DIETless LIVING – BUILD HEALTHY EATING HABITS

DIETless Living          Build Healthy Eating Habits

6 Week Programme

17Jannuary 2019 – 21 February 2019

 

This programme is a powerful and affordable way to bring healthy eating into your life without dieting or willpower.

 

You will learn strategies and tool that will last a lifetime so you can stop the war with food and your body.

 

We will work in a small group, no more than 8 people. Research has shown that your chances of achieving good results are 50% higher if you have a partner.

 

Our plan:

Week 1: Personalised nutrition

Week 2: Mindful eating

Week 3: Cravings and Emotional Eating

Week 4: Power of the Mind

Week 5: Toxins

Week 6: Shopping habits and how to stay mindful

 

When you finish the programme:

 

– You will have a New Relationship with Food

– You will find food that is healthy and that you enjoy eating

– You will have the tools to free yourself from Cravings and Emotional Eating

 

 

The course will run weekly commencing on Thursday, the 17th January – 21st February 2019 at 8pm.

 

Sessions will last 60 – 75 minutes, via Zoom so you can participate from the comfort of your own home. No wasting time travelling, no parking problems or costs.

Zoom gives us the opportunity to see and hear each other. It is live and interactive work and it feels like we are sitting and talking in the same room.

 

 

Early bird price : £135- by 25th December

 

Full price : £165

 

To find out more or book your place, phone Marijana on 07960 561874.

 

The details:

 

 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

This deeply relaxing, powerful and cleansing treatment is not your typical massage, it’s gentle rhythmical movements stimulate and influence the direction and speed of the lymph through the lymphatic vessels and nodes to great effect.

The lymphatic system moves slowly due to not having a pump, which means it can easily become overloaded, sluggish and congested. The lymph vessels lie just beneath the skin and facilitate the removal of metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules and foreign substances from the tissues.

MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, reduces pain and enhances the activity of the immune system. It is effective in the treatment of a wide variety of problems including oedema (swelling), skin disorders, headaches, sinus congestion, stress, sprains and aches and before and after surgery to remove tissue congestion. It is particularly useful in improving the healing process and reducing recovery time after surgery, post-mastectomy therapy and cosmetic surgery such as liposuction, breast surgery or facial surgery.

 MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) is extremely gentle and wonderfully relaxing.

Sasha Ball is one of our wonderful massage therapists and this facebook review sums up just how well Chiropractic and massage complement each other.

 ‘I’ve been attending this clinic for around a year. I first came with sciatica and now, incredibly, it’s gone.  Rachel has a deep insight for healing through her practice. I have regular monthly adjustment and I’m now better than I’ve been for years.  I complement this with regular massage therapy from Sasha at the clinic.  This practice is unique as it offers a fully holistic treatment plan that lifts, heals and rejuvenates.  Thoroughly recommended’.

 

 Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

 

Vitamin D – why all the hype?

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is in the news all the time.  We are all deficient, we must supplement one week an then the next headlines about someone who overdosed! Is this really possible?  What are we really supposed to do?

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced in the skin in respone to sunlight.  It also occurs in a few foods naturally, these include fish (oily fish such as salmon and mackeral), fish liver oils and egg yolks.  Many foods are also fortified with the vitamin and these include grains and dairy products.  It is impossible to overdose of vitamin D via sunlight and foods, however excessive supplement use can lead to Vitamin D toxicity, this is known as hypervitaminosis D and results in the buildup of calcium in the blood, hypercalcemia.

Research has shown that taking 60,000 international units (IU) daily for several months can cause this.  This is much higher than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 600 IU.  Unless treating a deficiency these sorts of doses are not advised and should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor, with regular blood tests to check levels for a limited period of time.

Vitamin D is essential for our musculoskeletal system, because it helps us utilise the calcum from the diet.  Calcium is not only essential for strong bones, but also is important in nerve transmission and muscle contraction.  Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with rickets, a disease in which bone tissue does not mineralise properly, however it is also related to many more health problems.

