Posts from September, 2013

Market Harborough Chiropractor garden advice.

Written By, On September 30, 2013

Autumn in the garden

In Market Harborough we love our gardens and autumn is the time of a lot of there is a lot to do – planting for the spring; clearing never ending piles of leaves and tidying dead growth from summer shrubs. Your back is vulnerable to injury with lots of heavy work, so a Market Harborough Chiropractor has some helpful tips. As an allotment holder myself I see at first hand the potential to harm the spine everytime I am at my allotment.

–    Don’t wear clothes that are tight or could constrict your movement, make sure you can bend at the knees so you can keep back straight. I use knee pads to avoid long periods bending from the waist.

Warm Up
–    Gardening is like any other exercise; you need to warm up first. Don’t go straight into heavy garden work; start off with lighter jobs as this will lessen the chance of muscle strain. Don’t forget to stretch afterwards even the next day as muscles and ligaments recover from a hard few hours work. Remember sports usually last for a few short minutes of exertion, gardening can last for hours bent over so can be more strenuous than you think.

Clever pruning
–    Get as close as possible to the things you are pruning and avoid overstretching to reach the area you are dealing with.

Using the rake

–  Keep your body in line with the rake and don’t over stretch by leaning too far forward or dragging your arms too far behind. Try not to twist as you rake because the joints in the lower back can be damaged by too much twisting especially if it is repetetive. Use short, precise movements. When going to pick the leaf litter up, bend both knees and keep your back straight.

Take a break
–    Vary your activity by spending no more than 20-30 minutes on any one thing and make sure you take regular breaks. Use a spade or fork to lean on when bending to pick at weeds to help take some load of the lower back.

Plan ahead
–   A specialist garden trolley might be worth investing in to move heavy pots around to protect them from the cold weather as well as being great for carting heavy bags of compost around.

If you plan ahead and maintain your back with regular chiropractic treatment you can keep the spine mobile and help prevent potential back problems before they develop.


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Market Harborough Chiropractor on the latest research that confirms magnetic and copper bracelets no use.

Written By, On September 19, 2013

If that copper bracelet eases your arthritis, it’s just a trick of the mind: Straps which claim to help chronic illnesses are useless, says landmark study and concluded that patients are better off saving their money

As a Chiropractor in Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray I see people all the time using copper and magnetic bracelets in the belief that they will help them overcome back pain and other joint ailments, but the latest research confirms what we already know deep in our hearts that its all in the mind.

Copper and magnetic bracelets worn to help relieve the crippling pain of arthritis are useless, scientists say. The healing effect that some users report is no different when wearing wrist straps made of any other material, according to the first scientific study into the treatment.

Magnetic and copper bracelets are said to help a variety of ailments, including the chronic joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders. Manufacturers of the bracelets, which cost between £30 and £50, suggest these conditions can be alleviated by rebalancing the body’s magnetic field or topping up depleted copper levels through the skin. However, the research shows they were no better than a wrist strap that was not magnetic or did not contain copper.

Although previous research has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the bands, the latest trial, by York University, is the first scientific study of its kind. It studied the use of copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis.

‘Devices such as these provide a placebo effect for users who believe in them,’ said Dr Stewart Richmond, a research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at York, who led the study.  ‘People normally begin wearing them during a flare-up period, and then, as their symptoms subside naturally over time, they confuse this with a therapeutic effect. ‘Pain varies greatly over time in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and the way we perceive pain can be altered significantly by the power of the mind. ‘They also provided blood samples in order to monitor any changes in inflammation levels. Dr Richmond said: ‘People may be better off saving their money, or spending it on other complementary interventions, which have far better evidence for effectiveness.

Chiropractic treatment has been widely accepted as an effective treatment not only for low back and neck pain but for a whole range of musculoskeletal conditions. Systemic inflammatory arthritis is not something chiropractors would treat with manipulation however as the ligaments in rheumatoid arthritis become weakened and chiropractors do not advise manipulation on inflamed joints.

