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My 10 top tips for improved posture and the health of your back

As a child, were you¬†told ‚ÄúStand up straight!‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt slouch!‚ÄĚ. It turns out that whoever said it, they were right all along! Having poor posture when walking, sitting, working or driving can have a negative impact on your life including:

  • Pain in¬†your back and shoulders.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • The appearance of lacking self confidence.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

What is posture?

Posture is defined as the way the body is carried. Good posture means carrying your body in a way that puts the least strain on muscles and ligaments. Poor posture can cause pain in the neck and back, and can sometimes lead to injury. Making changes to your posture is a great way of improving your overall appearance as well as your health.

Many of the reasons for bad posture can be fixed and others, like pregnancy, go away in time. Some of the reasons are:

  • Poor habits – sitting and standing incorrectly
  • Weakened muscles
  • Obesity ‚Äď The extra pounds add strain to your skeleton and muscles.
  • Pregnancy
  • Ill-fitting shoes (like high heels)
  • Reduced muscle and joint flexibility (this can happen with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis)

Why Is Good Posture Important?

Good posture is good for your health in a number of ways. Standing and sitting with correct posture prevents strain and overuse of neck and back muscles, it helps the muscles work more efficiently

Good posture also has other more subtle benefits. When you stand properly, the body tends to look taller and slimmer. Good posture can also make you look more confident. And, we all know, when you look confident, you feel confident.

As most of us are seated at desks for most of the day, it is very important to have correct posture while seated.

The combination of regular stretching and massage help to improve and maintain your posture .

Are There Warning Signs Of Back Pain Caused By Poor Posture?

Back pain may be the result of poor posture if the back pain is worse at certain times of day or week. If you experience back pain at certain times of the week, but not at the weekend, this may be the problem.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

The signs to be aware of are:

  • sudden back pain that is experienced with a new job, a new office chair, or a new car
  • pain that starts in the neck and moves downwards into the upper back, lower back and extremities and pain that goes away after changing positions while sitting or standing.

Keep active

As muscles get tired, slouching, slumping, and other poor posture positions occur. This then puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed yet supported posture, switch positions frequently. Take a two-minute break from your desk every hour to stretch your limbs.

Keep the body in alignment while sitting at your desk and standing

  • Distribute body weight evenly to the front, back, and sides of the feet while standing.
  • While sitting in at your desk, take advantage of the chair‚Äôs features.
  • Sit up straight and align the ears, shoulders, and hips in one vertical line.
  • Any single position, even a position with good posture, will tire your muscles. Leaning forward with a straight back can alternate with sitting back, using the back support of the office chair to take some of the strain from your muscles.
  • Also be aware of (and avoid) unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders and craning the neck.

Use Posture-Friendly Props & Ergonomic Chairs When Sitting

  • Supportive ergonomic ‚Äúprops‚ÄĚ can help to take the strain and load off the spine.
  • Lumbar Rolls or pillows offer great support to the lower back when seated at a desk.

Increase Your General Awareness For Great Posture

Being aware of posture at work, at home, and at play is a vitally important step towards instilling good posture techniques. This includes making conscious connections between incidents of back pain and what position you were in at the time.

Use Exercise To Help Prevent Injury & Promote Great Posture

Regular physical exercise such as walking, swimming and cycling will help the body stay in good condition, while specific strengthening exercises will help the muscles surrounding the back to stay strong.

There are also specific exercises that will help maintain good posture. A balance of trunk strength with back muscles about 30% stronger than abdominal muscles is essential to help support the upper body and maintain good posture.

Wear Supportive Footwear When Standing

Avoid regularly wearing high heels, which can affect the body’s center of gravity and change the alignment of the entire body, affecting back support and posture.

Be Aware Of Your Posture When Moving Or Stationary

Walking, talking on the phone, and typing are all moving activities that require attention to posture. It is important to maintain good posture even while moving to avoid injury. Back injuries are especially common while twisting and/or lifting and often occur because of awkward movement and control of the upper body weight alone.

Do re-check your posture whenever you think of it! I often find myself reverting to old habits particularly when using laptops!!

Create The¬†‘Right’¬†Environment & Workspace Conducive To You

It does require a bit of time but the results will be well worth it. Undue strain will be placed on the spine unless your office chair, desk, keyboard, and computer screen are in the correct position.

Avoid The ‘Over-Protecting’ Posture

Remember that it is important to maintain an overall relaxed posture to avoid restricting movements by tensing muscles and adopting a stiff posture.

