Do you feel you are not getting the most out of your sleep?
Perhaps you could consider the following 10 tips to see if you need a better bed for a bad back:
- Before spending money on a new bed see if a stiff board under a mattress can improve a sagging base.
- Don’t be taken in the description on the product such as “orthopaedic”. There’s no regulation of manufacturers’ descriptions of their product. Find one that best fits your needs regarding your height, weight, age, sleeping position and back problem.
- Your new bed needs to be high enough so that you can get up and sit down with ease. It also has to be wide enough, if you or your sleep partner is restless.
- The mattress should be supportive enough to take the weight of your body without sagging and firm enough for you to turn with ease. A soft surface is hard to turn on. The heavier the person the deeper the mattress needs to be. A soft base for a heavier person usually means more sag.
- Interior sprung mattresses are the most common form of mattress and can provide sufficient support and cushion the bony curves of the body. They come with a large variation in numbers of springs and prices. Always choose as many springs as you can within your budget.
- Memory foam works by responding to temperature and weight to relieve and disperse pressure. You must ensure that you can turn with ease, because lying in one position for too long can create stiffness. There are a number of manufactures that provide both mattresses and toppers. Foam mattresses often need less turning than other kinds, which can prevent back strain.
- It is advisable to buy your mattress and base together. A solid base is good and offers support when sitting or getting off the bed. A good quality full sprung edge base is the most flexible and will absorb wear and tear well.
- You may also need to consider other aids depending on your sleeping position and back problem, for example mattress toppers, lumbar support cushions and shoulder pillows.
- A simple test whether a bed has the right level of firmness for you is to lie down on your back and slide your hand between mattress and the small of your back. If there is a large gap, the bed is probably too hard. If it is difficult to push your hand, through it is probably too soft, However, if your hand slides through but remains in contact with your back and the bed it is probably just right.
- A bed needs to be tested for at least 10 minutes according to the Osteopathic Council and some manufacturers do a home trial that is worth looking out for.
For more information on this and other back care information, please Click here
Remember, its not just the fault of the bed!
We also need to learn how to ‘prepare’ our bodies for sleep. Take a look at this post Helping Back Pain Through Sleep
For more information in Wilmslow call: 01625 533813
Why is Sleep Important in helping Back Pain?
When back pain affects you, you might despair of ever getting a good nights sleep. Not getting enough sleep or poor quality sleep can actually make you more sensitive to pain. It can be a vicious circle if back pain makes it harder to sleep and when you can’t sleep your back pain seems worse!
Here are ten tips which may help:
- Establish a good bedtime routine. Try to go to bed the same time each night.
- Avoid large meals late at night or eat early. Fight after dinner drowsiness. If you get sleepy, do an activity until it’s closer in time to go to bed.
- A warm bath before bed can be relaxing.
- Don’t have alcohol before bed. It may relax you initially but it impairs the quality of sleep.
- Don’t read or watch Television or use an iPad in bed. TV or devices that are backlit suppress melatonin and whatever you’re reading or watching may be more stimulating than relaxing! Listen to music or audio books instead.
- Try a few gentle stretches when you lie down in bed such as pulling your knees to your chest and holding for a few seconds.
- Start off in as comfortable a position as possible such as lying on your side in a foetal position with a pillow between your legs, or on your back with a pillow under your knees.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach. This may be a habit you’ve got into but keeping your back arched backwards often aggravates back pain. To break the habit, sleep in a T-shirt with a pocket and put a ball in the pocket. You’ll know about it if you roll onto your front in the night!
- Make sure the room is dark, try not to have any digital display light on an alarm clock.
- Avoid a lie in on a weekend, it may disturb your usual weekly sleep pattern. If you need to make up for a late night or lost sleep, opt for a day time nap to pay off your sleep debt. Limit it to 20-30 mins in the early afternoon.
Osteopathic soft tissue massage treatment can help ease some of the tensions in your back which can start helping back pain through sleep.
For more information in Wilmslow call: 01625 533813
Top tips to avoid Back Pain while Gardening
When the spring arrives it’s tempting to get out in the garden and do as much as we can while the weather is dry! Repetitive actions such as weeding, digging and using the wheelbarrow can lead to back pain. Here are some tips to help our backs from becoming injured:
- Have the right tools for the job at the right size.
- Go for a short walk and do some gentle warm up stretches for your legs and back before you start.
- Having raised flower beds or narrow borders can prevent bending and over reaching.
- Weeding is best done using long handled tools or by kneeling. Use a kneeling pad, especially if you already have problems with your knees and don’t stick at it for too long.
- When working on your hands and knees, keep your spine long and your shoulders relaxed.
- Avoid repetitive bending over to pick up the weeds, if doing it from standing. Leave them in a pile and do them in one go.
- When using a wheelbarrow, don’t overfill it. Think and bend from the hips and knees before you lift it. Don’t use your back for this.
