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Fascinating Fascia

Fascinating Fascia
If you've ever heard us talk about fascia, and wondered what it was, now's your chance to find out more about this really important part of your body. And how looking after it can prevent you from being stiff or in pain.

In the picture above, you can see a white sheet of connective tissue in the mid-back. You can see how the fascia connects and divides the muscles. Fascia is the system of connective tissue that wraps all of the muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels and organs. It forms a web under the skin that supports and protects everything inside.


The problem could be your fascia not your muscles or joints


Originally, fascia was thought of as packing material and often dissected away to show the bones, muscles and ligaments which were thought to be the important structures.

Now, we think of it as a web of tissue that divides muscles into separate pockets. Like muscle, fascia can contract, hold tension, have adhesions and become stiff. It can also tear. It might be that what you thought was an injury to your muscles is actually an injury in your fascia.

It's quite likely you've heard us talk about fascia in the context of your feet. Plantar fasciitis is where the connective tissue (fascia) of the bottom of the foot (plantar surface) is inflamed (itis). The plantar fascia is the start of a tissue that that connects and protects the structures from the feet to the top of the head.
 

We treat plantar fascitis a lot!


Problems with the plantar fascia are associated with problems such as tight hamstrings, an exaggerated curve in the lower back and stiffness at the top of your neck. So don't be surprised if we treat your whole body when you have pain in your feet!

All our therapists understand fascia. Our chiropractors, massage therapists and Pilates instructors all understand how to help you look after it and the rest of your body. But there's a lot you can do yourself:


Here's how you can help yourself

  1. Keep moving. Motion is Lotion
  2. Stretch your muscles - problems in the muscles can lead to problems in the fascia.
  3. Stretch your fascia - Fascia contracts slower than muscle. To stretch the fascia hold gentle stretches for about 5 minutes. Foam rollers and prickle balls can be very useful
  4. Keep hydrated. Fascia is made up of 70% water.
  5. Relax. Set aside time for this very important activity!
Posted on Tue 01 September 2020 at 11:37

5 Ways to Protect You Spine

5 Ways to Protect You Spine
Did you know that there's no such thing as a slipped disc? These spinal shock absorbers play an important role in spacing and protecting our vertebrae and spinal chord.

And, while they don't slip, they can bulge, herniate or rupture. Which can be excruciating.

 
If this has happened to you, our chiropractors can help. But we'd rather you avoid the problem in the first place.

 

Protect your discs!


Too much bending or flexion of the spine has been shown to cause disc herniation. Many people do sit -ups or crunches to improve their fitness and work on their 'core'. However, this type of flexion exercise can put strain on the spine. So in trying to protect their spine they can actually damage it.
 
Research by Stuart McGill, a professor of spine bio-mechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, shows that sit-ups can squeeze the discs in the spine. Over time they can bulge which presses on nerves, causes pain and can lead to herniation. The US Army is starting to phase out sit-ups. The Canadian Armed Forces have already done this.
 
Exercise will affect everyone differently. While we can't do anything about our genetics there are 5 steps we can take to minimise disc injury.
 
  1. Limit flexion/bending of the spine. Thousands of cycles of flexion are needed to damage a healthy disc. However, due to genetics and past injuries some people will be more at risk than others. Ask us for alternatives to sit-ups or watch Professor McGill's YouTube video 
  2. Don't bend first thing in the morning. Discs are more hydrated in the morning after spending the night in bed. They are more prone to injury. Don't bound out of bed and start bending your spine. Start with some gentle stretches such as bringing your knees into your chest.
  3. Younger spines. The good news is that getting older actually reduces the risk of disc injury. For the same reason as above disc herniations tend to occur in younger spines as they have a higher water content.
  4. Avoid prolonged sitting. Your spine is in flexion when you are sitting. Move more and sit less!
  5. Train progressively. Start small and allow your body to adapt. If you are unsure how to start, why not work with Rosie to develop a home workout program.
Posted on Sat 01 August 2020 at 11:34

Our first video! Supporting our local community.

Our first video! Supporting our local community.

I've worked in lots of places abroad and here in the UK, and I can honestly say that Shaftesbury is the nicest place I've ever worked.

The town is beautiful, but what makes it special is the people.

We've come to know lots of you over the last 6 years and we wanted to explain how much being part of the community was to us and what we have been doing to keep our doors open.

So we made a film! You can watch it here

We've been very touched by the support from the community. We've been working hard to make the clinic safe so we can keep treating people. The film shows the measures we've been taking  - and what to expect when you next come to see us.

I'm hugely indebted to Adam and Ruby Craig, www.adamcraig.co.uk, for making such a fantastic looking film. And also to all the patients who helped with the film on the day.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch and for all the lovely messages. It really means a lot to us. Let's stay connected, be kind, support each other and we will get through this together.
Posted on Wed 01 July 2020 at 10:39

Improve your movement by improving your body awareness

Improve your movement by improving your body awareness
The way we move may not always look as graceful as we like, but movement is an amazing thing. And there's far more to it than most of us realise.
 
