Friday 19 December 2014

Christmas Chiropractic Appointments

The festive season is such a busy time for all of us. A time for being with family and friends. A time for parties, celebrations and having a good time; and hopefully a time for a little rest and relaxation too. Unfortunately, sometimes problems and injuries can still occur when we least want them.

I will be taking some time off with my family over Christmas and the New Year. If you are unfortunate enough to develop a problem over the festive period, I will have my phone calls (0151 931 3153) diverted to my mobile and may well be able to answer your call and offer advice. If I can't answer, you can leave a voice message and I will return your call.

I will also have several clinics during the Christmas and New Year weeks, so if you do have a problem, you shouldn't need to struggle for too long!

I hope that your have a wonderful Christmas and that 2015 is all that you want it to be.


Saturday 22 November 2014

Chiropractor Liverpool

If you wanted to see a chiropractor in the Liverpool area, what factors would influence your decision regarding who to see? I asked this question to some of my patients and social media users, and these are some of the points that they considered important.

Recommendation - This answer was by the far the most repeated response. Everyone it seems prefers to put their health in the hands of a person who has a track record of already having helped someone they know. Personal recommendation has formed the bedrock of my new patient list for many years. Over the past 2 years more than 60% of all new patients have come to see me on the recommendation of a friend or family member. This takes great trust on the part of the person offering the recommendation. I don't take this trust lightly and I will always do my best to reward this trust with my best efforts to help the individual that has been recommended. 

Qualification - Unfortunately not all chiropractors are equally qualified. My chiropractic education was undertaken at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, which adheres to strict international criteria for chiropractic education. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Sciences (Chiropractic) after 4 years of study and I also have a Master of Science Degree in Chiropractic. Additionally, I complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education each year in order to learn new ways to help my patients and to keep up to date with other developments in health care.

Experience - Having graduated in 2001, I have treated thousands of patients over many years. Early in my career I spent several years as the in-house chiropractor at a large sports and rackets club in Lancashire. There I got plenty of experience treating sports people, some of whom have risen to the very top of their chosen sport. For the majority of my career however I have worked in more general chiropractic practice, where I've treated people from all walks of life and of all ages; from the very young to the very, very old. With experience, treatment can readily be modified to cater for the diverse individuals that come through the door.

Location - Many of my patients travel quite some distance to see me, however the majority who look for a Liverpool chiropractor come from the local area. The clinic is situated in a great location in Crosby. There is free, unrestricted road-side parking right outside. There is also a regular local bus service (53) which stops right outside the front door. Additionally the train station (Blundellsands and Crosby) is only a short 5 minute walk away.

Appointment Availability - Throughout the week there are usually 'same-day' appointments available. The clinic is open from 7.30 on Monday and Thursday mornings and stays open until 8.30 on Wednesday evenings. I offer out of hours appointments enabling most patients to fit treatment around their busy work, social or family life.

First Impression - The first impression most people get when contacting the clinic will be of me answering the phone or greeting them in the waiting room. I hope this is a good experience for them! I like to deal with enquiries and each patient personally. This means that people get to ask the questions that they want to ask to the chiropractor directly. 

Online reviews - The internet has become an extremely useful place to find things out. Over the past year, around a quarter of my new patients have come to me as a result of performing an internet search. Frankly, this is one of the reasons that I write blog posts like this. There are a few places online where you can find reviews that people have left about their treatment here. Thanks for the kind words of those who have left reviews!

Informative Website - My website was renewed last year. If you feels that it is missing anything important then I'd be very happy to hear your view.

Prices and Special Offers - Despite being the longest established chiropractic clinic and probably the most experienced chiropractor in the area, initial consultation and treatment prices have been kept to a very affordable level for many years. Additionally I don't employ some of the rather dubious sales techniques that some chiropractors have been know to use. I aim for my patients to feel that they have received a great service, for a very fair price.

Thank you to all who took the time to respond to this little survey about what you would expect from a Liverpool Chiropractor. I have found it very interesting to hear your comments. Feel free to let me know if you think I've forgotten something important.

