Ed Groenhart, chiropractor at Cambridgeshire Family Chiropractic, joins host Neil Whiteside and Tania Brint, of Appetite for Success, to talk exercise hacks (how to get enough without losing valuable time) on Cambridge 105 Radio.
A Linton chiropractor is supporting a national campaign encouraging people to spend more time ‘disconnected’ from their tech devices, following a rise in issues such as loneliness, stress, agoraphobia, fatigue, poor posture, aches and pains and even developmental delays in young people.
Ed Groenhart is taking part in the ‘Get Connected While Disconnected’ campaign which is part of Spinal Awareness Week on 12-18 May 2019, organised by The Alliance of UK Chiropractors (AUKC).
The body, which represents hundreds of chiropractors across the UK and internationally, says children and young adults especially are suffering a greater feeling of real-world disconnection because they’re spending so much time on their phones, computers, social media and digital games.
And they report that some children as young as five and six are getting repetitive strain injuries from playing games on their parents’ mobile phones for too long.
Ed is hoping the campaign will drive home the message that people should switch off from tech for periods of time each day to reconnect with the real-world things that are essential for good physical and mental health.
While chiropractors provide treatments or adjustments to musculoskeletal conditions in the nervous system, this brain/body connection is just one of five areas of health they guide patients on. The others are nutrition, movement, attitudes and relationships, and rest. The AUKC, incorporating the United Chiropractic Association (UCA), McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) and the Scottish Chiropractic Association (SCA), says there’s a ‘disconnect’ in these five ‘pillars of health’ and that technology overuse is a major reason.
Ed, who is also an executive committee member of the UCA, agrees: “The increase in use of computers, mobile phones, PlayStation and Xboxes is leading to an epidemic in terms of aches and pains due to prolonged sitting, poor posture, lack of exercise and the effects of screen time on sleep. I am now personally seeing postural issues in teenagers that 18 years ago, when I was newly qualified, I only saw in older adults. Factor-in the realisation that many of us spend more time communicating electronically, certainly to more people, than we do face-to-face, and there are many emotional and psycho-social issues that I am convinced as related to this aspect of modern lifestyles.
“We don’t need to completely remove ourselves from modern tech gadgets; that’s not practical. However, short periods of switch-off time, screen-free days at weekends and on holiday, for example, can be a start”.
But getting people to switch off is a huge challenge. Researchers found that four out of five students had significant mental and physical distress and extreme isolation when forced to unplug from technology for an entire day (The World Unplugged; Dr Susan Moeller).
And another survey found that 83% of professional workers check their emails after work, while 66% take their technology with them on holiday, and more than half admit sending emails while having a meal with family or friends (Goldsmith, 2016).
Jonathan Clarke, executive member of the UCA, says it’s about getting the balance right: “We’re not saying ‘go and live in a barn in the middle of a remote island and disconnect from the world!’ But create those times in the day when you do take a break away. Give yourself time offline, don’t walk around with the phone in your hand 24/7. We recognise that technology is a great advancement. But we should be measuring that against our own health needs.
“For good health, we need activity, human contact and positive emotions, fresh food, quality sleep and a healthy nervous system. Often, the exact opposite is happening – inactivity and poor posture, loneliness and anxiety, unhealthy eating, poor sleep and a brain/body disconnect.
“We are hoping that this campaign can be the start of a tipping point in people making better choices. Because health issues don’t happen all of a sudden; they’re built up over time. It’s the little day in, day out repetitions that create the problems. Prevention is better than cure.”
The 5 tips to reconnect this Spinal Awareness Week
Move: Be as active as you can.
Be social: Have regular catch-ups with family and friends.
Eat well: Prepare your own packed lunches and meals as much as possible, using healthy choices.
Rest: Switch off all tech a good period of time before going to bed.
Take care of the nervous system: Restore the brain/body connection via treatments & adjustments.
If you’d like more information, contact Ed and Jo Groenhart or pop in for a chat. www.cambridgefamilychiro.co.uk
We use a number of chiropractic techniques to help you get better, stay well and feel great!
This is the most common chiropractic technique used by chiropractors worldwide and describes the more manual adjusting (sometimes referred to, though not by us, as spinal manipulative therapy, or SMT). A High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) thrust is used: the speed (velocity) rather than force (amplitude) of an adjustment is key. Researchers have shown that it takes up to two years of practice to gain the skills necessary to have the speed of hand as a chiropractor to adjust in this way. Adjustments need to be delivered quickly (the thrust is typically 0.25 seconds) to create the correct response from nerve fibres around joints, muscles and tendons, leading to changes in spinal (and brain) function. This is the essence of a chiropractic adjustment.
Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)
SOT is the chiropractic technique that Ed uses most to identify the underlying pattern of spinal change (maladaptation) that has occurred due to stresses and strains placed upon it. Changes to tension in the spine, unequal loading onto the joints of the spine and pelvis, and joint or disc damage can all cause specific patterns to develop. SOT is perfectly developed to identify the most important areas to adjust first, thereby improving responses to care, and crucially improving your rate of recovery from aches and pains.
Though originally developed to balance ligaments, joints and muscles in and around the pelvis in pregnant women, the Webster Technique can be used on anyone to correctly balance and improve function in the foundations of your frame: your pelvic girdle. For more details on this chiropractic technique see our specific article on the Webster Technique.
Acupuncture is the insertion of fine solid filament needles into points along meridians. Meridians are invisible lines associated with a specific organ. Certain organs can be stimulated with placing needles at defined points.
With dry needling, the focus is on reducing muscular tension, spasm or dysfunction. By introducing the needle, a very small irritation within the body is sensed and the response is to help the body heal itself without need for medication.
Both forms of needling are similar to one another by the art of needling, insertion of needles, types of needles used and outcomes of healing, as well as types of conditions that can be treated. Needling is used for general muscular complaints through to women’s issues to post surgical rehabilitation.
The technique is relatively painless and has very few side effects. Spot bleeding after removal of the needle and/or associated bruising are the most common.
If having read this article you are ready to start chiropractic care, or have any questions, please contact us and we will do our very best to answer them.
Last year we set, and surpassed, a target of raising £1000 for EACH. The question is, why? What is our connection? Well it all goes back to the time when we were running our previous practice in Nottinghamshire.
Family care in practice
Our practice was full of families. In fact at one time we even had three generations of the same family coming in for care. There were also many couples who went on to have children. One such couple was James and Rachel (*we have changed their names for anonymity). James and Rachel were thrilled when, after a number of years of trying, Rachel found out that she was pregnant. We supported her through this time, helping her with aches and pains, whilst keeping her spirits up. Finally a baby daughter, Mary, was born. We eagerly awaited seeing the happy family, but first mum and daughter were kept in hospital as Mary needed some extra observation. Two months passed. We had heard nothing more from James and Rachel.
Finally we got a call from James: Rachel was keen for Mary to be brought in to be checked, as the paediatricians had been checking her for a while and Mary appeared to have had a small bleed on her brain whilst in utero. After checking and gently adjusting Mary, taking into consideration her potential brain injury, we next heard that the consultant thought it had been some kind of stroke. The bad news soon became clear: Mary actually had an extremely rare genetic disorder that meant that she would be physically and mentally disabled for life, and that her life would be limited by the complications that this would bring.
Respite and End of Life Care
Thankfully James and Rachel heard about a local hospice, Rainbows, that could help them to look after Mary. It also had the facilities and care to give them an occasional break from the round-the-clock attention that they needed to give Mary. As soon as we heard about this, we began to raise funds for Rainbows as, just like EACH, they are not part of the NHS and rely on thousands of pounds every week just to stay open.
Tragically, shortly before we moved down to Linton, and opened our practice here, we were made aware that little Mary had given up her brave battle to live. Her mum still raises funds to help support parents in similar positions. Jo and I decided that we should continue to support similar causes, and were made aware of EACH. Their care is vital for so many disabled, life limited children and their families.
A proportion of every paid visit to us goes to EACH. This year we are aiming to raise £1500 in this way. Please let us know if you would like to top up this donation at any time, or just pop some loose change into the money box in the studio. Many thanks, and have a happy and healthy 2019.
Yes, you read it right: Meghan Markle, recently announced pregnant (and married to Prince Harry), is having a geriatric pregnancy. Or at least from a obstetrician’s point of view. Any mother over 35 (Meghan is 37) is still, even in this day and age, considered to be “too old” to be a new mum, and therefore pregnancy is a risk to her health. And to make matters worse, she’s even gone on holiday during her pregnancy: heaven forbid! (I just hope she’s read our hints and tips).
I jest. NHS figures released last year showed the number of women over 40 giving birth in England and Wales has tripled since the 1980s. Whilst a lot of this has to do with career objectives and possibly even house prices, there is still no reason to use this derogatory phrase, and it is derogatory talking about a geriatric at any age (in this chiropractor‘s humble opinion it’s the life in your years, not the years in your life, that counts). Whilst there is a statistical increase in the chances of genetic disorders such as Down’s Syndrome, there is also an increased chance of your child having a higher IQ and being fitter. Care has to be taken around birth due to increased complication risks, such as pre-eclampsia, but a good midwife and/or doula can help a lot in these circumstances to support you and your partner.
