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All I want for Christmas is a healthy back

Use these tips to ensure your back stays healthy this Christmas time…

My Christmas tree, is it easy to carry?

Do you have a natural Christmas tree? Or is it an artificial one? Either way you need to consider how heavy it is when you go to carry it, position it and decorate it. After all ‘tis the season to keep the spine healthy’.

Christmas time is family time, so ensure you use your family around you to help lift those heavy and awkwardly shaped trees. Remember to bend your knees and stick your bottom out to protect the spine. Try and decorate your tree in the middle of the room so it is easier on your back. This will prevent you from having to bend around the tree to decorate to corners and wrap the sparkly lights around. Again, get some help when moving the tree into position & enjoy decorating J.

Lots of presents to get? Try not to develop ‘Shoppers shoulder’

This phenomenon is all too common especially amongst the majority of us that leave our Christmas shopping till the last minute and end up having to do it all in one trip. Whilst shopping, try and spilt the load evenly to prevent overloading one side of your body. A rucksack may be the answer if you need your hands to pick up more presents. If all fails, try online shopping which may take away part of the fun of shopping but would also take away the strain on your shoulders.

Sending cards & Wrapping presents?

Use a table and sit on a chair keeping a good posture. Leaning awkwardly over a coffee table or on the floor can again cause pressure to increase in your lower back.

Cooking that yummy Christmas dinner

Food prep involves a lot of time leaning over the sink either peeling endless amounts of vegetables or washing up the piles of cutlery and dishes that you get dirty. The lower back will be constantly strained in this leant over position. Therefore it’s important to change your position regularly.

When lifting the turkey or roasties out of the oven keep your back straight, bend your knees and stick your bottom out. You can break this down into stages by putting the turkey/ roasties onto a stool from the oven then when ready lift it up to the worktop.

You can use the same technique for lifting the turkey out the oven to loading your dishwasher after the feast. Keep back straight, bend knees and stick bottom out.

Christmas afternoon nap… who doesn’t have one?

With your belly full of delicious turkey and Christmas pudding, your favourite armchair calling and the Queen has just finished her annual words of wisdom then it’s inevitable that your eyelids will start to get heavy. However, prolonged sitting in poor positions can increase the pressure and strain through your spine and will increase the risk of back pain.

A good idea is to go for a walk which will get you moving to reduce the risk of your back getting stiff and will also aid digestion meaning you can eat even more later on….win win!

New Year’s resolution, get fit?

The most common New Year’s resolution is “to get fit and lose weight” but how will you sustain this throughout the year? Be sure to chose something that you enjoy and don not over do things too soon. If you are not used to exercising, gradually increase your activity level so you don’t over use your body and become injured. An injury can put you off track and it is important to try and maintain realistic goals.

Have a happy healthy Christmas from Philgood rehabilitation.

Living with back pain

Is back pain something you have experienced? If so you may know that it can be deliberating and depressing.

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects approximately 80% of the adult population at some point in their lives, as well as one in five younger people.

Some people experience one episode of back pain whilst others experience several episodes, eventually creating a chronic pain. Statistically it is more common for people to have reoccurring episodes of back pain.

Your first experience of back pain can be terrifying. The pain is often caused by a structural change often to the soft tissues, such as a pulled back muscle, some general back strain or just agonizing overuse. This usually settles without and psychological scarring.

Many patients who endure acute pain in the back at one time, will likely have it again in the future. Having a positive attitude is key to overcoming any health crisis. Remember, no matter what the source of pain, the mind and body work together to resolve the causation and return the individual to full health. Have confidence that your body can heal.

When you are living with back pain, education and understanding are the keys, to learning how to live your life. It is the same with any type of chronic pain. When you educate yourself, about your condition, you can make informed decisions about which treatments are right for you.

Understanding your condition and understanding your pain can help you to move on with your life. Make your pain tolerable by finding a good therapist and discover treatments for your pain.

