Lately in clinic we have seen an increase in muscular problems around the neck and shoulders. This seems to be related to the recent change in weather. When we are cold we have the tendency to lift our shoulders towards our ears to try and keep ourselves warm. This can then over-activate the muscles in the neck, shoulders & back. The solution?
- Ensure that you wear warm clothing. I know that this is difficult at this time of year with the dilemma of not knowing what to wear as the weather is quite autumnally interchangeable. The key to autumnal fashion is layers, then you can take off a layer if you are too hot, and add extra layers if you aren’t warm enough
- Try and focus on keeping a good posture by holding your shoulders in a relaxed position rather than a tense one
- Warm your muscles in the evening to keep them supple. Use a heat pad, a wheat bag or a hot water bottle on your upper back/lower neck for 20 minutes
- Regular stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles throughout the day
As a chiropractor it is difficult to give the prescription of icing at this time of year, as we want to warm ourselves in autumn and winter not make ourselves colder. However, if you have a complaint that is inflammatory in nature, ice is the better option. If you are unsure if you should use ice or heat then contact your chiropractor for advice.
At this time of year we see a lot of bed related back problems in clinic. The summer season can highlight if either your bed when you were on holiday was unsuitable for you and you body, or if in fact your bed at home needs changing.
Goldilocks really was onto something with the just right theory. So take a leaf out of her book and think about a mattress & bed that’s not too hard, not too soft but just right.
We are great at being ‘terribly British’ when it comes to trying a mattress in a store. This is why people often end up with the wrong mattress. When you are making a relatively large purchase that you will spend a third of your life in is not the time to be shy – go on give it a try! The more time that you spend on selecting the correct bed, the more likely you are to make the right choice. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) produced a great video on how to select the best mattress for you and how to avoid sleep related injuries. Please don’t go to the store without watching it:
So what does a chiropractor sleep on I hear you ask? My personal opinion is that a firm sprung mattress with a memory foam topper is best and that is what I use at home :0)
Believe it or not I take my memory foam topper away with me when I’m camping and yes I do get laughed at when I’m unpacking my car, but guess who gets a supportive & comfortable nights sleep ;0) Another top top is to take your own pillow away with you too, I find that I don’t get any neck aches when I do.
Happy & pain free sleeping folks :0) Until next time, mind your posture (I know you’re probably slouching at your PC) & keep up with your exercises….
As of the 20th August 2014 I will be away on a London adventure. I have the incredible opportunity of experiencing London chiropractic whilst I am in the city. I will be working out of two clinics, one is in Fenchurch and one is in Highgate. I look forward to writing a little London report for you all – roving reporter style :O)
So, what to do if you have a pain flare whilst the clinic is closed:
- Use your at home exercises/stretches to try and loosen the affected/painful area off
- Feel free to call the clinic for advice – I am in clinic until 9pm on Tue 19th Aug and Will is in clinic until 8pm on Thursday 21st and is available for emergency appointments until then should you require one. I will be checking the clinic voice mails each day from Friday 22nd and will return emergency calls – please leave a number so that I can call you back
- Use Ice – 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per day for 2-3 days
- If you are able to take anti-inflammatory medication – use of over the counter ibuprofen and/or paracetamol
- If the pain does not resolve with the above it may be worth giving your GP a call for advice/an appointment
- Travel to London for an appointment with me and have a London adventure too
We hope that you find the above information useful. I’m sure you will join me is wishing Happy holidays to Will who has been an excellent addition to our clinic and has thoroughly enjoyed his first six months in practice. He is making the transition from graduate to chiropractor a seamless one.