ANOTHER LOVELY AWARD FOR BACK PAIN UK…

My lovely blog friend Terri from Reclaiming Hope, nominated me for a new blog award which Pamela Jensen from There is Always Hope has created.

Terri writes a lovely blog on learning how to thrive, not just survive, with Fibromyalgia. Terri is a regular visitor to my blog and always writes lovely enthusiastic comments on my blog posts. Her Wellness Wednesday posts are full of tips to improve or inspire you with the odd recipe thrown in every now and again.

When I started writing my blog back on 2007 it was a way of me writing down how I felt on my bad and good days and I soon found solace in my blog friends and have never looked back since. It still amazes me how I can have blog friends from all over the world. Receiving an award like this just makes it even more worthwhile. If Terri had not nominated it for me and someone else had Terri would have been on the top of my list to award her with one. Many thanks Terri, you know how chuffed I am.

The Chronically Hopeful Award is, in Pamela’s words, “to recognize the incredible people who blog about chronic illness, mental health. ”

Here are the rules:

• Thank your nominator

• Recognize Pamela from There Is Always Hope as the creator of this award with a link.

• Use the Chronically Hopeful Award logo somewhere in your post

• Copy these rules onto your post

• Answer your nominator’s questions

• Write 5-10 of your own questions (they don’t need to be illness related)

• Nominate 5-10 other chronic illness, mental illness, or disability bloggers

• Comment on each of your nominees’ latest posts to tell them they have been nominated

Terri’s questions to me...

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your blog.

That it doesn’t matter where you are in the world the chances are you will get to know someone through your blogging who is going through the same as you

If you could tell people ONE thing about living with a chronic illness, mental illness or disability, what would you want the general public to know???

Never, ever, ever give up hope. I have a tile in my bathroom which has this written on it.

Why did you decide to start your blog/advocacy work?

I felt very lonely and didn’t have anyone to talk to about my conditions and started looking online (back in 2007) and found out all about blogs and I was hooked from the word go.

What is one thing you’re really good at?  Don’t be modest — tell us something you have a talent for!

Talking, I hardly ever stop. 😀

What do you like to do for enjoyment?

Blog (obviously) make gift cards, knit, and short breaks in the UK.

My nominees, all of whom I think deserve this award are…

Beverley Dickson from Blooming Mindfulness

Lee Good from Fibroblogger Directory

Carole Sian Scranton from Fibro Flutters

Poise and Prescence from Alexander Technique

Cindy from Validating Chronic Pain –

Claire Saul from Pain Pals Blog

My questions for my nominees are

1. How long do you spend blogging and do you blog daily?

2. What got you into blogging?

3. What three things do you love about Sunday’s?

4. Dog or cat?

5. Heat of cold when you are in pain?

Advertisements

PLEASE OFFER ME A SEAT AVAILABLE IN CERTAIN AREAS…

In the event that you battle to stand while using open transport, there is a free identification badge which enables you to alarm others that you need a seat.

A considerable number of people have conditions or a sickness but have nothing to show about there condition are in need of a seat on all forms of transport. With this badge you don’t have to clarify your purpose behind the badge but you should be offered a seat.

Around 78 per cent of people who carry the TfL badge say that they now find it a lot easier to get a seat on the bus or Tube. But this is a London-centred scheme. With more than one in six people in the UK have an ‘activity limiting’ condition, accounts from across the UK generally paint a picture of inaccessibility and discomfort on public transport for those with invisible conditions.

If you see someone with a badge or card and you are seated, they say you should stand and offer them your seat. While there are priority seats on public transport, they would like to encourage all customers in any seat, to be considerate and offer their seat to those that are less able to stand.

I am surprised it has taken so long for this to be developed but just reading the difference it has made to people suffering from MS, cancer, being pregnant, to name a few. I just hope it won’t be long before other councils follow suit. If your council has launched this please let us know in a comment for others to take advantage of it.

Not all local councils cover this badge but it might be just worth writing to yours if you cannot find anything online. The ones I found were London, Greater Manchester, and Network West Midlands.

IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN NECK CONDITIONS AND FIBROMYALGIA?…

Having had two previous cervical surgeries and suffering a great deal with neck pain this year, it was fascinating to read an article on Pinterest which said ‘ Is there a link between neck conditions and fibromyalgia ?’

The website ‘Upper Cervical Awareness‘ says there has been some interesting research that may point toward a link between fibromyalgia and problems in the neck. According to researchers in Germany, there is a higher incidence of neck and jaw problems in patients with fibromyalgia.

The 555 patients in the study were all experiencing either neck problems, jaw issues, or both. Of the 555, 63% met the criteria for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In fact, 83% of the patients with fibromyalgia were experiencing facial asymmetry.

I have to say that I do not suffer from any jaw problems just my neck and cervical spine.

Upper Cervical Awareness point out that although the study didn’t comment on the reason for the link, researchers recommended ‘a multidisciplinary approach to care that addresses neck and jaw problems. ‘

They go on to explain that when the top bone of the neck (atlas) is out of alignment, even by a fraction of a millimeter, it can affect the surrounding structures such as the muscles and other soft tissue of the neck and face. As a result, many people with an atlas misalignment experience either neck pain, face pain, jaw problems, or other similar symptoms.’

As a teenager I suffered a lot with what Fibrositis ( now fibromyalgia ) and it’s really strange that my pain was mainly cervical pain at that stage. My lumber pain started with a slipped disc which then became prolapsed over the years but reading through the lines of this article I feel I was definitely starting with fibromyalgia (as it’s called today) way back then.

Without these studies, even if some prove nothing we will not be able to truly understand all about fibromyalgia and when people first started suffering from it and what their first symptoms were.

As Upper Cervical Awareness point out ‘clearly, it is worth looking into an atlas misalignment as the underlying source of fibromyalgia symptoms.’

HOW A HYGGE LIFESTYLE CAN HELP PEOPLE IN CHRONIC PAIN …

If your knew to the latest trend in a Hygge Lifestyle then it’s easy to explain.

Hygge, is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. As a cultural category with its sets of associated practices hygge has more or less the same meanings in Danish and Norwegian, but the notion is more central in Denmark than Norway. Wikipedia

Nearly every paper that I pick up today has at least one article on HYGGE and how it is influencing people all over the world to enjoy this type of lifestyle.

Being happy and content with your life is how the Danish lead their everyday life which isn’t really practised in Britain, and yet most of us would love to lead this way of life.

So, how can you enjoy a Hygge lifestyle? Well, it all starts off with what you have around you. Are you surrounded by clutter, is your room full of bits and pieces that you keep meaning to go through? If so then start by going through all your clutter one room at a time. Don’t try and clear every room straight away as you will probably give up immediately. Work on one room at a time and then you will see how wonderful you feel with the decluttered regime.

Now, look at your colours. What colours are in your room, could it do with a little more light or a complete make-over. First things first, look at what is letting the light into your room. What sort of curtains or blinds do you have up? What sort of lighting have you?

These simple steps of changing a rooms curtains/blinds and lighting could completely alter the theme of your room. So much so that you might not need to give it a complete make-over you may be quite happy with the paint colour or decide to just change one wall to a lighter colour. If you look at any book or website on Hygge you will immediately see how the right colours and lights can change a room completely.

Finish the room with the right accessories. It’s amazing how accessories even down to the right plants can completely change the look of your room.

Some of my favourite websites with Hygge living ideas are Pinterest, Houzz and Hyggestyle.

Other ways to enjoy a Hygge way of living and help your pain is to think about your favourite movie or tv show and watch it again. It you have a favourite book that made you feel good then read it again. Sometimes just curling up with a good book can make you feel better.

Eating healthy food can fill you with anti-inflammatory benefits but every now and then we crave a plate of comfort food or a warm cup of tea. If this doesn’t become a habit then treat yourself to something special.

