IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND COVID-19 : WHY SLEEP COULD HELP…

We all know how important sleep is to our health but at the moment we need our immune system working overtime. The immune system is particularly boosted during ‘slow wave sleep‘, the first and third night when we sleep deeply according to The Telegraph.

So, sleep could really help when it comes to COVID-19 as it could stave it off and also minimise the symptoms when it hits. The Telegraph says that ‘while it’s too early for any studies to have been done on the effects of sleep on this particular coronavirus (Covid-19), in 2015 researchers in the US deliberately infected 164 volunteers with the rhinovirus (common cold). They found that the people who slept less than six hours a night were four times more likely to develop cold symptoms than the ones who slept for seven hours or more.’

When you are asleep your body builds up energy, fixing and repairing but the immune system is particularly boosted during ‘slow wave sleep’, the first and third of the night when we sleep deeply when your body can make infection-fighting cells and proteins called antibodies that help defend against illness. Your body releases certain proteins that help the immune system called cytokines, only during sleep.

Not getting enough sleep can also make you more likely to catch viruses or germs.

Healthline added ‘Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and now researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells.

“T cells are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,” Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study, told Healthline.

The study found a new mechanism through which sleep can assist the immune system.

Kimberley Hardin, MD, director of the sleep medicine fellowship program at the University of California Davis, says many people take good sleep for granted.

“People underestimate the importance of sleep, and less than seven hours per night on a regular basis has negative effects. It essentially creates a fight-or-flight state, with increased stress hormones and release of adrenaline,” she told Healthline.

So, rest up everyone, if you can’t get those hours in at night then try resting in the day even if it’s outside in the sunshine. Just get as many zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz as possible.

DIARY – COPING WITH COVID-19 WHILE IN CHRONIC PAIN…

For many of us in chronic pain just trying to keep in control of it can be an uphill daily battle but with the COVID-19 here it makes it twice as hard.

We have been in self-isolation for two weeks now after our children felt we were in the high risk category. For me, they felt I was high risk due to the amount of drugs I take and chest infections I’ve had in the past and for my husband because he is in his late 70’s.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 the government stressed over 70’s in particular were high risk so we felt sure we had done the right thing but it has been quite a struggle. Although “I” would probably have been ok popping into our local shop with gloves and mask on, I don’t think my husband should do this so then we have a problem. I never go into the supermarket without someone as I can’t bend to get certain things, shouldn’t stretch for anything and couldn’t pack or lift the shopping bags so it means we need the home deliveries.

Our first delivery which we had booked ages ago came last Thursday and we had a local green grocers who dropped of fresh fruit and vegetables but since then it’s been my daily task to try and get another slot with a supermarket.

During the week I get up first and make us a cuppa then take it back upstairs to start our day so my morning started with me going straight onto the websites to see if there are any delivery slots or even click and collect slots but so far no joy.

I also decided last week that I was determined to “get fit, not fat” and told my husband I wanted to lose a pound a week which if all goes to plan would mean a 12 pound weight loss over the 12 week isolation.

In my diary most of my days in the first week were spent catching up on washing and ironing as I have to pace myself for this and I definitely spent a lot of time online reading and watching videos about COVID-19. You can’t help it really, it’s so new to us all. I also decided I was going to re write my Complimentary Therapies book as I have so much more information and contacts I want to put in it but I have to admit that at the time of writing this all I have done so far is to download the old pdf to decide where to start.

We also go on a daily walk as we are lucky enough to have access to several South Downs walks from the back of our house. My new Joya Shoes have certainly taken a battering over the last two weeks but I feel so much more confident and secure walking in them. One day we did walk just over 5000 steps and although I thought I was fine I was in a lot of pain when I got home so we have planned our routes much better now.

Every day I fill in my C-19 health questionnaire from the symptom checker app which I wrote about on a post last week. Check the post out as you really should do this and it’s very easy to fill in and download. I am sure like me that some of the symptoms for COVID-19 we endure ever day so we just have to understand the important symptoms.

