As many new mothers can attest, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. The average weight gain of 10 to 15 kilograms, combined with the increased stress placed on the body by the baby, may result in severe discomfort. Studies have found that about half of all expectant mothers will develop low-back pain at some point during their pregnancies. This is especially true during late pregnancy, when the baby’s head presses down on a woman’s back, legs, and buttocks, irritating her sciatic nerve. And for those who already suffer from low-back pain, the problem can become even worse.
During pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity almost immediately begins to shift forward to the front of her pelvis. Although a woman’s sacrum-or posterior section of the pelvis-has enough depth to enable her to carry a baby, the displaced weight still increases the stress on her joints. As the baby grows in size, the woman’s weight is projected even farther forward, and the curvature of her lower back is increased, placing extra stress on the spinal disks. In compensation, the normal curvature of the upper spine increases, as well.
While these changes sound dramatic, pregnancy hormones help loosen the ligaments attached to the pelvic bones. But even these natural changes designed to accommodate the growing baby can result in postural imbalances, making pregnant women prone to having awkward trips and falls.
What Can You Do?
- Safe exercise during pregnancy can help strengthen your muscles and prevent discomfort. Try exercising at least three times a week, gently stretching before and after exercise. If you weren’t active before your pregnancy, check with your doctor before starting or continuing any exercise.
- Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are relatively safe cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women because they do not require jerking or bouncing movements. Jogging can be safe for women who were avid runners before becoming pregnant-if done carefully and under a doctor’s supervision.
- Be sure to exercise in an area with secure footing to minimize the likelihood of falls. Your heart rate should not exceed 140 beats per minute during exercise. Strenuous activity should last no more than 15 minutes at a time.
- Stop your exercise routine immediately if you notice any unusual symptoms, such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, nausea, weakness, blurred vision, increased swelling, or heart palpitations
Health and Safety
- Wear flat, sensible shoes. High or chunky heels can exacerbate postural imbalances and make you less steady on your feet, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
- When picking up children, bend from the knees, not the waist. And never turn your head when you lift. Avoid picking up heavy objects, if possible.
- Get plenty of rest. Pamper yourself and ask for help if you need it. Take a nap if you’re tired, or lie down and elevate your feet for a few moments when you need a break.
Pregnancy Ergonomics: Your Bed and Desk
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees to take pressure off your lower back. Full-length “body pillows” or “pregnancy wedges” may be helpful. Lying on your left side allows unobstructed blood flow and helps your kidneys flush waste from your body.
- If you have to sit at a computer for long hours, make your workstation ergonomically correct. Position the computer monitor so the top of the screen is at or below your eye level, and place your feet on a small footrest to take pressure off your legs and feet. Take periodic breaks every 30 minutes with a quick walk around the office.
- Eat small meals or snacks every four to five hours-rather than the usual three large meals-to help keep nausea or extreme hunger at bay. Snack on crackers or yogurt-bland foods high in carbohydrates and protein. Keep saltines in your desk drawer or purse to help stave off waves of “morning sickness.”
- Supplementing with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day before and during pregnancy has been shown to decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. Check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or herbal supplement to make sure it’s safety for you and the baby.
How Can Your Doctor of Chiropractic Help?
Before you become pregnant, your doctor of chiropractic can detect any imbalances in the pelvis or elsewhere in your body that could contribute to pregnancy discomfort or possible neuromusculoskeletal problems after childbirth.
Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for the pregnant woman and her baby and can be especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain. Doctors of chiropractic can also offer nutrition, ergonomic, and exercise advice to help a woman enjoy a healthy pregnancy.
Chiropractic care can also help after childbirth. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state-to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.
Yours in healthcare
The aging process unfortunately comes for everyone, a major concern however is especially for women and their bone health. Through aging there are many risks and one of them is osteoporosis (porous bone) also known as a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue.
