Posts from July, 2013

Market Harborough Chiropractor treatment for “Slipped Disc”

Written By, On July 29, 2013

In the  Market Harborough Chiropractic Care and Back Pain Clinic we see many people with disc injuries here we discuss the non-invasive treatment for Bulging, Ruptured, or Herniated Discs (Slipped Discs)

Chiropractic care is a non-surgical treatment option for herniated discs. But what is a chiropractor’s approach to treating a herniated disc?  Before we get to that, we need a quick review of what a herniated disc is.

What Is a “Slipped” Disc?  Is It the Same as a Herniated Disc?

There is an intervertebral disc between each vertebra of the spine. Discs do not act as a shock absorber but as  a shock distributor, the discs provide cushioning effect to protect the spine but at higher loads the disc themselves are damaged. Running effectively over loads the discs and it is common to see extensive damage to the spine in people who run long distance on a regular basis.

Imagine if you jump up and down. What would happen to the stack of bony vertebrae that make up the spine without the cushioning and support of these discs? Now, move your back from side to side. Again, you can visualize the give and take of the discs between the vertebrae. Without these discs, your spine couldn’t function.

At The Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough and at The Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray we commonly have patients presenting with  “slipped-discs”. Discs don’t really “slip”—although the phrase “slipped disc” has come into popular usage to refer to bulging, ruptured, or herniated discs. Throughout this article, we’ll refer to herniated discs, which is the more correct term.

Your discs are made up of the annulus fibrosus (the tough outer layer) and the nucleus pulposus (which contains a soft, gelatin-like center). When cracks occur in the outer layer of the disc, the material inside of the disc can begin to push out. Numerous factors can cause a disc to herniate.

For example, there may be too much stress on the disc due to poor posture or from being overweight. Obviously your job has a big influence on the damage you can do to discs over years and years. Heavy lifting is always thought to be a major factor but it is not the weight that is important but the repetitive lifting or twisting that causes most damage.

Can Sneezing Cause a Herniated Disc?

For many people with back pain caused by a the spine being in a weakened condition (ie, herniated disc), the problem starts off small and then gradually builds until you start to feel symptoms. Spinal discs suffer from various stages of disc degeneration, until one day you sneeze and the weakened disc ruptures.

For example, let’s say you sneeze and feel a sudden, sharp pain in your back. Then that pain progresses into leg pain. You may have had an underlying herniated disc, and the sneeze was what triggered it to progress.  So, yes:  a sneeze (or a cough) can herniate an intervertebral disc, but not a healthy disc.

Chiropractic Care and Herniated Discs

A chiropractor can help address back pain and other herniated disc symptoms.

At your initial appointment, your chiropractor will go through your medical history, do a physical exam, and perform orthopaedic and neurological tests.

Your chiropractor will look for several things.

  • Are the reflexes intact?  That is:  are your nerves sending messages correctly?  (The classic reflex test is when the doctor taps your knee with a small hammer and your leg kicks up.)
  • Is there loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle wasting?
  • Is there loss of sensation along the path of a nerve?

These are important questions the orthopaedic and neurological exams can help your chiropractor answer.

The chiropractor will also carefully look at your posture, and he or she may order an x-ray or MRI, if necessary, to help with the diagnostic process.

Chiropractors evaluate the entire spine.  Even if you only have lower back pain, your chiropractor will often examine your neck too.  He or she wants to see how well your spine is functioning overall, and remember:  What happens in one area of your spine can influence other parts of your spine and/or body.

After reviewing this information, your chiropractor can determine if you have an intervertebral disc injury. The type of disc injury you have will determine what treatments your chiropractor will use to address your symptoms.

Some patients are not good candidates for some types of chiropractic care treatments. For example, if you have cauda equina syndrome (a condition in which you lose control of your bowel/bladder with an accompanying intervertebral disc injury), then you will need immediate medical care as this is something that cannot be treated by your chiropractor.

