back care at a younger age

Taking Care of your Back at a Younger Age can have Long Term health Benefits

For many people, back issues aren’t something they consider or even think about, until the time comes when they start feeling problems and pain. It’s easy to ignore your posture and back health, especially if everything ‘feels fine’ and you’re not experiencing any discomfort or pain in that moment.

What you have to consider though, is the long game. Your back is going to be supporting you for your entire life, and it’s a part of your body that should be looked after and cared for. Just because you don’t currently experience any pain, doesn’t mean that bad habits or posture won’t affect the way your back feels in 10, 20 or even 30 years time.

Years of hunching, years of bad posture, years of heavy lifting can all weaken your back, and one day when you’re older, it might all creep up on you. But it’ll be too late to cure the irreversible damage you’ve done.

Taking care of your back at a young age is crucial to ensuring your back stays healthy and pain free when you reach middle age and old age. Forming good habits now, can save you a lot of discomfort later on.

So what good habits should you be trying to introduce to your daily routine? Take a read below:  

Sit upright at work (and try not to hunch)

The most important one (especially if you work at a desk or with a computer) is to avoid hunching and to practise good posture at your desk. You probably spend around 8 hours a day sat at your desk, and that’s a lot of time to be bent over or hunched over in poor posture positions.

Replace your work chair / desk with something more ergonomic

If you have the flexibility or the budget to look into new desks or new chairs  – then finding a high quality ergonomic option is ideal. There are loads of brands out there now that specialise in designing posture-friendly and back-friendly items, and you’ll really notice the difference. As well as well-designed chairs, standing desks are also a popular options right now – with many companies in Scandinavia providing them to all employees.

Stretch daily

A few basic yoga moves, or just some good old-fashioned stretching, can really help build strength and flexibility in your back muscles. Your back is always supporting you and your back muscles work extremely hard to centre your body and keep balance. Because of this, letting your muscles relax and stretching them out each day is a great habit to get into.

See a professional

If you experience any back pain in your youth, make sure you see a professional. Something that may seem small and annoying in youth, could end up being a bigger, more painful issue as the years tick by. A Chiropractor is there to assess your back’s posture and function, and they can suggest simple exercises and changes that will help improve even the smallest inconvenience or dullest pain. Start addressing any issues when you’re younger, and you’ll hopefully improve the situation for when you get older.

The sooner you address any back problems, the sooner you will reap the benefits of Chiropractic treatment and live in less pain.

How to avoid being scammed by a Chiropractor

Investing in your health is always a good idea, except for those time when it’s not…

For many people, when the time comes that need to see a chiropractor, they spend days researching the right practitioner and the right clinic. You might spend hours conducting online research, you may have initial phone consultations before paying for an appointment, and you might even scout out online reviews from their previous clients and patients.

But what if you do all this, and you still feel like you’re being scammed?

It’s a horrible thought, to think that your chiropractor might be scamming you and taking advantage of your pain or poor health – but it does happen and for many people it’s a reality.

What are the signs my chiropractor is scamming me?

Luckily, there are some ways you can spot if your chiropractor is scamming you, and our overarching advice here would be: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t continue paying money for treatments.

They use too many scare tactics

In a chiropractic clinic, you’re generally there for a specific purpose, or a specific type of pain. This can be scary and it can feel daunting and worrying – but your chiropractor should try and put you at ease at all times, and you should feel encouraged by progress. If you feel dread every time your chiropractor opens their mouth – because you’re worried about what warning or prediction they’re going to give – they might be trying to scare you into extra appointments and consultations.

Your treatment course seems never ending

Most chiropractors will want to work with you intensively over a few weeks to resolve or improve an issue, and in some extreme cases (such as vehicle accidents for example) the treatment course might take longer (maybe several months). If your chiropractor is recommending months and months (even years) of appointments, with no end in sight – it may be worth reassessing and choosing someone else who can deliver results in a more timely manner.

