In my opinion, pregnancy is one of the most important times to get adjusted. A pregnant woman’s body is about to spend the next nine months growing a baby; there are postural changes associated with growing bump, hormone changes that ‘loosen’ off ligaments (which can lead to pelvic instability) as well as a host of muscles that must work harder to offset the ligament laxity. Chiropractic care focuses on checking the pelvis and sacrum to help restore balance and neuro-biomechanical function to the pelvis.
Women often see a chiro in the last few weeks of pregnancy to ‘ensure that their body is in a good position’. While it’s great to get checked before birth, it is important to remember that your body has been through nine months of changes and compensatory patterns that are not likely to disappear overnight.
I recommend care throughout pregnancy as it means that we can support you and the changes that your body undergoes as they happen, and allow you to be more comfortable and give more room for baby. It also means we can address any compensations that may have occurred before pregnancy (previous injury, poor posture, desk work etc.) and give you advice on how to avoid unnecessary stressors.
I have been having chiropractic care throughout my pregnancy and I have had no back pains. I feel baby has more room to move after my adjustments each week. I am so pleased that my baby is in a great position and ready for labour.
Rachel Hodson checking a gorgeous pregnant mummy
Acupuncture and Pregnancy
I began having acupuncture during the early stages of my pregnancy to help with morning sickness and tiredness. I had about 10 sessions which started weekly and then spread out as I started to improve.
Morning sickness is often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and is one of the most common complaints during the first trimester. It can also continue throughout a pregnancy. And it doesn’t have to just happen in the mornings! I personally had bad morning sickness at night-time too and worsened with tiredness.
In Chinese medicine, morning sickness is often seen as an imbalance between the liver and the stomach/spleen or from the accumulation of too much heat in the stomach. I was advised to eat warm foods and to eat earlier in the day.
As well as acupuncture; there is a wide selection of wrist bands/accessories designed to reduce nausea by pressing on acupuncture points. These can be very beneficial adjuncts to treatment, however I didn’t feel these helped as much as actually having the acupuncture sessions.
We are excited to announce that the clinic will be re-opening, in a slightly reduced capacity, on the 18th May from 2pm. We have carried out a full risk assessment, which will be re-assessed weekly.
Mike and Carran will be available for appointments Monday afternoon 2-7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings 8-30 to 1pm.
Rachel will only be available on Saturday mornings from 8-30 to 1pm due to a lack of childcare. Although Rachel would love to do more hours, she is lucky enough to have an incredible team in Mike and Carran, who she would recommend to anyone of her clients.
Please email [email protected] or text 07868655419 (before Monday only) to book your appointment.
From the 18th May please call 01273 584812.
Unfortunately, we still cannot offer massage at the clinic. As soon as Sasha and Alex are back, we will let you all know.
Due to the close proximity of Chiropractic care, we cannot stress for everyone’s safety, the importance of adhering to the following.
DO NOT come to clinic if;
You have any symptoms of COVID-19 (cough +/or high temperature.)
You have been in contact with anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (cough +/or high temperature.)
You are in a highly vulnerable ‘shielded’ group.
We ask you to obey these rules not only for your own health and well-being, but that of our staff and families, and to allow us to continue to treat those who need us.
Please do not be offended if you are sent home if we deem it unsafe to treat you.
What to expect when you visit the clinic:
Our wonderful assistant Aldona will be there to greet you Monday to Wednesday, making sure that social distancing is maintained and that the clinic rules are being followed.
If your appointment is on Saturday and the door is locked, please wait patiently. Rachel will let you in as soon as she has finished with the client before you.
You must use the hand sanitiser as soon as you arrive.
Aldona will take your temperature upon arrival. You will be asked politely to go home and will not be seen if it is high.
Please do not lean on the reception desk or place your hands upon it.
You will be asked to take a short walk if you are early for your appointment and there is nowhere to wait at a safe distance.
Aldona will take payment before your appointment. If you know when you will be returning, she will book your next appointment. If you do not know what recommendations your Chiropractor is likely to make, wait until your appointment and your Chiropractor will book it for you at the end.
You will be asked to remove the head paper from the bench after your appointment and put in it in the bin provider (foot pedal must be used.)
After your appointment is finished you will be asked to leave the premises through the back door. Until lockdown is fully lifted and the COVID-19 threat markedly reduced, we will be maintaining a one-way system through the clinic.
We cannot thank you all enough for your patience and understanding as we try our very best to balance caring for you, and protecting you, our wonderful clients.