For people who already have some back pain, it is a natural tendency to try to limit movements to avoid the potential pain associated with movement. But, unless there is a fracture or other serious problem, the spine is designed for movement and any limitation in motion over a long period of time creates more pain and will make the overall situation worse.

You can always spot someone in pain when they walk ahead of you in the street… so take a look at yourself.¬†If you are frightened of pain you walk¬†in an unusual manor. It tends to be a stiff, tense and unnatural poise.

The way to change this is to relax. Hold your head up so it is horizontal to the floor,ensure your jaw is not tense, check your breathing and walk (picking your feet up properly).

I completely believe it is possible not¬†only to eradicate most if not all of the chronic aches and pains of a¬†bad back. Why, because I’ve done it myself!

I really have been there and done it all with my bad back, including back surgery! For those of you who are about to switch off at the point of surgery, please allow me to continue…

Back Surgery Was Really Not The Answer!

That just took away the ‘result’ of the problem without ever addressing the cause. It‚Äôs taken me 10 years after my op to have put it together in a package to help fellow sufferers.

  • I had to address the physical aspect of the back pain and Sciatica.
  • I had to adjust many aspects of my lifestyle (mostly silly things if I’m honest)
  • I had to address the fear of the re-occurrence of pain, the ‘knowing’ when it was going to ‘go’
  • I needed prevention strategies that were easy and worked
  • I had to address the impact of my bad back and the fear of its re-occurrence because it affected me in so many ways. My back impacted on my work. My work impacted on my finances. My finances impacted¬†on my home life and family.

I’m sure you resonate with this on some or many of these levels! I just wanted you to know that I’ve contended with the lot, and just like you I struggled.

But that is in the past now, even when I do something that in the past would have debilitated me for days if not weeks, I am in a position that I am able to do most things and indeed partake in a far more active lifestyle than I would ever have imagined, probably moreso than before in many ways!

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Pain Reducing Realignment treatment

A back strain is a pain ful condition where the muscles of the back are injured due to a traumatic pulling and subsequent tearing of the fibres. One of the most common sites of injury, regardless of the sport, is the lower back region. There are many causes for lower back pain, for example, which you may not realise are directly related to sports e.g. I often find that runners who have weak or inflexible hamstrings can experience severe ACUTE back pain as a consequence.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Tension reducing treatment

 

Other causes

  • Poor posture is a common cause.
  • A sudden or abrupt movement that causes the muscles to stretch the muscles past their point of elasticity usually causes these injuries.
  • Some back strains are the result of a high velocity impact such as a car accident that causes whiplash etc.
  • Muscle strains can be caused due to repetitive strains. For example, A person who maintains improper posture at a computer on a regular basis or a tennis player who uses improper form may have their muscles tighten to the extent that something as simple as reaching for a salt shaker can cause them to pull a muscle.
  • To add to the pain of a pulled muscle, the surrounding muscles react to the tear by stiffening to protect the injured muscle from further harm .

Recovery time

On average it takes about six weeks to recover from a muscle pull with some relief being felt after about three weeks. Scar tissue will continue to form past six weeks in some cases and as long as a year in severe back strains.

What Do You Do?

The first line of treatment is to support and protect the muscles, help them to loosen up and lessen the pain and minimize any inflammation. After three (or so) weeks, the muscle strain usually benefits from the introduction of mild exercise.

A few measures to ease your back pain

  • Stretching & strengthening
  • Good posture (particularly at work and on the commute)
  • Ice packs
  • Healthy diet
  • Vitamin, Mineral and Herb Supplementation (if necessary)
  • Meditation & breathing exercise to relax your back
  • Regular massage & stretches will assist on both a preventative & curative aspect.

Click HERE to book your bespoke Back Tension reducing treatment

'It's All About ME' | By Dawn SymonsA PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR A HEALTHY BODY AND MIND

 

When you become embroiled in extreme stress and burnout, one of the biggest difficulties is that is that on the surface you appear to be ‘normal’, healthy and well.

Loaded popular beliefs that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) does not exist, along with labels such such as hypochondriac, attention seeker or lazy, do little to resolve the emotional conflict of this crippling disease.

What I know for sure is that there are things that you can do… I know this to be true because I had to find and do them myself.

I wrote this book because I burned out 3 times. Frantically chasing a solution for my problems made things even worse. But after many long years I found a solution which is the exact opposite of frantic…

Price: £6.97

 




Cycling stretching exercises to improve your performance and do away with cycling injuries for good.