Thursday 16 October 2014

World Spine Day

Today - 16th October 2014 - is World Spine Day. It's a day when organisations who are interested in spinal health look to promote ways to enjoy a life with less back pain. If you've experienced back pain, you'll agree that this a truly worthy endeavour.

Spinal pain is common. Back pain, neck pain and disc problems are experienced by millions of people every day.

Recent research has found that 77% of people say they are currently experiencing back or neck pain or have done so in the past, while 24% say they suffer on a daily basis. 43% of people in pain state sleeping is a trigger and 44% say sitting causes them pain. On an average day, 82% of us spend up to 6 hours sitting in front of a computer screen; 49% spend between 2 and 6 hours watching TV; and 33% spend between 2 and 6 hours looking at a laptop or tablet.

Spinal disorders can have a profound impact on our daily lives. They can make basic daily activities such as getting up from a seat, walking or getting in or out of the car painful and difficult. They can often also interfere with our ability to take part in recreational, social and family activities. Work productivity is also often reduced in back pain sufferers. In the Global Burden of Disease Study, low back pain ranked highest in terms of disability and 6th in terms of overall burden on society.

The good news is that many of the triggers for back pain can be easily avoided. We know that people who work to maintain good posture and are more physically active are less likely to experience spinal pain. This is why the theme of this year's world spine day is 'straighten up and move'.

Here are some resources created for World Spine Day which you may find helpful:

Straighten Up And Move Posture pod
World Spine Day Brochure
Personal Activity Calendar
Stand Taller, Live Longer Poster
Just Start To Walk Resources
24 Hours of Strain Top Tips

If however you're already in pain, then myself and many thousands of chiropractors around the world will be more than happy to provide chiropractic treatment to help ease the pain and get you back up and moving again.

Let World Spine Day be your motivator to get things moving.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Chiropractic Helps Back Related Leg Pain

As a chiropractor at a clinic called 'Your Back Clinic', you might expect me to treat a lot of back pain. That certainly is the case. More than 50% of all the people who come to see me, do so because they are suffering from back pain, particularly pain in the lower back. Low back pain is often complicated by the existence of pain running down into the buttock, thigh, calf and even into the foot. This can be described as back related leg pain.

Commonly people with back related leg pain arrive in my treatment room reporting that they are suffering with "sciatica"; and many of them are. But back related leg pain doesn't necessarily have to be sciatica. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve gets pinched or compressed somewhere along its course at the bottom of the back or in the leg. Very often this is because of some damage to a disc. Some people call this a 'slipped disc', although discs don't really tend to slip; rather, they bulge or herniate, causing pressure on and inflammation of the nearby nerve root. Sciatica is not the only type of back related leg pain. Damaged or dysfunctional joints and muscles in the back can also refer pain into the legs. A thorough physical examination will usually be able to determine where the problem is, although occasionally special imaging tests are necessary and are ordered.

New research published this month, has found that chiropractic treatment and home exercise along with advice, is more effective than home exercise and advice alone in the treatment of back related leg pain. In a 4 year study of 192 sufferers, those whose treatment included chiropractic spinal manipulation were found to have a clinically important advantage at 12 week follow-up. Even after 12 months those treated by a chiropractor still recorded decreased medication use, and greater satisfaction and global improvement than those who only were given advice and home exercises.

Chiropractic care uses no drugs or surgery; rather it is a hands-on treatment approach which aims to restore normal function to joints, muscles and the nervous system through manipulation and rehabilitation. When the body is functioning well, it is better able to repair itself. You should then start to feel well and begin enjoying life to the full. And that's what it's all about!

Friday 22 August 2014

Getting A Good Nights Sleep

Although we spend on average a third of our lives in bed we don't usually give much thought to sleep unless for some reason we stop sleeping well. Sleeping poorly can be caused by a number of different things from sleeping with a noisy or restless partner to issues related to light. By far the greatest thing keeping us awake at night however is bodily discomfort. Research involving back pain sufferers by the British Chiropractic Association in 2011 revealed that 41% of women and 36% of men felt that sleep and bed issues may be a factor in their pain. Following a poor night's sleep we are more likely to feel stressed, make mistakes and find it difficult to concentrate.