I had one day where I spent the morning looking for low fat biscuit and cake recipes and had an afternoon before and after my rest making sugar free cookies, apple and blueberry crumble made with oats and a fat free and sugar free fruit cake for my husband.

After my rest every afternoon I would try and get a slot from a supermarket but I still haven’t managed it and with the governments new criteria for vulnerable and elderly my husband just didn’t seem to fit in their list so this morning I decided to phone our GP to see if they had sent the letter they keep saying you will receive. The GP said they have nothing to do with that it’s the government bodies that deal with it (which seemed a bit strange to me) but which means we cannot get any ‘special case’ slots.

It’s now beginning to become quite a chore doing the same thing twice a day to find a slot but I won’t give up. Our local vegetable shop has now become so busy they won’t deliver for another week but I found a butcher in another village who would deliver where we are so I managed to get a few bits from him. I also had a card through the door from someone living near us offering help with shopping or picking scripts up etc so I asked her if she could pick up our scripts from the chemist today and pop in the local shop for some bread, milk and eggs. She had kindly dropped the food bits before we were even dressed this morning and is dropping the scripts off later for us.

I am on the waiting list to join the chemist delivery service and I had to wait a little longer for my paracetamol as they had sold out but if I can sort home delivery it will be another one off my list to stop worrying about. I kept wondering where the hours disappear to in a day but I can see after writing this just how much time is spent online. The mixed up weather over the last couple of weeks has caused a few flares but as long as I get my afternoon rest I am usually fine. I did wonder if I should try and manage without the paracetamol in case I caught the virus and needed it then but having only recently got myself down to 50mg Tramadol and paracetamol I don’t want to need to start taking it again.

I’m sure once I have a supermarket slot booked in my diary I will be able to concentrate on sorting my book out but at the moment that just seems to preoccupy my mind 24/7. How are you coping in isolation with your chronic pain? However you are managing the main thing is to stay safe. Ending on a good note, I’ve lost one pound on week one of my 12 week weight loss plan so I am very happy with that.

The beautiful view 5 mins across the fields from our front door.

TOP 6 THERAPY TOOLS YOU ALREADY OWN…

US chiropractors aren’t a fancy lot, we don’t need a great deal to do what we do. Fingers, elbows, a bed, knowledge of anatomy. That’s about all we need to start the healing process, but what about you guys who want to do a bit of self massage? It’s impossible to dig your own elbows into the knots in your back, so what are you supposed to do? Well, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that you already own all the tools you need to be your very own self massage therapist!

These everyday things you’ve been walking past are actually secret therapy tools, so get to using them!

Doorframe…

I bet you’ve never looked at a doorframe and seen the hidden massage therapist in there, have you? Well, go take a closer look because they are waiting for you and they’re great for the shoulder girdle. Some of the biggest muscles in your body are your lats – your back muscles – and these can get an amazing stretch from a doorway.

Stretch that back

This is a great stretch as the muscles it affects start down at the tailbone and run up across the back, meaning that this one stretch can impact on a large area.

Doorways are great because you can also stretch the front! If you’ve been slumped at a desk all day then you probably have tight chest muscles, here’s how to stretch them.

The further through the doorway you go the better stretch

You can really improve this stretch by trying to squeeze your arm across your chest, your arm won’t go anywhere because there’s a doorway stopping you (unless you’re the hulk…), but holding that squeeze for 3 seconds means you’ll be able to move forward and get a deeper stretch when you relax.

Chair…

Chairs have a lot of making up to do. We slouch in them, we sleep on them and they generally give us more problems than they solve, so here’s how to even the score. If doorways are great for the upper body, then chairs are great for the legs! There are lots of stretches you can do on a chair, such as…

Hamstrings

You can also stretch your glutes on a chair too,

Just lean forward from here to get a great stretch.

These are all very easy to do if you aren’t very mobile for whatever reason and make the positions easy to get into, as well as helping to even the score against chairs.

Bed…

This one is the same as the chair, but it can be easier to get into these positions on a bed with it being higher up. Also, here’s an extra stretch you can do on the chair too.

Put your back foot on the bed to get a very deep stretch. Be careful with this one, use the bed to stabilise yourself with the back foot on the floor first to see how much of a stretch you need.