Shoulder pain

1 in 4 people suffer with shoulder pain. Pain gets us down on several ways, it’s exhausting and interferes with everything we do.

As we use our arms for almost every activity and most movements, shoulder pain can be a biggy. Pain in this area can affect alignment, creating poor posture and poorly functioning movements.

Causes

After lower back and neck pain, shoulder pain is the most common complaint therapists see. It’s generally an unstable joint as due to the ball and socket joint system, the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. The shoulders are ready for reaching, throwing, lifting, pushing and all sorts of twists, turns and bending, but this leaves them primed for injury.

Rotator Cuff Injury: are the most common of all the shoulder conditions. Usually a result of repetitive movements, causing inflammation, pain and limited mobility. Rest, ice, massage and exercise all help.

Shoulder joint instability: can also occur due to trauma, and, genetic make-up. It’s important to strengthen around the shoulder to prevent this from happening.

Frozen Shoulder: just like it sounds – immovable. Treatments include massage and specific exercises. Acupuncture can also help.

Shoulder Impingement: Muscles getting pinched by bones is uncomfortable and can become painful if it becomes chronic. Exercise is the best type of treatment but massage also helps.

Bursitis: swelling of a bursa causes by repetitive motions. Treatment include rest, ice and massage.

Osteoarthritis: Degenerative joint disease is caused by the normal wear and tear of the cartilage in the joint. Treated with acupuncture and exercise.

Re-occurrence of hamstring strains?

Hamstring muscle strains are prevalent in many sports. These injuries can be debilitating and require extensive recovery time. What’s worse is that one third of hamstring injuries will recur, making these types of injuries frequent and stubborn. Commonly this occurs when the person is just getting back into training or attempting to return to their previous sport
The role of the hamstring is to pull the thigh backwards and to extend the knee. Hamstring muscles control the leg especially when kicking or changing speed while running.
So with this in mind, maybe you’re not rehabbing the muscle correctly…
Nordics are an eccentric strength exercise for the hamstrings, meaning that the muscle only “fires” as it lengthens, closely mimicking the main function of the hamstrings. This means that the Nordic hamstring exercise is an effective way to reduce chances of a hamstring injury occurring and an excellent way to ensure that the hamstring muscles are resilient to re-injury.
Five key points to consider to reduce the risk of re injuring your hamstring include:
1 Progress your hamstring through a series of exercises aiming to achieve full function before returning to sport and sport specific drills.
2 Ensure your hamstring has been rehabilitated through sport-specific tasks, when it is appropriate to do so.
3 Perform a graded, specific running programme which is best advised by a suitable therapist.
4 Return to sport gradually!
5 Listen to the muscle.

Shin splints

Ouchy shins?

Shin splints can be common with runners. The pain is usually located down the inner or medial portion of the lower leg, along the shin. Pain usually starts after running but in time can develop during the run. Research suggests that this is commonly due to overuse.

Sometimes this happens when you’re new to running, however this can also happen if there is a sudden increase in training frequency or intensity.

Other causes can be lack of calcium, running on hard surfaces, running hills, ill fitted running shoes, or severe overpronation and heel striking.

If you think you have shin splints then you need to act promptly. Use ice after running to help with pain relief. Look at your running shoes and running pattern. Flat feet or heel striking will not help.

If it persists get in touch with a medical professional.

Prehabilitation

Used to identify common injuries within a specific sport or training regime. The outcome results in an appropriate series of exercises that work toward minimising their incidence. Key joints and stability are targeting to conclude what is weak. With this proactive approach to sport and exercise, body parts with be strengthened and conditioned to the excessive amounts of strain that they undergo.

But prehabilitation is also moving out of the realm of sports science and strength and conditioning as it can be applied to regular people who train regularly or need to build strength after an injury to prevent recurrence. The emergence of prehabilitation as a proactive training method, much like warming up and warming down to reduce the onset of DOMS, is specifically geared towards preventing injuries for all individuals before they happen and strengthening muscle groups one-by-one so as to ensure that your workout will be more efficient and effective, allowing you to progress further.

