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Is My Leg Pain Sciatica And What Can Be Done To Relieve It?

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Sciatica is a term for symptoms of pain along the large sciatic nerve that runs from your lower spine and down the back of each leg. It is actually quite common and occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed by some type of problem in your lower back.

Can chiropractic care help? In a word, yes!

Many people refer to any type of leg pain as sciatica, but in fact there are many conditions that are not medically classified as such and need to be treated differently. These problems, despite causing similar symptoms, include:

Is sciatica causing my leg pain?Joint problems in the spine, such as arthritis, which can refer pain from the joints into the leg. This pain is not technically sciatica and the treatment for it is different.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a relatively common cause of lower back, hip, and/or leg pain. Too much or too little motion in the sacroiliac joints can cause pain that radiates down your leg and feels like sciatica.Piriformis syndrome also causes similar symptoms. It occurs when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain to radiate along the path of the nerve into your leg.

Effective treatment for these problems can be quite different, depending on the underlying cause of your symptoms. So the important thing is…get a diagnosis!

Lagos Health Chiropractic can help and advise on all aspects of pain, whether sciatic nerve-related or not. If you’re in Portugal and you’d like to arrange a consultation, contact us on +351 282 768 044.

By the way, have you ever experienced any of the conditions 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.

 

Nancy’s boots were made for walking…and posture

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Walking is for people of any age, as it can be done anytime and anywhere…and with minimal risk to injury. All you need are comfy walking shoes (or boots) and perhaps a sense of adventure!

It’s an activity that can be built into daily routines, whatever your age or level of fitness.  Just 30 minutes brisk walking a day can help you to maintain and improve your health. It strengthens your body and helps position the spine in the natural shape it was designed for – being upright. Research has also shown that walking can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and even relieve tension and stress.

Start Slowly

Of course, it can be challenging to make regular walking part of your lifestyle, so start slowly and try to build a walking regime gradually.  To get the best health benefits, it needs to be moderate-intensity aerobic activity (a bit faster than a stroll), where you can speak, but not SING, the words to your favourite song (plus, of course, singing out loud in public can look and sound a bit strange!).

All together now…”You keep saying you’ve got something for me”

These boots are made for walking'...plus helping your posture and keeping fitSo Perhaps Nancy WAS Right…These Boots Are Made For Walkin’!

If you’re up and about early, you may well spot Lagos Health’s Clinic Director Geoff ‘power-walking’ to the beat of his favourite hits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s on the cobbled promenade by Lagos Marina! If you DO hear him singing, please tell him to stop…because he really can’t sing that well!!!

If you live in, or are holidaying in Portugal, follow this link to make an appointment.

 

Does Inactivity Promote Brittle Bones?

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A benefit of exercise that becomes increasingly important with age is its impact on your bones. Research suggests that as mobility decreased over time, modern humans developed increasingly lighter, more brittle bones.

As reported by Times of India: “The study of the bones of hundreds of humans who lived during the past 33,000 years in Europe sheds light on a monumental change that has left modern humans susceptible to osteoporosis, a condition marked by brittle and thinning bones.

At the root of the finding is the knowledge that putting bones under the ‘stress’ of walking, lifting and running leads them to pack on more calcium and grow stronger.

walking is good exercise...and it can build strong bones‘By analyzing many arm and leg bone samples from throughout that time span, we found that European humans’ bones gradually grew weaker as they developed and adopted agriculture and settled down to a more sedentary lifestyle,’ said Christopher Ruff from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine.”

So Keep Fit

If you want strong and healthy bones, weight-bearing exercises should be a regular part of your fitness routine. Bone-building is a dynamic process, and you need to exert enough force on your bones to stimulate the osteoblasts to build new bone.

Further, bone is living tissue that requires regular physical activity in order to renew and rebuild itself, so exercise needs to be a lifelong commitment. As you build more muscle, and make the muscle that you already have stronger, you automatically put more constant pressure on your bones.

Find Out More

If you live in or near Lagos, or are in the Algarve on holiday, and you would like more information on the advantages of exercise and chiropractic care, please contact Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic to arrange an appointment.