 

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:

Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can indicate a deficiency.  For some the symptoms are subtle and for others they have no obvious symptoms at all,  but low blood levels still pose health risks because calcium is used so vastly in the body.
1) Increased risk of Cardiovascular disease.
2) Cognitive impairment in older adults – research has shown that vitamin D supplementation can help improve cognitive function in over 60s with dementia.
3) Severe asthma in children.
4) Research suggests that vitamin D when taken with calcium can prevent some cancers.
5) Research suggests that long-term supplementation reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.

Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency:

Not consuming RDA over time.  A strict vegan diet puts you at risk of this because the vitamin is mainly found in animal products. 
Limited exposure to sunlight.  If you are homebound you are at higher risk of deficiency, especially if you have darker skin.  The skin makes vitamin D using UV light.  If you live in the northern latitudes, wear clothes that cover you fully (such as those or religious reasons), do not spend much time outdoors – you are at risk.  In the UK those with darker skin are a higher increased risk because the pigment in the skin (melanin) reduces the skins ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight. 

What is seasonal affected disorder (SAD):

Seasonal affected disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that often begins in the autumn and continues into the winter months.  Symptoms inculde feeling sad, low mood, anxious, fatigued, irritable, concentraion problems and feelings of hopelessness.  Although the exact cause is not known studies suggest a lack of sunlight is the cause, as it is more common at higher latitudes and cloudy places.  This link to lack of sunlight could potenitally be due to reduced vitamin D production and thus an affect on cognitive function.  The other theories include a shift in our bodies biological clock.  Less sun affects our ciardian rhythm.   Another theory is a change in the balance of neurotransitters in the brain (serotonin and dopamine.)  These last 2 theories would both result from a lack of vitamin D.

So what should the average person do!?

As previously discussed the amount of vitamin D your skin makes can be affected by a number of factors.  Depending on where you live and your lifestyle will affect vitamin D production.  In many it can decrease or be completely absent in the winter months.  In the summer months, especially in those who are fairer – sunscreen, whilst important, can also decrease vitamin D production.

With modernisation many now do not get enough regular exposure to sunlight, and older adults also have trouble absorbing vitamin D.  Taking vitamin D drops or a multivitamin with vitamin D will likely help improve musculoskeletal health.  The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.

  • Including oily fish and eggs into your diet a few times a week is also advisable and if vegan eating fortified cereals and plant based milks.
  • Get yourself out each day and get your face in the sun.  We still have the odd sunny day even in the winter! Its important to enjoy them when you can!

   One of our Chiropractors, Rachel enjoying the November sunshine.

  • Natures life is a great Vitamin D brand.  We do not profit from recommending this product in anyway, it just happens to be the one we take ourselves!It is improtant you do not exceed the dose on the product and it is also important to get a Vitamin D3 brand, because vitamin D3 is more easily used in the body to help with calcium absorption.

Reference:

Penckofer, S; Kouba, J; Byrn, M and Estwing Ferrans, C.  Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine? Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2010 Jun; 31(6): 385-393.

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Cashew and Ginger Protein Balls

Protein balls are an amazing quick healthly snack.  They are great for lunch boxes and for after sports.  There are so many different combination, but with autumn upon us and the days getting colder, we thought warming ginger ones would be a great idea.
Ginger is a fabulous ingredient.  It can be used to make tea, in curries and soups and goes great in desserts.  Ginger boosts bloodflow (wonderful for hands and feet in the cooler weather), is great for digestion and wonderful with honey and tumeric for a sore throat.
Ingredients
    1. 250g dried apricots
    1. 150g (1 cup) raw, unsalted cashew nuts.
    1. 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil.
    1. 2 tbsp nut butter of your choice
    1. 1-2 tsp fresh root ginger, finely chopped, or ground ginger (if you love ginger makes it 2!)
    1. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1. 1 scoop protein powder.
  1. 1 tbsp cold water.
  2. Desiccated coconut – a good handful.
Instructions:
Place all ingredients, except the coconut into a food processor and blend until a thick mixture forms.  The mixture should stick between your fingers.  If it is too dry then add a small amount of water, or add more protein powder if too wet.
Roll the mixture into small balls, about 12.
Roll each protein ball in desiccated coconut to finish (if you don’t like cocnut, leave this out).
Leave them to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and serve chilled.  They can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Back Care – Prevention begins at school!