A key factor in sleeping better and alleviating back pain is to have a suitable bed that provides the correct support. Depending on quality, mattresses will often need replacing every 5-10 years. As we all come in different shapes and sizes there is no 'one size fits all' answer to the question of 'Which bed is the best?' The best mattress is a supportive one. A 15 stone person may not be comfortable sleeping on a bed that a 9 stone person finds to be perfect. If you are thinking of getting a new bed it is always advisable to go shopping with the person with whom you will be sharing the bed. Try lots of beds. When you find one that you think you like, spend as much time as possible lying on it before making the decision to buy. You and your new bed will spend a lot of time together over the next few years; make sure it will be a great friend and not your worst enemy.

I am a great fan and advocate of water beds, having used one myself for many years. Water beds have several key advantages over conventional beds. They are super supportive as they are able to mould perfectly to your individual posture. This can remove pressure from the spine during sleep and thereby facilitate excellent muscle relaxation. Many modern double or king size water beds have two mattresses side by side allowing different firmnesses to be created by just adding or removing a little water from one side or the other. The bed temperature is thermostatically controllable allowing you to have a warm bed in the winter and a cool bed in the summer. Water beds may be more suitable for allergy sufferers as no skin, dirt or dust mites can penetrate the mattress. They can also last much longer than convention beds as there are no springs or foam to degrade. As you can see, I'm a big fan of water beds. As a chiropractor I regularly recommend that my patients check out a water bed when considering a new bed. They normally come back and tell me how much they love them too! Dream Merchants is a great local water bed shop for people living in the Liverpool area.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

A Pain In The Neck - Chiropractic Can Help

Individuals seek treatment from chiropractors for many different reasons. Most commonly, people come to see me because of neck pain, back pain or other joint and muscle pain.

New research published in the journal JMPT has provided some interesting new evidence that chiropractic treatment for neck pain is both effective and cost-effective. It also found that manual therapy techniques (such as those used by chiropractors and osteopaths) were more cost-effective than usual GP care alone for improving low back and shoulder pain and disability. That of course is not to say that your GP should not be consulted if you are suffering with such problems. It does however, add support to the growing assertion that there are often more effective means of relieving common muscular and skeletal pains than popping pills.

You can read the research here.

I am pleased to be able to offer treatment that can often make a great difference to people who are in pain or suffering.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Clinic Improvements

Eleven years ago this month I opened a chiropractic clinic in Crosby. In an attempt to be creative and original, I named the clinic 'Back For Your Future - Family Chiropractic Clinic'. I think it succeeded in being creative. The name is however extremely long and doesn't necessarily trip off the tongue.

Last year I began the process of giving the clinic a new name when I had a new website designed and built. The clinic's online name since the website's release has been 'Your Back Clinic'. Renaming the 'shop front' of the clinic, so to speak, was delayed while negotiations over buying the building took place. Happily, the building is now owned rather than rented!

There are plans to renew the clinic's frontage and signage. A proposal for how it may look can be seen here. Further interior improvements will also follow in the near future. I hope this will enhance the patient experience for all who choose their chiropractic care here.

Thanks to all who have chosen to receive treatment here over the past decade - I'll continue to be here for you.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Technology and Back Pain in Children

Children and adolescents are seeking help from chiropractors in ever increasing numbers because of back pain. Back pain is usually thought of as a problem affecting adults. Research carried out this year in which 460 parents of children aged 11-16 were questioned, found that 40% of children in this age group had experienced back pain. 15% of these parents attributed their child's pain to just one thing - the prolonged use of computers or computerised devices. The research also revealed that nearly three quarters of these children spend between 1 and 4 hours each day using computers, laptops or tablets. Nearly half the parents admitted that their children did not get enough exercise.