For the majority of musculoskeletal conditions chiropractic can be of great benefit and reduce reliance on painkillers, which have been seen to cause serious health problems when overused.

Dr David Casey (Doctor of Chiropractic) says we see all the time people wanting a quick cheap fix for their problems but as we see again and again there are no quick fixes. When we examine our patients and explain why they have problems the situation has often worsened because people have delayed treatment, because they were using such products. This delay makes our job a lot harder and ultimately more expensive to treat in the long run.

The Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough and The Melton Mowbray Chiropractic Clinic offer a range of treatments for back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. To discuss your problems call one of the chiropractors and they will be able to advise if they could help you.

Our motto is “If you do nothing, nothing will change”


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Market Harborough Chiropractor concerns about back pain and increased painkiller addiction

Written By, On September 16, 2013

The silent addiction to everyday painkillers

Forget cannabis and heroin. Thousands of utterly respectable Britons are in the grip of an insidious and deadly drug addiction – to everyday painkillers, such as Nurofen.

In pharmaceutical circles the ‘silent addiction’.  Which is more insidious, harder to pinpoint and easy to ignore. Like thousands of other unregistered and unrecorded addicts up and down the country, Mel Smith was abusing over-the-counter painkillers. The comedian Mel Smith had admitted he had an addiction to Nurofen Plus. In doing so he was putting himself at risk of – among other things – liver failure, serious stomach damage, gall bladder problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and respiratory problems – yet ironically he had no idea he was an addict.

Mel sadly died recently.

Mel was just one of an increasing number of people becoming slowly addicted to everyday painkillers, here’s Marks story-

‘For a few months I took the basic paracetamol but that hardly touched the pain. Then three months later I remember pleading with a chemist for some pain relief. He gave me a box of Panadol Ultra. I took it home, tried two, and not only did the pain subside but I felt relaxed.’ From then on, I was never without his box of Panadol Ultra or Nurofen Plus. ‘I took Panadol Ultra and Nurofen Plus every day for 13 years, and for most of that time I had no idea that I was doing myself any harm, let alone displaying the classic signs of addiction,’ says Mark, from Derbyshire.

Opiates have long been used as painkillers, and codeine is an effective pain receptor inhibitor, enhancing the action of standard painkillers such as ibrobrufen. Like all opiates, codeine induces a feeling of calm and well-being – but if taken in big enough doses, for some people it can be addictive, with significant side effects if they try to stop.

In addition, says neurologist Michael Gross, who runs clinics for people addicted to over-the-counter medication, the painkillers themselves can be the cause of headaches and back pains. ‘You get a migraine or back pain and initially the painkiller works. But for some reason the effect starts to lessen over time.

So why do the painkillers stop working. ‘We know that the brain learns to have headaches and possibly neck and shoulder and back  pain.

Once the pain pathways are opened up the headaches become more common, this is often seen with back pain because the pain returns again and again.

This process is exacerbated by any painkiller, not just codeine. So the thing you take to get rid of pain makes you more sensitive to pain. You have to question why take painkillers then, should we look at better ways to manage back pain instead of relying on painkillers only.

Physical treatments such as chiropractic can overtime untrain the brain and reduce need for painkillers or reduce the dosage.

‘Some experts believe this can happen if you only take around six painkillers a week, but certainly if you are taking the full recommended dose every day you may get this effect. ‘It’s called medication overuse syndrome, it is medically recognised and it is happening to around 100,000 people in this country. According to Dr Gross, even the basic painkillers can have this effect, but because the codeine-based products are stronger, the effect of addiction is much quicker. ‘With the codeine products you have the extra problem of the opiate addiction,’ he explains.

Both ibrobrufen and paracetamol, if taken beyond the recommended safe dose, can cause serious and life -threatening illnesses, exceeding the dose several times over  is dicing with death. Paracetamol can seriously damage your liver, and  ibruprofen can cause the stomach lining to be destroyed. People regularly overdose and die from their addiction and many end up having parts of their stomach chopped out where the ibruprofen has caused massive damage.