Think of it as a constant series of inputs and outputs. While you might be familiar with the outputs - the brain telling the body what to do - you might be surprised how many inputs it takes for the brain to make those decisions. Or that you can actually stimulate inputs that improve your quality of movement.
 
The main input you can work on is something called proprioception, or body awareness. Stretch receptors in your skin, muscle and joints, send information to your brain about their position. This is an area you can really improve. We would normally invite you in for a FREE class but in the meantime why not try this at home?

Wobble cushion sequence: (be careful!)

1. Balance on a wobble cushion (pictured)
2. As above but with eyes closed
3. Balance on one leg
4. Balance on one leg with your eyes closed
5. Balance on one leg with a distraction (such as playing catch)

You can of course do the sequence without a wobble cushion.This will improve your body awareness and improve the sensory information going to your brain and allow better motor output.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch and for all the lovely messages. It really means a lot to us. Let's stay connected, be kind, support each other and we will get through this together.
Posted on Mon 01 June 2020 at 10:29

We're open for business. Safely.

We
We would love to see you in the clinic. However, we need to do this as safely as possible and follow the guidelines from the British Chiropractic Association.

Here are a few steps we need to take to protect therapists and patients:
  1. Only come if you are feeling well
  2. Come at the right time to avoid crowding
  3. Come on your own (unless you are accompanying a child patient)
  4. Wash your hands
  5. Wear a mask (can be provided)
  6. Pay online or use contact-less payments
We will start with one therapist working at a time and fewer appointments during the day. We'll use the rooms that aren't being used as waiting rooms so you can wait in isolation!

We've been advised to wear PPE and we will be carrying out regular and thorough cleaning of the rooms and benches.

If you can't make it in to the clinic then Telehealth is a great option. Do give it a try, we have had amazing feedback and your first session is FREE.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch and for all the lovely messages. It really means a lot to us. Let's stay connected, be kind, support each other and we will get through this together.
Posted on Fri 01 May 2020 at 10:27

Love your garden AND love your back!

Love your garden AND love your back!
This week my very first video appointment was with one of my regular patients.; she had severe low back pain after digging in the garden. I was able to help by giving advice, showing self massage techniques, prescribing stretches and an exercise plan. It's a shame not to meet in person (I miss you all!!) but the appointments are going much better than I ever expected. There is a FREE video appointment for every patient. Please do take advantage of this, even if it's just to keep in touch and check your exercises.

In this difficult time, a garden can seem like a Godsend. As a nation we love our gardens. Gardening eases stress, provides exercise, gets us outside in the fresh air and gives a sense of accomplishment. The beautiful weather combined with extra time on our hands makes it very tempting to spend ALL day gardening. This is not a good idea! It's my job to remind you to look after your back as well as your garden.

Get all the benefits of gardening and prevent back pain:
  1. Warm up. Gardening is like any other activity. You need to warm up first. Get the blood flowing and the muscles warm with a brisk walk.
  2. Keep you back in neutral. Keep your back in a neutral position. Not sure how? Send me an email. Use a padded kneeler when weeding or digging. Get up and move instead of twisting.
  3. Don't over do it. Limit yourself to 30-45 mins of activity initially. Take a break, have a cup of tea and then do something different.
  4. Get help. It might be tricky with social distancing but if you can, get help with heavy lifting or larger tasks. If your job is sedentary and your body is not used to physical work then start small and build up your fitness.
  5. Grow some veggies You are more likely to eat the recommended amount of fruit and veg if you grow it yourself. Freshly picked veg is more nutritious and tastes great.
Posted on Wed 01 April 2020 at 10:23

Preventing Knee Pain

Preventing Knee Pain
After back and neck pain, knee pain is the most common problem we see in the clinic. The knee is an amazing hinge joint. The knee connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (one of the shin bones). The joint is quite complicated and there are a number of structures that can be injured. 
The Cartilage: The joint surfaces are covered in a delicate cartilage. If the cartilage becomes damaged you will get knee pain and stiffness and there may well be grinding or clicking. The meniscus: This acts as shock absorber but can tear or become damaged. This leads to knee pain and swelling, popping and giving way. Ligaments: These support the joint. Ligament damage is often the result of a sporting injury. If you have ligament damage, as well as pain and swelling you will notice instability of the joint. The Bursae: These are small fluid filled sacs around the knee that reduce friction where a tendon goes over a bone. They can become inflamed and painful. For example Housemaid's knee.

We all love treating knees in the clinic. It's our job to work out which of the structures you have injured. However, we would much rather help you prevent a knee injury. See our tips below and to help you we are running 4 FREE classes in March.

5 tips to prevent knee pain

1. Loose weight. Being overweight is a significant factor in the progression and development of arthritis.
2. Wear supportive shoes. The right shoes will lead to proper leg alignment and balance
3. Keep leg, hip and core muscles strong. Strong muscles help to protect your joints.
4. Gently stretch the muscles around the knee. Stretching helps to promote flexibility and joint mobility.
5. Book one of our FREE knee classes!
Posted on Sun 01 March 2020 at 10:00

Are you sympathetic or parasympathetic?