While enjoying re-watching your favourite movie or reading your favourite book while enjoying some comfort food make sure you are sitting comfortably in light weight clothes and cozy socks and wrap yourself in a soft blanket the Hygge way. Turn your laptop onto silent and if you have a crock pot fill it with something nice to enjoy for dinner later. It makes me feel relaxed just writing this down.

ONE SIMPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGE THAT CAN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE YOUR BACK PAIN…

One simple lifestyle change that can significantly reduce your back pain is a guest post from Tavistock Clinic in Crawley.

None of us are strangers to back pain.

It’s the leading cause of disability in the UK. In addition, 80% of the population experience back pain at one stage or another in their life and it is one of the most common causes for absence days at work.

Back pain is often a mystery. The reason being, it can be caused by such a wide variety of reasons.

You may twist your back whilst reaching something on the floor, and the pain is caused by overstretching the muscle. You may have had a car accident, where the pain is caused due to the physical impact to the muscle. You may even be getting back pain from emotional trauma or certain foods that you react to unknowingly.

Many of us also know the importance of ‘bending at the knees’ and not your back when lifting items.

This is staple (and correct) advice that everyone should follow. The notion is that you should use your leg muscles to pick something up off the floor, instead of putting the pressure into your back.

There’s something missing though: what about all the things you pick up from that mid-range area, between the knees and torso region?

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone in a squat position whilst lifting something off the kitchen counter, dining table, or when putting dishes into the dishwasher.

The vast majority of ‘bending’ we do is at the mid-line level – where squatting by the legs simply does not cross our minds, nor is it practical, or swift enough.

Yet, we still put the pressure into our backs, and not into our legs. How do we resolve this?

In truth, there is another posture of bending that everyone needs to know about, but no one actually does… yet.

‘Hip hinging’ is bending by your knees and ‘hinging’ by your hips at the same time.

It means you still get to bend down from your back and reach down (from the bend in the knees), without having to do a full squat (with your back perfectly upright) but without any undue stress into your spine.

Buffalo Rehab provides a picture-perfect demonstration of the difference between a normal pick up and a hip hinge:

Picture number 1 on this image slide is how the vast majority of people would pick something up from knee level.

Picture number 2 on this image slide shows the perfect position of lifting. You can see I the back is almost horizontal, which may make you think it’s terrible for the spine.

Picture number 3 offers a separate alternative of lifting, also known as the golfers’ grip, which is still safer for your spine than the first picture.

The question should always be, however, ‘why is the spine in that position?’

In picture number 1, the spine is bent because the spine itself and the spinal muscles are folding forward (flexing).

In picture number 2, the spine is not actually bent at all – it’s straight (no, it’s not an illusion!).

The reason it’s horizontal is that the hips are hinged forward.

This is a perfectly normal and safe movement for the hip to do, and when you lift an item from the ground the force goes into the hip and back of the legs primarily, with less stress on the lower and upper back.

There are a number of examples in the professional sporting and exercise world that demonstrates the importance of the hip hinge.

Whenever you see someone doing a squat in the gym, if done correctly, they will be hip hinging:

The same goes for if you are doing one of the staple back strengthening exercises, the deadlift:

Many people think this exercise is dangerous because you are not specifically ‘bending by the knees’ as much as you would think, but the truth is the spine is completely neutral in this position, so the stress is primarily on the hip and legs, where it is supposed to be.

At Tavistock Clinic we offer physiotherapy in Crawley and we advise strongly to every one of our sports and exercise clients to ensure they are hip hinging both during their rehabilitation from injury but as well as part of their prehabilitation to minimise the chance of future injuries. 

So how do you learn to do the hip hinge?

The PTDC demonstrates, through use of video, a series of highly effective exercises to help you make the hip hinge second nature for you as much as possible.

With these exercises and awareness of your hip and spinal posture during any lifting activity, you are much more likely to save your spine in the future and prevent unnecessary and potentially severe back pain.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and informative. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly on kulraj@tavistockclinic.com

Happy Hip Hinging!