Osteopenia and Osteoporosis put women in danger of bone fractures, in particular hip fractures. One way to combat and slow the effects of Osteoporosis is through calcium supplementation. Calcium is important for women who have family members with issues of bone tissue loss and low bone mass. Calcium is required on a regular daily basis, not only for healthy bones but also for healthy teeth, proper function of the heart, muscles and nerves in the body. The body cannot produce calcium, it must be consumed through food and supplements. There are many good sources of calcium that can help us avoid bone health issues later in life.
Some of the best sources of calcium include nuts such as almonds and cashews. A reasonable source of calcium can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk. Dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus can also be consumed for more calcium in your everyday diet. Be sure to also eat enough protein and include additional calcium in your diet. Protein is by itself a critical component of bones, making up a quarter of their total mass and roughly half of their volume. If you are interested in taking supplements of calcium, talk to your Chiropractor about which dose is best for your age range. If you wanting to know immediateky you can visit this site:
Post-menopausal woman have decreased levels of Estrogen and this decreased levels can further worsen their Osteoporosis condition. It is crucial that all women over the age of 50 do some form of resistance training to increase their tone and their overall bone mass. It is the body’s protective mechanism known as ‘Wollfs Law’ bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed. If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading. If you wanting to know which resistance trainers to use here in Marbella, Spain we strongly encourage all our clients to have a free consultation with our affiliated Personal Trainers at MFit Marbella (www.mfitmarbella.com).
Yours in Healthcare
We all dream of living a life where we can eat anything and everything we desire without it affecting our health. All these shake and unrealistic weight loss diets are popping up left, right and centre with more and more people buying into ‘Quick Fix’ diets. The reality is, you CAN eat food AND still be healthy. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be restricted and your meals certainly don’t have to resemble a Rabbits dinner. There are simple and quick ways to nourish your body and lower your calorie intake without compromising on taste.
A lot of our habits with food are in our mind set towards food. We think we need heavy, starchy meals in order to feel full. As much as carbohydrates are a vital part of our day to day nutrients, there are so many ways to eat them without having the heavy stuff! Complex carbohydrates and food containing high levels of refined sugar, salt and sodium often leave us feeling weak and bloated.
Here are a few tips on healthy food swaps you can make with your day to day meals.
- Spaghetti Vs Courghetti – What’s not to about love spaghetti/pasta/lasagne? It is delicious and great to have… In moderation. Studies have found when making the swap from spaghetti to courghetti, that it wasn’t actually the spaghetti people were craving. It was the feeling of having spaghetti alongside the popular dishes, such as bolognaise. Try swapping your pasta/spaghetti for spiralized courgette or butternut squash the next time you are having a craving for Italian food, and swap your lasagne sheets for sliced aubergine or courgette. It is much lower in calories and higher in Fibre. Upping your fibre is great for fat loss and vegetables are naturally much lower in carbohydrates.
- White Rice Vs Cauliflower Rice – OK, you’re avoiding white rice in favour of brown, but are you ready for the next level? Try riced cauliflower or broccoli instead. This trend has gained widespread popularity, with major brands and supermarkets selling their own version.When grated finely into rice like texture, these healthy vegetables take on the delightful, fluffy texture of rice and provide a neutral flavour profile that supports any dish you’d usually make with rice. If you’re counting calories, the count on a cup of cauliflower rice is a slim 25, while a cup of cooked brown rice has 218 calories. This clever swap is a great way to include more veggies in your diet while continuing to make the dishes you love. Give it a go!
- Crisps and dip Vs Sliced Vegetables and homemade dips – Snacks! We all love snacking, but let’s face it once those Pringles have been popped, there is definitely no stopping! When you’re craving a salty, fatty snack like crisps and dip, reach for hummus and veggies instead. Veggies provide the crunch you need without the high calories, sodium and fat of fried crisps. Creamy dips with fatty bases find a satisfying replacement in rich, creamy hummus. The chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, in hummus are full of health benefits, and research has shown they support heart health, liver function, low cholesterol and more. Start by making your own dips, hummus is quick and easy to make!