Are you sympathetic or parasympathetic?
I have been wanting to write about the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) for a while. Odd, I know, but when you're a chiropractor, the detail of how the body works is fascinating.

The ANS controls the things we do without thinking such as breathing, heart rate, digestion. It does that in two ways: sympathetic and parasympathetic.

The sympathetic nervous system is better known as the flight or fight response. When our body perceives that we're in danger, our sympathetic nervous system is stimulated. Digestion stops, energy is released, our heart rate and breathing increase to prepare the body to deal with the danger. When we feel that we are out of danger we switch to the parasympathetic system.

The parasympathetic nervous system is better known as the rest and digest response. It produces a calm and relaxed state. Heart rate is lowered, blood pressure is lowered, breathing slows, digestion starts and the body is able to repair. 

The two systems work together but they can become out of balance. Often people are on high alert and feel anxious even though there is no obvious threat. Sound familiar?

If you have high blood pressure, an irritable digestion, feel anxious or worried or don't heal well, then you may need to do more to stimulate your parasympathetic system.

5 tips to becoming more parasympathetic

1. Slow down. Allow yourself enough time to complete tasks.
2. Breathe from your diaphragm. This will slow your breathing and help to stimulate your parasympathetic system.
3. Practice mindfullness. Try and live in the moment.
4. Use visulisation to imagine you are in a calm peaceful place
5. Book one of our FREE relaxation classes!

On the 12th, 17th and 19th of February at 1.15.
In the class, we'll help you with breathing exercises, look at lowering your heart beat, and taking you to a calmer you. You can book one here.
Posted on Sat 01 February 2020 at 10:00

The Calf Muscle Pump

The Calf Muscle Pump

Did you know that your calf muscles are often called the 'second heart'?  As the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to your whole body it benefits from some help by your calf muscles to keep the oxygen-depleted blood flowing round the system - against gravity. Your calf muscles give the blood an extra push through the veins back in the direction of your heart.

Because the calf muscle assists the heart in circulating blood throughout your body it's really important to keep them strong and healthy.
 
One study published in the Journal of Biomechanics in November of 2014 found that men and women with chronic heart failure had smaller calf muscles than healthy people with fully functional hearts. So, if you can keep your calf muscles strong and well-nourished, you can help your heart by improving what's called the venous return from your lower extremities. This has a powerful impact on your overall health and well-being, so it's time to get moving.

 

If you're not sure how to do these exercises I'm running a FREE class at 1pm on Monday 13th January. We are also running a number of FREE classes at our open day on January 18th. We return to Pilates on Monday 6th January at 12. 6 classes for £48

 

Calf exercises

 

One of the best things you can do is walk. So it's time to get moving. The following exercises are also good. Not sure? Ask us how.

  • Heel raises

  • Lunges

  • Toe walks

  • Foot pumps

 

Calf stretches

 

It's also important to stretch your calf muscles. One of the easiest ways to do this is to sit on the floor and use an exercise band or towel to pull your toes towards you. Ask us to show you at your next appointment.


We would love to see you in the new clinic.
Call us on 01747 851455.
Email us at hello@shaftesburychiropractic.co.uk.
Or book online through the website. All the best,

Posted on Wed 01 January 2020 at 10:00

Protect Yourself This Christmas

We hope you enjoy a fabulous Christmas break. If you're stuck for a great gift idea, how about the gift of health with one of our vouchers for chiropractic, Pilates or a massage? Call us for details.

And we've got a few things for YOU to look forward to in the New Year:
  1. £5 off your appointment in January. 
  2. £20 off initial consultation voucher. Get the year off to a healthy start for the ones you love. A little treatment now could save a lot of problems later on in life. And it's a great way for us to get to know your partners, children or grandchildren.
  3. Free exercise class at our open day.  See below.
FREE  classes Saturday January 18th. This year at the clinic.

We're running a series of classes on January 18th at the clinic. The Pilates style classes are designed to improve strength, mobility and balance for men and women. This year we will be expanding our range of classes. Ask Vanessa and the team which class would be suitable.

Class schedule. These classes can be booked online
9am Lower back and hip
10am Neck and shoulders
11am Lower back and hip
12pm Neck and shoulders
1pm  Knees and ankles
2pm  Lower back
3pm Neck and Shoulders
4pm Knees and ankles

Also available on January 18th:
  • £10 Massage. Book a 20 minute taster massage for just £10.
  • Free Spine check with a chiropractor: If you know someone who has been thinking of having chiropractic treatment then this is the ideal time for them to come and have a chat with no obligation. Bring them with you.
Christmas opening hours:
  • Open as normal until Monday the 23rd.
  • Christmas eve. Open in the morning
  • Open between Christmas and New Year. Friday 27th, Monday 30th (morning) and Tuesday 31st. Appointments available.
  • Normal hours resume on Thursday 2nd
Posted on Sun 01 December 2019 at 12:00

The Knee Bone's Connected to the Neck Bone...

The Knee Bone

In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan sentenced by Zeus to carry the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. Quite a burden!  As in the myth, the first vertebra in your neck is known as the Atlas because it bears the weight of your whole head. Which is also quite a burden - up to 6 kilos.