Hip degenerative joint disease (DJD)

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DJD is a common cause of hip pain that affects thousands of people. This condition can result in a reduced quality of life and less active lifestyle. There are different types of DJD that may cause hip pain. Read on to find out more:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) also called “wear-and-tear arthritis,” in which cartilage wears down over time
  • Post-traumatic arthritis, which results from a severe fracture or dislocation of the hip
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory arthritis of the joints
  • Avascular necrosis (AVN), a condition where the “ball” or femoral head has lost a healthy supply of blood flow causing the bone to die and the femoral head to become misshapen
  • Hip dysplasia, a condition where bones around the hip did not form properly, which may cause
    misalignment of the hip joint.

What causes degenerative joint disease?degenerative joint disease and hip pain...and how chiropractic care could help

  • A previous hip injury
  • Repetitive strain on the hip
  • Improper joint alignment
  • Being overweight
  • Exercise or sports-generated stress placed on the hip joint.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptom of DJD of the hip is pain which may occur in four places:

  • Groin
  • Outside the hip
  • Lower area of the back
  • Thigh to the knee (or below).

Pain from the hip is commonly mistaken for back pain, and may be treated as such until the diagnosis of DJD is made.

What causes the pain?

DJD of the hip is a loss of cartilage, or lining, of the hip joint. The cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth movement of the hip.

When the cartilage wears away, the ball-and-socket bones touch creating bone-on-bone contact. This contact creates pain from rubbing together, swelling, and stiffness.

If you think you may be suffering from one or several of these symptoms please do not hesitate to contact us at Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic to discuss treatment options.

Feeling exhausted in the afternoon? Might be time for a snack!

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Are you struggling to get going in the morning or hitting a wall of fatigue in the afternoon? What and when you eat can have a profound effect on your energy levels…

Complex (not simple) Carbohydrates

A good source of fibre and can help manage weight, complex carbohydrates release glucose into the blood gradually, providing the body with a steady supply of energy. Wholegrains, oats, pulses, nuts and seeds will help you stay healthy and full of energy.

Missing out on breakfast can lead to hitting a wall of fatigue

Always Eat Breakfast

It is well documented that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce cravings later in the day.

Eating breakfast containing complex carbohydrates and protein will give your body all it needs in terms of energy and will kick-start your metabolism so you start burning more calories earlier in the day.

Eat Less, More Often

Have you ever lost an entire afternoon by falling asleep on the sofa after a Sunday lunch? When we over-indulge at meal times, a few things happen in the digestion process that can leave us feeling drowsy. When you eat, your brain signals to your body to slow down and digest the incoming food – the more you put in, the harder your digestive system has to work – and the less energy you will have.

Eating smaller meals more regularly helps regulate blood glucose levels, releasing energy gradually instead of in one big hit. Controlling your portion sizes is key – you could well be eating more at meal times than a balanced diet requires.

For more advice on this subject or regarding any other health related issue, please contact Lagos Health Chiropractic Clinic.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Dehydration

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When you suffer from dehydration symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, learning how to cleanse and re-hydrate your body will improve your physical energy as well as reduce brain fog, headaches, skin problems, joint and muscle pain, poor digestion and cravings.

When dehydrated, our internal cleansing system becomes congested and stagnates like dirty dish water. It’s amazing how much importance we place on cleaning the outside of our body, and how little importance we place on cleaning the inside!

What are the Symptoms of Dehydration?

Not being well hydrated manifests itself in many ways. Here are some of the more common symptoms reported by those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome:

Feeling tired and sluggish?

Dehydration can be a cause of fatigue when you have chronic fatigue syndrome. Nearly all body functions are about fluid balance, and even small changes in fluid balance can affect our performance and daily life. If this fluid is not replaced blood volume can drop. As a result, the heart has to work harder in order to supply the skin and muscles with oxygen and nutrients.

Dehydration...drink more water

As dehydration progresses, the body redirects blood to the working muscles and away from the skin, impairing your body’s ability to diffuse heat. The increase in internal heat then results in muscle cramps, light-headedness, and fatigue. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, you will identify with this symptom.

Headaches

Many chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers report frequent headaches. Headaches are a consequence of physical and/or mental stress and can result from not being properly hydrated. Headaches caused through poor hydration are a condition shared by many sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Brain Fog

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, the lack of fluids in your system can be very detrimental to decision making. When the brain suffers from poor hydration, mental fogginess, poor short term memory, dizziness, severe headaches and poor balance results.

Dry Skin, Rashes and Skin Problems

Those with chronic fatigue syndrome often report skin problems. Our body is mostly water, so we need to replenish and maintain an optimum fluid level. Water helps flush out toxins in the body and helps to keep skin supple and healthy.

