OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT : HOW FOOT CARE CAN HELP OTHER AREAS OF THE BODY…

Many of us will be on our feet each day, and yet they can be one part of our body that gets the least pampering and attention. We rely on our feet to get us from one place to the other, and to still look amazing in pretty little peep toe shoes. But, according to articles on reflexology, our health can have much to do with certain zones of our feet, which is why it may be worth spending some time and showing them a little love every now and again. Taking care of your feet to avoid any other health problems could help other parts of your body feel less strain. With that in mind, here are some of the things to consider.

ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF A FOOT SPA…

A foot spa is actually a very relaxing piece of equipment, and can not only help you relax but can be a tool to help you get your feet in better condition. The massage jets can stimulate circulation in your feet and also help to soften up hard skin on the soles of your feet. You don’t need to head to your local spa for this, although that can be a nice treat, but you can actually by home versions which are just as good. It means you can take advantage of it any time you like. 

BE AWARE OF HEALTH PROBLEMS WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR FEET…

As we are on our feet a lot, and take advantage of getting from one place to another, we can often not realise that you could have ongoing health problems with them. Pain in certain areas of the foot, pins and needles regularly, numbness or just aches. From things like Morton’s Neuroma to Plantar Facititas it is worth recognising when it is a normal ache and pain and when something is a little more serious. Pain in your feet can travel up your legs and spine, so it is definitely worth getting things treated before they end up worse than what they started as. Something I have suffered from in the past.

AVOID SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN GET INFECTIONS…

There is always a chance that you may get some sort of infection in your feet. One of the most common is athlete’s foot and this can be contracted by being around someone who is already infected, or simply having something damp on your feet like wet socks or shoes. It isn’t always pleasant, but it can be treated. There are some great tips and ideas online. 

TAKE SOME CARE WITH YOUR TOE NAILS…

While you need to take care of your feet you also need to consider the condition of your toe nails, they can also get infections if you are not careful. Not cleaning out toes nails or letting them grow imperfectly can cause huge damage in the long-term. This can lead on to toe nail fungus or ingrown toenails which left untreated can be extremely painful. Always ensure that you cut your nails down correctly and keep your nails in good condition. 

Let’s hope these tips help you to take better care of your feet.

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TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID COMMON CAUSES OF BACK PAIN…

So many things can cause you back pain, in fact far to many to list but I found a few tips on how to avoid the most common causes of back pain.

Standing incorrectly I suppose is an obvious one but they say that if you can avoid leaning while standing (against a wall or similar) and do not stand on one leg as this can create muscle imbalances.

Sitting incorrectly while driving can soon cause back pain, they suggest that you should raise your seat up until your hips are level with your knees. Raise it higher if you can’t see clearly out the windshield or windows. Don’t drive with your hips lower than your knees. If your car doesn’t have a control to adjust the seat height, then sit on a cushion to help keep your hips level with your knees. I have a coccyx cushion in my car and my husbands car and could not last a journey without one.

For women they say your bra is very important, which is something I have written a little bit about before. Apparently London’s Royal Free Hospital says that 100% of women who want a breast reduction is because they are suffering from back pain and most of them were found to be wearing the wrong sized bra. I think its easier now as most department stores have fully trained staff to measure you properly.

Sitting at your computer is a very important one. They say its because you have to lean forward or stretch out with your arms, both of which can cause back ache. To stop this happening they recommend that you set your keyboard so you rest your arms on the desk to use it, and your screen so that your head is straight when you look at it. My son bought me a special ergonomic key board and computer mouse for when I sit at my desk and worked out the correct height for my laptop which sits on some books and I do feel I can sit a little longer now that is right.

They also say sitting too much can cause back pain as apparently when you sit down, the load going through your discs is increased threefold so they recommend that you move regularly, ideally every 20 minutes. Well I’m afraid I do sit most of the time but my legs are always horizontal ( not sure if that helps) but as I do get uncomfortable often I do have to move around quite a bit so hopefully at least I am doing that right.

Low vitamin D levels was quite a shock for me as I haven’t once been told to take any form of supplement for my back. They say it is because deficiencies in the sunshine vitamin D are now strongly linked to back pain which they say is because insufficient vitamin D makes surfaces on your spine soft and spongy, which then irritates the nerves. Their top tip is to take a supplement of vitamin D.

One for the girls ( and some boys) they say high heels causes back pain due to the way they tilt your pelvis forward, they suggest alternate heel heights so no need to throw all those beautiful heels away, just don’t wear them all the time.

Some of the most obvious things to avoid as they can cause back pain are:

  • Lifting incorrectly
  • Overstretching during lifting, bending or twisting
  • Bad posture
  • Poor sleeping position or a sagging mattress
  • Lack of exercise

With increased risk factors of back pain being:

  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking

SCIATICA PAIN AND THE TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR THIS CONDITION…

A lot of people suffer from sciatica pain which is pain along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, down the buttock and down the back of your legs. I have suffered from it for some years. After my first spinal surgery, it went altogether but over the last twelve months, it has come back and is a lot more painful than last time.