- Shop Bought Granola Bars Vs Homemade Granola Bars – If you’re on-the-go, there’s a good chance granola bars seriously simplify your life. (Hellooo, easy breakfast.) Thing is, shop-bought bars that look healthy are often loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and lacking in nutrients. Avoid the excess, refined sugar and empty calories with homemade granola bars where YOU control the ingredients. On the run? Wrap individual bars with parchment paper and tie them with string for easy portability. No time to waste on baking? If you are local to Marbella, our fellow Costa Spiner is the creator of all things sweet but healthy! Check her page, Balanced Bites Marbella on Instagram and Facebook for all things homemade, healthy and designed to give you the right balance of nutrients. Don’t give in to the sugary, quick fixes! They will always leave you feeling drained, and are, in all honesty just no good for you.
- Coffee Vs Herbal Tea – How often do you hear yourself saying, “I can’t live without coffee!” Monday mornings may call for a LARGE coffee—with a double shot of espresso. By 11 a.m., you get the jitters. By 2 p.m., you need another cup, and so the dependence on coffee carries on through the week. One unfortunate side effect of coffee is the crash, which can keep you from getting much done around the 2 p.m. slump. So, what can you do? Try Chai or green tea. Replacing your usual coffee with tea may give you a boost without the crash. Chai, has enough caffeine to keep you alert while boasting a long list of health benefits to kick start your day. Green tea is also packed with a list of health benefits. Yes, if you drink a cup of green tea every day, you are receiving a relatively small dose of caffeine compared to coffee, but Green Tea is said to help prevent cancer, lower your cholesterol and help aid weight loss. Try first by lowering your coffee intake and replacing it with a tea. We are not saying you have to go cold turkey with coffee, but reducing it could be very beneficial to you in the long term! And you never know, this small step could lead to you giving it up completely!
We hope these simple swaps have been helpful to you! Be sure to contact us at CostaSpine should you require any further help on becoming the healthiest version of you.Ask our expert Justine who is the owner of Balanced Bites for any other healthy alternatives.
Yours in Healthcare
Posture is something we always hear about and how essential it is for good health. We are familiar and are able to distinguish between poor postures when we see it. Poor posture does not happen overnight nor are we born with poor posture it is formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years. Only a few well educated and healthy people really grasp the importance of such a trivial daily activity.
Ok, so what is this posture?
It is a position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Great posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground.
Normally, posture is maintained through our subconscious, as our brain contracts muscles and we don’t even have to think about it. Numerous muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are crucially important in ensuring we have great posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
Is it really that important to have good posture?
Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in correct anatomical positions that places the least strain on supporting muscles, bones, joints and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. So individuals who carry themselves with good posture will tend to suffer less with generalized aches and pains due to the fact the forces are dispersed correctly through human body.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.
Surely I will be fine if my posture is just OK?
The answer is NO, a number of things contribute to bad posture-most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, high-heeled shoes; tight clothing; poor eye-sight and limited health and wellness knowledge. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poorly designed ergonomic work station, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning. So do everything in your power now to fix atleast one of these habitual flaws, and keep adding one every 2 weeks, HOMEWORK!!
How do I sit properly?
- Feet must reach the floor and must refrain from crossing legs.
- Your feet must be slightly in front of your knees.
- Maintain a small space between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
- One’s knees should be in-line with your hips or slightly below.
- Lumbar support cushions are crucially important or if your chair is specially designed for this purpose to aid your low back and support your Lumbar Lordosis.
- Keep the tension out of your shoulders along with ensuring your forearms are parallel to the ground.
- Take regular breaks from sitting, 4x body weight goes through your disc’s when sitting (food for thought).
How do I stand properly?
- Ensure your weight is primarily dispersed through the balls of your feet.
- Avoid you’re your knee’s being locked, keep them slightly bent.
- Ensure your feet are about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang down naturally by your side.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled downwards and backwards.
- Engage your core (pull your stomach in).
- Keep your ears in-line with the middle of your shoulders
What is the proper lying position?
- Make sure your mattress is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
- Always sleep with a pillow and this pillow plays a crucial role in filling the gap between the shoulders and the neck to keep perfect anatomical alignment.