Back and neck pain is often seen as only an adult problem but new statistics, along with our own experience of treating children and teens at the Peacehaven Chiropractic, suggest this is sadly not the case. One quarter of UK secondary school pupils report that they suffer from regular or daily back and/or neck pain.
The Stats:
One quarter of UK secondary school students suffer from regular or daily back pain
School bag burden has been associated with a ten-fold increased rate of back pain
Back pain was also linked to prolonged sitting (something no student gets away from – now with more sedentary past times, gentle stretches and exercises are paramount on a daily basis, please see links below.
The British Chiropractic Association’s have some good advice on how to make sure your child’s backpack is loaded and carried safely. They also have a series of exercises, from the  Straighten Up campaign, designed to keep the spine moving well, appropriate for both children and adults and they also include computer posture tips and breathing exercises.  You would think breathing came naturally, and whilst we all do breathe, many of us don’t do it well!
Here’s some fun and kid-friendly stretches we like! Movement is key.  Another fabulous set of exercsies can be found on youtube, ChiroMoves designed by a UK Chiropractor.  This is also avaliable as an app.
If you have any questions about your childs spine then please do call, remember we also offer a free 15 minute consultation in clinic.  Please call 01273 584812 or book an appoinment using our request form.  Rachel Hodson is fully accredited to work with children and has further qualifications in this field.
Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Our Birth Story

I can honsetly say it was an amazing experience! It is astonishing what both my body and little Renies’ did to bring her into this world.  I won’t lie, it was much much much harder that I expected and I suspect Renie did even more work than me!

My contractions first began on Monday evening around 5pm.  In the day I had been for a sea swim and then came home and decided to just relax, rather than do all sorts of crazy jobs, which I had previously been doing.  That should have been a sign.  I decided perhaps I should look into hyponbirthing as our due date was 2 days away, definitely too late in pregnancy to start wondering about this, but heyho thats me all over! I spent the afternoon doing breathing exercises, pregnancy yoga and eating chocolate! (something that needs to stop if I ever want to get back into my jeans!)

37 weeks pregnant.

Monday morning Ben had a migraine, so rather than cycle to work I had dropped him off.  I was due to collect him at 5-30pm. I was just about to leave when I started to get what I would describe as intense period type pains below the bump, they came every 15 minutes or so.  Some how wisdom prevailed, (I am a bit of a doer and usually carry on regardless) and I decided driving was probably not wise.  I texted Ben, ‘please get the bus home,’ his thoughts went along the lines of ‘S*@t! NOT NOW I have a migraine!!’  Babies come when babies are ready!

When Ben got home, he started to time the contractions.  We both had a big meal once the realisation hit that these weren’t just braston hicks.  We would defintiely need the energy and then Ben sent me to bed to try and get some rest before what was to come, however it was little good because by this point the longest break between surges (contractions) was 8 minutes.  They were still very sporadic all night, ranging from super intense, insides turning out and being squeezed simultaneously (little did I know this was nothing) to a mere mild rippling.  They were anything from 3 minutues apart and lasting 30 seconds to 8 minutes apart and lasting 60 seconds.  Eventually we called the midwife, who arrived around 6am.  I was 1cm dilated (is that all) and so she left and told us to call back when the contractions were 3 minutes apart and 60 seconds each – for at least 30 minutes (or something like that, honestly Ben was in charge of this and all I did was press the buzzer on a bell when a contraction started and stopped.)

I vomited, A LOT. We thought at about 10am I should eat something for energy.  We tried dried frut and nuts, not bad and then one tiny little mistake, a chunk of chocolate. DO NOT do it!  Just as the chocolate melted in my mouth and made that cloggy seal, the mother of all contractions was upon me (it seemed it at the time anyway).  I managed to just make it to the bathroom, where I remained, face on toilet seat for a good 30 minutes.  Flashbacks to my uni days, hugging the toliet bowel and curling up in a ball on the bathmat. Except I couldn’t curl up in a ball and sleep this off, there is no way out, it is unrelenting! Ben managed to prise my face off the loo seat, after my protests. ‘It’s fine darling I cleaned the toilet yesterday!’