Wishing you all health, well-being, and the warmest regards
We are all born with an innate set of movements and reflex patterns (primitive reflexes). These are paramount to survival and many of them are already active before we are born. In-fact some of them are essential to for the birth process. Both mother and baby work together throughout labour to help it process.
Our primitive reflexes are fundamental to our neurological development, thus all our learned movements and skills. From rolling to crawling and then walking. Reading, speech and social interaction.
The primitive reflexes change and integrate as we mature and transition through our early years to childhood and into adulthood. These reflexes are crucial for our survival and safety.
The Moro and paralysis reflexes (startle response) in babies alerts their carer to the possibility of falling and danger. It enables baby to grab hold of their carer and then go into the foetal position to protect their centres.
As we develop the moro and paralysis reflexes change and become a lifelong reflex, known as the startle reflex.
In many the paralysis reflex can remain overactive. Ever known someone to jump just because you walked into the room? You are not really a danger, unless you come in wielding a sword! Therefore, their response is over the top and not appropriate for the situation.
Now if you were wielding a sword then the startle response should activate, increasing their cortisol and adrenaline levels so action can be taken. Whether that be to run away or to disarm you.
Those with an overactive moro +/or paralysis reflex have a hypersensitive response to noise, visual stimulus (jumping when they see something in their peripheral vision) and touch.
This reflex usually integrated into the whole body movement by the 3rd year of life.
When it remains un-integrated you may see someone who nervously blinks, often has fears and phobias, can have insomnia, be aggressive, have inappropriate laughter, timidity, lack of trust, weakened immune system (adrenal glands – stress response overworked) motion sickness, poor balance and fear of taking risks.
The Bonding Reflex:
The integration of this reflex is initiated in the first hour of life by mothers. With Mother’s Day approaching we thought it appropriate to let mummies know just how important their touch is. Never underestimate the power of your hug!
During that first hour it is so important that babies and mothers get skin to skin contact. Sometimes this cannot be possible because of interventions that had to happen for labour. In this instance the father (or other close relative) can step in and then pass baby to their mothers as soon as possible.
The bonding reflex is found in the new-born baby, infant, child and in adults. When this reflex integrates well is gives the feeling of comfort, safety and harmony. Often reflexes such as the paralysis do not integrate fully when this one has not.
This reflex triggers attachment to mother, father and the family unit. It helps to open the senses, aids authentic communication, acceptance of self and others, builds trust, confidence and inner peace. It can be stimulated at any age by hugs, love and praise. When someone just tells you how loved you are and hugs you it helps to strengthen the integration.
When the bonding reflex has not integrated well then it can lead to individuals who self-reject, are emotionally fragile, isolate themselves, have a protective barrier and can end up in co-dependent relationships.
There are many more reflexes that help us develop. These two are important for feeling secure, accepted and loved.
Most individuals can adapt if a reflex has not fully integrated and they find coping mechanisms around this. However things are easier if they have integrated well.
Many children who are diagnosed with autism, ADHD, dyslexia etc, will have several reflexes that have not integrated. This means certain tasks are harder for them. We will look at other reflexes at a later date, watch this space!
The brain develops from the lower brainstem (includes hippocampus) to upper brainstem (includes the amygdala) – unconscious control. Then up to the cerebral cortex – conscious control and decision making. When a reflex has not integrated, development in the higher centres of the brain is harder.
Reasons a reflex does not integrate include trauma. As we discussed the reflexes have protective role and if needed our brain takes us to a place of safety, which means reflexes can un-integrate and/or not integrate at all.
This deeply relaxing, powerful and cleansing treatment is not your typical massage, it’s gentle rhythmical movements stimulate and influence the direction and speed of the lymph through the lymphatic vessels and nodes to great effect.
The lymphatic system moves slowly due to not having a pump, which means it can easily become overloaded, sluggish and congested. The lymph vessels lie just beneath the skin and facilitate the removal of metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules and foreign substances from the tissues.
MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, reduces pain and enhances the activity of the immune system. It is effective in the treatment of a wide variety of problems including oedema (swelling), skin disorders, headaches, sinus congestion, stress, sprains and aches and before and after surgery to remove tissue congestion. It is particularly useful in improving the healing process and reducing recovery time after surgery, post-mastectomy therapy and cosmetic surgery such as liposuction, breast surgery or facial surgery.
MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) is extremely gentle and wonderfully relaxing.
Sasha Ball is one of our wonderful massage therapists and this facebook review sums up just how well Chiropractic and massage complement each other.