They offer a ‘miracle cure’

The interesting thing about chiropractic work is that the body can be an unpredictable and confusing thing. Most honest and reliable chiropractors will be open about this with you, and will explore potential avenues for your treatment to go down, before identifying the most effective route. A chiropractor who claims to have a one-size-fits-all miracle cure, is likely lying.  

There is too much sales-talk

If you feel like you’re constantly being sold to, and being offered discounts, deals and referral codes, then you may start to feel as though you’re being scammed. With anything health related, you want to be getting the best treatment – not necessarily the quickest or the cheapest.

Here at Canary Wharf Chiropractic, we will never scam you and have a number of quality standards that we upload on each and every visit.

We look forward to seeing you. Book a consultation here.

posture

Exercises you can Do at your Desk to Improve your Posture

It’s common knowledge by now that sitting at a desk all day can be harmful for our posture. For a lot of us, our day jobs involve being hunched over a computer or laptop, and we’re already feeling the negative impacts that can have on our general wellbeing and back health. Bad posture at your desk can result in the following:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Neck pain
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Back pain (upper, mid and lower)

Slouching and leaning over our desks make bad posture an easy (but damaging) habit to get into. Addressing your bad posture might seem like a lot of effort, but there lots of easy exercises you can do to take the pressure off and relieve some of that tension, and in-turn improve your posture too!

5 easy things you can do at your desk to improve posture

Tip 1: Keep your ears in-line with your shoulders

If you find yourself craning your neck forwards to see your computer screen, then your posture is way off and you need to try and start adjusting it. Your ears should always be inline with your shoulders, and often, this little adjustment can have a knock on effect to the rest of your posture too. So it’s a good exercise to ensure you keep this in check throughout the day.

Tip 2: Every hour, consciously reset your posture

It’s a good idea to set yourself a phone reminder every hour to reset your posture. Even if you start the day with best intentions, sat in your ideal body posture, in 45 minutes you might have already slipped out of it into bad habits. When your posture reminder goes off, bring your head back so it’s level with your shoulders, pull your shoulders back, push your chest out, straighten your spine and uncross your legs.

Tip 3: Head rolls

A head roll is a basic exercise where you let your head roll slowly from one shoulder to the other. The key is to do this slowly and gently, and to take deep, long breaths. When done right it can help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, which gives way to a better and more relaxed posture.

Tip 4: Shoulder shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are another way to encourage your body to release tension and relax. Shoulder shrugs involve revolving your shoulders in circles – raising them up to your ears and then back down again. A lot of people who work with computers carry a lot of tension in their shoulders, so this can be a key exercising to unlocking better posture and feeling more flexible and relaxed.

Tip 5: Fingertips to toes stretch

A few times a day it’s good to engage your whole body in an all-over stretch. The fingertips to toes stretch involves stretching out as long as you can and focussing on engaging the whole body and all your muscles in the stretching motion. You can do this in your seat, by reaching up and back with your arms, and reaching forwards and up with your legs under the desk. Use this as a chance to reset your posture afterwards too.

sciatica

Chiropractic and Sciatica: What Can Help?

For those suffering with Sciatica, even the smallest tasks can be painful and difficult to complete. Sciatica is a common pain, which affects the sciatic nerve. This is a crucial nerve running from your lower back, down each leg. When you have Sciatica, the pain can be in either leg (or both) and can be felt in the hip area, buttocks, or feet too.

Common symptoms of Sciatica

Different people feel sciatic pain in different ways, and it affects people in different places too. Because the sciatic nerve stretches across such a large area of your body, people can experience flare-ups and pain across a wide variety of areas.

Some of these include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sharp / stabbing pain in hips or legs
  • Sharp pain in buttocks and lower hips
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • ‘Pins and needles’ sensation in the leg or buttocks
  • Weakness in legs
  • Numbness in legs or feet
  • Shooting pain from buttocks down the legs
  • Constant sharp pain in hips
  • Pain when walking or sitting

For the majority of people, Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, however it can affect both sides in bad cases. It depends on where the sciatic nerve has been affected.

How can a Chiropractor help?