Trouble Sleeping? Go through this check list…

Sleep is fascinating. Everybody does it every day! It’s very important to overall health and well being. Sleep is crucial for brain and body function. So if it’s something you’re struggling with, try this checklist to have improve your quality of it.

Make sure you are totally comfortable…

You use your bed daily, obviously, but have you thought about how good your pillows and bedding are? And what about any noises that you may be hearing at night? The basics need to be covered and with some simple changes you may be able to reboot your sleep habits.

Do you relax?

Is going on technology relaxing? Your brain is working to read what it on the screen and is adjusting to the light. Your body needs time away from this to settle for the night. Try reading a book instead Or meditating.

Are you thirsty?

Hydration helps to cool your core temperature and makes it easier for you to fall asleep faster. However, try not to drink around an hour before bedtime so it doesn’t disrupt you through the night.

Feeling hot?

Ensure tour bedroom is not too warm and that your bedding is appropriate for the season.

Hungry?

If you’re body is consuming a lot of calories it may need a light snack in the evening to keep yourself going. Ensure this is healthy and isn’t too close to bedtime.

Have you consumed stimulants before bed?

Alcohol can interrupt your sleep. Pre-bed caffeine or alcohol isn’t the way to go.

Do you really know how much sleep you need?

Use a sleep tracker to test your bed-time, from how long it takes you to fall asleep to whether you’re waking up at the “right” time. You may be in bed for nine hours, but if two are regularly “wasted” by thinking or rolling around, try moving to seven and see what happens.

Good luck. And sweet dreams!

Posture Police

Do you have a good or bad posture? As you are reading this, how is your posture right now? Are you sitting upright? Are you slouching your back? Have you totally sunk into your chair?

Why Have A Good Posture?

There are 5 key benefits from maintaining a good posture.
1. Aids breathing: A good posture naturally enables you to breathe properly.
2. Increases concentration and thinking ability: When you are breathing properly, you increase your thinking ability too.
3. Improve your image: People with good postures look smarter and more attractive.
4. Feel even better about yourself: When you have a good posture, it helps to make you feel more self-confident, without even doing anything else different.
5. Avoid health complications: A bad posture results in several complications over time, such as increased risks of slipped disc, back aches, back pain, pressure inside your chest, poor blood circulation.

Tips to help improve

-Stay motivated
-Set reminders to check posture
-Get a massage
-Eliminate bad habits that encourage bad postures
-Get a good quality chair that has a good support system
-Get a back cushion to support whilst sitting for prolonged periods
-Ground both your feet when standing or sitting to evenly distribute weight
-Avoid carrying heavy items which you struggle with
-Complete exercises which help strengthen your back
-Get a professional examination

Deep Tissue Massage vs. Sports Massage

With a deep tissue massage, the clue is in the title. The pressure is harder to manipulate deeper tissue layers in the body.

A sport massage is the manipulation of muscles to help injuries. A broader, more specified medical knowledge and application is needed to safely manipulate the muscles.

Sports massage therapists can identify areas in which you experience muscle tightness or determine muscle abnormalities that could potentially lead to injury if left untreated. While a deep-tissue massage can identify areas of muscle weakness, the therapist might not be targeting sport-specific injury areas.

Sports massage is dedicated to improving sports performance, boosting flexibility and handling injuries or potential injuries. A person may have more reasons for seeking out a deep-tissue massage. These include reducing toxins in the body, relieving stress, boosting circulation, reducing tension and reducing physical pain.

Top 10 reasons to run

  1. It lifts your mood
  2. Expensive equipment is not required 
  3. Top calorie burning exercise 
  4. It reduces stress
  5. It boosts self esteem 
  6. It gives you energy 
  7. You can meet new people
  8. Provides a chance to go outside and enjoy nature 
  9. It lengthens your life span 
  10. It gives you goals to work towards