However, it could also be a number of other problems that also cause pain down the leg. As well as the pain in sciatica you could also have numbness, tingling and burning/prickling. You can have a shooting pain or a constant pain with the worst pain in the leg and which gets worse when you are sitting.

Other problems that can cause pain down your leg are joint problems, such as arthritis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It could also be a lumbar herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or isthmic spondylolisthesis. Treatments are specific to the individual and the cause of the sciatic pain.

Treatments can vary from rest, ice/heat therapy, medications, epidural steroids, manipulation, physical therapy, exercise and as a last resort surgery.

The sciatica pain relief cushion is another option to help with the pain and one I use in my car and my home.

They say that although sciatica can be extremely painful and even debilitating, it rarely ends in permanent damage. Whatever your type of back/leg pain you are experiencing it is important to get a proper diagnosis from your GP or spine specialist.

At NRS Healthcare, they are experts in ‘daily living aids’. These are products designed to help people who are finding everyday activities difficult due to mobility problems or healthcare conditions. They have a range of products that may provide help for sciatica symptoms, encourage a better sitting or lying posture and ensure you can carry out tasks in greater comfort. Here are a selection of sciatica aids you may find useful:

Seat Wedge – to keep your spine in its natural position

Car Seat Wedge – to provide lower back support when driving

Back Support – to aid posture in a car or chair

Knee Pillow – to sleep more comfortably

Bed Wedge – to aid rest and sleep

High Back Chair – with lumbar support can help you sit more comfortably

Rise and Recline Chair – may help if you have difficulty getting in and out of a standard armchair

Wobble Cushion – to help improve posture and reduce stress on the lower back

Exercise Bands – can help with stretching and resistive exercises

Sciatica Relief Cushion – reduces pressure on the base of the spine

Sacroiliac Joint Support Belt – can help avoid problems when lifting and support your back

Gardening Trolley – to help avoid lifting equipment in the garden

Long Handled Gardening Tools – to help if you have difficulty bending down

If you are unsure which sciatica aids may provide relief for you, contact your GP.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU IGNORE BACK PAIN?…

 

What happens if you ignore back pain? They say that up to 7% of people with acute back pain will develop chronic back pain.

If your back pain started after a simple movement, like picking up a book from the floor then it’s possible you could have a slipped disc or a joint problem in your spine.

However, back pain is second only to headaches as the most common location of pain so it could be a simple strain.

They say that many people who lead sedentary lives suffer back pain, or have inherited a genetic susceptibility to back pain.

Of course there are other conditions that can cause back pain. Severe intermittent back pain that goes down to your groin, could indicate that you have kidney stones. Pain in the middle of your back, which becomes worse after eating, could indicate a stomach ulcer. Neighbouring organs problematic? Back pain can also be the result of abscesses, blood clots or tumours in other organs near the spine.

People working in a job that causes vibration like a truck driver can also suffer from back pain. It is a fact that in a two-week period of time, between 25 – 33% of all adults get some form of back pain, so you are far from being on your own.

Back pain became a part of life when humans started walking upright, rather than on all fours. The vertebrae were never really designed to deal with walking upright.

You have to remember that the spine, is like a central scaffolding for the rest of the body. The skull, the ribs, the pelvis and the limbs are attached to it.

In about 85% of acute back pain cases, the exact cause cannot be identified. But the spine is so strong that it can withstand the pressure of hundreds of kilograms.

Always look after your scaffolding and visit your GP if you have any problems before it becomes chronic and remember the Red alert. When certain conditions, are present together with back pain, such as loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness, pins and needles, rapid weight loss, a history of cancer, or drug use, pain unrelated to movement, you should go straight to hospital or phone for an Ambulance.

One of the best sites for up to date research and articles is The British Pain Society which has articles on all things related to pain including pain management programs and pain clinics in the UK.

HEALTH BLOG AWARDS NOMINATIONS, PLEASE VOTE FOR ME…

My blog has been nominated again this year for a Health Blog Awards UK & IRE shortlist for Best Chronic Illness and Recovery Blog – whoop !!

The Health Blogger Awards recognise the blogs that help others to understand their own health better, turn to for reliable information or to better understand their condition. They aim to highlight the important role that bloggers play in health and the insight and information they share.

Votes count for 30% of the final decision so the more the better! People can vote for as many bloggers as they like by simply submitting another vote – but they can only vote once for the same blogger. Duplicate votes will be detected and discarded. Voting will close on 24th June, 2019.

This vote is a chance for the public and people who know me to vote for me to win the award. The shortlist will then be passed on to our panel of judges who will share their thoughts and cast their votes. Judges vote counts for 70%.

This is the link to vote for me at Health Bloggers – If you want to vote for me please press start then just write in your first name then your email address. Then scroll down and click on (a) Best Chronic Illness and you will see my photo under (b) (for Barbara, obviously lol) and that’s it, your vote will be added.

Thanks in advance for anyone who has gone to the trouble of voting for me.