school bags and back pain

Back to School

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How to keep your child’s back healthy? 

As part of the preparation for the new school year, we would like to give you some advice on how to avoid back problems in your children.

According to a new research which was carried out by the British Chiropractic Association, over a third of parents say that their child has suffered from back or neck pain in the past and, whilst back pain can be caused by a number of different factors, an overloaded school bag can be a common trigger.

Despite the fact that most people know that a rucksack is the best type of bag to use to promote better posture, nearly a third of children carry a one-strapped bag that can cause a number of problems due to the asymmetrical load on one shoulder.

Parents report that their children carry in their school bag some books, lunchbox, sports gear and mobile phones. Collectively, these items can become a heavy weight and, if carried incorrectly, that weight can cause aches and pains. We would recommend parents to frequently keep an eye on what their children carry and how they carry it around.

Tips from Caterham Chiropractic Clinic:

bag

  • Keep the bag light! Make sure your child is not carrying any unnecessary weight – check that all the items in their bags are essential for the day’s activity.

 

  • Choose the right bag – a rucksack is the best option as long as it is carried over both shoulders and the straps are adjusted so that the bag is held close to the back and weight is evenly distributed. If your child has a one-strapped bag, make sure they carry it across the body and alternate which shoulder they carry it on.

 

  • Footwear is important too! Make sure your child has good footwear; soft-soled shoes that are supportive and have a good grip will make it easier for the child to carry a school bag.

 

Good luck for the new school year and keep healthy!

Caterham Chiropractic Clinic

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

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Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow can be a very painful condition that can stop you from using your arm normally. There is a good chance that your elbow will get better with time. However, chiropractic treatment can help you with the symptoms and accelerate the recovery time.

 

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of your arm, around the bony part of your elbow. It happens when you damage the tendons that connect your arm muscles to the bone of your elbow. You can damage these tendons by performing movements that strain your elbow such as playing tennis, using a screwdriver, or raking leaves. The damage could happen by a particular incident however, it often happens slowly over long period of time.

 

What are the symptoms?

There is pain in the elbow, especially when holding things or twisting the arm. The pain may spread into the lower part of the arm, the back of  the hand and in some cases there is referred pain to the neck or shoulder.  You are most likely to develop tennis elbow in your dominant arm (the arm you use the most). The pain may come and go depending on how much you use your elbow.

 

When should you make an appointment to see us?

If your pain has not resolved after two weeks you can make an appointment with one of our chiropractors.

 

What is the treatment for tennis elbow ?

At Caterham Chiropractic Clinic we would confirm the diagnosis by taking a case history and performing some orthopaedic tests. The treatment may include kinesio-tape to help support the elbow, trigger point therapy, active release technique (deep massage during movement), dry needling, rehabilitation exercises and anti-inflammatory medication advice to help resolve the problem.

 

To book a free 10 minute consultation to see if chiropractic care can help you, please call 01883 340411 

Back Pain

Back Pain

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Back Pain

 

Back pain is extremely  common. Most people will suffer one or more episodes of back pain during their lives. In many cases, it starts suddenly and gets better quickly, without the need for any treatment.

However, back pain can be painful, debilitating and persistent, and some people suffer repeated episodes. It can also be associated with other symptoms, such as leg pain or sciatica. It may start following a specific incident, such as bending awkwardly or lifting a heavy weight. Or it can develop gradually, perhaps as a result of poor posture, an uncomfortable work position or repetitive strain.

Types of back pain

There are many different types of back pain, with different causes. The key to getting the right treatment is to establish which type of back pain you may be suffering from and to seek advice if it is not improving.
Your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body. It is made of solid blocks of bone known as vertebra, joined together by softer pads or discs which act as shock absorbers and maintain flexibility. Your back is reinforced by strong ligaments, surrounded by powerful muscles for support. It is, in fact, surprisingly difficult to damage your spine.
The majority of people with back pain are suffering from what is known as ‘simple’ or ‘mechanical’ back pain. This means that the pain is not related to any serious underlying condition and there are no trapped or compressed nerves. We do not always know the exact tissues that are involved in simple back pain. Muscles, joints and ligaments can all be involved. Simple back pain can be caused by poor posture, prolonged sitting in an uncomfortable position, and even muscular tension due emotional or work-related stress.
As we get older, wear and tear may contribute to back pain. The shock-absorbing pads or discs between the bones of the back can narrow with age and this can cause stiffness, pain and make it difficult to move.
Simple back pain is relatively common. Less frequently, the nerves of the back can sometimes become irritated, compressed or trapped. Again, there can be many reasons why this happens, but slipped discs or wear and tear can lead to pain spreading down the leg, which is commonly referred to as sciatica. This can be accompanied by pins and needles, tingling, numbness and weakness in all or part of the leg and foot.

Why do people get back pain?