If your Atlas is misaligned, it can have a knock-on effect to your entire skeleton. One shoulder might be higher than the other, causing pain in the shoulder blade. Or your pelvis could be tilted, with danger of disc damage causing severe back pain.

If these postural defects persist, permanent muscle tension can develop. Not only is this painful, it can cause other vertebrae in your spine to become stiff and painful too.

So when you come in for an appointment because you've got a painful lower back or knee, don't be surprised when we check your neck. This is because the position of the atlas is extremely important.

Get that right and the rest will follow.
 

More rooms, more chiropractors, more free treatments


To check your Atlas (and everything else), we now have more rooms and more chiropractors. To celebrate, we're giving away 6 free treatments to one lucky patient.

All you have to do is refer a patient to us. They get £20 off their first appointment. You get a chance to win 6 FREE treatments. Win win. Not only will you be giving a friend a discount, you'll be helping more people understand the benefit of a regular chiropractic check up.
 

To enter the prize draw for 6 free treatments:


1. Refer a new patient to us
2. They get £20 off their first appointment.
3. Make sure they mention you when they book in
4. We will put your name into a bowl.
5. At the end of October we will draw a winner out of the bowl!
Posted on Tue 01 October 2019 at 11:56

Look after your feet. 6 steps to prevent Plantar fasciitis

Look after your feet.
We have been seeing quite a few cases of Plantar fasciitis in the clinic recently. We are happy to treat this condition, but prevention is always better than a cure. See below for tips.
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

If you have a stabbing pain in your heel or arch of your foot that is worse first thing in the morning then you may already be suffering. You may also get pain  after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Don't ignore this pain as it may lead to a chronic condition. If the pain changes the way you walk you may also get foot, knee, hip or back problems.

Here are 6 tips to prevent Plantar fasciitis
Check up. Get Vanessa/Jason/Mark to check your arches.
Good footwear. Avoid high heels. Make sure your shoes have good arch support and shock absorbency. Flip flops and 'crocs' are great for the beach but don't walk any distance in them. This includes children!
Regularly replace trainers. Trainers should support and cushion your feet. If you're a runner, buy new shoes after about 500 miles of use. Consider adding some low impact exercise into your weekly routine such as swimming or cycling.
Keep your ankles and feet moving. We can give you some exercises to keep the joints of your ankles and feet moving well.
Stretch your arches. Simple home exercises can stretch your plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Ask in the clinic for details. We will probably get you rolling your foot on a tennis ball to start with.
Maintain a healthy weight. This minimizes the stress on your plantar fascia.

Posted on Sat 08 October 2016 at 15:47

Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show

Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show

Chiropractic? Massage? Pimms?

Just to let you know that for the first time Shaftesbury Chiropractic will be at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show. Please tell your friends and family that we will be offering taster massages and free spine checks at stand Y09. We will have some special offers on as well.

A spinal check is a great way to see why someone might have back pain. It’s often the starting point back to better health.
 
I know that many of you have had a sports massage with Jason already. If you haven't then this might be the perfect time to try one. Jason Croucher has been helping ease tired muscles through sports therapy since 1999 and transforming client’s ability to do more with their lives. You can have a taster massage for just £5 at the show.

For those patients who are regular chiropractic and massage patients then you will not be forgotten. We will have Pimms!
Posted on Wed 17 August 2016 at 15:50

Enjoy the summer holidays

Enjoy the summer holidays.

If you are going on holiday this summer then take care. Being out of your normal routine can make it more likely that you will hurt yourself. According to research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), almost one third (32%) of people who have suffered from back or neck pain said they have experienced this pain on holiday.
As for the cause of pain, 45% of those suffering on holiday said that sleeping in a different bed was the cause of their pain, whilst 40% blamed traveling long distances, and 37% stated it was down to carrying heavy bags.

 
Here are some top tips to help make sure your break isn’t ruined by pain.

1. Before you go
Buy the lightest case you can that has wheels. It might be better to buy two smaller cases than one heavy one. Make sure they are easy to identify on the carousel as you don't want to be lifting other people's suitcases by mistake. Don't pack more than you can carry.

2. Getting there
Most people are in for a long day of traveling to get to their destination. Relax, don't travel tired and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Wear loose fitting clothes. Whether you are in a car, bus, train or plane you can still keep moving. Try some buttock clenches, shoulder shrugs and stretch your arms and legs.

3. At your destination
If your bed is too hard you can always ask for a extra duvet which you can use as a mattress topper. It is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder. If you are fussy (like me) then don't feel embarrassed to take your own pillows with you. If you are a sun worshiper then be aware that sun loungers and sun beds are not great for your spine. Avoid lying on your tummy reading with your back and neck arched. If you are an avid reader try putting your book on the floor and read over the edge of your sun bed. This should keep you head and neck in a more neutral position.
Posted on Wed 06 July 2016 at 15:53

Good Posture

Good Posture

Good posture is a major step in preventing back pain.

Good posture is a major step in preventing back pain. However, it's very easy to slip into bad habits. For example, when standing, we often have too much weight going through our heels or we stand with our weight going through one side of the body. Get into good habits now.