In addition, if your chiropractor finds that you have advanced loss of strength, sensation, reflexes, and other unusual neurological findings, then he or she will refer you for possible surgery.

However, most intervertebral disc injuries are related to a herniated disc, and your chiropractor can provide you with various treatment options to address your pain and other symptoms.

To treat a herniated disc, your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan that may include spinal manipulation and other chiropractic techniques to help ease your herniated disc symptoms. This will be an individualized treatment plan, but it may include manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

The specifics of what are in your treatment plan are particular to your pain, level of activity, overall health, and what your chiropractor thinks is best.  As with any treatment option, don’t hesitate to ask questions about what chiropractic treatments are being recommended and why.  You want to make sure you understand what will be done and how it can help relieve your pain

It is important to keep an eye on any nerve symtoms so as to avoid permanent nerve damage. Your chiropractor will monitor you throughout the treatment plan.

Pelvic Blocking Techniques for Herniated Discs 
Chiropractors also use pelvic blocking techniques to treat herniated disc symptoms.

Pelvic blocking treatments include using cushioned wedges, which are placed under each side of the pelvis. Gentle exercises may also be used. These will allow changes in mechanics to draw your disc away from the nerve it may be pressing on.

Will Chiropractic Care Help Your Herniated Disc?

It’s a misconception that chiropractors “pop a disc back in place” using forceful adjustments. Another misconception is that chiropractic care involves a few quick treatments, which can “fix” your disc. Instead, as explained above, chiropractors treat herniated discs using gentle low-force techniques.

Your chiropractor will develop a treatment plan for your herniated disc, and if your symptoms do not improve with chiropractic care techniques, your chiropractor may recommend a consultation with a spine surgeon.

If you have concerns about disc injuries or can a chiropractor treat herniated discs please call the chiropractor in either the Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough or The Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray and they will give you some advice.



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Chiropractic back pain advice for summer holidays

Written By, On July 18, 2013

The nation is gearing up for the summer getaway. Whether you are heading to idyllic hideaways overseas or staying at home to make the most of the British summer, don’t allow back pain to spoil your break.

BCA chiropractor, David Casey advises “We tend to be out of our usual routine when on holiday; just picking up a suitcase in the wrong way or lying on a sun lounger in an awkward position can result in pain. These issues can potentially be avoided and, in doing so, make the difference between a break of a lifetime or a miserable trip, so be aware of some simple steps you can take, particularly at the start of your holiday.”

Pack for success!
• Suitcase selection – choose wisely and buy the lightest case possible that has wheels. Most hard cases can weigh a lot, even with nothing in them.
• Two cases are better than one – If possible, take two light suitcases rather than one so you can distribute the weight more evenly.

• If using soft bags, make sure they have a long shoulder strap as this will enable you to wear the bag across your body and more evenly distribute the weight of the bag.

• Push, don’t pull! Many wheeled bags encourage you to pull the from behind, but this makes the upper body/back twist. Try instead to push the case in front of you.
• Get a good night’s sleep – travelling when tired increases your chances of injury, so make sure you sleep well the night before a flight and avoid rushing around.


• Flying high – If you are flying, drink plenty of water or juice during the flight. Avoid alcohol as this can cause dehydration which, in turn, could aggravate muscle pain.
• Air-exercise – you will be restricted to your seat for most of the flight, but avoid stiffness by doing shoulder shrugs, buttock clenches and foot circles. Do the same if you are travelling by train. Whenever you get the opportunity, get up and move around.

On arrival

• Avoid ‘travelators’ – get your joints moving quickly after a flight by walking through the terminal rather than opting for the easy option of a moving walkway.
• Round and round – ensure your bag is easily identifiable (e.g. knot a ribbon around the handle) to avoid lifting other people’s heavy cases off the carousel in error.
• Steer clear of trolleys – unless your cases don’t not have wheels of their own, try not to use airport trolleys. Wonky wheels are common and you could hurt your back trying to correct a wayward trolley.