At 11am another midwife arrived.  I was so lucky that my community midwife who looked after us during pregnancy turned up.  What a priviledge to have the woman who saw me through pregnancy there to hold my hand and help deliver our baby.  Ellie is quite possibly the most laid back person I have met, must be a midwifery requirement.  Between 11am and 2pm everything is a bit of a blur, I was delerious, although apparently still not in active labour.  This is NOT something any woman wants to hear after almost 20 hours of contractions! My waters still hadn’t broken, so at the next examination, when I was still only 4-5cm dilated, Ellie broke them for me.  I had thought the contractions were intense before this, wow how wrong I had been! Now everything ramped up.  Renie had decided to turn back to back too, so as well as lower abdominal contractions, they were also in my back and radiating into my right pelvis and leg.

I spent my time moving from being on all fours on the bed, sitting on the toilet and being in the bath.  I tried to grab Bens manlyhood, he managed to maneover himself out of the way just in time, so I bit his hand instead. I did immediately apologise, honest!   Not long after this and me wimpering ‘I can’t do this’ and both Ben and Ellie replying ‘But you are doing this’ for the 100th time, Ben reminded me I did have options.  My birth plan was clear – minimal intervention, but after 20 hours I was exhasuted and I really felt ready to give up (not that you can when in labour, but I know my eyes were pleading to be taken to hospital and have pain relief).  My mind had jumped straight to epidural, not that I vocalisd this as I knew I would be disappointed if we went to hospital.  Ben again kept reminding me I had options, but I still didn’t get it.  Eventually Ben said ‘You have options, DOWNSTAIRS!’  The penny dropped, gas and air!

I got through almost 2 cannisters of gas and air, the intensity of contractions didn’t go, but I just didn’t care anymore!.  At this point I got in the pool and moved into the second stage.  Although the pushing stage requires a lot of effort and energy, it is also a relief to know you are in the final stretch and meeting your baby is imminent.  Pushing your babies head out takes all your power and strength, its primal and takes over your body, as were the noises I was making apparently!  There were times when I thought this is never going to happen, but when it does its absolutely amazing, words cannot describe.  Once babies head was out the final few pushes were easy, (not for Ben because he was literally holding up my entire body weight with his thumbs!)  First we had to wait for Renie to be ready, she needed to turn herself so her shoulders were at the right orientation and I could feel her wriggling, then whoosh she arrived and before I knew it we were a family.

Ben was my absolute rock in labour.  He made the appropriate amount of jokes, kept me smiling with his silliness. Tickled my back for about 24 hours (so much for all the massage techniques we had practised thinking I would like them), made a labour playlist, which I loved up until pushing stage. Never in my life did I think I would state ‘Turn this F@*!”ing S@*t off’ when listening to MJ, but I did! Always asked me if I needed anything, then noted himself it was at the crescendo of a contraction everytime, so waited patiently before asking again afterwards, the answer was usually ‘Yes Water!’

Ben and Renie 30 minutes after birth

I know my body went through a lot as did Renie’s, but never underestimate what yor birting partner did too.  He nearly lost the ability to ever make us a family of 4, almost lost his thumbs when I was pushing and literally held me up when I was in the bath and birthing pool!  Along with all this Ben had to deal with his emotions.  He had to watch me go through the most intense thing he will ever see me do.  He had to clean up afterwards and during labour (yes I pooped in the birthing pool – A LOT apparently) and most importantly he was about to become a father.  Yes there had been an entire pregnancy to realise this, but men are literally not connected to the tiny human growing in their partners tummy.  Its a lot to deal with a very short period of time. Ben I love you.

Renie 1 day old

Renie 4 weeks old (sucks the same fingers that Mummy did!)

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Why is human contact so important?

