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.

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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!

THE SALI STUDY (SIGNIFICANT ANKLE LIGAMENT INJURY)& DAY FOUR AFTER INJURY…

It’s four days since I went over on my foot and sprained my ankle. Even with crutches the effort of getting up and downstairs on my back side was playing havoc with my low back but today I think I’ve turned the corner.

I’ve managed on one crutch for most of today and could walk down one step at a time on the stairs and got a fairly good nights sleep last night. I knew the crutches would bother my arm and neck but I forgot about the crawling I had done after I went over on my foot and what trouble the stairs could cause me.

I’ve been religiously doing exercises I found online for a sprained ankle as it soon goes stiff but it’s no where near as swollen as I have been using one of my five a day vegetables to freeze the ankle and reduce the swelling 🙂

Over the past 48 hours I’ve kept myself busy by making some new handmade cards. I’ve created some new styles to my usual ones using needlecraft and painting some of them. Do let me know what you think of them?

After I’d seen the nurse at A&E she asked me if I would mind joining a study which is researching the recovery from significant ankle ligament injury’s. The purpose of the study called SALI, is all about Osteoarthritis. I will be sent a questionnaires to fill in shortly after my injury, 3 months, 1 Year, 3 Years, 5 Years, 10 Years and 15 years. The study will help them understand why some people who have an ankle injury go on to develop osteoarthritis, and why others don’t.

Of course I said I was happy to take part as this study will mean I am part of and contributing to a large body of research being conducted within The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis. They said I will be sent updates on the SALI study with a newsletter, and kept up to date with any developments regarding the study, ankle injury prevention and recovery from it, and other news of interest which I can then post on here for others to benefit from.

I really hope I don’t end up developing Osteoarthritis due to this ankle injury and I am now keeping my fingers crossed that my appointment with a spinal consultant on Tuesday will mean that I will soon be booked in for an injection.

HOW TO KEEP POSITIVE WHEN IN CHRONIC PAIN…

With so much going on with myself at the moment I’ve really had to get my mind into creative mode to take my mind off my pain.

I adore making hand made cards but with needing to keep my one bad foot up it’s not possible for me to have all my craft bits out to make my cards. Then today, out of the blue popped up a link to The Positive Planner, The mindful gratitude journal that inspires you daily and encourages mental wellbeing.

The details on the book say The Positive Planner……. The Happy Journal 

The Positive Planner is a traditional journal meets DIY therapist, with sections dedicated to daily reflections, a weekly mood tracker and mindfulness activities as well as everyday organisational extras such as meal planners and shopping lists. It is designed to be a one-stop-shop for organising yourself and most importantly improving your mental health and wellbeing. 

The Positive Planners bright and uplifting yellow colour radiates positivity and the slick designed pages feature inspiration quotes throughout-out along with originally designed cool artwork and illustrations which are perfect for mindful colouring in! 
The positive Planner is a 12 week journal and planner dedicated to self-care. 
Just the lovely bright yellow colour with the the smile on it makes you feel better. The cost is £23.
Other options that I have seen available on Amazon are similar to this one but all slightly different with their content. The Inspire Journal is a bit more of a productivity journal and is written as a DAILY PRODUCTIVITY JOURNAL:- Increase your Productivity, Stay Motivated, Inspired and Committed. Organise your goals and enhance your inner ability to achieve them every day. This one is £24.99 and in a choice of two colours, turquoise or grey brown.
One more similar version of the The Five Minute Journal : A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day, also on Amazon for £13.19
The five minute journal helps you cultivate gratitude. It changes how you feel, alters the actions you take. It’s simple quick and effective to help focus the attention to the good in your life. Improve your mental well-being and feel better everyday with affirmations.

A ROUGH COUPLE OF DAYS…

I guess we all get our share of rough days but mine have definitely exceeded that over the last few days.

As many of you know I am waiting to see a spinal surgeon next week about my constant pain going down my arm from my neck as well as pins and needles down to my middle finger.  Initially, we thought it may have been my ulnar nerve again. I say ‘again’ as I had surgery the year before last for a trapped ulnar nerve which was a total success but they said it can come back even after surgery.

A nerve conduction test showed no problem with the ulnar nerve so I was then sent to have an MRI scan. Those results have shown that I have another disc bulge which is compressing a nerve and giving me the pins and needles and pain and it also showed that I have arthritis in that area.

Mine is definitely in the ‘wear and tear’ category as I have had two previous surgeries on the C3/4 area of my spine which has meant the disc below it has had to do all the work. The worst pain is doing the simplest of things like cleaning my teeth or drying my hair so I am hoping my appointment with a spinal surgeon next week is a success.

The MRI scan also showed a disc bulge at level L3/4 above my previous spinal surgery. I miss the facet joint injections that I had for this but keep myself topped up on my meds. During the last month I’ve had a couple of bad spasms with it which left me completely bent over and unable to straighten but it then settles down.

I also noticed that my foot was becoming more and more numb underneath but never thought anything else about it until yesterday when I stood up and it completely gave way and I went over on my foot, not once but twice. The pain was so acute I thought I was going to throw up.

Last night we iced and elevated it but I was unable to stand on it and could only get from a to b on my hands and knees which played havoc with my neck. After a terrible nights sleep we decided I should pop to A&E and get it checked out.

I am now on crutches and have the foot strapped up as I have a bad sprain but fortunately no break. The only problem is that a sprain can take as long as a break to heal so at the moment I am following the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) routine and hope it settles sooner rather than later.

They have told me I should mention to my spinal consultant what has happened with the foot and the numbness as this could definitely be related to my lumber spine.