• Make adjustments – Many back problems are caused or aggravated poor driving posture. Whether you are in your own car or have a hire car, ensure the seat position is slightly backwards so that it feels natural and that your elbows are at a comfortable and relaxed angle.

• Relax at the wheel, as this reduces stress on the spine and allows your seat to take your weight.

• Keep an eye on the clock – Stop and stretch your legs (and arms!) at least every two hours.

• If you are stuck in traffic, exercise in your seat. Try buttock clenches, side bends, shoulder shrugs and circles.

• Keep it lose – Don’t wear tight clothing as it will restrict your movement.

At Your Destination

• When you get to your hotel, if your bed is too hard ask the hotel staff for a spare duvet or blanket to put between you and the mattress. Firm beds are not always best, but it is easier to soften a hard bed than make a soft bed harder. The same with pillows.

• Check the pillow(s) on your bed allow your head to stay in alignment with rest of your body and mould to the shape of your head and neck. Ask to change pillows if you are not happy. Many people take their own pillow away with them, although this is not always practical

• If you’re heading to the sun loungers, try not to lie on your tummy with your back and neck arched back when reading your book or magazine. Put the reading matter on the floor, so that you can view it over the edge of the sun bed; this should allow you to keep your head and neck in a more neutral position.

• Exercise in safety – If keeping in shape is on your holiday agenda, ensure you have a full induction to the hotel gym equipment.



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Market Harborough Chiropractor gardening and back pain advice

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Market Harborough Chiropractic Advice On How to Avoid Gardening Injuries

As a nation, we do love our gardens and we tend to spend a considerable amount of time and money on getting them to look their best. And at last, we seem to be getting the kind of weather that enables us to get out there!
As a chiropractor, the most common problem I see as a result of over-zealous gardening is lower back pain.

When we’re busy working in our gardens, the movements and actions required, such as digging, mowing and weeding, differ greatly to those carried out during the rest of the year, unless you are a gardener by trade! Activities such as prolonged stooping and bending, over-stretching to trim hedges, and holding one position for too long, such as when weeding and planting, all place considerable stress on the ligaments and joints of your spine, particularly the lower back.

Here in our Market Harborough Chiropractic back pain clinic we often see the results of over zealous gardening and would like to prevent such injuries happening in the first place. There are several ways to help prevent injuries from occurring whilst gardening.

Many of us know that it is important to warm-up before exercise, and to warm-down afterwards; this also applies to gardening! The simplest way you can warm up is to take a short walk before getting out in the garden, but you should also include some gentle stretches. These will only take a few minutes and can help protect your back from injury. Once out in the garden, don’t go straight into the heavy work first; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chances of muscle strain.

The following chiropractic advice will also help to keep you injury-free in your  garden:

  •  Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing, rather than working all day on one particular task, and take regular breaks.
  • Use a cushion to kneel on or a gardening stool, rather than bending down repeatedly from the hips. Use one knee to kneel on and one knee to lean on and this will reduce the load on the lumbar spine.
  • Alternate when kneeling between your left and right knee.
  • Resist the temptation to swing a hover mower from side to side – mow forwards and backwards as you would with a conventional mower. The discs in the lower spine can be seriously injured with twisting movements, especially when combined with bending forward.
  • Try and use long-handled tools when possible to reduce the amount of bending you have to do and take the pressure off your back.
  • Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning to avoid over-stretching, or use long-handled secateurs to reach plants and bushes that are beyond normal reach.
  •  Cordless power tools make it possible to gain better access and manoeuvrability.
  • If laying a patio, keep the slab close to your body with a straight back and bend your knees.

An obvious mistake we all make is not maintaining our overall fitness. Take regular exercise and keep fit so that you can enjoy your gardening, rather than using your gardening as an exercise to keep fit!

Prevention is always better than getting an injury in the first place.

We maintain our cars so when we need to brake in an emergency the brakes work and save our lives. This same principle applys to our bodies, if we look after our spine it won’t let us down when we need it.

 Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis can help keep a stiff spine moving better and prevent injury.
If you would like to speak to a local chiropractor please call either of  our chiropractic back pain treatment clinics.
The Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough on 01858 414841
or our
The Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray on 01664 561199
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Psoas muscle can cause back pain

Written By, On July 15, 2013

The Psoas It Killing Your Back?

People from all ages, occupations, and sport disciplines complain of low back pain. A tight Psoas often contributes to your back pain. Good News? You can avoid it.

Where and What is My Psoas?

The Psoas is one of the largest and thickest muscles in the body. It attaches to the vertebrae of your lower back, and the head of your femur (thigh bone).

The Psoas is primarily responsible for hip and thigh flexion and has a lot of influence over your lumbar posture and the way your hips are positioned.

When you’re sitting for a prolonged period of time, your Psoas is in a shortened position. Leave it for long enough, and it will start to think this is normal. Your tissues want to move into that resting position.

Incorrect posture during standing and walking (which is often caused by a tight Psoas) will leave it even tighter and harder to loosen. Ultimately leading to the development of a painful back condition, which will become increasingly more difficult to correct the longer it is left.

Why Does It Cause Back Pain? A tight Psoas is a killer for your back for various reasons.

  • If it is tight and in a contracted state, your Psoas will want to bring your lower back forward, moving you into an anterior tilt.
  • The pressure exerted by the Psoas whilst in a contracted state can compress the joints and discs of the lumbar vertebrae. This pressure causes degeneration and will make them more susceptible to injury.
  • A shortened Psoas on one side will pull the spine or pelvis to that side, leading to many painful problems, including scoliosis.
  • A tight Psoas will stop your Glutes firing and activating normally. This is Reciprocal Inhibition: the Psoas and the Glutes are opposing muscles.

Lack of Glute activity plus horrific posture can lead to overcompensation in other muscles of the back, leaving them tight and overworked. Couple this with the referring pain from the trigger points in your Psoas and you will be hurting.

Tips to Avoid A Tight Psoas. There are several ways to stop your Psoas turning into a hazardous plank of wood. All of which are easy to implement. This  should be done even if you don’t suffer from back pain yet. The attitude if it ain’t broke don’t fix it is why low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the developed world.

  • Postural Corrections. If we stay in a certain position all day, our tissues will want to move into that resting position, in this case, your Psoas. The best sitting posture is one that always changes.
  • Sit Back in Your Chair. This will stop you leaning forward as much, and thus your Psoas won’t be in as shortened position in comparison to when you sit on the edge of your seat.
  • Stop Hooking Your Feet under Your Chair. You put yourself in more hip flexion and therefore, more Psoas activation. Set your feet flat on the floor, or a raised platform if you are a shortie.
  • Stand Up When Performing Exercises. You sit all day at work and keep your Psoas shortened. Do the opposite in the gym. Instead of the bike, get on the treadmill.
  • Stop Sleeping on Your Stomach. When you are on your stomach, your back goes into hyperextension. This is exacerbating what a tight Psoas already does to your back (anterior tilt). Change it up.
  • Move More. Not staying in a seated position all day will go a long way to stopping you developing a tight Psoas. Get up more frequently, stretch more often, change positions… just keep moving!

Tips To Loosen A Tight Psoas. If you do suffer from low back pain and you suspect a tight Psoas, relax

1. Stretch. Add Psoas and Hip Flexor stretches after your workouts. Get out of your chair at work occasionally and do some stretches. Do some at night before you go to bed. 
2. Release. The most effective way to loose your Psoas is through a therapist.
3. Activate Your Glutes. Active glutes will help inhibit and relax your Psoas.

A tight Psoas will give many more problems than I have outlined here. It’s easy to prevent them getting tight and there is a lot you can do about it if it does.

Generally, during everyday life, at the workplace and even at the gym people are performing movements that promote Psoas tightness. Start taking some notice and prevent these troublemakers from giving you pain.

For advice from and expert regarding poas muscle problems please call the Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough on 01858 414841 or the Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray on 01664 561199.