Although no official statistics exist to document the extent of the problem, addiction to the codeine in OCT painkillers has long been recognised within the medical and pharmaceutical industry. In 2005, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, the UK trade and standards association for the manufactures of OTC drugs, investigated the problem.

Simon Greasley is a clinical nurse specialist in drug dependency who has extensive knowledge of codeine addiction. He helps run the Codeine-Free website and believes one of the reasons codeine dependency goes unreported is because it is hard for misusers to see themselves as addicts.

Everyday respectable people who have no idea they can be addicted to something legally on sale in this country. ‘Most of them start off by taking painkillers to treat an existing real pain, but then, once the original pain is gone, the need for the pills is still there. It’s not surprising when you consider each plus-strength tablet contains around 12mg of codeine.’

The guidelines for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain state that pharmacists and their staff must be aware of the abuse potential of certain OTC products, and should not supply them if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting misuse.

If you would like to manage back pain and headaches without drugs call The Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough or The Melton Mowbray Chiropractic Clinic and see if chiropractic care helps you.

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Why use a chiropractor for back pain?

Written By, On September 9, 2013

For Back Pain, Spinal Manipulation Holds Its Own

If you’re suffering from chronic lower back pain, a new review of existing research finds that spinal manipulation − the kind of hands-on regimen, that a chiropractor might perform on you, is as helpful as other common treatments like painkillers. Many people will welcome being able to manage back pain without relying on painkillers, which have major side-effects especially when used for chronic conditions like back pain.

Spinal manipulation is also safe, researchers found.
Surveys suggest that more than half of working Americans suffer from back pain each year. An estimated 25 percent of American adults reported that they suffered from back pain for at least a day within the last three months, according to a 2006 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Lower back pain is the fifth most common reason that people go to the doctor.

Patients frequently turn to painkillers, which can cause side effects and be addictive, or to physical therapy, which is time-consuming and expensive. The new review looks at a third option − spinal manipulation.

The effectiveness of this therapy has long been controversial, some proponents are slowly starting to accept the view it as effective for chronic low-back pain. The results of this review will support that view.

The findings appear in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library. The journal is a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The researchers found that spinal manipulation worked about as well as the other treatments.

In general, most treatments for lower-back pain aren’t all that effective, even the ones we think that work like surgery, but some people respond better than others.

Right now the best we can say is that clinicians and patients have a number of moderately effective treatment options to consider, including exercise, manipulation, massage, cognitive behavioral therapy and some of the analgesic medications, and that it should be a decision between the clinician and patient.

Back pain still a major problem

Dr David Casey Market Harborough chiropractor wonders just how much have we really progressed in the treatment and management of low back pain in the last 30 years.

It has been over 30 years since the late orthopaedic surgeon Dr Alf Nachemson (world expert on low back pain and co-editor of Spine) authored the lead article in the inaugural issue of the journal Spine. In this article, he stated that in the great majority of patients with low back pain, no clear diagnosis or explanation for their pain could be found (Spine, 1976).

Neither has the level of GPs’ adherence to the European guidelines, nor the cost of low back pain to the patient and the State, been significantly improved over this time.

A prospective pilot study was conducted on consenting patients, attending one of nine participating GPs, found management of acute low back pain in a cohort of GPs  was not consistent with European clinical guideline recommendations, and warrants higher levels of postgraduate education among GPs, as well as restructuring of primary care services, which should improve patient outcome and reduce costs.

The European Guidelines  state
1) The lifetime prevalence of low back pain is up to 84%
2) After an initial episode of low back pain, 44-78% people suffer relapses of pain and 26-37%, relapses of work absence
3) It is estimated that 23% of back pain sufferers go onto develop chronic pain and 11-12 % of the population are disabled by low back pain and are unable to work, relying on benefits.

The lifetime prevalence of low back pain is reported as over 70% in industrialised countries (one-year prevalence is 15% to 45%, adult incidence 5% per year). Peak prevalence occurs between ages 35 and 55.

This would suggest a fundamental flaw in how we manage back pain exists.