People experience back pain for all sorts of reasons. It might be the way they sit or stand, or because their work or lifestyle causes stress and strain on their back. Worry or stress can cause tension in the back muscles, or can delay recovery of existing back pain. Sometimes an old injury, or wear and tear over time, might also cause problems.
However, there is often no obvious reason why back pain develops.
Although it can be very painful, back pain rarely has a serious underlying cause. Seeing a qualified health professional, such as a chiropractor, who is experienced in diagnosing conditions of the back and spine, can help treat back pain, and also identify if a referral or specialist investigations are needed.

Symptoms of back pain

Back pain can be very uncomfortable as the tissues and structures of the back are very susceptible to pain.
Back pain can be felt in one or both sides of the back, sometimes between the shoulder blades or from waist level and into the buttocks and down the front or back of the legs. It can be a sharp or dull pain, and can spread into the lower legs and sometimes as far as the feet.
If the pain does not go after a few days, or starts to get worse, it is worth seeking professional advice. Early treatment will help you get better faster.

Coping with back pain

About half of people who have an episode of back pain will have another episode within a couple of years. But that still doesn’t mean that it is necessarily serious. Between episodes most people return to normal activities within two or three weeks, with few remaining symptoms.
Back pain can be very painful due to inflammation and muscle spasm, and you may need to take it easy for a while. But resting for more than a day or two does not usually help, and may actually do more harm than good. It is best to try to keep moving and seek the help of a trained professional, such as a chiropractor, if you are finding it difficult to cope, or to speed up recovery.
Your back is designed for movement. The sooner you get back to normal activity, the sooner your back will feel better. The people who cope best are those who stay active and get on with their life despite the pain.
If your back pain does not improve, it is important to seek help. Early treatment will get you better faster.

What we can do to help

Chiropractors specialise in assessing, diagnosing and managing conditions of the spine. They are highly trained in finding the cause of pain in the spine. In the UK they undergo a minimum of four years’ full-time training. Importantly, chiropractors are regulated by law and must work within strict professional and ethical boundaries.
Before starting treatment, a chiropractor will do a full assessment. This will involve taking details about your condition, current health and medical history, and performing a physical examination. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer you for other tests, such as X-rays, MRI scans or blood tests. It is important for your chiropractor to gather as much information about your back pain as possible so that the most precise diagnosis can be made.
Your chiropractor will then explain what is wrong, what can be done and what you can expect from chiropractic treatment.

Treatment options

Chiropractors are best known for manual treatments such as spinal manipulation, where they use their hands to free stiff or restricted joints, or mobilisation, which is the gradual moving of joints.
But they may also use other recommended treatments such as certain types of acupuncture, electrotherapy, stretching exercises and rehabilitation, all of which form part of a chiropractor’s package of care. Your chiropractor may also offer lifestyle advice to help recovery and to prevent repeated episodes of back pain.Back Treatment
If your chiropractor does not think you can be helped by chiropractic treatment, you may be referred back to your GP or to another health professional. Chiropractors do not prescribe medication, so if this is needed, you may be referred back to your GP. As chiropractors support a joined-up approach to care, they may ask if they can send a brief report to your GP.
Many people who suffer long-term back pain benefit from regular, supportive chiropractic care to reduce the risk of recurrent episodes.

knee pain

Knee Pain

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knee painA knee examination by a chiropractor at Caterham Chiropractic Clinic will usually determine the cause of your knee pain. We start with asking questions about the symptoms, for example:

  • How long have you had the pain in your knee?
  • Have you had a recent injury?
  • How old are you?
  • What activities do you participate in?
  • Have you had recurring knee pain?

This information along with an examination will help us to diagnose where the pain is stemming from, as it’s not always from the knee itself.

Knee pain is commonly associated with

  • Athletes
  • Cleaners (Housemaids Knee)
  • Cyclists
  • Older Patients
  • Runners
  • Sports Injuries

 Common Causes of Knee Pain

  • Cycling
  • Kneeling
  • Running
  • Sitting
  • Walking downstairs/downhill

 

Pain In The Front of The Knee

Pain over the front of the knee is most commonly related to the area around the kneecap, which can be caused by several different problems. It may be particularly sore when sitting for long periods such as driving or cycling. The patella, or kneecap, is one of three bones, along with the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone), that make up the knee joint. All of these bones are covered with a layer of cartilage at points where their surfaces come into contact. The patella is wrapped within a tendon. This tendon connects the quadriceps muscle of the thigh to the shin bone (tibia) below the knee joint. The patella is important functionally because it increases the leverage of the knee joint, which allows for an increase of about 30% in strength of extension (kicking) of the leg at the knee joint.

Problems with the kneecap typically cause pain felt directly around the kneecap. Often these symptoms are noticed doing specific activities:

  • Walking down stairs
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Kneeling

There are several common problems associated with the kneecap that can cause problems and pain in the knee

Chondromalacia Patellae (Runner’s Knee)

The most common disorder is known as chondromalacia, often called Runner’s Knee. Chondromalacia occurs because of irritation of the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap.

Osgood Schlatters Disease (seen in teenagers)

Gives rise to a lump that can be painful at the front of the knee on the tibia.

Prepatellar Bursitis (Housemaid’s Knee)

Prepatellar bursitis, or Housemaid’s Knee Syndrome, is a condition of swelling and inflammation over the front of the knee. This is commonly seen in patients who kneel for extended periods, such as carpet layers and gardeners.

