so, we’d like to hear about what you did to relieve the pain…did you go to a chiropractor, an osteopath or a physio…or did you just take some painkilling tablets or rub in a cream? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Mum Was Right…Sit Up Straight As It Helps Prevent All Sorts Of Things

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Remember when you were little, your mum was always telling you to “sit up straight”? As usual, mum was probably right, as research in America recently warned that bad things can happen to your body if you sit for too long.

High Blood Pressure

Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary lifestyles are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the least.

Dr Wen Oates DC MChiro of Lagos Health Chiropractic & Wellness Clinic in Portugal says, “If most of your sitting occurs at a desk, craning your neck forward towards the keyboard, or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing, can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to instabilities”.

Think Twice Before Stretching For That Cuppa

“Furthermore, spines that don’t move become inflexible and susceptible to damage in everyday activities, like reaching for a cup of tea or bending down to tie up shoelaces. When we move around”, says Dr Wen, “the soft discs between the vertebrae expand and contract like sponges, soaking up fresh blood and nutrients. When we sit for a long time, those soft discs are squashed unevenly and lose their sponginess”.

Always Listen To Your Mum…And Dr Wen!

So what can we do? Dr Wen suggests sitting on something wobbly (like one of those big fitness balls), or a backless stool to force your core muscles to work. “If you’re sitting in your home office, try not to lean forward, keep your shoulders relaxed, asit up straight to avoid back pain and other problemsnd keep your arms close to your sides with your elbows bent at about 90 degrees. Ensure your lower back is supported by your chair or use a rolled up towel to do the same job. But don’t sit for too long – stand up every half hour or so and walk about”.

If you’d like to find out more about chiropractic care for you or members of your family, look at our other website pages. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Preventing Back Pain in School Children

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Each school year millions of children walk to, from and around school carrying backpacks filled with books and materials. Parents should be aware that overly stressing the back with a heavy backpack could cause back pain in their child. Following a few guidelines can help avoid this type of back pain.

How Kids’ Backs Respond to Backpacks

Using a backpack allows a child to carry a number of schoolbooks and items in a practical way, distributing the heavy load across the strong back and shoulder muscles. The risk, however, is overload, which can strain the back, neck, or shoulders.

backpack with school books and pens

The back will compensate for any load applied to it for an extended period of time. A heavy weight carried in backpacks can:

  • Distort the natural curves in the middle and lower backs, causing muscle strain and irritation to the spine joints and the rib cage
  • Lead to rounding of the shoulders
  • Cause a person to lean forward, reducing balance and making it easier to fall
  • Habitually carrying backpacks over one shoulder will make muscles strain to compensate for the uneven weight. The spine leans to the opposite side, stressing the middle back, ribs, and lower back more on one side than the other. This type of muscle imbalance can cause muscle strain, muscle spasm, and back pain in the short term and speed the development of back problems later in life if not corrected.
  • A heavy backpack can pull on the neck muscles, contributing to headache, shoulder pain, lower back pain, and/or neck and arm pain.

Medical Research on Backpacks

While the medical literature on backpacks is often inconclusive, and sometimes contradictory, a review of current medical literature suggests several general conclusions:

  • Carrying heavy backpacks, or carrying them in a way that strains the back, is a frequent cause of back pain in children and adolescents
  • The back pain caused by back packs is short term (e.g. muscle strain) and alleviat
    ed with a short period of rest or reduced activity; any type of back pain that persists is uncommon and should be evaluated by a medical professional

Although there are very few studies and the medical literature does not agree on specific guidelines for backpack safety to avoid back pain, parents can use common sense to reduce the chance that their child or teen will suffer back pain due to carrying a backpack.