If you’re looking to improve your cycling or just seeking to prevent cycling injuries it is important to follow the information in this article. In addition, adding a few simple stretches to your fitness program will also help.

Body bits involved

Cycling requires a great deal of muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Therefore,a combination of speed, strength, and endurance work, along with flexibility training, is essential for success.

The major muscles involved in road cycling include:

  • The muscles of the legs and¬†hips.
  • The core muscles are¬†important for maintaining balance and power.
  • The muscles of the arms and¬† shoulders are important to maintain a support position on the bike when¬† leaning forward, as are the muscles of the hand, wrist and forearm.

Special attention must be paid to stretching the muscles after use to ensure flexibility in commonly over-used muscles.

Most Common Cycling Injuries

The list of common overuse injuries experienced by cyclists includes Plantar Fasciitis, Knee Bursitis, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB), Patellar Tendonitis, Lower Back Pain, and Muscle Strains. Cyclists who experience crashes may also be subject to fractures and traumatic brain injury.

  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome¬† (ITB): causes¬† the tendon to pull the knee joint out of alignment and rub against the outside of the knee, which results in inflammation and pain. Read More‚Ķ.
  • Knee Bursitis: Bursitis is a condition a fluid filled sac (bursa)that cushions the tendons and ligaments where they cross the bone, become irritated and inflamed. This leads to redness, warmth, and swelling in the area. In some cases the bursa may rupture causing the fluid to leak out and impair the ability of¬† the bursa to cushion. Repetitive flexion and extension of the knee can cause irritation to the bursa on the outside of the knee or on the top of the knee cap. The pain will subside with rest and the inflammation usually¬† responds to ice and NSAIDs during rest. Flexibility training during rehabilitation helps to reduce the chance of bursitis recurring.
  • Lower Back Pain: The riding position on the bike, especially during road racing, can cause pain in the lower back due to poor posture or fatigue. Pressure on the intervertebral discs may¬† require medical help to relieve.
  • Muscle Strains: Muscle strains are sometimes caused by overstretching or working against an extreme load. They may also be caused by overtraining a muscle and not allowing for rest¬†and recovery. The muscle fibres tear causing inflammation and bruising within the muscle. The resulting pain may lead to a guarding of the muscle and stiffness will set in due to scarring. Muscle strains range from severe, large numbers of fibres and a large area of the muscle, to minor, involving a small number of fibres. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication are used to treat muscle strains. (For more treatment information CLICK HERE…..)
  • Patellar Tendonitis: may be an acute injury, caused by trauma to the tendon. More commonly it is due to overuse, or incorrect pedalling form. The tendon rubs over the bone and causes inflammation that aggravates the condition, leading to a cycle of inflammation and pain. A lot of mileage during training can lead to this condition. Treatment for tendonitis includes discontinuation of the activity that caused the problem, NSAIDs, and ice.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Foot arch pain‚Ķ.Read More
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Landing on your head or being struck by another cyclist after you have fallen leads to many of the traumatic brain injuries in cycling. Always wear a helmet. Traumatic brain injury is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Injury Prevention Strategies

Effective, efficient conditioning and safety measures are essential in injury prevention strategies of road cyclists.

  • Always warm up prior to training.
  • Allow an adequate cool down period and perform after training/competition stretching.
  • Effective cardiovascular conditioning will prevent fatigue and other overuse injuries.
  • Increasing flexibility in the muscles and joints will reduce the stress on these areas during¬†training.
  • Keeping the bike in top riding condition and maintaining it on a regular schedule will also¬†prevent accidents from occurring.
  • Learning proper cycling technique is important to prevent overuse injuries and those caused by¬†improper form.
  • Stronger muscles will be able to handle the stress of longer rides better than weaker ones.
  • Wearing a helmet while riding is extremely important to prevent head injuries.

The Top 3 Cycling Stretches

Stretching is essential to overall conditioning and should be an integral part of any cycling training program. Due to the long period of time spent in the same position, stretching is very important to the cyclist.

Kneeling Upper Hip & Quad Stretch:

Kneel on one foot and the other knee. If needed, hold on to something to keep your balance and then push your hips forward.

Single Heel-drop Achilles Stretch: Stand on a raised object or step and place the ball of one foot on the edge of the step. Bend your knee slightly and let your heel drop towards the ground.

Lying Knee Roll-over Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.

 

My Reiki Moment…

I have to admit to being quite a Dawn-Fan.¬† She treated me throughout & beyond my second pregnancy,¬† has been my saviour when I have experienced acute back pain, as well as to treat more deep-seated stress or trauma-based pain. I think I have probably been treated to most of Dawn’s Maga Therapy tool box over the years – all of which have had resulted in immediate (& lasting) relief & relaxation.