  • This is because the patients symptoms often do not match the suspected pathology and x-ray together MRI investigations  rarely improve this situation.
  • Pain is not attributable to pathology or neurological encroachment in about 85% of people, even with severe acute pain.
  • About 4% of people seen with low back pain in primary care have compression fractures, which might be suspected in osteoporosis.
  • About 1% has a cancer.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis and spinal infections are even more rare.
  • The prevalence of prolapsed intervertebral disc is about 1% to 3%.

All this makes it difficult to access the risk factors, so with all the achievments of modern medicine back pain is still poorly understood.

The most frequently reported incidents  are associated heavy physical work, frequent bending, twisting, lifting, pulling and pushing, repetitive work, static postures and vibrations. All these factors are seen to cause back problems over years and years. Logically if we took some form of action earlier in theory we could at least prevent the accumulation of physical damage.

Recurrent and chronic back  pain account for 75-85% of total workers absenteeism. Making low back pain the biggest problem to industry and the state at large. The estimated costs are in the hundreds of billions, but still no change in how back pain is managed over the last century.

Maybe if we were more proactive at an earlier stage could we reduce these costs and improve productivity?

Psychosocial  factors  increase the risk of a patient developing, or perpetuating, chronic pain and long-term disability including work-loss associated with low back pain.
1) Inappropriate attitudes and beliefs about back pain (for example, belief that back pain is harmful or potentially severely disabling or high expectation of passive treatments rather than a belief that active participation will help)
2) Inappropriate pain behaviour (for example, fear-avoidance behaviour and reduced activity levels);
3) Work-related problems or compensation issues (for example, poor work satisfaction);
4) Emotional problems (such as depression, anxiety, stress, tendency to low mood and withdrawal from social interaction).

Summary of recommendations has been developed over the many years of  research.

* Case history and detailed physical examination should be carried out, not dismissing everything as a muscle spasm.
* If history taking indicates serious spinal pathology or nerve root syndrome, carry out more extensive physical examination including neurological screening when appropriate.
* Be aware of psychosocial factors, and review them in detail if there is no improvement
* Diagnostic imaging tests (including X-rays, CT and MRI) are not routinely indicated for non-specific low back pain;
* Reassess those patients who are not resolving within a few weeks after the first visit especially in those who are following a worsening course.

Treatment principles:
The aims of treatment for acute low back pain are to

  1. Relieve pain
  2. Improve functional ability
  3.  Prevent recurrence and chronicity.

Spinal manipulation is now the mainstay treatment for patients who are failing to return to normal activities. Longterm back pain due to a fundamentally stiff back requires a manual treatment to unlock the stiffness and manipulation is the quickest way to achieve this.

Fundamentally we need to think more about how to  maintain the function and prevent accumulating damage until permanent damage is done.

Some questions must be asked as we face into the future of treating low back pain.

If acute low back pain is as self limiting (recovers on its own) as most experts and clinical guidelines say it is, why are we spending so much money on it?

  • Given that low back pain guidelines recommend the same treatment for 85 per cent of sufferers, do all these people suffer from the same type of low back pain?
  • If so, then why are there so many different treatments utilised for the same problem?
  • If not, then how can we tell one type from another in order to determine the best treatment for each type?
  • And finally, with over 1,000 randomised controlled trials of back pain and disability, and dozens of systemic reviews and guidelines, why are we not finding explanations for low back pain’s prominence, its causes and its best treatments?


If you would like to ease back pain and prevent it in the future please call the

Chiropractic Clinic in Market Harborough of The Melton Mowbray Chiropractic Clinic where we attempt to follow all the above suggestions.

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Market Harborough Chiropractor on MBT trainers

Written By, On September 2, 2013

Market Harborough Chiropractor agrees with latest research on low back pain research

£ 250 Mbt trainers favoured by stars such as Madonna, Paris Hilton and Gwyneth Paltrow, convinced by promises that they improve posture and reduce back pain, have been found by a recent scientific study to provide no benefit at all, and in some cases make problems worse.