- DO NOT sleep on your stomach.
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
- If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
Can I correct my poor posture?
Of course you can but please take into consideration, that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints and muscles have adapted to your long-standing incorrect posture. Being aware of your own posture and knowing what the correct posture should look like, this will subconsciously help you develop great posture. Everything is about practice and persistence, implement the above tips and tools I have given above and you are already taking the correct steps to Excel your Health.
For anything you are unsure of, contact CostaSpine and our D.C will do his best to assist you and educate you on how to attain great posture.
Yours in Healthcare
The acronym PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) has been at the corner stone of acute soft tissue damage (ligaments; muscles and tendons). This form of management has served us well over the years. By implementing this vast array of treatment modalities it has shown through subjective findings to have a significant effect on the healing process, however there is no high quality empirical research showing this conclusion. Furthermore the typical use of anti-inflammatory (NSAID’s) medication straight after an injury, causes the area to bleed more and will lead to further inflammation and swelling. The reason for this is that NSAID’s has COX 2 inhibitors within it and this causes a reduction of platelet aggregation and decreased vasoconstriction and thus causes further swelling and thus decreasing the healing rate.
Protection and rest following an injury is still crucially important during the initial healing process. Immobility can never be over-looked, due to the fact all injuries are an over-extension of a joint which damages either your ligament or tendon. So limiting that joint movement and securing it, in its optimal anatomical position will allow the ligaments to knit in its correct shortened state. But, rest should be of limited duration and restricted to immediately after trauma. Longer periods of unloading are harmful and produce adverse changes to tissue biomechanics and morphology. So it is crucial that you seek medical advice as it is a fine balancing act between immobility and activity. Progressive mechanical loading is more likely to restore the strength and morphological characteristics of collagenous tissue.
Ice; compression and elevation (ICE) are the other basic principles of early treatment. Most research has focused on the analgesic effect of icing or the associated skin or intramuscular temperature changes; a recent randomized controlled trial by ‘Prins and colleagues’, which examined the effectiveness of ice on recovery from acute muscle tear, is the first of its kind, showing that the use of ice is not beneficial for people who receive cryotherapy. Clinical studies into compression are also lacking, and much of its rationale is extrapolated from research relating to deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis and lymphoedema management; there is little clinical research on elevation.
The difficult clinical challenge is finding the balance between loading and unloading during tissue healing. If tissues are stressed too aggressively after injury, the mechanical insult may cause re-bleeding or further damage. Protection of vulnerable tissues therefore remains an important principle. But, too much emphasis creates a default mindset that loading has no place in acute management. Rest may be harmful and inhibits recovery. The secret is to find the ‘optimal loading’.
Optimal loading means replacing rest with a balanced and incremental rehabilitation program where early activity encourages early recovery. Injuries vary so there is no single one size fits all strategy or dosage. A loading strategy should reflect the unique mechanical stresses placed upon the injured tissue during functional activities, which varies across tissue type and anatomical region. For example, a muscle injury to the lower limb has cyclic loading through normal ambulation. The upper limb may require additional cyclic load to be factored into the rehabilitation program in order to maximise mechanical stimulus.
POLICE, a new acronym, which represents protection, optimal loading, ice compression and elevation, is not simply a formula but a reminder to clinicians and patients to think differently and seek out new and innovative strategies for safe and effective loading in acute soft tissue injury management. Optimal loading is an umbrella term for any mechano-therapy intervention and includes a wide range of manual techniques currently available at CostaSpine; indeed the term may include manual techniques such as massage refined to maximise the mechano-effect. Paradoxically, strapping, crutches, braces and supports, traditionally associated with rest, may have a greater role in adjusting and regulating optimal loading in the early stages of rehabilitation.
POLICE should make us think more about research into designing rehabilitation strategies that are appropriate to the nature and severity of injury in different sports and activities. If the primary principle of treatment is to restore the histological and mechanical properties of injured soft tissue, optimal loading may indeed be sport specific. The challenge is in determining what is ‘optimal’ in terms of the dosage, nature and timing.
Yours in Healthcare