My ‘Reiki moment’ was after I had injured my knee whilst running. I climbed over a stile & must have just turned or twisted in the wrong direction. I felt a deep ‘pop’ somewhere in my knee – no pain, no dramatic tear or crunch, just a slightly odd *twisted* feeling. I ran on a little, then decided it was sensible to walk the rest of the way home.

A few hours later I couldn’t stand up. The pain was incredible – it had just crept up on me & I couldn’t put any weight at all on that leg. Dawn chatted a bit (she chats quite a lot… ;)) as she placed her hand gently on my knee. Then she went quiet (which usually means something serious is about to happen). I felt heat from her hand & then a very clear & strong feeling of my knee going round in circles under her hand. It was like the inner working of my knee were rotating. I told her what I could feel & she said ‘I know. But it needs to go the other way. I need to make it turn’. Then she went quiet again & I felt the circling slow, stop, & then start to judder in the opposite direction. It juddered a little more then started flowing freely in the other direction.

The pain had completely gone away & it never came back. I have absolutely no idea *what* was going round in circles, & then changed direction… but it worked!

I don’t question why or how what Dawn does, works – but it absolutely does. I can’t recommend her highly enough

Wendy

Click HERE to book your bespoke treatment

'It's All About ME' | By Dawn SymonsA PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR A HEALTHY BODY AND MIND

 

When you become embroiled in extreme stress and burnout, one of the biggest difficulties is that is that on the surface you appear to be ‘normal’, healthy and well.

Loaded popular beliefs that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) does not exist, along with labels such such as hypochondriac, attention seeker or lazy, do little to resolve the emotional conflict of this crippling disease.

What I know for sure is that there are things that you can do… I know this to be true because I had to find and do them myself.

I wrote this book because I burned out 3 times. Frantically chasing a solution for my problems made things even worse. But after many long years I found a solution which is the exact opposite of frantic…

Price: £6.97

 




Have you experienced Reiki? It may well seem to be ‘mumbo jumbo’, but read what Ralph who has a been a scientist for his entire working life had to say in May 2011.

This is the exact email I received from Ralph, following a Reiki session with me.

A year or so ago I was having back and neck pain and was recommended to Dawn.  Expecting treatment to those parts of my body where the pain was, I was surprised when Dawn started work on my leg which was apparently the source of the problem.

After a period of massage I relaxed whilst Dawn very gently held my foot as I lay on the massage bench. This was when I experienced two very strange feelings.  First my knee cap felt as if it was moving up and down despite the fact that there was no apparent reason for it to be doing so. Dawn continued to gently hold my foot but did not move her hand in any way РI was watching  totally intrigued.. There was then the extremely strange feeling of something moving up and down my leg from my foot to my groin and back again.  It felt as if there were bubbles of something moving inside the leg up and  down for three or four minutes Рa weird feeling unlike anything I had ever experienced before.  The movements then stopped and I have had no repeat of the pain or of the strange movements.

Wow!! I wanted to probe a little deeper here. This is the email I sent Ralph:

Thank you very much…..¬† I wonder can you give me an additional¬† line or two, from a perspective of logic and your deep understanding of science,¬† and consider that I believe (and you experienced) that it is somehow possible, using your hands whether on the client or off, (although I find it much ‘stonger’ if I am working hands on!) you can move ‘energy’ around the body to re-balance (the pain), and you can feel it and you know its happening you can’t see it even though you should be able to because it obvious!! And afterwards it feels much better, and that relief lasts…

I strongly believe there is something there and its just not been figured out yet. When someone experiences it it is quite incredible, it helps an individual in a very unique and beneficial way. I’m sure somehow it kick starts a ‘circuit’ somewhere that needs a tweak, that that little boost gets it up and running again and it puts ‘it’ right, whatever ‘it’ might be…. that’s the only scientific’ish’ way I can describe it, and if I write that people may well think I’m bonkers (!!) so Ralph, what do think, how would you possibly describe Reiki?¬† Dawn

This was his reply:

Amongst other topics I have worked on during my half century as a scientist is energy in its many forms. I fully comprehend the concepts of energy conservation, the different forms in which energy can manifest itself and the ways in which energy can flow from one point in space to another.

I am certain that there was some flow of something in my leg whilst Dawn was holding it and this something had an effect.  I think I must have experieced a flow of energy  in some form which I am unable to identify. What it was, how it started to flow and how it affected my body are all facts that are incomprehensible to me

Maybe somebody sometime will have an explanation that either fits conventional science thinking or does not.  РRalph.

