Back to School With Better Posture!

For many children and young people sitting in a classroom or at a desk at home brings about back and neck pain. As schools and colleges across the UK come back from Half Term, here are six ways you can help your child avoid poor posture every day of their school life.

Vary where you sit in the classroom.

Continually angling the head or craning the neck to the left or to the right can cause poor posture and bring about discomfort. If possible, change seats for different lessons to sit sometimes on the left of the classroom, sometimes on the right.

Chair Height

Try to ensure the height of the chair is appropriate for the height of the desk to promote good posture. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your elbows should be in an open position with your wrists and hands straight and supported by the desk. Click to read our tips for arranging a computer work station.

Move Around

Take breaks from sedentary activities. Encourage your child to move around in their breaks between lessons, rather than simply moving from one seated position to another. Joining a sports club will help keep them off their behinds in their lunch break or after school.

Writing Posture

Take care with your posture when writing. We have a tendency to slump forward with the upper back and neck when resting on a desk to write. This poor posture overuses muscles and increases the load on the cervical spine.

Walk or Cycle

Where possible – and where it’s safe to do so – encourage your child to walk or cycle to school. The benefits of moving more are widely known and a short walk to school, as opposed to sitting in a car or on a bus, is a healthy way to start the day.

Weightload of Bags

And be aware of how much weight your child is carrying daily. Encourage them to get a locker at school or college and only carry around what they need for their next lessons. It’s worth spending money on a sturdy backpack that, when worn with both straps, will distribute the weight evenly across the back. Or if your child studies a subject that requires a lot of kit, consider getting them a wheeled case. Read more on our tips for bag carrying.

Ten Tips for a Healthy Heart

There’s nothing like Valentine’s Day to focus the mind on matters of the heart. And while we at the Good Health Centre are looking forward to the cards, flowers and romantic sentiments of the day, we’ll also be thinking about the heart as a vital organ. This 14 February, why not show your heart some love? 

Here are the top 10 things you can do to promote good heart health.

Reduce stress

It’s easier said than done, when it can sometimes feel like life does all it can to keep our stress levels high. But nothing puts the heart under greater pressure than stress, so it’s important to find a stress-management technique that works for you. It can be something structured like yoga or meditation, or something unstructured, like going for a walk somewhere away from it all – the important thing is to find something that helps you relax and de-stress.

Ditch the added sugars

Sugar is highly inflammatory, and that’s never a good thing when it comes to the heart. A high-sugar diet can contribute to a range of cardiovascular conditions, so reducing your total sugar intake is a simple strategy for promoting good heart health. Ditch the processed meals (which are often full of ‘hidden’ sugar) and fill your plate with heart-healthy vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats instead.

Cut down on salt

Salt is another major contributor to cardiovascular problems – and another reason to ditch the ready meals. Too much salt in the diet can lead to increased blood pressure, which puts unnecessary stress on the heart. Many of the processed foods on supermarket shelves contain high levels of salt, so try swapping them out for wholefoods like mineral-rich vegetables, nuts, seeds, bananas and avocados.

Limit alcohol

The health implications of excessive alcohol intake are wide and varied, but the effects on the heart can be substantial. Not only does excessive alcohol consumption contribute to damage to the heart tissues themselves, but the process of detoxification required by the liver can raise the heart rate and act as a stressor. Public Health England recommends a maximum of 14 units of alcohol per week. Reduce your intake in line with that, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier heart.

Reduce caffeine intake

Most people know caffeine is a stimulant – that’s why so many of us reach for a pick-me-up coffee first thing in the morning. But too much of anything can be a bad thing, and caffeine raises the heart rate and acts as a stressor. Limiting your caffeine intake will mean your body is better able to benefit from specific phytonutrients, as well as reducing cardiovascular stress. Swapping out all but your first coffee of the day for a decaf alternative will do wonders for your heart.

Be active

The heart is a muscle, and all muscles benefit from being gently overworked from time to time. One of the easiest ways to promote good heart health is to undertake gentle daily exercise that gets the heart working a little bit harder. Walk to the shops instead of driving. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Anything you can do to add a bit of movement into your day will improve your cardiovascular health and boost your heart’s output.

Laugh and smile more

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? That’s because laughing is one of the best stress relievers there is. It’s also contagious, so try and surround yourself with smiley, happy people. Social studies have shown that those who smile more are not only more likely to feel less stressed, but they generally have improved blood pressure.

Breathe!