Here are some tips to achieve the perfect posture:
  1. Stand tall. Imagine you are being pulled upwards through the crown of your head.
  2. Feet. Transfer your weight evenly through the soles of the feet. Toes should be lengthened and relaxed.
  3. Knees. Make sure your legs are lengthened and avoid bending or locking your knees.
  4. Moving up. Gently contract your buttock and abdominal muscles. Your ribcage should be directly above your pelvis. Don't sway back or slump forward.
  5. Arms: Allow your arms to hang freely from the shoulder joint. Collar bones should be nice and wide.
  6. Neck: Release your neck. Don't let your head come too far forward. Relax your jaw. It's amazing how much tension you can hold here. Breathe calmly from the stomach region.
  7. Smile!
Posted on Wed 06 April 2016 at 15:54

Love your garden....Love your back

Love your garden....Love your back
Gorgeous weather for gardening!

Keen to get out in the garden? These tips will help you avoid injury.

As a nation we love our gardens. Gardening eases stress, provides exercise, gets us outside in the fresh air and gives a sense of accomplishment. However, it's easy to get carried away in a fit of enthusiasm and overdo it! Be careful in this sunny weather, especially if you have been inactive over the winter.

Here are five things we suggest you consider:
  1. Warm up. Gardening is like any other activity. You need to warm up first. Get the blood flowing and the muscles warm with a brisk walk.
  2. Keep your back and knees safe. Use a padded kneeler when weeding or digging. Get up and move instead of twisting.
  3. Don't over do it. Limit yourself to 30-45 mins of activity initially. Take a break, have a cup of tea and then do something different.
  4. Get help. Get help with heavy lifting or larger tasks. Don't decide to spend all day cutting a hedge if you have a desk job. (You know who you are!)
  5. Grow some veggies You are more likely to eat the recommended amount of fruit and veg if you grow it yourself. Freshly picked veg is more nutritious and tastes great.
As always we are here providing chiropractic, massage and Pilates to ease your aches and pains or to help with more serious issues.
 
If you feel you've overdone it and want to discuss a niggle or a twinge, call me on 01747 851455. Or email me at hello@shaftesburychiropractic.co.uk

All the best,


Vanessa
Posted on Tue 15 March 2016 at 14:17

BVM feature writer Tracey Ramsbottom tries Pilates for the first time.

BVM feature writer Tracey Ramsbottom tries Pilates for the first time.

“Wear something comfortable that you can move around in easily” was the advice given to me by the clinic, and so I unearthed my crumpled yoga pants from the back of a drawer. The state of them was testament to the fact that I haven’t exercised properly for YEARS, and standing in said pants in front of the supremely fit and healthy looking instructor Mark Thistlewood was embarrassing to say the least. “I take the dog out for a walk”, I proffered hopefully, feeling inadequate and ashamed of said wrinkled pants and my less than toned physique.

For the last nine years Mark has taught Body Control Pilates to 140 people a week all over North Dorset in village halls, and has started offering 30 to 60 minute one-to-one sessions at Shaftesbury Chiropractic on Friday afternoons. A resident of Guy’s Marsh, Mark played double bass with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for many years and still performs with them on a part time basis. “Carrying and playing such a big heavy instrument took its’ toll on my posture and joints,” said Mark. “Indeed many musicians end up with posture and muscle strain issues due to holding their instrument for long periods of time.” Mark also competed in triathlons, so often suffered with tight muscles from swimming, running and cycling. He discovered that Pilates helped him enormously, and as well as training in the discipline himself, he arranged for a Pilates teacher to go to the BSO and work with the musicians.

Mark works with all ages, one couple he teaches started coming to him at age 73 and now they’re 80 they are still attending and he’s seen their fitness levels improve over a decade. His ethos is that we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to keep as fit as we possibly can be, throughout our lives. “When I started with Pilates nobody had heard of it,” said Mark. “Now I get referrals from GPs, chiropractors, osteopaths, consultants and surgeons. People’s awareness of Pilates has really improved.”

The beauty of Pilates is that it offers a vast repertoire of controlled movements, some of which are very subtle – all of which challenge mind and body either in terms of physical demand or movement skill. Pilates is a movement exercise method that is learnt rather than 'done'. It is low-impact (kinder to our joints) and non-aerobic. Movements are performed slowly so that we can improve accuracy and control, leading to a 'quiet strength' rather than muscle-bound, and to great improvements in flexibility and spinal comfort. It’s therefore suitable for rehabilitation after surgery, injury, during pregnancy, and for any age group. The exercises help the spine move better, reducing lower back pain; and are very effective with “frozen shoulder” problems.