Social interaction and support are paramount to our health.  In fact industries have been built on this, take social media for example! Social media itself has many positives but also negatives and therefore cannot replace sharing time with people you love face to face.  When together not only are we able to read our friends and families body language, but we are also blessed with the power of touch.  Touch is something I believe is vital to wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

Being able to share your thoughts and feelings, opening yourself up to loved ones or to someone you trust (this could be a healthcare professional such as a Chiropractor) can help half the load! The phase a problem shared is a problem halved springs to mind.  Just talking things through with someone can help sort your thoughts in your head, whether they offer advice or not.  Support can help you cope with major life events, such as a divorce, house move, loss of job.  Those who are lonely suffer more with stress, depression and cardoivascular issues.  Everyone loves to feel valued, can you think of a time you didn’t like to be appreciated, needed or complemented?

Taking part in team sports is a fantastic way to involve yourself in the community, whilst building rapport and boosting your confidence.  Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve cardiovascular fitness and mental agility.  Being able to spend time with others whilst exercising is a fabulous way to get social support and interaction.  You do not have to join a basketball team like Michele, there are gentler group activities out there.  There are several walkling groups in Peacehaven, speak to the Sussex community development association (SCDA) for more information.  www.sussexcommunity.org.uk

Other benefits of social interaction:

Improves immune function

Improves mental healh

Improves pain management

Reasons why too much social media has a negative impact:

Addiction – social media stimulates the pleasure cenres in your brain.  When someone ‘likes’ your post you get a feel good boost, however the reverse is true if you get no interaction from a post.  The amount of dopamine release (your pleasure hormone) you get from a social media post ‘like’ as opposed to something happening in ‘real life’ is much greater and this is when addiction can form.  We can never commnicate with so many people at once in normal everyday life as we can on social media.

Trolling – people can hide behind their online profile and because you are not face to face make cruel and unnecessary comments.  This can lead to anxiety and depression.  Online bullying can be really real, particularly for the younger generations. It is easy for truths to be mixed and hundreds of people to witness the comments causing much mental anxiety to the victim.

Affects actual ability to communicate in person – so many people become anxious about being in company because they spend all their time behind a screen.  Socially people become less able to communicate clearly and politely.  This not only affects them but also those they are interacting with.

Get yourself out and about, if you can’t, do not be afraid to tell a friend, colleague, someone you know how you feel. Call them, ask them to come over, don’t wait for them to get in touch with you! Best of all join a group, get in some exercise whilst enjoying the company of others.

Rachel Hodson

Clinic owner and Chiropractor

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Chiropractic and Basketball

 

As you can read from my bio, I’ve always been really active physically and the main sport I’ve been playing in my life is basketball. I probably started playing around 20 years ago!

Starting as a kid and when there was not a lot of science behind training there was no stretching and no warm down in most of the sessions and that’s why at around 14 years old (when I was doing a lot of growing) my body became extremely stiff and I started getting episodes of low back pain, these could last up to a month at a time. Is that surprising? Not really!

Basketball is a sport that includes sprinting, jumping and quick changes of direction and everything is on a hard surface too! Plus repetitive motor schemes, if done not correctively can create dysfunctions themselves! That is true for almost every sport sadly!

When did these episodes stop occurring? Of course after I started seeing a chiropractor! I started care at 16 years old and I never looked back after that. After the acute phase of care I got adjusted almost a week for years as I was training daily. Quantity of injuries and sprained ankles reduced a lot and recovery time increased.

Now that the weather is more stable in Brighton I started going to the seafront basketball court to play and I cannot stop noticing people training on sprained ankles or minor injuries. This should be avoided as training a motor skill on top of an injury can create muscular and spinal compensations that maynot be evident in the moment, especially because many players are really young. In these cases the result will be seen in the future when a major injury eventually come and you will be left asking, how did that happen?

I cannot stress enough how prevention with care is the key for a better chance of avoiding injuries and increasing performance naturally. A bad neck or low back can easily start from an ankle sprain that never healed properly! Please ballers, come and get checked!