The findings are especially embarrassing for the company behind the footwear because it funded the research.

MBT stands for Masai Barefoot Technology and the shoes have a curved “rocker” sole which is said to minic the effect of walking without footwear, but after almost two decades since they were launched scientists have failed to confirm these claims. There has never been any evidence in the literature to support the manufactures claims. They provide no benefits what so ever for people with back pain. These findings only add to the woes of MBT, coming just 18 months after the swiss parent company filed for bankuptcy.

As with many products sold directly to the general public persuasive advertising only suggests that use of this product or that products “may” help lower back pain.

At specialist clinics such as Active Chiropractic Clinics we see people time and time again disappointed by such products. While many people swear by them the reality is that back pain is caused by complex mechanisms and there will never be a cure-all treatment to fix back pain. It takes time to investigate the cause of an individuals back pain and then decide on treatment appropriate to that individual. It takes many years of training to understand why we suffer from back pain and decide the best way to treat that person.

You can always depend on the big marketing companies to spoon-feed you false information, just to sell you more of their junk.

This not only applies to trainers sold to “help” with back pain. Science and sceptical runners are catching up with something the Tarahumara Indians have known for ever: your naked feet are fine on their own. According to a growing body of clinical research, those expensive running shoes you’ve been relying on may be worse than useless: they could be causing the very injuries they’re supposed to prevent.

Perhaps the best research in the field has been going on for hundreds of years in a maze of canyons in northern Mexico. There, the reclusive Tarahumara tribe routinely engage in races of 150 miles or more, the equivalent of running the London Marathon six times in the same day. Despite this extreme mileage the Tarahumara are somehow immune to the injuries that plague the rest of the running world.

Out here in the non-Tarahumara world, where we have access to the best in sports medicine, training innovations and footwear, up to 90 per cent of all marathoners are injured every year. The Tarahumara, by contrast, remain spry and healthy deep into old age.

So how do the Tarahumara protect their legs from all that pounding? Simple – they don’t. They don’t protect and, most critically, they don’t pound. When the Tarahumara aren’t barefoot, they wear nothing more cushioned than thin, hard sandals fashioned from discarded tire treads and leather thongs. In place of artificial shock absorption, they rely on an ancient running technique that creates a naturally gentle landing. Unlike the vast majority of modern runners, who come down heavily on their foam-covered heels and roll forward off their toes, the Tarahumara land lightly on their forefeet and bend their knees, as you would if you jumped from a chair.

This ingenious, easy-to-learn style could have a profound effect on runners, not to mention the multi-billion dollar running-shoe industry. Astonishingly, there’s no evidence that any of this technology does anything, which may explain why Nike ads never explain what, exactly, those $190 shoes are supposed to do.

In a 2008 research paper for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr Craig Richards, a physician at the University of Newcastle in Australia, revealed that after scouring 30 years’ worth of studies, he couldn’t find a single one that demonstrated that running shoes made you less prone to injury.

So if shoes aren’t the solution, could they be the problem? That’s what Dr Daniel Lieberman, the head of the evolutionary anthropology department at Harvard, began to wonder. Humans, after all, are the only creatures that voluntarily cover their feet, and we’re also the only creatures known to suffer from corns, bunions, hammer-toes and heel pain.

In Germany, meanwhile, the world’s leading researcher in human connective tissue, Dr Robert Schleip at the University of Ulm, began a  experiment to see whether he could end his own battle with plantar fasciitis, a vexing heel pain that is almost impossible to cure fully.

“If you encase the foot in thick shoes,” Schleip says, “you not only lose ground awareness, you limit your natural elasticity.” Schleip began slipping out of his shoes to run barefoot through the parks of Berlin. Soon, his heel pain vanished, never to return.

The public fall victim to the advertising industry without seeking professional help. As chiropractors we see this all the time when it comes to back pain. They would rather listen to advice from the next door neighbor or a friend than ask someone that treats back pain everyday of the week. It makes it hard work to educate people when there is so much bad advice out there when it come to back pain.


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