Because Sciatica can vary so much from person to person, a personalised approach to healing needs to be taken, and this is something that can be done by chiropractic care. Unfortunately medication will not get rid of the Sciatica and usually doctors will only be able to prescribe pain relief or medication for inflammation (which can help manage the symptoms, but will not get rid of the issue).

A Chiropractor will work with you to understand the cause of the Sciatica, and will use a variety of methods to start addressing the issue and bring balance back to the body. Using a Chiropractor to help your Sciatica can help get rid of the pain quicker, and can help prevent it from occurring again in the future.

Sciatica Treatments Used by Chiropractors:

Ice/Cold Therapy: This can help by reducing the inflammation of the affected area and can help control the nerve pain. It reduces inflammation and helps control sciatic pain.

Ultrasound: This is a gentle treatment and works by generating sound waves that penetrate into the affected bodily tissues. It can help to increase circulation and reduce any spasming of the muscles. It also helps reduce cramps, swelling, stiffness and pain too (which can be a main part of the discomfort felt when suffering with Sciatica).

Adjustments (Spinal Manipulations): Spinal adjustments are what you expect to experience when you visit a Chiropractor, and it is certainly something that can aid Sciatica recovery. The Chiropractor can help restore flexibility and movement to the lower part of the body. This helps to restore normal vertebral movement in the spine, which can in turn reduce nerve irritation and pain.

Recommend home exercises: As part of your chiropractic treatment for sciatica, your chiropractor will likely recommend a few exercises and stretch to maintain at home. These will be tailored to you, and where you pain is originating from, and they can help build muscle strength and flexibility to prevent future cases of Sciatica arising.

wait before seeing a Chiropractor

Should you wait before seeing a Chiropractor?

Back pain can often be the result of an accident or injury (such as a strain or a sprain) but it can also pop up unexpectedly or gradually over time too. Whatever the cause for your developing back pain, it often occurs because something is off in the way your core muscles, spinal discs, spinal joints and nerve endings work together or move. It could be strain, inflammation or injury – but if the discomfort is causing you pain, and is affecting your day to day routine, you shouldn’t wait before seeking chiropractic treatment.

Having back pain can be a frightening and unnerving experience, and something you should never overlook. Many people simply brush off their discomfort and think that ‘rest and time’ is recipe enough to see the improvements they want. But doing nothing can in some cases make things worse, as you may end up increasing the strain, or worsening the injury.

Here are some types of back pain to look out for, when we would recommend chiropractic care. While you may think you need to simply strengthen your core or maintain good posture, it’s always best to seek advice and treatment from a professional.

You back pain began because of trauma or injury

If you’re experiencing back pain because of an accident or trauma, it may be something that needs to be worked on slowly by a Chiropractor. Often, in situations like this, something may have been knocked or put out of place, so a Chiropractor can help identify what happened, and begin treating back pain.

The back pain has been consistent and won’t go away

Any back pain that has been constant for more than a week or so, should be looked at by a Chiropractor. Sometimes we can experience slight back ache after exerting ourselves (trying a new exercise or moving house for example) but temporary soreness should usually ease up after a week or so. Constant pain that is frequent throughout the day is a sign that something is wrong.

The back pain is constant and seems to be getting worse

We often mistake pain for muscle ache. And whilst the natural function of our body is to slowly improve muscle issues over time (where rest and stretching can aid in recovery), if the pain is constant it may not be a muscle related issue.

If you feel the backache getting worse instead of getting better, it may not be muscle pain, it may be something else. If time is making the pain increase – you need to see a professional Chiropractor.

You feel back pain in resting positions

If you’re feeling pain when in resting positions (such as sitting or laying down) it can be a sign that something is wrong. It is also hard for us to heal properly if we’re missing sleep or losing out on rest because it’s difficult to get comfortable. A Chiropractor can help advise on this, so you can recover quicker.

You feel off balance and struggle with good posture

Any issues with balance and poor posture could cause you safety worries in all areas of your life. If standing straight or walking slowly is too painful or too difficult (because of loss of balance and a bad posture) then you need to resolve the issues quickly.