Mark started me off with basic mat exercises of pelvic tilts. It’s actually rather complicated, demanding isolation of certain muscles and a slow uncoiling of the spine rather than simply shoving your bottom up and down. I had attended aerobics classes in the ‘90s which included some Pilates exercises; involving imagining a 10p coin in your navel and squeezing all the stomach muscles around it – the “core stability”, which is the Holy Grail of fitness. I ask Mark about this but he said as long as I was doing the exercise correctly, those muscles would be worked, I wouldn’t need to visualise a coin. It took me about six attempts, but I got it. The breathing rhythm is also important – I was unconsciously holding my breath, but it’s important to breathe in time to the exercise, it did take me a while to get the hang of it. Then I was given a partially inflated ball to place under my head, to help with neck and head rolls. A lot of tension is locked in the sternum and this movement really helps to release it, but it needs practise to get it right. The movement was wonderfully relaxing, especially when simply turning the head from left to right, so much so that I bought a ball from Mark at the end of the session, so I can carry on at home.

For those new to Pilates, Mark recommends the book “The Pilates Bible” by Lynne Robinson, as well as the DVD, alongside attending one to one sessions and/or classes.

Shaftsbury Chiropractic Clinic is at 3 Bimport, Shaftesbury, tel 01747 851455, www.shaftesburychiropractic.co.uk. www.northdorsetpilates.co.uk.

 

 

Posted on Sat 12 March 2016 at 13:41

No Tweeting between the Sheets!


Don't turn bed time into tech time.

Ever thought there must be better things to do between the sheets than counting tweets?


New research shows that more than half of us are using mobile phones in bed and almost half confess to using a laptop or tablet.

At Shaftesbury Chiropractic we encourage you to keep your bedroom a tech free zone.

When you use a mobile phone or other device in bed you tend to forget your posture, hunch over the screen and leave your spine unsupported. This can lead to back and neck pain.

The light given off by screens also stimulates the brain making us feel more awake and less likely to get a good night's sleep.

Follow these top tips:
  1. If you are tempted to check your emails one last time before bedtime, do it in the kitchen or living room, and then switch it off!
  2. Avoid having a TV in the bedroom and don't let your children have one either.
  3. Don't use your mobile phone as an alarm clock. Then you don't need to keep your mobile in the bedroom
  4. If you can't resist then make sure your back is supported and that your device is at eye level
If you would like to speak to Vanessa (chiropractor) Jason (massage therapist) or Mark (pilates instructor) about any aches and pains, please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Thu 12 November 2015 at 13:35

Straighten up UK

Can you spare 3 minutes a day?

As little as 3 minutes a day can be enough to help develop balance, strength and flexibility of the spine.


At Shaftesbury Chiropractic we're great believers in simple exercise programmes that help patients recover from, or prevent, back pain.
 
We particularly like the The British Chiropractic Association programme called Straighten Up UK. If you drop in and see us we can give you one of their leaflets.

This 3 minute program is designed to be done daily and become part of your normal routine.

If you want to take it a step further, we're lucky enough to have a resident Pilates specialist, Mark Thistlewood with us on Friday afternoons. He can work with you one to one to create a programme that addresses any specific conditions you have.
  If there's anything you'd like to ask about Straighten Up UK or any other aches and pains, please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Wed 07 October 2015 at 18:37

How to avoid sports Injuries

How to avoid sports injuries (even if you're just an armchair fan).

My son is a keen rugby player and excited about the Rugby World Cup. But with Jonny Wilkinson describing rugby collisions like 'car accidents', I want to make sure he looks after himself! 

Whether you are an amateur sports enthusiast or a professional your body is prone to the same kinds of injuries. At Shaftesbury Chiropractic we treat lots of sports injuries. However, we would much rather work with you to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place.

We even have our own resident Sports Massage Therapist, Jason, to help ease those nasty strains.

 

Prevention is better than cure!

It is vitally important that you warm up before you start, and stretch when you have finished. Pre-habilitation is the buzz word these days. We can assess how your joints and muscles are working to identify any weak links or lack of co-ordination that makes you vulnerable to injury.


Don't delay getting treatment.

Chiropractic treatment will speed up your recover from injury. Treatment will normally be followed by a rehabilitation plan to strengthen the injured area, improve your flexibility and prevent future flare-ups.
 

Improve your performance.

By going 'behind' the injury, chiropractic will help to eliminate the cause of your problems as well as improving the mechanics of your joints and muscles and the nerves supplying them. Many athletes find a significant improvement in performance.

Even if you're just an armchair fan, you can do little things to avoid niggles and aches that come from sitting in the same position for too long. Stand up and cheer every now and then! I know my son will be jumping up and down as he supports England.

If there's anything you'd like to ask about sports injuries or any other aches and pains, please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Wed 09 September 2015 at 18:35

Enjoy the Summer Holidays!

Enjoy the summer holidays.

If you are going on holiday this summer then take care. Being out of your normal routine can make it more likely that you will hurt yourself. I have already come across the following injuries this year. Back strain from lifting heavy suitcases into the car. Neck pain from watching TV in a hotel bed room and neck pain from sleeping awkwardly on the plane.

Avoid injuring yourself with these easy to follow tips:

1. Before you go
Buy the lightest case you can that has wheels. It might be better to buy two smaller cases than one heavy one. Make sure they are easy to identify on the carousel as you don't want to be lifting other people's suitcases by mistake. Don't pack more than you can carry.