Look for backpack design features that help reduce the chance of back pain:

  • Lightweight material (canvas as opposed to leather)
  • Two padded, wide (2-inches), adjustable shoulder straps on the backpack
  • Padded back
  • Individualized compartments
  • Hip strap, waist belt, or frame to redistribute the weight of the backpack from the shoulders and back to the pelvis
  • Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items

Teach your child how to properly load and wear the backpack to avoid back pain:

  • Always use both shoulder straps and wear the backpack on the back rather than over one shoulder
  • Pack heaviest objects into the backpack first so they are carried lower and closest to the body
  • Fill compartments so that the load is evenly distributed throughout the backpack and items do not shift during movement
  • Pack sharp or bulky objects in the backpack so they do not contact the back
  • Adjust the straps to fit the backpack snugly to the child’s body, holding the bottom of the backpack 2 inches above the waist and keeping the top just below the base of the skull; do not carry the backpack low near the buttocks
  • Lift the backpack by using the leg muscles and keeping it close to the body, not by bending over with arms extended
  • Do not lean forward when walking; if this is necessary, there is too much weight in the backpack

Maintain a mindset to watch the weight carried in the backpack to reduce back pain:

  • If the child complains of discomfort, reduce the weight in the backpack immediately
  • Consider applying a guideline backpack weight limit as a percent of the child’s body weight. The American Physical Therapy Association suggests 15-20%; the American Chiropractic Association advises 5-10%
  • Coach your child to carry only those books needed in the backpack, leaving unnecessary items at home and making frequent trips to his/her locker during the day
  • Train your child to clean out the backpack at least once a week

Become a Proactive Parent on the Issue of Backpacks and Back Pain

  • Ask your child if they feel any back aches or pain
  • Help your child choose the smallest backpack that will meet his/her needs
  • Talk to teachers about how to minimize the need for children to transport heavy books back and forth daily in their backpacks; keep one set of books in the classroom for daily work while leaving heavy books at home; make photocopies of homework chapters and assignments that are easily carried
  • Attend PTA meetings and discuss any proposal by school administrators to remove lockers or to reduce time between classes making it difficult to store unneeded books and materials

Help for Back Pain

If you have any concerns or questions regarding anything mentioned here, feel free to contact us at Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic on 282 768 044.

I’m In Pain. What Can I Do About My Bad Back…See A Chiropractor?

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Have you ever heard friends or family say, “My back’s playing up, I can’t do any gardening today!” or, “I can’t help you move those boxes, I’ve got a bad back!”

lagos chiropractor relieves bad back pain

“Ouch, I’ve got a bad back!”

A bad back is often an indication of a chronic, long-standing injury or a problem that was never detected or corrected when it first occurred. Often, “bad back” sufferers will experience repeated acute episodes.

The key to avoiding these episodes is to get to the source of the problem and not simply mask it with ‘over-the-counter’ medication or fool yourself into thinking that “it will go away”.

Why is it happening?

Often the cause of a bad back is not a major single incident, but a series of minor or micro-traumas that slowly accumulate and which will, over time, weaken the spine and connected tissues.

The normal curves of the spine are essential for shock absorption and normal biomechanical movement of our bodies. These curves can be lost or straightened over time as a result of the major and minor traumas we endure on a daily basis. This improper alignment places extra stress and pressure on the joints and discs in your spine.

Also, the surrounding ligaments that support the spine’s normal alignment can deform, resulting in the surrounding muscles over-reacting because of the increased demand…and giving you your ‘bad back’. These muscles are the ones that can get stiff and sore during or after our favourite activities, such as golf, sailing, surfing, gardening or walking.

All of these physiological changes can irritate the delicate nerve fibres located in and around the soft tissues of the spine, which then respond by sending messages of pain to our brain.

The reason it keeps re-occurring is often because the underlying cause is going undetected and uncorrected.

The good news is that a thorough examination from your chiropractor will often reveal the underlying cause. As chiropractors have studied and trained for more than four years to become qualified doctors, they are specialists in detecting and correcting vertebral misalignments and back pain. They are the REAL ‘spine experts’ and therefore have an excellent success rate in easing these chronic problems, so you never again have to give that age-old excuse of having a “bad back”.

Lagos Health Chiropractic Blogs can help ease your Back and Neck Pain in the Algarve, but an actual visit will help even more

PREMIER CHIROPRACTIC & WELLNESS CLINIC IN THE ALGARVE

Lagos Quiroprático Centro - LQC | Lagos Chiropractic Centre
Praceta João da Costa Reis
Lote 2
Loja 5AD
Lagos
Portugal
Email: quiropraticalagos@gmail.com
Tel: +351 282 768 044

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