So what can we take from this high profile pregnancy? First of all, you are not alone if you are having a baby later in life. There will be many after you being told they are having a geriatric pregnancy (argh, that’s it, no more mention of that phrase). It’s good to know that you have navigated some of life’s complicated times, and still have the memories to share with your little ones. You also have more stability and resources to help with bringing up a baby, and less worries that maybe by having a child now you are missing out on anything. Remember that successful pregnancy is a subjective term, and preparing mentally as well as physically is really important. Your support network will probably already include mums who can share their experience (just choose carefully who’s stories you listen to!) and like anything in life we never stop learning.
If you want to start off on the right foot, please read our pregnancy blog articles, and if you have any further questions, or need any help, contact us. Jo and I have over 25 years’ combined experience of seeing mums-to-be, and also have two children of our own. They’re young enough for us to still have the memories (both good and bad) fresh in our minds regarding the pregnancy and childbirth journey.
The documentary Overfed and Undernourished, the story of an obese child and his journey back from the brink of health problems, is one that all parents need to watch to see what even a fraction of this kind of lifestyle can do to our little ones. It’s a tough watch at times, but we feel its impact is what will keep healthy living at the forefront of our parenting minds. It’s being shown at our place, 4 The Woodlands, Linton, at 8pm on 20th November. Book on eventbrite or call 07870568548.
According to new research teenage back pain may predict poor overall health, and risk of chronic disease throughout life. The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) is concerned that chiropractic care is an underused option in the management of back pain and spinal health among teenagers, and believe it could minimise the use of unnecessary pharmaceutical usageand help establish a better foundation for adult wellbeing.
Chiropractor and NZCA spokesperson Dr Cassandra Fairest explains: `This new study in the Journal of Public Health indicates that adolescents who experience back pain more frequently are also more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and report mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. But too few of them are seeking chiropractic care, which was recently cited in a major call to action by the Lancet as a drug free approach to the management of back pain’.
Teenage back pain shouldn’t be ignored
The authors of this study point out that during adolescence, the prevalence of musculo-skeletal pain in general, particularly back pain rises steeply. Although often dismissed as trivial and fleeting, adolescent back pain is responsible for substantial health care usage, school absence, and interferes with day-to-day activities in some children.’
Researchers used data collected from approximately 6500 teenagers. The proportion of participants reporting smoking, drinking, and missing school rose incrementally with increasing frequency of pain. For example, 14-15 year olds that experienced pain more than once a week were 2-3 times more likely to have drunk alcohol or smoked tobacco in the past month than those who rarely or never had pain.
Similarly, students that experienced teenage back pain more than once a week were around twice as likely to have missed school during the previous school term. The trend with anxiety and depression was less clear, although there was a marked difference between the children who reported no pain, and those who reported frequent pain.
Dr Fairest says: `The researchers found that back pain and unhealthy behaviour not only occur together, but also persist into adulthood. In addition, the developing brain is susceptible to the negative influences of toxic substances, and use in early adolescence may increase the risk of substance abuse and mental health problems in later life.’
The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical publications, has said in a series of articles that healthcare system changes are crucial to changing behaviour and improving delivery of effective care for back pain. It recommends integrating and supporting health professionals from diverse disciplines to provide patients with consistent messages about mechanisms, causes, prognosis and natural history of low back pain, as well as the benefits of improved spinal health, physical activity and exercise. Chiropractic is ideally placed to play a pivotal role in this development.
A pill may not be the best solution
Dr Fairest says: `We do have to ask ourselves why some teenagers are still being prescribed pain medication which may cause side effects when chiropractic care may be just as, or even more effective, and offer better long term outcomes? Chiropractors are uniquely placed to provide care that specifically focuses on the health of the spine and the relationship between the spine and the nervous system, both of which are clearly relevant to this populations presentations. It seems that there’s a disconnect between patient choices and evidence-based guidelines for low back pain based upon what is actually happening within our healthcare system. Too many GP’s are encouraging people to rely on medication and are only considering chiropractic care after pharmaceutical treatments have failed instead of making a referral to a chiropractor a first-line treatment option, as per the research.’ We also have to remember that encouraging teenagers to take a pill to “feel better” may not be the best example for them to be seeing, as illicit drug use can often be seen as a similar “solution”.
If you know someone who has a son or daughter with teenage back pain, let them know how to contact us today.
Source (edited from): https://www.firstchiropractic.co.nz/adolescent-back-pain-may-herald-lifetime-of-ill-health/
- S J Kamper, Z A Michaleff, P Campbell, K M Dunn, T P Yamato, R K Hodder, J Wiggers, C M Williams. Back pain, mental health and substance use are associated in adolescents. Journal of Public Health, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy129
Low back pain: a call for action Lancet Volume 391, No. 10137, p2384–2388, 9 June 2018https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)30488-4/fulltext