2. Getting there
Most people are in for a long day of traveling to get to their destination. Relax, don't travel tired and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Wear loose fitting clothes. Whether you are in a car, bus, train or plane you can still keep moving. Try some buttock clenches, shoulder shrugs and stretch your arms and legs.

3. At your destination
If your bed is too hard you can always ask for a extra duvet which you can use as a mattress topper. It is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder. If you are fussy (like me) then don't feel embarrassed to take your own pillows with you. If you are a sun worshiper then be aware that sun loungers and sun beds are not great for your spine. Avoid lying on your tummy reading with your back and neck arched. If you are an avid reader try putting your book on the floor and read over the edge of your sun bed. This should keep you head and neck in a more neutral position.

Have a wonderful summer whatever you are doing. 
If there's anything you'd like to ask, please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Wed 01 July 2015 at 18:33

Are you getting a good night's sleep?

We come in different weights, shapes and sizes, but one thing we have in common is that we spend over a third of our lives in bed. So it pays to choose our beds, mattresses and pillows carefully.


If you're not getting a comfortable night's sleep, then it could be time to make some changes. If your mattress is over 10 years old it's probably time for a new one.

Here are some things you should consider when choosing a new bed.


1. Which is best, a hard or soft mattress?
Your mattress needs to be supportive. A 16 stone person will not get the same support from a mattress as a 10 stone person. If you and your partner are different sizes, two single mattresses zipped together might be a better way to get the support you need.

2. Is your mattress supporting your spine?
If you lie on your side then your spine should be parallel to the mattress. If your spine sags then the mattress is too soft and if your spine bows then the mattress is too hard.

3. Protect your neck.
Don't lie on your front as your neck will be twisted to one side which can cause problems. Your pillows need to support you so that your neck is a continuation of your straight spine. The number of pillows you need will depend on your size and sleeping position.

4. Drink water
Keep well hydrated. A lot of people don't realise that dehydration can make your muscles ache.

5. Don't leap out of bed
Try some gentle stretches before getting out of bed in the morning. Once up avoid bending or doing anything strenuous until your back has woken up.

I've helped many of my patients make an informed choice when it comes to finding the best bed for them. If there's anything you'd like to ask, please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Tue 16 June 2015 at 14:46

Posture in Children

Your children need to look after their backs too.

Recent research shows that 40% of 11 - 16 year olds in the UK have suffered from back or neck pain. The biggest culprits are overloaded school bags, excessive use of technology and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.  Follow these golden rules to protect your child's spine.
 

1. Buy them a rucksack
A rucksack is the best option for your child's school bag. Make sure they carry it over both shoulders and that the straps are adjusted so the bag is held close to their back.

2. Keep it light
Check that your child is only carrying essential items and that the weight is evenly distributed.

3. Poor posture
Using laptops, tablets, mobile phones and games consoles encourages poor posture. Children get so absorbed in what they're doing, they don't realise they're sitting in an uncomfortable position. Make sure your child is sitting comfortably with their spine supported. Limit the time to 40 minutes.
 
4. Exercise
NHS guidelines state that children between 5 and 18 should be getting an hour of physical activity daily. The fitter your child is the less likely they are to injure themselves. Keeping your child active as they get older is the challenge.

5. Lead by example
Of course these problems can affect adults too! We all need to move more. Make sure your children see you sticking to these rules too. Get out in the fresh air and have fun with your children.

I enjoy helping children of all ages keep healthy and pain free. To make an appointment please call us on 01747 851455.
Posted on Wed 06 May 2015 at 19:07

Look after yourself as well as your garden

As a nation we love our gardens. We spend a lot of time and money on them. However, every year a few of my patients overdo it - especially as Spring begins. So make sure you look after yourself as well as your garden with these simple tips:


1. Warm up
Gardening is like any other exercise. You need to start slowly, especially if you have been taking it easy over the winter. Start with lighter jobs.

2. Don't twist
If you're using a ladder or steps, keep your shoulders hips and knees in line. Move the ladder or steps instead of overreaching. If possible get someone to help you keep the ladder steady.
 
3. Don't stretch
Get as close as possible to whatever you're pruning. Invest in some long handled secateurs.

4. Take a break
Vary your activity by spending no longer than 20-30 minutes on one activity. Treat yourself to a tea break!

5. Plan ahead
Plan ahead if you need to buy heavy, bulky items.
Posted on Wed 08 April 2015 at 20:59

Getting fit for the year ahead? These tips will help you avoid straining your back and neck.

Getting fit for the year ahead? These tips will help you avoid straining your back and neck.

Well done you for deciding to get fit. But bear in mind that exercise puts added pressure on your joints and muscles. This can cause problems for your back and neck if you don't approach the challenge sensibly.

Here are three things we suggest you consider:
  1. Prepare.  If you're not normally active, talk to your GP before you start to exercise. Get the right kit - a good pair of trainers is particularly important. And warm up first: start with lighter movements such as walking or jogging to lessen the chance of muscle strain.
  2. Be careful with weights. Make sure your legs are at least hips' width apart and lift with bent knees to avoid over-stretching and damaging your back. Remember, bending from the waist also increases the stress on your lower back. Keeps hand weights close to your body. A weight held at arm's length can have the effect of being five times heavier putting strain on your shoulders.
  3. Dedicate time to your back. We can show you stretches and exercises specifically designed to strengthen your back. Ask me for some ideas at your next appointment.
Posted on Thu 12 March 2015 at 20:02

Are you driving comfortably?