It might sound like a silly thing to recommend, because you’re not about to stop your involuntary breathing. But it can be incredibly beneficial to really pay attention to how you breathe. We’re often unaware of how we’re breathing and can revert to taking short, sharp breaths or gasps. Concentrating on your breathing and taking long, slow, deep breaths can be a great way to wind down and relax, which will make for a much happier, healthier heart. Try to introduce some breathing techniques into your daily routine and you’ll feel the benefits immediately.

Sleep well

Poor sleep – and even insomnia – is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, so getting a good, restful night does more for you than simply letting you wake up feeling refreshed. Luckily, there are lots of things you can do to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep. Try making your bedroom as dark, cool and quiet as possible, as this will promote restfulness. It’s also a good idea to stay away from all digital devices for at least two hours before heading to bed, as they are prone to whipping us up into a state of heightened stimulation. You could also try meditation or calm time, and even a magnesium-based drink like prune, passion fruit or pineapple juice.

Consider supplements

With the best will in the world, it’s difficult to ensure we’re getting as much of everything our bodies need on a regular basis. Food supplements are a great way to plug any gaps in your nutritional intake, and can help prevent a range of ailments and diseases from developing. Health professionals may even recommend a therapeutic amount of a certain nutrient for some conditions. If you’re predisposed to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or other heart conditions, it might even be that you require a greater amount of specific nutrients than your diet is ever going to provide. Your doctor will be able to point you in the direction of the right supplement for you.

How we can help:

Here at the Good Health Centre in Leeds, our practitioners offer a range of services to help you on your way to better heart health. Our osteopaths, massage, reiki and reflexology therapists can help you find a way to relax, de-stress, and head back out into the world feeling refreshed and re-energised. Maybe you need help to kick a bad habit or overcome a phobia that is causing you distress? An appointment with our hypnotherapist might be just the thing you need. Or for guidance on implementing all-round healthier eating habits, our nutritionist will be able to help you plan a diet that is good for your heart – and your peace of mind.

Our osteopaths will improve your physical wellbeing, improving your mobility and reduce muscle restrictions which in turn will allow you to perform more cardiovascular exercise.  The GHC osteopaths also have bespoke treatment plans to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing.

Book an appointment with us today, and let’s start showing your heart the love it deserves.

Tinnitus Week and Osteopathy

This week in the UK (3-9 February) is Tinnitus Week. Here at the Good Health Centre in Leeds, we want to do our bit to raise awareness about this often-isolating symptom that affects about 30% of people at some time or another in their lives.

WHAT IS TINNITUS?

Tinnitus is the symptom of an underlying condition affecting the auditory system, and is often characterised by a persistent ringing, whistling or buzzing in the ear or ears. It is not actually a problem with the ear itself, but points to an underlying condition that affects the way the brain is able to process auditory information. Tinnitus can affect people of any age, including young children. Oftentimes it will go away over time, but approximately 13% of people will suffer with the symptoms long-term.

WHAT CAUSES TINNITUS?

Tinnitus is not a disease or illness, but is rather a symptom relating to some type of mental or physical change. They can include:

  •             Jaw problems of misalignment
  •             Glue ear
  •             Ear infections
  •             Exposure to loud noise
  •             Stress and anxiety
  •             Head trauma

Many of these potential causes are, at their root, an interruption to the amount and clarity of information being sent from the ear to the brain. The brain responds by trying to get more information from the ear, and the extra information sent is the sound we call tinnitus. 

WHAT COULD WE DO TO TRY AND HELP TO RELIEVE IT?

Most tinnitus will go away once the underlying condition has resolved, such as the ear infection has cleared up. Depending on the cause of your tinnitus, there are several ways osteopathy might be able to help relieve your symptoms. 

  •  If your tinnitus has been caused by temporomandibular (jaw) dysfunction, easing tension in the muscles around the jaw and improving the movement pattern of the joint could help alleviate symptoms.
  • Glue ear is a condition whereby the Eustachian tubes fill with fluid rather than air, usually due to an infection. Our osteopaths will work on the affected temporal bone and the muscles and tissues around the Eustachian tube, which could resolve the problem and associated tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus brought on by head trauma could be relieved with a programme of cranial osteopathy, which gently targets stresses held within the tissues covering the skull.
  •  Tinnitus brought on by stress or anxiety could be improved by osteopathic treatment aimed at improving respiratory function and rebalancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems that are so vital for healing.
  •  In our experience, tinnitus due to damage to delicate hair cells in the ear as a result of exposure to loud noise does not respond well to osteopathic treatment.

 

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT 

Think you might be suffering from tinnitus? Book an appointment with one of our osteopaths today.