Rolling pin…

A rolling pin is an absolutely essential tool for anyone who wants to perform self massage and yes, you are going to treat your muscles like dough. Your thigh muscles will really benefit from this, so just straighten your legs out and get to rollin’! Go slowly and vary the pressure on yourself, some parts will be more tender than others. The sore parts need extra attention, but can’t take as much pressure, so take your time with it and go easy.

Tennis/golf ball…

These underrated tools are some of the best out there and I have a bag of golf balls up in my bedroom for when I need a quick self massage session. These can provide a smaller, more pointed surface area than the rolling pin. Whilst the pin is great for broad, sweeping strokes, the ball gets much more specific, so if you have an area that just won’t relax, try digging the ball in instead. However, it will be painful. It shouldn’t be, so the level of discomfort you feel is directly proportional to how much you need the work doing. A tennis ball is for beginners and the golf ball is for more experienced people.

Hands…

So obvious you almost forgot them, right? Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself a good rubdown. Use your own hands and get your knuckles deep into the muscle, paying extra attention to the parts that are sore.

So there you go, that’s a great start to becoming your own self massage therapist. Some things can be hard to do or to reach on your own, such as your back, so if these tools aren’t helping you hit the spot correctly, then come and visit me or someone in your area. You can also check out my review of Kelly Starrett’s book and see about picking it up, he’s written a masterpiece on how to be your own therapist.

An article from Calm Body Chiropractic

SELF DIAGNOSING BACK PAIN…

The most common type of back pain that people suffer from is often acute back pain. This is pain that’s severe and happens out of nowhere, or at least it seems that way. In reality, there’s often a trigger that caused the pain, and you’ll be able to remedy the problem once you figure out what it is.

Chronic back pain, however, is recurrent and can last for weeks or months, and sometimes even longer. It’s usually related to diseases such as osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, etc. The severity of your back pain usually dictates whether you’ll see a doctor or not. Most people with mild back pain, tend to just wait things out and rest. While this is understandable, if the pain is nagging and doesn’t go away, you must see a doctor as soon as possible so that any possible problems can be treated in the early stages, before it turns into some chronic.

SUDDEN ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

If you have sudden onset back pain, this could be due to an injury or a fall, or a strain. In some cases, the pain may only show up a day after the event, so you may have forgotten about it.

For example, if you strained your back while moving the couch, your lower back may start to throb or hurt a day later. By then you may have forgotten about the couch and be wondering why your back hurts. So, you’ll need to think back.

This is just one example. Working out at the gym, braking suddenly while driving, or even bumps to the back can cause back pain. In these cases, some pain killers and rest will suffice.

Usually, lifting heavy objects or twisting your trunk may cause sudden onset back pain. The facet joints get temporarily out of alignment and this will cause the joint to get inflamed. The surrounding soft tissues and muscles will get swollen and hurt. You may need to see a doctor.

GRADUAL ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

Another type of back pain is one that starts gradually. Sciatica is one such issue. If you have pain that’s located between your lower back and glutes, you might be suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Pregnant women whose backs are strained will also display similar symptoms.

Another serious gradual onset of back pain arises when there is inflammation in the sacroiliac joints. In cases like these, you must see a doctor. Numbness around your back and buttocks, loss of bladder control, pain during bowel movements, etc. are all signs of back issues that require professional medical attention.

CHRONIC BACK PAIN…

With these types of back pain, it may seem like there’s no cause. The pain may come and go away. It’s episodic, recurrent and not as severe as acute back pain.

Usually, chronic back pain arises due to poor posture that takes a toll on the joints and muscles over time. Correcting your posture will remedy the problem. It could also be due to ageing, where your joints suffer wear and tear.

If the pain is persistent or worsens, there may be inflammation. It’ll be best to see a doctor.

These are the 3 types of back pain that generally affect most people. What you really need to know is that when assessing your pain, you must be honest with yourself. If the pain is getting worse, do not bury your head in the sand and expect it to go away. Keep a diary so you can explain in detail about your pain should you need to see a GP.