Patellar Tendon Inflammation or Irritation

Patients who experience this painful knee condition often have a patella that does not track evenly within its groove on the femur.

Kneecap Dislocation

When the kneecap comes completely out of its groove, the condition is called a patella dislocation. When the kneecap dislocates, it must be put back into its groove. Treatment of kneecap Problems depends on the diagnosis. However there are some general guidelines that can be followed. For more information, and for a diagnosis of your knee pain, it is important to see on of the Chiropractors in Caterham Chiropractic Clinic.

Other problems that can give rise to pain at the front of the knee are hip arthritis and pain radiating from a nerve root injury in the back. It is therefore essential to correctly diagnose the cause of your pain before you embark on any treatment.

Pain on The Inside of The Knee

Pain on the inside, or medial side, of the knee is commonly caused by a meniscus (often called cartilage) injury. There are two menisci in your knee; each rests between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia). The menisci are made of tough cartilage and conform to the surfaces of the bones upon which they rest. One meniscus is on the inside of your knee; this is the medial meniscus. The other meniscus rests on the outside of your knee, the lateral meniscus.

What does the meniscus do?

The meniscus functions to distribute your body weight across the knee joint. The two most common causes of a meniscus tear are due to traumatic injury (often seen in athletes) and degenerative processes (seen in older patients who have more brittle cartilage). The most common mechanism of a traumatic meniscus tear occurs when the knee joint is bent and the knee is then twisted.

Symptoms of a Meniscus Tear

You will often experience pain and swelling and joint locking, or the inability to completely straighten the joint. This is due to a piece of the torn cartilage physically impinging the joint mechanism of the knee. You may feel soreness when you press on the meniscus. The knee may pop or click on movement and you may not be able to move the knee properly. Treatment of meniscus injuries depends on the severity of the injury. You may require surgery or rest and rehabilitation of the hip, foot and knee movement patterns and muscles may be sufficient to aid recovery.

 

Pain on The Outside of The Knee

Pain on the outside of the knee, or lateral side, is commonly caused by lateral meniscus tears (which give similar symptoms to the medial meniscus but on the outside of the knee) and iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, which is due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg. The iliotibial band begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The band functions in coordination with several of the hip and thigh muscles to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint. Common in cyclists Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when there is irritation to this band of fibrous tissue at the lateral epicondyle which is at the end of the femur (thigh) bone. The iliotibial band crosses bone and muscle at this point; between these structures is a bursa which should facilitate a smooth gliding motion. However, when inflamed, the iliotibial band does not glide easily, and pain associated with movement is the result. You may experience pain, swelling and a snapping sound when you bend the knee. Endurance athletes are especially prone to developing iliotibial band syndrome. Runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes should find cross-training techniques that allow maintenance of their endurance without continuation of their discomfort. Treatment requires muscle rehabilitation that focuses on hip, foot and knee function, as the iliotibial band requires proper mechanics of all of these joints for normal function. Working with a chiropractor in Caterham will inform you of the appropriate exercises for your particular problem.

 

Pain in The Back of The Knee

Pain in the back of the knee can be due to the collection of fluid, called a Baker’s Cyst.

 

Instability/Giving Way of the Knee

The knee is stabilized by ligaments that connect the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). When the ligaments are stretched or torn, the knee may feel as though it is giving way. The knee may give way if you have arthritis or a low back problem with sciatica.

Mobility of the knee can be affected by a number of common conditions. If mobility is chronically limited, often the cause is arthritis. When the surface of the joint becomes irregular as a result of the arthritis, the mobility of the joint may become limited. You may also have a hamstring injury.

To find out more details about how we can help with your knee pain please call us at 01883 340411

 

Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – How We Can Help

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What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Your carpal tunnel is a narrow gap between the bones inside your wrist. The nerve that carries messages between your brain and your hand runs through this gap. If you experience carpal tunnel syndrome, the gap gets narrower and squeezes this nerve.

You may get carpal tunnel syndrome after an injury to your wrist, or you could just be naturally prone to it. Some medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or an under-active thyroid gland, can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.Untitled

Sometimes, it may be necessary to carry out tests to rule out these conditions.

Carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnant women often gets better within three months of the baby being born. However, in some women, symptoms can continue for more than a year and require treatment.

What are the symptoms?

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain or numbness in your wrist and hand. Your grip may be weak and you might drop things. The pain may be worse when you make repetitive movements, or hold your hand in one position. Shaking your hand may make it feel better. Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect both your hands. If it does, your dominant hand is usually worse.

How we can help?

We will confirm the diagnosis with orthopaedic and neurological tests. We rarely need to carry out further imaging studies.

In some cases carpal tunnel may disappear without treatment, or simple self-care measures will reduce the symptoms. If it doesn’t we can prescribe exercises, soft tissue techniques, anti ultrasound all of which help to reduce inflammation and open out the tunnel.

Sometimes the irritation maybe caused at the neck, we can confirm this during your examination.

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