In recent months I've noticed a jump in the number of children coming through my door. Most have presented with back pain. Many have overly sedentary lifestyles but some also presented with sporting injuries to their backs or other parts of their bodies. I'm always happier to see children who have pain related to being active as I find that they are more likely to make a quicker and more sustained recovery.

The NHS recommends that children aged 5-18 get at least an hour of exercise a day. Although my children take part in sports teams or clubs, modern life makes it is difficult to achieve at least an hour of exercise every day. Knowing that this is difficult for many families to achieve, the British Chiropractic Association has developed a 3 minute exercise programme called 'Straighten-Up UK'. This is great for adults and children alike. Although it is short and is in no way a substitute for doing some more intense aerobic exercise, it does get most parts of the body stretching and moving on a daily basis. You can get your family to have a go at it by clicking here.

If your child is experiencing back pain or other musculoskeletal pain, then seeing a chiropractor can often help. I offer free initial consultations for children at my clinic in Crosby. Child treatment sessions are also discounted by a third, costing just £20. Treatment is hands on and is modified to make it suitable for the age of the child. When a child's inactive lifestyle is identified as being a contributing factor, advice will also be given to improve posture and address lifestyle issues. Don't let a newly acquired adolescent pain develop into a chronic adult problem. I'm here to help.

Sunday 13 April 2014

The health hazards of sitting

Sitting for too long is not good for us. A recent article in the Washington Post describes some dangers of prolonged sitting.They include:
  • Heart Disease
  • Pancreas Over Activity
  • Muscle Degeneration
  • Circulation Problems
  • Weak Bones
  • Sluggish Brain Function
  • Spinal Problems 
Chiropractors specialise in the treatment of spinal problems and are thereby in a strong position to deal with muscular and skeletal problems in those who have been sedentary for too long. Whether it's a stiff neck or low-back pain chiropractic treatment can provide a viable alternative to the use of painkillers. Treatment is usually very hands on, but will often also include a variety of self-help recommendations, including postural advice, specific exercises and lifestyle guidance. A great way to reduce your sitting is to walk while working by using a treadmill desk. We bought our treadmill desk nearly 12 months ago now and it is still in use for a few hours most days of the week. Hopefully a guest post from Carys will follow soon to summarise how the 1st year of use has gone.

If you are suffering from back or neck problems, Neil at 'Your Back Clinic' will be very happy to help. Appointments can usually be organised so that you are seen within 24 hours. Contact details here.

Friday 14 March 2014

Fast Exercise

A few weeks ago when listening to the radio I heard an interview with Dr Michael Mosley. He was talking about his newly published book, 'Fast Exercise'. The interview was brilliant. It was one of those rare occasions where an interview actually prompted me to buy a product. When I bought the book I quickly realised that it was not going to be a difficult read. It is 208 pages long and includes pictures, diagrams and lots of references.

The book title 'Fast Exercise' is a play on words. The exercise described is fast because it takes very little time and fast because it includes some short periods of fast or high intensity exercise. This form of exercise is sometimes known as 'high-intensity interval training' (HIIT) or simply 'high-intensity training' (HIT).

Research shows that it is possible to get as much (or more) benefit from a short period of exercise which includes several short bursts of intense activity as you can from a longer period of more steady exercise. For instance, when compared to a steady 60 minute exercise session of cycling or jogging, a similar 20 minute exercise session incorporating 4-6 short (approx 30 second) sprints, can in just a few weeks:
                 - Improve lung capacity
                 - Increase cardiac size and strength
                 - Improve insulin sensitivity
                 - Increase weight loss (especially abdominal fat)
                 - Decrease appetite (at least in the short term)

The book is full of well explained supporting research. It also has a section dedicated to high-intensity exercise regimes that can be adopted by the reader.

Since reading the book I have started to change the way I exercise, and I feel good for it.

As a chiropractor I am always pleased to find resources that can help patients improve their health and I'm happy to recommend this book. In an era where many of us are extremely busy, fast exercise may just be one way to get us fitter and healthier, FAST. Click here to buy the book in our local Crosby bookshop.