Improving your posture and the way you hold your body would be a good place to start, but people with back pain should always seek professional help from a Chiropractor.

dangers of heavy backpacks

The Dangers of Heavy Backpacks

Many people are under the assumption that backpacks are one of the more sensible and less-harmful methods of carrying items. The truth is, heavy backpacks are just as harmful as other alternatives (such as those with shoulder straps) especially if you’re over-filling them, and carrying around a backpack weight that is too much for your frame.

If you’re a regular backpack user and you’ve started to find yourself aching or experiencing strain in your back – it could be due to the backpack and the amount of weight you’ve been carrying with you. Good spinal health is vital for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Backpack dangers for children

Of course, when we think of heavy backpacks, we think of children heading off to school. Children are often at-risk from the damages that can be caused from a heavy backpack full of school supplies. They use them all week, throughout the school day. Most children walk to school, and walk between classes with their backpack on, and it’s during this time that carrying a heavy backpack can cause the most back damage.

Children are also unlikely to complain about their back problems –  as they have less experience of pain to compare their discomfort to. So, if your children are using backpacks for school, as their parent you need to be checking the weight of the backpack and the comfort of your child frequently. This is even more important if your children is likely to carry multiple books or digital devices such as tablets of laptops. It’s also important to teach your children how to wear their backpack properly, as many children will wear it in a way that ‘looks cool’ but might not necessarily give them the support they need.

Many Chiropractors see children throughout the year who experience strains in their muscles and joints, muscle aches, balance issues, posture problems and even misalignments due to backpack related injuries. They also treat children who experience sleeping issues because of backpack-related pain in their spine and hips.

Of course, these back issues can all be experienced by adults too, who may be having the same problem.

Backpack dangers for adults

For adults experiencing back pain from their heavy backpacks, the best preventative treatment is to reduce the weight you’re carrying, or find a new way of transporting items. In cities such as London, many commuters choose to use the small pull-along cases that many brands design for hand luggage on planes. These are usually small enough for most forms of public transport, but allow the same storage as a backpack (with none of the associated back pain).

If purchasing a new bag isn’t an option, make sure you’re carrying your items properly, and wearing your bag correctly too. You should always wear both straps of your backpack, and you should pull the bag tightly to your body so it isn’t bouncing or slouched. Try to also pack your bag mindfully, considering where items are placed and trying to centralise the heaviest things.

If you’re already experiencing pain and you need help, then chiropractic treatment is the best option for recovery. Chiropractic care will not only advise you on posture techniques, spinal manipulation, and recommend exercises to help you manage the pain, but they can also start the healing process to help you regain strength and confidence in your back once again.

Back damage can stop you doing all kind of activities and everyday tasks, so it is something you want to address and get a professional to look at, as soon as you recognise it.

technology is affecting chiropractic treatments

How Technology is Affecting Chiropractic Treatments

Visiting a medical professional can often be a chore, or something a lot of people dread days in advance. A lot of treatments and technology can seem scary and dated, and it’s especially daunting if you’re not familiar with the process, or what is being done.

However, for chiropractic care, technology is making treatments easier, quicker, and more accurate. This gives patients a better overall experience.

What technology are chiropractic treatments using?

For decades, chiropractors have performed spinal manipulation manually. They rely on touch, sensation and years of practise to bring positive results to their patients. With the introduction of exciting technology though, such as SpineTech Therapy, diagnosis can be quicker and more accurate, and results may be seen faster.

SpineTech Therapy has various sensors that scan and assess the alignment of the patient. The main sensor is called the Piezoelectric Sensor and it detects the motion of the spine and how the joins move together well (or in many cases, not well).

For a chiropractor, it does the ‘feeling’ for them, and can deliver a more accurate reading. It can show where the spine is fixated, if there is anywhere the spine is stuck. It can also detect if there’s any degeneration, and which joints require assistance and further examination.