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Not all “core-strength” exercises good for spine

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At the Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough and the Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray we all too often see patients with back problems that have made them worse after taking up an exercise case to improve their back pain.

Classic traditional exercises can often be at fault in these cases. Such as sit-ups which have been a well known problem for years in spinal rehabilitation clinics such as ours.

Why sit-ups can be BAD for your body (and that wobbly gym ball won’t help either)

The area of the body that gets most attention at gyms is the ‘core’. Workouts promising to hone your midsection so it not only looks good but supports your back and posture have become the norm. There is also a never-ending range of ‘core’ equipment, from core boards to semi-sphere balance trainers. But some experts now suggest so-called core-training classes and equipment are largely a waste of time and an unnecessary fad. ‘There’s a lot of nonsense out there,’ says Professor Stuart McGill, director of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

Many experts believe that the principles of core fitness have been taken out of context by the industry

Many experts believe that the principles of core fitness have been taken out of context by an industry intent on making millions. 

In one study, on rowers who followed an eight-week core-training gym programme in addition to their normal training, there was no improvement in a rowing-machine time trial at the end of the study.

It is something of a nebulous term, but the ‘core’ is generally acknowledged to be the complex corset of muscles and connective tissue that encircle the spine to hold it in place. There is no doubt that strong core muscles are crucial — they help to stabilise the trunk, enabling your legs to transfer power to your upper body so you can do everything from running and weight training to carrying shopping. By protecting the spine, they also help to prevent injury.

Crucially, it’s not just the abdominal muscles that create the sought-after ‘six-pack’ and midsection strength — all the muscles that girdle the spine need to be worked if improvements are to be noticed.  ‘Training the core is essential to carry heavy loads, run fast and change direction quickly,’ says Professor McGill. ‘It determines the rate of speed for movement of the arms and legs. And a stable core is needed even for that most essential of human movements, the ability to walk. ’What irks him and others is that the concept has become so over-complicated and prone to inaccuracy, and is used to market useless equipment. ‘I don’t even use the word “core” any more, as what we are really referring to is the “trunk” area,’ says strength and conditioning expert Richard Kingston, a member of the British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences.

‘It got horribly misconstrued by the gym industry in the last decade. Furthermore, exercises on a wobbly ball and similar devices won’t target the right range of muscles effectively.’

Recent research suggests that many devices that claim to work your core muscles fall well short of their promise. In one recent study, at the Liberty University in Virginia, researchers measured the degree to which core muscles were activated using a variety of equipment. The results showed that some, including sliding ‘core boards’ (which slide from side to side or back and forth, supposedly to target the midriff) offered no greater benefit than traditional crunches and sit-ups.  Thomas Nesser, a professor of physical education at Indiana State University, says ‘you don’t need to be half-hanging off a bench and twisting dumb-bells’ to strengthen your core muscles.

Some common core exercises, even those not involving equipment, are downright risky, says Richard Kingston. ‘Instructors who tell people to “engage their core” before they perform an exercise are asking for trouble.

‘There was this theory that by “engaging” or drawing in the core you would target the deeply embedded transversus abdominus muscle, a thin band that holds the guts in. We now know that the practice leads to people squeezing their abdominal muscles, leaving the back unstable. It’s completely wrong and the reason so many people get hurt when they exercise.’

And old-fashioned crunches and sit-ups, still the most popular core exercises, are also not the recommended route to a stronger middle. If these are all you do, the results are not only likely to be superficial but can overload the spine in a dangerous way, says Professor McGill. His own studies have demonstrated that repeated bending of the spine, as happens when we do crunches, can damage spinal discs over time. In one trial, several spines of pigs were placed in machines that bent and flexed them hundreds of times to replicate sit-ups.

The spinal discs were almost completely ruptured by the end of the experiments.

There is a safe variation, though, says Professor McGill. Called the curl-up, it involves keeping your back slightly arched on the floor with your hands (palms down) under the small of your back to lessen the pressure on the spine. Bend your knees and lift your head and shoulders very slightly. ‘You don’t need to crunch up much to get the desired response from your entire abdominal muscle complex,’ he says.