A question I have often been asked is how does Maga Therapy relieve the symptons of stress?

Long term stress can affect you in many ways as I previously noted (Read more…)¬†With symptoms including headaches, migraines, asthma, skin conditions e.g. eczema, heart-burn, IBS, tension, aches and pains you can very easily feel anxious or depressed (also classic symptoms of stress) and wonder if there is anything that will actually help.
 
I have to explain the just how Maga Therapy can help you, and HAS to be my number one on the stress busting list!
 
It’s not just a case that someone does something ‘nice’ to you for an hour or so, nor that you were able to schedule an hour into your busy routine, there are more powerful ‘forces’ at work which actually decrease the stress levels and (albeit temporarily) will neutralise the effects (obviously, the more regularly you have one the better your body will respond and ‘learn’ to relax.
Basically (as jargon free as I can make it) the stopping what you are doing and doing nothing allows your body to produce less stress hormones (you will remember the fight or flight ones from your adrenal system from school I am sure).

Excessive amounts of¬†stress hormones¬†cause of the problems we suffer physically.Stress hormones are produced in the Adrenal Galnds (Read more here) and are in a ‘normal’ day to day situation useful, making us more alert or having better memory etc, however, prolonged pumping the hormones will actually prove harmful long term.

For example, indigestion and stomach ulcers can be directly linked to the over production of stress hormones because the hormones affect the digestive system, it becomes sluggish and we break food down much slower than we should, as well as having excess acids produced which in time can affect the lining and cause it to ulcerate. Of course, for all of us who have had stressful periods of life, how easy is it to skip meals and survive on coffee and cigarettes (most of us have done it!!)
 
The muscles are helped greatly by the release of tension and tightness. Fatigue in muscle tissue is reduced by removing lactic acid, this helps prevent the formation of fibrositis (inflammation within the muscle fibres), thus, muscles work at maximum efficiency!

Our skeleton is affected by Maga Therapy (MT) too! Massage warms joints, reduces pain and increases production of synovial fluid which protects bone ends.

Our heart receives the very positive assistance from MT too! It increases blood circulation bringing oxygen to muscles and removing waste products such as lactic acid, helps heat up cold extremities, e.g. hands and feet, generally increases heart function.

Our lymphatic system (this is where many waste products are removed)is enhanced by MT resulting in reduction of excess fluid in tissues (oedema) and toxins.

Our breathing becomes slower and deeper. Lung efficiency is increased so more oxygen taken in and more carbon dioxide expelled, our body relaxes when our breather becomes deeper, slower and more efficient.

Our urinary system is kick started and there is an increase of the production of urine, removal of waste products and toxins.

Our digestive system starts to work more effective thus helps prevent constipation (or if IBS an issue, it balances it and slows gut action down)

The action on the endocrine system itself is very important, MT aids circulation of hormones around the body, it can assist depression by helping the uptake of the hormone Serotonin, and relieves stress by decreasing the levels of Adrenaline.
 
So you see,¬†Maga Therapy¬†HAS to be the best (and immediately effective) thing you can do.¬† But, that’s only a small wedge of the pie.¬† What else?? So this time I am thinking for most of us stopping and doing nothing for 10-15 mins is an impossible task, but consider how mad that actually sound 10-15 mins THAT’S ALL!

How to¬†prolong or ‘learn’ to relax?
 
You will notice I burn either oil or incense when treating. There are many reasons for this but the main one is that¬† you can recreate a relaxing ambience at home,light a candle, burn some relaxing oil, put a relaxing CD to play and your body will respond and ‘release’¬†your tension.

So, you have the MT treatment rationale, now you know about the music, next the lovely odours. A¬† few drops of¬†your favourite essential oil¬†in water on the burner¬† will create a relaxing ambiance and help you chill out, dim the lights if you can and just stop……………turn off the phone (or put it on silent with no vibrate,),¬† it won’t matter for a few mins to not be ready to take a call!

Do nothing at all for 10 mins. Breathe deeply (many believe breathing is the key to success when it comes to stress busting!) Breathe deeply creating a Buddha belly, this will ensure you use all of your lung as opposed to a half or so of it!

Personal Note From Dawn Symons:

One CD which is widely available is’ Sleep’ by a company called Solitudes- this CD has been designed with the alpha waves wound throughout which actually causes you to relax and sends you to sleep!

Read more stress busting tips here

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