Another technology advancement for chiropractors is called the INSiGHT Scanning Technology – which can help a chiropractor understand exactly what’s wrong in their patient’s spine. An incorrect diagnosis (at any stage of treatment) can often worsen the outcome – so it’s crucial to get everything right from the beginning. This piece of technology allows chiropractors to diagnose the underlying problem more accurately.

An evolution of chiropractic technology

For many people in the industry, new technological advancements like these will mean visiting the chiropractor is easier, simpler and the level or assessment is higher too. It means that those experiencing neck pain or back pain can now seek safer and more detailed treatments and mean that manual therapies and spinal adjustments are not always needed.

It’s an evolution in technology that will change the way the industry works, and how patients are seen and treated.

correct your posture

How to Correct your Posture

If you find yourself experiencing back pain or dull aches, it could be your back posture that needs correcting and adjusting. Good posture is the key to good back health, and yet so many of us fall short of what’s recommended. You might also suffer from poor posture for other reasons, such as hunching your back whilst driving. Below are some tips to help you improve and correct your posture:

See a Chiropractor

Of course, one of the most effective things you can do to improve your posture is to see a chiropractor. It’s a chiropractors job to recognise any issues in your posture and also identify any reasons why these problems may have occurred over time. They can recommend exercises and stretches for you to carry forward at home, as well as inspecting and analysing your back and seeing where and what is most affected.

Make time for stretching and meditation

In the morning or evening, make time for stretching or meditation – two things that can slowly help correct posture. These activities can help you warm up your muscles, become more flexible, and gain more confidence in the way your body moves. The more supple and flexible your body is, the more you’ll be able to improve your posture.

Recognise when you’re slouching, and correct yourself

One of the biggest indicators of bad posture, is slouching. Most people slouch all the time, throughout the day, and it’s an easy habit to fall into. If you take a look around, you’ll probably see people slouching as they walk, or people slouching over their phone, or even slouching into their seat (for example on a train or in the car).

A good trick is to recognise when you slouch the most, and make a conscious effort to correct yourself. When you’re on your phone, hold it to eye level, so you don’t need to bend to look at it. When you’re walking stand up straight, or when you’re sitting straighten your back and sit upright. Simple corrections like this can make a big difference.

Sleep comfortably

You may find yourself slouching or having bad posture because your body is compensating for a bad night’s sleep. If you wake up with back ache, it’s easy to slouch or adjust your posture to compensate for the pain. Instead, try and work out what is preventing you from sleeping peacefully, and aim to resolve it. You may need a softer mattress, or a firmer one, or maybe more supportive pillows for your neck.

Work from a better position

You spend most of your day at work, so correcting your posture during working hours is really important, especially if you want to see an overall improvement. Posture isn’t just something to take into account when stood up – posture is important when sat down too. A quick solution, is to purchase simple posture

Carry weight evenly

If you carry a handbag or a briefcase most days, then you could be jeopardising your posture. Constantly carrying a weight on one side of the body and pull certain muscles and joints out of alignment without even realising it. Aim to carry all weight evenly, for instance with a rucksack which equals the weight over both shoulders.

Take care of your neck

Pain in your neck can throw your whole body off balance, and it is usually caused by repetitive actions. Continually looking down at a smartphone is bad for your neck and because everyone does this regularly, it is hard to persuade people to forget about their phones. Another bad posture deed is holding a phone between your ear and shoulder, so try not to cradle a handset.

Postural correction

If you really want to take steps to improve your posture, and in turn improve your health and wellbeing, you can visit a chiropractor for a postural assessment and correction. A back specialists, chiropractors can evaluate a person’s posture and identify what is out of balance before recommending any treatment. Patients will understand what causes poor posture and learn the best ways to stand and sit.

Everyone is guilty of poor posture sometimes, so why not correct the problem before it turns into a long term issue?

What is text neck

What is Text Neck and What to do About it?

‘Text neck’ is a repetitive stress injury to the neck caused by looking down at a smartphone, tablet or computer for an extended period of time. Virtually unheard-of a few years ago, text neck can lead to early degeneration, muscle imbalances, spasms, facet osteoarthrosis, loss of the natural curve in the cervical spine and neurological symptoms such as pain radiating into the arms or hands.