Less is often more in the case of spinal rehabilitation. We try and instill this principle in our patients, but everyone is looking for the quick fix, and train too hard for too long and damage the spine.

Some experts go even further, suggesting that core training can be ditched altogether. Professor Nesser says: ‘Train for a sport and core strength will develop in the right way for that sport.’ Richard Kingston says a strong midriff does mean a strong body, but that the best trunk-strengthening moves are performed standing up with little or no equipment. Using your own bodyweight to twist, rotate and lean the trunk in a variety of ways gives the best results, he says.

All our exercise can be done at home with no special equipment, but we find that time and time again that maintaining spinal exercises over the years is simply not done. When the pain goes away people stop the exercises only to have the pain return again and again for years to come. Choosing to have some regular sessions to maintain a weakened back will help manage such conditions more effectively.

If you would like some expert advise regarding your back problems please call either the Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough on 01858 414841 or the Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray on 01664 561199.

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Spinal Manipulation for sciatica

Written By, On July 11, 2013

Spinal Manipulation Proves Equally Beneficial As Surgery In Sciatica Treatment

In a recent study, “Manipulation or Microdiscetomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study,” (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, October 2010, Vol. 33 Iss. 8, p: 576-584), researchers concluded that spinal manipulation was just as effective as microdiscectomy for patients struggling with sciatica secondary to lumbar disc herniation (LDH). The patient population studied included people experiencing chronic sciatica (symptoms greater than six months) that had failed traditional, medical management. Overall, 60 percent of patients who received spinal manipulation benefited to the same degree as those who underwent surgery.

“To our knowledge, this is the first, randomized trial that directly compared spinal manipulation, which in this study was delivered by a doctor of chiropractic, and back surgery, two popular treatment choices for this prevalent health condition,” says Dr. Gordon McMorland, who co-authored the paper with neurosurgeons Steve Casha, MD, PhD, FRCSC, Stephan J. du Plessis, MD, and R. John Hubert, MD, PhD, FRCSC, FACS.

“Sciatica is a serious spinal condition that causes pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs. Many times when symptoms become debilitating and without further help, surgery is prescribed to alleviate discomfort. But surgery is not without financial and physical drawbacks.”

According to the study, “Outpatient Lumbar Microdiscectomy: A Prospective Study in 122 Patients”, more than 200,000 microdiscectomies are performed annually in the United States, at a direct cost of $5 billion, or $25,000 per procedure. In this year-long study, consenting participants were chosen randomly to receive either an average of 21 chiropractic sessions over a year or a single microdiscectomy, both with the additional integration of six supervised active rehabilitation sessions and a patient education program. If cost is assumed at $100 per chiropractic visit, there is a direct, total savings of $22,900 per manipulation patient. System-wide, this could save $2.75 billion dollars annually.

“After a year, no significant complications were seen in either treatment group, and the 60 percent patients who benefitted from spinal manipulation improved to the same degree as their surgical counterparts,” says Dr. McMorland, who also points out that, “The 40 percent of patients who were not helped by manipulation did receive subsequent surgical intervention.

These patients benefitted to the same degree as those that underwent surgery initially, suggesting there was no detrimental effect caused by delaying their surgical treatment.”

“Our research supports spinal manipulation performed by a doctor of chiropractic is a valuable and safe treatment option for those experiencing symptomatic LDH, failing traditional medical management. These individuals should consider spinal manipulation as a primary treatment, followed by surgery if unsuccessful.”

All too often it is assumed that surgery is the only option with disc injuries but as this study demonstrates that is not the case. Obviously not every disc patient will benefit from manipulation but every opportunity to avoid surgery should be explored first.

If you would like to have a consultation with a  registered chiropractic expert please call either the Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough or The Melton Mowbray Chiropractic Clinic on the following numbers

Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough 01858 414841

Chiropractic Clinic in Melton Mowbray 01664 561199

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