You can watch a documentary by Dr Michael Mosley on this topic here.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Sugar and the Health of the Nation

Last autumn I came across a YouTube video presented by Dr Lustig, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California in San Francisco. The presentation was called: Sugar: The Bitter Truth. I posted it on my blog in August and many of you may have seen this. In the last few weeks I have
been interested to see that sugar has once again hit the headlines. A new group has been set up called 'Action on Sugar'. This group believes that it is possible to achieve a reduction in sugar consumption of 20 to 30% over the next 3 to 5 years. They plan to lobby the food industry to achieve this change. It is thought that by reducing sugar consumption by around a quarter the obesity epidemic which is being seen across the nation could be halted or even reversed. Such a reduction in obesity would also go a long way to reduce chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Action on Sugar list the sugar content of some commonly eaten foods and drinks. The figures are quite startling. For example:

Coca-Cola Original 330ml: 9 teaspoons of sugar
Heinz classic tomato soup 300g: 4 teaspoons of sugar
Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino with whipped cream with skimmed milk: 11 teaspoons of sugar

Dr Lustig made five recommendations, which if followed can make a big difference to our personal weight and well-being. Over the past five months, I have been very mindful of his recommendations and have been making a concerted effort to implement them. The recommendations were:

1. Get rid of all sugared liquids from your home or work; only drink water or milk.

2. Eat your carbohydrates with fibre (remember, highly processed food often contains little fibre).

3. If you want a second helping, wait 20 minutes first.

4. Buy your screen time (TV, computer, etc) minutes for minute with physical activities (i.e. 30 minutes of surfing the net cost you 30 minutes of exercise or cleaning or walking, etc).

While making an effort to implement these four points, I have found point 3 to be particularly interesting. It is amazing how after eating a meal I can still feel hungry. However if I wait 20 minutes I feel full. This is because it can take 20 minutes for the hormone leptin to feedback to our brains, letting the brain realise that you are no longer hungry. This is a great tip and another reason why it is important to consume our food more slowly, giving the body the opportunity to realise when it has eaten enough.

I also should mention the value of the 4th point. Regular exercise is so important. I have just bought a copy of the new book written by Dr Michael Mosley called 'fast exercise'. As the title suggests, this book is about exercising, fast. Fast as in taking a short time and fast as in high-intensity. I have not completed the book yet, but I'm sure I will talk about it again sometime soon.You may want to get a copy of it yourself.

Find out more about Action on Sugar here.  

Monday 6 January 2014

New Year Tips For A Healthier Back

At the beginning of a new year it’s common for many of us to set resolutions or certain goals that we would like to achieve over the coming year. Last year I set myself the goal of walking the 3 peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. At the end of July I had a free weekend and got lucky with perfect weather. I had a fantastic day out hiking in some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. I was delighted to complete the 25 miles and 3 mountain peaks in 10 hours. This year I’ve a new mountain hiking goal. I hope to be able report the successful achievement of this goal next year.

The setting of goals or resolutions can be helpful to us as we attempt to do something that takes some motivation and requires self-discipline. In my work as a chiropractor in Liverpool, I see people each day with a variety of back problems. These problems often cause considerable pain or disability and almost always have a significant effect on the sufferer’s ability to enjoy life to the full. Fortunately I can provide helpful treatment and advice when back problems do occur - quite often these problems can even be avoided by fostering good habits.

I thought it might be interesting to give some tips for helping to reduce the risk of back pain. They are simple and require some initial self-discipline, but eventually they can become second nature.

Here they are:

1. Exercise regularly; choosing exercise that you enjoy makes it much more likely that you’ll stick to it long term.
2. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time.
3. Try to keep the back straight when bending over by flexing at the hips and knees.
4. Don't sit for too long; 30-40 minutes is usually long enough in one spell.
5. Don't slouch in your seat and use a supportive chair.

None of us get it right all the time, so when things do go wrong, remember I’m right here to help get you back on your feet.