Water is the skin’s own moisturiser and just as the rest of your body requires hydration and nutrients, so does your skin. When our skin suffers the affects of dehydration, skin problems occur. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome and skin problems, you may be suffering from dehydration.

Pain and Joint Swelling

The pain and joint swelling that is so often associated with chronic fatigue syndrome can also be the result of joint dehydration. The cartilage that protects the surface of our bones at the joints is made up of a lot of water. If the joint is well hydrated then the friction between the bones is minimised.

Muscle Pain

As the immune system attempts to deal with bacteria and viruses, poisons and toxins enter the lymph system to be disposed of from the body. Good circulation assists with this process, but if you have chronic fatigue syndrome, pain often prevents you from exercising. The lymph glands can become blocked and then the toxins remain trapped.

When you drink sufficient water, your body dilutes these toxins and your kidneys more effectively flush out the poisons. You’re likely to feel worst before you feel better. But continue to drink lots of water so that your kidneys can flush out all the impurities. You may find Lymphatic Massage helpful.

Cravings

Dehydration can cause cravings, and this symptom is common amongst chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers. If you crave different foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugars and so on, your body is really disguising its thirst signals.

Water is a natural diuretic and helps prevent you from feeling hungry. If you drink at least four pints of water daily, you will notice that you can more easily distinguish between real hunger and thirst. The net result of this is that you will have fewer cravings and find it is easier to control your weight.

Poor Digestion

Poor digestion is a common symptom experienced by those with chronic fatigue syndrome. To digest food properly you need to drink plenty of water (but not with a meal, because it dilutes stomach acid).

Drink at least half a pint of water one half hour before you eat. The water passes through the stomach and into the intestine and within half an hour, it is secreted back into the stomach and into the mucous barrier. This barrier retains the sodium bicarbonate that is required to neutralise acid as it attempts to pass through the mucus. Those that are suffering from dehydration have inefficient mucous layers. The acid creeps through and causes pain.

Immune dysfunction

Dehydration can result in the body producing excess histamine which can trigger allergies. This of course, interferes with the body’s ability to resist infections, a common pattern with chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers.

So what is Dehydration?

It’s common for our bodies to experience dehydration when we have chronic fatigue syndrome. Dehydration can interfere with our natural thirst reflex – many who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome are dehydrated and don’t even know it.

Our bodies are about 70% water. Vital organs like the kidneys, brain, and heart can’t operate properly without a certain minimum of water and salt. Dehydration is caused by a loss of water and important blood salts like potassium and sodium.

When your body experiences dehydration, it results in subtle tension in your tissues, muscles and organs. This restricts blood flow. Because your blood flow is restricted, it becomes a dumping ground for toxicity. The result is that you feel as though you are hung over and your muscles ache…this is common to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers.


How to get HydratedGet hydrated by drinking more water

You have probably heard the phrase ‘hydration therapy’. There’s nothing mysterious about it. It simply means increasing your intake of fresh clean water to avoid dehydration. This is so important for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers.

When you drink sufficient water, blood flow is not restricted and the toxins can be flushed out of your tissues and into your blood stream. When you are in a state of dehydration, your urine is dark in colour. But when your liver and kidneys are processing the toxic waste and you are well hydrated, your urine is clear.

Experts say that an adult needs a minimum four pints of water for optimum efficiency. Dr. Batmangheldidj, author of ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water’ suggests that chronic fatigue syndrome is directly related to constant dehydration. He states that drinking a minimum of eight large glasses of pure water a day will help to improve the ravages of chronic fatigue syndrome. Only pure water will do. Other beverages like tea, coffee, fruit juices, alcohol and soft drinks are processed in the body as food and in some instances, can actually cause dehydration.

Start slowly with your re-hydration regimen and increase slowly over a few weeks to about 5 or 6 pints per day (providing you don’t have kidney/renal problems) of non-carbonated water: bottled or filtered. You’ll find yourself visiting the bathroom more frequently, but it does pay off. Your chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms will be less severe.

Summary

Water is one of the key ingredients for our bodies to work normally. It’s essential to drink enough fresh clean water daily to prevent dehydration – especially when you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. So what are you waiting for? For further advice on CFS, general health and fitness or chiropractic care, check our Lagos Health Chiropractic website or, if you are in the Algarve, call in and see us.

Back pain is prevalent in obese Americans

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According to the American Obesity Association, episodes of musculoskeletal pain, and specifically back pain, are prevalent among the nearly one-third of Americans who are classified as obese.

