Is housework causing you back pain?

Is housework causing you back pain? Well according to a recent survey, housework is the leading activity for causing back pain.Back pain is extremely common and it is the main reason people seek treatment from a chiropractor. So when I see surveys about people’s attitude to back pain I take interest. Last week I came across a survey from backpainhelp.com where they asked over 2000 people who suffered from back pain what activities they were prohibited from completing. Top of the survey was housework with 26% of those surveyed forced to quit. In second place was working or studying (22%), followed by sex (14%) and driving (14%).

A few of my patients have certainly tried the line “Alison told me I can’t do any housework!” but this is a long way from the truth. Whilst some household activities such as leaning over the sink to wash up and using the vacuum cleaner can be uncomfortable if you suffer from back pain, the solution is not to stop doing them. If you really want to beat back pain the reality is that most people have to do back strengthening exercises alongside receiving chiropractic treatment. This is especially true if you have chronic back pain (longer than six months) as research has shown that many of the low back stabilising muscles shrink and deteriorate over this time period.

So instead of avoiding certain activities you work to strengthen back muscles with specific exercise and also modify your activities. For example you may find you have to spread your normal household chores over two or three days rather than doing it all in one go. When driving use the lumbar support in your car or use a small rolled up hand towel in as support for the low back.

Alison Eaves is a chiropractor based in Leeds. To book an appointment with Alison or to find out how you can improve your back pain call 07828 686 026 or book online for further information.

Back Pain ‘Leading Cause of Disability’ Confirms New Study

Back pain may now be the leading cause of disability worldwide according to a new international study stating that ‘back pain is behind more disability than any other condition’. The study in Annals of Rheumatic Disease found back pain affecting nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Unfortunately Western Europe is the continent where back pain is most common, followed by North Africa and the Middle East, and was lowest in the Caribbean and Latin America. It also found back pain becomes more common with increasing age.

So what does this mean for the people of Leeds and the UK in general? In the UK the prevalence of back pain is much higher with back pain affecting 8 out 10 people in their lifetime. And with the UK’s aging population this can only mean that as a nation we have to become better prepared to cope with the future back pain problems.

The good news is that chiropractors are in a great position to be able to help. All day every day is spent assessing peoples’ spines, learning what good movement is and what restricted or dysfunctional movement is. Restricted and/or dysfunctional movements (with or without accompanying pain) will more often than not cause pain in the future. In simple terms, as a chiropractor, I work to maintain the spinal joints, ligaments and surrounding muscles and soft tissues in optimum condition to enable free movement. This may mean manipulation to give more mobility or in some cases exercises to build strength and stability.

Find out how visiting a chiropractor can help your back pain, book an appointment at our Leeds clinic by calling 07828 686026.

What Is Sciatica?

Working as a chiropractor in Leeds, the phrase “I think I have sciatica”, is one of the most common things I hear. But what exactly is sciatica and what can a chiropractor do to help sciatica? Leeds chiropractor Alison Eaves, at Revive Chiropractic in Adel explains all.

The term sciatica is commonly misused. Sciatica describes low back pain with accompanying leg pain. It is not just leg pain into the buttocks or the back of the thigh, to be true sciatica, the pain must travel past the knee and into the calf and sometimes the foot. It may be accompanied with pins and needles or numbness in certain areas of the leg. Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve as it exits the low back and if the compression is severe then you may experience pins and needles & numbness as well as pain.

What causes Sciatica?

This largely depends on the age of the patient and the mechanism of injury. In younger patients, aged between 20-50 years old, the most common cause for sciatica is lumbar disc bulge or herniation. This is when trauma, such as heavy lifting or repeated twisting, can cause a tear in the lumbar disc. This allows the liquid core of the disc to bulge outwards so the disc puts pressure directly onto the sciatic nerve. Usually this is very painful and you may be unable to sit for any length of time.

In older patients, aged 50 plus, it is often degenerative changes in the lumbar disc and the bony vertebrae that lead to compression of the sciatic nerve. Pressure on the spinal joints from everyday ‘wear and tear’ can cause extra bone to grow around the joint (osteophyte formation). If the extra bony bits grow in the wrong place they can compress or catch on the sciatic nerve. The lumbar discs also start to lose height and this has the effect of narrowing the space where the nerves leave the spine and again can increase the chance of the nerve becoming compressed.

A third cause is spondylolisthesis, when one vertebra slips forward on another. It may be caused by trauma or degenerative changes due to ageing. It is less common than the other two causes and in many cases a minor slip will not cause any symptoms.

Can a chiropractor help Sciatica?

Yes! There are many different techniques a chiropractor can use to treat sciatica. In simple terms we work to mobilise the joints of the spine to relieve pressure on the nerve and the disc. Treatment may consist of spinal manipulation or more gentle stretching and mobilisation techniques. Chiropractors will also give home exercises to increase core stability that will support the spine.

Back to school – Make sure your children don’t succumb to back pain

The children may be back at school this week but make sure you are helping them to avoid back pain. Alison Eaves, chiropractor here at Revive Chiropractic in Leeds, discusses some research from the British Chiropractic Association on increasing rates of back pain in children.

So why is back pain affecting children and why is it getting worse?
Children of today’s generation are much more sedentary than they have previously been, largely due to the amount of time spent on mobile phones, tablets, computers and social networking sites. Children are also getting much less exercise. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to the muscles, joints and soft tissues becoming stiff and painful. The use of handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets only adds to the slumped posture and rounded shoulders.

Is back pain in children normal?
No – but don’t panic. Whilst back pain in children can be a sign of more underlying conditions this is very rare. Most back pain is easily treated with just a few sessions and some simple exercises and advice. Kids respond really quickly to treatment and it is important to get to the root cause of any back pain so that they do not grow up thinking back pain is ‘normal’.

What can be done?
Firstly, get your children up and about. Limit them to about 40 minutes of sedentary activity and encourage them to get up, move about and get active. If they are sitting for any length of time, make sure they are sitting upright and not lying on their front propped up on elbow or sat slumped on the floor.

If they complain of back pain or neck pain for a period of several weeks then it may be worthwhile booking an appointment to see a chiropractor who is used to treating young children. Alison is a chiropractor in Leeds and has experience treating young children and teenagers.

You can visit www.revivechirorpractic.co.uk or call 0728 686026 to book an appointment with Alison.