Lots of my patients tell me that they're spending more time in the car - which leads to back pain and other aches. So what can you do to avoid the perils of car travel?
 
1. Take time to ad
just the seat
If you share a car, make sure you make the effort to change the seat position to suit you each time you get in.

 2. Put the steering wheel at a good height
If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close, you could be putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.
 
3. Make the mirrors easy to use
You can react quicker if you don’t have to move your head much. Adjust the mirrors so you can see all around the car just using your eyes.

4. Wear the right footwear
High heels or thick-soled shoes make it harder to use the pedals. The position raises your thigh and creates tension (and possibly cram
p) in your calf.

5. Relax
A relaxed driving position reduces stress on the spine, allowing your seat to take your weight.  Take regular breaks - stop and stretch your legs (and arms!) at least every two hours, more often if possible. If you're stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches as well as shoulder shrugs and circles.

If you've got any niggles caused by driving or anything else, why not drop in and see us. Or call if you'd rather not use the car!
Posted on Tue 17 February 2015 at 14:01

Christmas Shopping

Don't let shopping online give you a sore neck or back this Christmas.

Lugging bags around the stores isn't the only way to develop aches and pains this Christmas. Hunching over a computer trying to find a bargain can be just as bad.

Here are five ideas to help avoid strains when you’re cyber shopping:
  1. Avoid sitting on the sofa with a laptop. You’ll be concentrating so hard you may not realise you are getting a stiff back or neck.
  2. Relax when sitting into your chair. Slide your bottom against the seat back with your shoulder blades touching the backrest. Keep your arms flat and your elbows level with the desk - a seat with arm rests is best.
  3. Adjust your seat so that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. You should end up with your hips higher than your knees.
  4. Keep your eyes level with the top of the computer screen. You might need to put the screen on a stand or even on a ream of paper to bring it to the right height.
  5. Take regular breaks and get up to do something different - changing position is good for you.
If you feel you've overdone it and want to discuss a niggle or a twinge, call me on 01747 851455. Or email me at shaftesburychiropractic@gmail.com
Posted on Wed 03 December 2014 at 19:08

Look after your back in the garden this Autumn

Hello. I've recently taken over Shaftesbury Chiropractic.
I wanted to introduce myself and share a few tips about looking after yourself in the garden this Autumn.

 Here are five simple ways to avoid an achy back :
  1. Warm up. Gardening is like any other exercise: you need to warm up. Don’t go straight into heavy garden work. Start off with lighter jobs.
  2. Wear comfy clothes. Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement.
  3. Don't overstretch. Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.
  4. Face the ladder. If you're using steps, make sure you always face them. Keep your shoulders, hips and knees pointing in the same direction.
  5. Keep it varied. Don't spend more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and take regular breaks.
Chiropractic and sports massage

As well as a full range of chiropractic treatments we also offer sports massage too.

If you feel you've overdone it and want to discuss a niggle or a twinge, call me on 01747 851455. Or email me at shaftesburychiropractic@gmail.com
Posted on Wed 05 November 2014 at 19:09

Stay Healthy This Christmas

We hope you enjoy a fabulous Christmas break. If you're stuck for a great gift idea, how about the gift of health with one of our vouchers for chiropractic, Pilates or a massage? Call us for details.

And we've got a few things for YOU to look forward to in the New Year:
  1. £5 off your appointment in January. 
  2. £20 off initial consultation voucher. Get the year off to a healthy start for the ones you love. A little treatment now could save a lot of problems later on in life. And it's a great way for us to get to know your partners, children or grandchildren.
  3. Free exercise class at our open day.  See below.
FREE  classes Saturday January 18th. This year at the clinic.

We're running a series of classes on January 18th at the clinic. The Pilates style classes are designed to improve strength, mobility and balance for men and women. This year we will be expanding our range of classes. Ask Vanessa and the team which class would be suitable.

Class schedule. These classes can be booked online
9am Lower back and hip
10am Neck and shoulders
11am Lower back and hip
12pm Neck and shoulders
1pm  Knees and ankles
2pm  Lower back
3pm Neck and Shoulders
4pm Knees and ankles

Also available on January 18th:
  • £10 Massage. Book a 20 minute taster massage for just £10.
  • Free Spine check with a chiropractor: If you know someone who has been thinking of having chiropractic treatment then this is the ideal time for them to come and have a chat with no obligation. Bring them with you.
Christmas opening hours:
  • Open as normal until Monday the 23rd.
  • Christmas eve. Open in the morning
  • Open between Christmas and New Year. Friday 27th, Monday 30th (morning) and Tuesday 31st. Appointments available.
  • Normal hours resume on Thursday 2nd
Posted on Mon 01 January 0001 at 00:00
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