- Don’t stick at the same activity for too long, listen to your muscles. If you’re feeling the muscles complain, stop and have a break or do something else.
- When you’ve finished, do some cool down stretches for those hard worked muscles. Finish the day off with a warm bath!
- Remember, it’s often normal to feel some stiffness or mild ache in muscles the next day after unaccustomed exercise. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done yourself harm!
If you’re unsure if you’ve strained you back, I can assess you to make sure and reduce tension in the muscles with appropriate osteopathic treatment.
07547 631679 / 01625 533813
What is a “slipped disc”?
The first thing to say about a slipped disc is that it hasn’t “slipped”! This is a complete misnomer. Discs can’t slip, they are held in place with strong ligaments. However, they can bulge and press against a nerve root in the spine. The worse case, they can rupture!
More often the main problem with discs is that the start to thin and dry out as we get older. As a result, their ability to absorb shock is reduced. The small spinal joints which control our movements are subsequently pushed closer together. This can lead to wear and tear, inflammation and arthritis.
Most people with a “slipped disc” experience pain on one side of the body that starts slowly and gets worse over time. The pain you experience when a disc presses on a nerve is often worse when you put pressure on the nerve. This happens when you cough, sneeze or sit down.
However, some people with a slipped disc do not have any obvious symptoms. This is usually because the part of the disc that bulges out is small or does not press on the nerves or spinal cord.
What is the pain like?
A slipped disc in the lower back can cause:
- back pain during movement
- numbness or a tingling sensation in the back, buttocks, genitals, legs or feet
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and is made up of several smaller nerves. It runs from the back of the pelvis, through the buttocks and down the legs to the feet. If a slipped disc is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve, it leads to pain in the leg, hip or buttocks. This is known as Sciatica.
I can assess whether or not your discs are bulging and give you appropriate treatment and advice to stop the condition from getting worse.
For more information and advice in Wilmslow click here
Preventing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Did you know osteopathy can identify problems such as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) related to sports and training?
Osteopaths look at the muscles, bones and tissues affected by injury, postural problems, and training. This identifies wider issues which contributes to a localised pain or specific complaint. Osteopaths focus on the whole body to find out what is out of balance.
Following a full functional assessment, the problems can be treated using massage, physical manipulation, muscle stretching. As a result, this ensures your body is in its optimum state. You can then function well and confidently.
Massage prepares the muscles before intense activity, which includes taking part in events. Massage stimulates the muscles and increasing blood flow. Post exercise, massage is very helpful in preventing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This is soreness in the muscles secondary to exercise.
What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)?
DOMS is a phenomenon of muscle pain and soreness. This is felt 12-48 hours following exercise. In particular, this follows an increase in the duration or intensity of exercise. It usually subsides over the next few days. As a result, symptoms range from tenderness in the muscle to severe pain.
Microtraumas in your muscle fibres causes DOMS. These microtraumas are repaired as part of the muscle growth process. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can be helped by Osteopathy for Sports.
Sports osteopathy diagnoses and treats current sporting injuries. It can also help in trying to prevent other sporting injuries. Seeing an osteopath regularly means you’ll enjoy a body that is more ‘in tune’ and the risk of injury can be reduced. This will be regardless of what sporting activities you do.
For years I’ve helped runners prepare for events. For instance, charity events. In return for helping to raise funds for charities, I offer a discount in fees for pre and post-run treatment.
Tell me more about it here.
For advice and support in Wilmslow, contact me:
Poor footwear, especially high heels, cause problems from the big toe right up to the spine causing back pain.
The first area we see problems are painful lumps (called bunions) on the outside of your big toe. Typically a bunion forms from pressure on the front of the foot causing a deviation in the bones of the big toe. It creates painful pressure contact on the bunion, looks unsightly and the big toe can get stiff.
Another issue with high heels are tight calf muscles. Because as your heels are elevated, it shortens the calf muscle. This shortened muscle can have a biomechanical impact on the legs. Constant wear also applies pressure to the shin bone and added stress to it can lead to issues such as ‘shin splints’ – pain on the front of the shin, which is common in runners.
You can also get calluses, hard patches of skin, under the front and ball of the foot.
Although there is a force distribution going through the hip joint, while wearing high heels, it may not directly causes specific hip problems but it does cause stress on the area!
What to do about poor footwear and back pain? The best way to avoid these conditions is to give the feet a rest!
- Limit the amount of time in high heels if you need to wear them to work.
- Always commute in flats and trainers to take the stress away from hips and knees.
- Those who frequently wear heels should do calf stretches.
- There are self help remedies you can do to deal with pain, such as standing on the edge of a step and letting the heel drop towards the next step, allowing the feet to stretch
- Massaging the sole of the feet can help – try using a golf ball or a rolling pin.
- Other remedies include a hot bath and mobilisation, such as drawing circles or the alphabet with your foot.
- Walk properly in comfortable shoes. Why not try Nordic Walking!