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

Michele Oman

Research Reviews – Importance of Chiropractic

CHIROPRACTIC & HEALTH

A Natural Connection

March 2018

© The Wellness Practice                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Dr. James L. Chestnut M.Sc, D.C., C.C.W.P.


Ph.D. in Biomechanics Explains Importance of Segmental Motion and Chiropractic

McGill, S. Ph.D. Stability: From Biomechanical Concept to Chiropractic Practice. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association. 1999;43 (2)

QUOTE BOARD: “There is evidence that these muscles (intersegmental muscles) are highly rich in muscle spindles (at least four to seven times higher than multifidus). It would seem that these organs are not functioning to produce force given their minimal cross-sectional area but are, rather, position transducers for each lumbar joint enabling the motor control system to control overall lumbar posture and avoid injury.” Conclusion: “Nonetheless it appears that the chance of the motor control error which results in a short and temporary reduction in activation to one of the intersegmental muscles would cause rotation of just a single joint to a point where passive or other tissues become irritated or possible injured.” [This is segmental neuromuscular dysfunction (vertebral subluxation complex/joint dysfunction)]

Key Concepts:

Without proper segmental motion in your spinal segments the messages from the joint and muscle motion receptors get interrupted making it impossible for your brain to sense joint position and/or muscle length/tension. This “garbage in” creates errors in brain output (garbage out) called motor control errors. Your brain can only properly coordinate joint and muscle position and movement if proper signals from the joints and muscles get sent to the brain. Proper segmental motion is the key component for the delivery of proper joint and muscle signals.

Key Take Home Points:

Without proper segmental motion in your spine the messages between body and brain become diminished and/or distorted. Not only do the tissues become inflamed and begin to degenerate but the brain becomes less able to coordinate movement and motor control errors result which predisposes the tissues to injury. Chiropractic is so effective because it restores segmental motion and thus restores the proper communication between body and brain. This allows for better coordination of movement, the reduction of motor control errors, and less susceptibility to injury. A healthy spine requires proper segmental motion. Chiropractors are the world’s leading experts in detecting and correcting areas of segmental neuromuscular dysfunction and this is why chiropractic is so effective for spinal health.

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT

POSTURE AND SPINAL DEVELOPMENT

POSTURE AND SPINAL DEVELOPMENT:

Having good posture not only helps with keeping you injury-free, it also makes you looks taller and slimmer and gives you more energy! What’s not to love about that?!

Posture defined is the relative position of all of our body parts.  Each joint has an optimal position and range of motion.  In this position our joints are exposed to the least amount of wear and tear and the most efficient use of energy.

Examples of good and poor posture

image from https://posemethod.com/pose-vs-posture2/

When we are out of alignment (poor posture) wear and tear and the cost in terms of energy are increased, not only to maintain this posture, but also to make every move.  We are therefore more likely to sustain an injury.  Poor posture is exactly why so many of us experience musculoskeletal pain – otherwise known as CHRONIC POOR POSTURE.

When do we first start developing our posture:

It all starts before we are even born! Nature is amazing. It is so important for mothers to look after their spinal health and remain active, because it helps their babies core muscles develop and provides them with optimal space for foetal development.  At Peacehaven Chiropractic Rachel is experienced working with pregnancy and with children.  Chiropractic care can help keep your pelvis aligned and moving eveningly side to side.  Your uterus sits in your pelvis.

Babies are born with a set of primitive reflexes; these help them as they pass through the birth canal.  Think of them as our original blueprint.  As we grown, postural relflexes lay over the top and dampen down our primitive reflexes.  These postural reflexes form the framework within all our systems operate effectively.  The tranistiion from primitive to posural does not happen at a set time, but is gradual, often both reflexes existing together.  The postural reflexes help to shape our spinal health, posture, movement and stability (1).

When babies lay on their fronts, by 6 weeks they should be able to lift their head in line with thier body and by 12 weeks maintain it there for several minutes; this helps the curvature of the neck and determines the development of the muscles that support the head (1).