They also report that more obese persons say they are disabled and less able to complete everyday activities than persons with other chronic conditions.

Some of the most common obesity-related problems include musculoskeletal and joint related pain. For people who are overweight, attention to overall weight loss is important as every pound adds strain to the muscles and ligaments in the back.

In order to compensate for extra weight, the spine can become tilted and stressed unevenly. As a result, over time, the back may lose its proper support and an unnatural curvature of the spine may develop.

In particular, pain and problems in the low back may be aggravated by obesity. This occurs for people with extra weight in their stomachs because the excess weight pulls the pelvis forward and strains the lower back, creating lower back pain. According to the American Obesity Association, women who are obese or who have a large waist size are particularly at risk for lower back pain.

Conditions Related to Obesity

Obese or overweight patients may experience low back pain from a herniated disc. This occurs when discs and other spinal structures are damaged from having to compensate for the pressure of extra weight on the back.

In addition, pinched nerves may result when extra weight is pushed into spaces between bones in the low back area.

Arthritis of the spine that causes back pain may be aggravated when extra body weight strains joints. Those patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 25 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those with a lower BMI. The American Obesity Association recommends modest weight loss as a treatment for some types of osteoarthritis.

The effectiveness of back surgery may also be affected by a patient’s weight. Obese patients are at higher risk for complications and infections after surgery compared to patients who are not obese. For seriously overweight patients, paying attention to weight loss before undergoing back surgery may improve the healing process after surgery.

Identifying the Need for Weight Loss

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure commonly used by medical practitioners. BMI is a mathematical formula (BMI=kg/m2) that takes into account a person’s weight in kilograms and height in meters and calculates a number. The higher a person’s BMI falls on a pre-determined range of values, the higher the likelihood for obesity.

Although there is some debate over the specific meaning of BMI measurements, a BMI of 30 or higher is typically considered to be obese, while a measure of 25 to 29.9 is typically considered to be overweight.

It is also important to evaluate where excess fat is carried on the patient’s body. Patients who carry more weight around their midsection are at greater risk for obesity-related health problems, such as low back pain. Weight loss for health considerations is often advisable for women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches.

For advice on any of the conditions mentioned or an honest opinion on treatment methods regarding your aches and pains, contact Lagos Health Chiropractic to book a consultation, where we will be more than happy to help.

Can I exercise with my back and neck pain?

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The use of some type of physical therapy or exercise is integral to almost all forms of back and neck pain treatment. Sometimes physical therapy and exercise are the first lines of treatment, other times it may help manage chronic pain, or provide rehabilitation after surgery. But did you know that both gentle exercise and physical therapy play a vital role in relieving pain?

Physical therapy and exercise are perhaps the most mainstream of all non-surgical treatments for back pain and neck pain. And unlike other treatments (medication, injections, etc.), physical therapy can also help prevent and/or lessen future recurrences of back pain or neck pain. Below are a few steps you can take to get pain relief from incorporating physical therapy or another kind of exercise into your routine.

  1. Find the right type of help.

Depending on your condition, you may need a healthcare professional to help you develop an appropriate list of activities to engage in and to avoid, as well as to develop and instruct you on an appropriate exercise program.

Several different types of health professionals may provide physical therapy, including physical therapists, chiropractors, and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.

  1. Alleviate the acute pain before you begin to exercise.

When you’re in a lot of pain, the thought of active rehabilitation and exercise can be pretty daunting. one or a combination of the following passive pain-relieving techniques (modalities) may be used:

    Electrical stimulation (e.g. TENS units)
    Heat and/or cold therapy
    Ultrasound
    Massage therapy
    Manual manipulation

Other treatments may also be needed to sufficiently reduce your pain. All of the above therapies are designed with one goal in mind: providing enough pain relief to help you progress to an active exercise program.

  1. Get others in your camp.

The common belief is that to heal back problems, those who experience pain should refrain from physical activity. Consequently, many of your friends or family may encourage you to rest if the exercise is causing you to struggle. By explaining ahead of time, they can understand how active rehabilitation is best for managing your condition. If you want support or help, you can also ask them to join you or encourage you during your exercises.

This type of plan is encouraged here at Lagos Health Chiropractic clinic, as soon as the problem is under control, movement and exercise is encouraged and we will show you how and what to do for your particular case.

Any questions, or to book a consultation, please contact Lagos Health Chiropractic on +351 282 768 044.

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.

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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