The injury is becoming more common as younger generations spend more time hunched over electronic devices. Whereas we typically see this pain increase with age, muscular pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back is occurring even in teens and adolescents.

Text neck joins the list of repetitive strain injuries caused by mobile technology, such as ‘Blackberry thumb’ and ‘iPad hand’, which when left untreated, can hold severe consequences for our health.

How can using a smartphone cause this much damage?

How we look at our devices, literally, is the root of our text neck epidemic. On average, the human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, but as we angle them down to look at our phones, the weight on our neck increases considerably.

In dropping our heads forward, the natural curvatures of our necks are changed. This misalignment strains our muscles over time, damaging the structures of our necks. Smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads and necks in this position, resulting in thousands of hours a year of excess stress to our spines.

The damage caused by text neck expands beyond muscle pain, however, as general slumping restricts our lungs’ ability to expand. This impairs our lung capacity, which means we inhale less oxygen, so our hearts need to pump harder.

How can a chiropractor help with text neck?

If you are suffering from text neck and do not seek treatment, your muscle pain will increase, you will start to develop a hunched appearance as your shoulders begin rounding forward, your posture will get worse and your muscles will become weaker.

Chiropractors are the most qualified practitioners to stop text neck in its tracks. As text neck is caused by misalignment in the neck, a chiropractor skilled in vertebrae and spinal alignment would be highly beneficial.

Here at Canary Wharf Chiropractic, we will show you how far your text neck has progressed and identify the health problems it may be causing you. With a treatment plan in place to correct these problems and reverse text neck, your pain will shortly decrease.

If your neck and back remain regularly aligned by chiropractic care, a lot of the problems associated with neck pain will never present themselves.

spinal manipulation for low back pain

Can Spinal manipulation for Low Back Pain be More Effective than Traditional Treatments?

Back pain is a highly common health complaint that affects most people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the area most often complained about. From prescription medication and self-care practices to surgery, health professionals recommend a wide array of treatments for low back pain, yet the benefits of spinal manipulation therapy are too often overlooked.

Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is sometimes considered a controversial treatment option for low back pain, primarily because it is chiropractors who generally recommend and administer it. It is a frequent misconception that because chiropractors are not medically trained doctors, they are not worthy of trust when it comes to spinal issues.

However, below, we look at the traditional spinal treatment options for low back pain and consider the benefits of opting instead for spinal manipulation under expert chiropractic care.

Traditional treatments

It is often considered that low back pain can be greatly improved by self-care, meaning practices that people can do to themselves. For example, exercise, applying heat and using a firm mattress are usually some of the first remedies to low back pain suggested by health professionals.

If low back pain persists, pain-relieving medications and massage may be recommended to provide mild-to-moderate relief. If a course of nonsurgical treatments does little to relieve the pain, spinal surgery may be suggested to a patient.

It is ultimately the patient’s decision to have this surgery, and only in extremely rare situations is surgery immediately performed for low back pain.

What surgery means practically, however, is an often-long wait for treatment, a reduction in the patient’s ability to function post-surgery, a potentially invasive surgery with a longer hospital stay, and a lengthy commitment of time to the healing process.

Spinal manipulation

Spinal manipulation is the use of hands or a device by practitioners to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine, with the aim of relieving pain and improving physical function.

Historically, spinal manipulation therapy for acute low back pain has been regarded as the best treatment that can be offered by a chiropractor. When performed by a trained and licensed practitioner, spinal manipulation is safe and holds few side effects except feelings of tiredness and temporary soreness.

Whereas pain-relieving medication may become ineffective as your body becomes accustomed to it – thus risking addiction to painkillers – spinal manipulation is a targeted, bespoke treatment that provides long-lasting relief from low back pain.

Spinal surgery can be invasive, with long waits for treatment and even longer recovery times, but spinal manipulation can be performed in short, comfortable sessions with fewer risks of side effects.