At approximately 16 weeks we begin to use our arms to push our chest off the floor. eventually raising ourselves up onto our knees and rolling over (6 months) (1), this helps create our low back, lumbar, curve and imorove muscular strength.  Crawling is paramount as it helps to develop an even pattern of movement across the pelvis and again improve our core strength, providing support for the lower back.  These early stages are very imprortant and if a child misses any one of these steps problems can develop in the future.

Children tend to use their bodies functionally, therefore do not often feel musculoskeletal pain, however once we become a teenager we become more self aware and our posture can suffer.  Teenage girls are notorious for standing with rounded shoulders to hide their developing breasts and if tall may stoop to become in line with their peers.  Carrying heavy bags, often on one shoulder and spending far too long on computers, phones and tablets is definitely taking its toll!

We have all seen this!

What determines our posture?

The relative length-tension relationship between muscles is largely responsible for our posture.  These muscles are controlled by our brain, via the spinal cord.  Joints have 2 sets of muscles on opposite sides, if one side is long and weak, the other will be short and weak (tight).  This affects the position of the joint and its full potential movement.

A good example is our hip flexors and bottoms! Many of us sit for long periods in the day, so the hip flexors shorten and the gluteals become weakened.  The result, your pelvis pulls forwards resulting in an increased lumbar lordosis (curve) and if one side is tigher than the other we end up with a torsion in the pelvis.  The hip joint, knee and ankle therefore are no longer in optimal position and this affects leg range of motion.  Without correction this can lead to injury.

Poor posture can also have a knock-on effect on the rest of the body, not just our musculoskeletal system (everything is connected afterall!)  If you slouch, your ribcage will drop forwards restricting your diaphragm and therefore your breathing.  It also means your stomach is squashed and so can give symptoms of indigestion/reflux.  It will restrict blood flow to the organs including the uterus, so painful periods can result and impaired bowel digestion, thus symptoms of IBS.

Circulation and nerve signalling from the brain can also become compressed (especially with a forward head posture) which can result in headaches, migraines and numbness in the legs and arms.

How can I help myself?

We can all do a ceratin amouont of assessment by just looking in the mirror, or if you feel brave have someone take photos of you front, back and side view.  Use the guide picture at the top of this article to help yiou.  If you just think about stnding and sitting tall you are already halfway there!  The more you remind youorself the easier it becomes, new habits take time to form, old one die hard!

Stretching a sterenthening exercises can be very helpful; however specific ones depend on your postural weakness.  Most people will benefit from doing a head to toe stretching and movement programme which focuses on getting the whole body active.  The Straighten Up UK (SUUK) exercises developed by British Chiropractic Association are a great starting point.  We also have free leaflets in clinic that show this routine.

Can exercise make my posture worse?

Some exercises can, yes! Although many people are tols that poor posture is a result of adbominal weakness, doing repeated sit-ups actually strengthens the muscles that cause you to slouch! Your deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are much more important to work on, however underused muscles are hrd to wake up!  Pilates, initially 1-2-1 classes are super helpful in achieving this.

Most importantly is to focus on how you sit and stand, once you are aware of how to do this well, Yoga and Pilates are great, these focus on your postual stabilising muscles.  Any other exercise that challenges your balance such as free weights and stability ball exercises are also great.  Of course always discuss with a fitness professional, your doctor or chiropractor before you commence if you have any concerns.

Will I achieve perfect posture?

This is unlikely! You posture has developed over years, however you can always improve it.  Our environment and how we use our bodies daily have a huge impact.  The important thing is to maintain mobility and be aware of when you are not holding yourself optimally.

References

1) Goddard, S.  Reflexes. Learning and Behaviour; a window into the Child’s Mind.  fern Ridge Press, 2002.

2) Liao, M.H. and Drury, C.G., Posture, discomfort and performance in a VDT task. 2000, Ergonomics, 43(3); 345-359.

3) Sauter, S.L., Schleifer, L.M. and Knutson, S.J.,  Work posture, workstation design and musculoskeletal discomfort in a DT data entry task.  1991, Hum Factors, 33(2); 151-167.

Contact us today: 01273 584812, email info@peacehavenchiropractic.co.uk or BOOK APPOINTMENT