For more information in Wilmslow:
Osteopathic ‘MOT’ as we get older
Our bodies can be likened to a car that needs regular servicing and maintenance as we get older! We can sometimes feel aches and tensions in our body frame as we get older. A presumption is made that this is to be ‘expected’ and all part of getting older. Osteopathic treatment aims to release strains and stresses that have often accumulated over the years. Osteopaths treat the whole person not just conditions. A wide variety of problems that are affecting us can be helped. Do you feel your body needs an Osteopathic ‘MOT’?
Is it too late to do anything about it?
Advancing years can often be associated with the insidious onset of health problems. Osteoarthritis, heart and lung problems, circulation problems in the legs, effects of falls/accidents and general symptoms of declining health. However, suffering pain, stiffness and poor health are NOT an inevitable part of getting older!
Many of us will have suffered trauma at some point in our lives, such as from car accidents, sporting injuries or falls. Often people injure themselves at the time and then recover. Sometimes these strains can have a longer effect on the body tissues. These can have consequences years later. The body tissues can lose flexibility and elasticity. This makes the joints more vulnerable to arthritic changes.
Osteopathic treatment is effective at releasing the residual strains from past traumas. As a result it allows the body to function more efficiently. Gentle osteopathic treatment releases tension in the diaphragm and muscles of the chest. In doing so encouraging normal breathing movements. This helps the heart and lungs to work to their best potential. It can improve circulation around joints, improving mobility and slowing the rate of further deterioration in the joints.
An occasional ‘MOT’, every few months, would mean keeping everything working well so you can enjoy an active lifestyle. I can also give you advice on preventative exercises, as well as diet and lifestyle.
For more information in Wilmslow call: 01625 533813
Poor technique, carrying heavy golf bags, lack of warming up can contribute to neck or back strain.
Follow these tips to avoid back pain in golf and enjoy your sport:
Warm Up – Many golfers don’t warm up at all before a game. If muscles and joints are not prepared before a game then this can increase your chances of strain and injury. If the middle back and hips don’t rotate enough during the swing, it can take it out on the lower back. Follow this guide for avoiding back pain in golf with these pre game stretches: https://golfshub.com/golf-stretches-to-improve-flexibility/
Watch Your Posture – Try to avoid an hunched over posture where the curve of the lower back is lost because of tucked under hips, or an over-exaggerated curve in the lower back due to over arching the lumbar spine. Ask a friend to watch you as you swing to see which posture you’re adopting.
Watch your Swing – try to avoid over arching your low back in the back swing which can lead to back strain. See here for further advice and for avoiding back pain in golf.
Watch What You Caddy – Pulling a trolley instead of carrying a golf bag may not be the best way to caddy clubs. They can cause unnecessary strain from pulling. An electric caddy is better.
Bend Ze Knees! – when bending over to plant/pick up tees, replacing divots etc, bend from the hips and knees rather than the back.
Did you know the average golfer will walk 12 000 steps during one round of golf?
Osteopathic treatment can be helpful in improving joint and spine flexibility. to improve your game. Consider Sports Osteopathy to improve your game. Please Contact me for more information in Wilmslow.
“Experts warn Back Pain treatment is useless…”
The Times, 22 March 2018 had a front page article about the current medical treatments for back pain:
Back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability. A series in ‘The Lancet’ medical journal stated it is routinely badly treated. In Britain, one in seven GP appointments is for muscle and nerve problems, mostly back pain. It reported that millions of people are receiving treatments of drugs, injections and surgery. This can make the problem a lot worse.
Doctors prefer to offer useless and often harmful treatments rather than tell patients that staying active, exercise and psychological therapy work for most cases of chronic back pain. Most people wrongly believe the myth that rest is best for the condition.
Patients understandably look for solutions and a cure. The reality is we don’t understand what causes the vast majority of back pain. A positive attitude and job satisfaction are among the strongest indicators of whether it will turn into a serious disability or not. The evidence underpinning invasive treatments is very weak. They can also cause harm. Studies show that a third of British patients are given opioid medication such as Tramadol and Morphine. However, the evidence is that they can make your pain worse and patients are becoming hooked and suffering dangerous side effects. So is conventional back pain treatment useless?
The value of early physical therapy
Several studies have investigated the effect of early intervention. Gelhorn et al (2012) found that those that received physical therapy in the first four weeks of their first recorded episode of back pain coped better long term. These had a significantly reduced likelihood of subsequent lumbar surgery, injections. Also fewer visits to a doctor over the following year compared to those that received physical therapy over three months from onset.
The fear associated with the pain can prevent a person feeling they can carry on with a normal daily routine. They get into a vicious circle of ‘not doing things’ to avoid pain. As an osteopath, I try to help patients find ways to cope and manage their pain. This is through gentle osteopathic treatment to get some initial ease, followed by supportive remedial exercises. I give advice about improving activity levels and lifestyle advice, with some help from over the counter medications if necessary, to build up their confidence and regain some control.