‘I’ve been attending this clinic for around a year. I first came with sciatica and now, incredibly, it’s gone. Rachel has a deep insight for healing through her practice. I have regular monthly adjustment and I’m now better than I’ve been for years. I complement this with regular massage therapy from Sasha at the clinic. This practice is unique as it offers a fully holistic treatment plan that lifts, heals and rejuvenates. Thoroughly recommended’.
Back and neck pain is often seen as only an adult problem but new statistics, along with our own experience of treating children and teens at the Peacehaven Chiropractic, suggest this is sadly not the case. One quarter of UK secondary school pupils report that they suffer from regular or daily back and/or neck pain.
One quarter of UK secondary school students suffer from regular or daily back pain
School bag burden has been associated with a ten-fold increased rate of back pain
Back pain was also linked to prolonged sitting (something no student gets away from – now with more sedentary past times, gentle stretches and exercises are paramount on a daily basis, please see links below.
The British Chiropractic Association’s have some good advice on how to make sure your child’s backpack is loaded and carried safely. They also have a series of exercises, from the Straighten Up campaign, designed to keep the spine moving well, appropriate for both children and adults and they also include computer posture tips and breathing exercises. You would think breathing came naturally, and whilst we all do breathe, many of us don’t do it well!
Here’s some fun and kid-friendly stretches we like! Movement is key. Another fabulous set of exercsies can be found on youtube, ChiroMoves designed by a UK Chiropractor. This is also avaliable as an app.
If you have any questions about your childs spine then please do call, remember we also offer a free 15 minute consultation in clinic. Please call 01273 584812 or book an appoinment using our request form. Rachel Hodson is fully accredited to work with children and has further qualifications in this field.
As you can read from my bio, I’ve always been really active physically and the main sport I’ve been playing in my life is basketball. I probably started playing around 20 years ago!
Starting as a kid and when there was not a lot of science behind training there was no stretching and no warm down in most of the sessions and that’s why at around 14 years old (when I was doing a lot of growing) my body became extremely stiff and I started getting episodes of low back pain, these could last up to a month at a time. Is that surprising? Not really!
Basketball is a sport that includes sprinting, jumping and quick changes of direction and everything is on a hard surface too! Plus repetitive motor schemes, if done not correctively can create dysfunctions themselves! That is true for almost every sport sadly!
When did these episodes stop occurring? Of course after I started seeing a chiropractor! I started care at 16 years old and I never looked back after that. After the acute phase of care I got adjusted almost a week for years as I was training daily. Quantity of injuries and sprained ankles reduced a lot and recovery time increased.
Now that the weather is more stable in Brighton I started going to the seafront basketball court to play and I cannot stop noticing people training on sprained ankles or minor injuries. This should be avoided as training a motor skill on top of an injury can create muscular and spinal compensations that maynot be evident in the moment, especially because many players are really young. In these cases the result will be seen in the future when a major injury eventually come and you will be left asking, how did that happen?
I cannot stress enough how prevention with care is the key for a better chance of avoiding injuries and increasing performance naturally. A bad neck or low back can easily start from an ankle sprain that never healed properly! Please ballers, come and get checked!
Ph.D. in Biomechanics Explains Importance of Segmental Motion and Chiropractic
McGill, S. Ph.D. Stability: From Biomechanical Concept to Chiropractic Practice. Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association. 1999;43 (2)
QUOTE BOARD: “There is evidence that these muscles (intersegmental muscles) are highly rich in muscle spindles (at least four to seven times higher than multifidus). It would seem that these organs are not functioning to produce force given their minimal cross-sectional area but are, rather, position transducers for each lumbar joint enabling the motor control system to control overall lumbar posture and avoid injury.” Conclusion: “Nonetheless it appears that the chance of the motor control error which results in a short and temporary reduction in activation to one of the intersegmental muscles would cause rotation of just a single joint to a point where passive or other tissues become irritated or possible injured.” [This is segmental neuromuscular dysfunction (vertebral subluxation complex/joint dysfunction)]
Without proper segmental motion in your spinal segments the messages from the joint and muscle motion receptors get interrupted making it impossible for your brain to sense joint position and/or muscle length/tension. This “garbage in” creates errors in brain output (garbage out) called motor control errors. Your brain can only properly coordinate joint and muscle position and movement if proper signals from the joints and muscles get sent to the brain. Proper segmental motion is the key component for the delivery of proper joint and muscle signals.
Key Take Home Points:
Without proper segmental motion in your spine the messages between body and brain become diminished and/or distorted. Not only do the tissues become inflamed and begin to degenerate but the brain becomes less able to coordinate movement and motor control errors result which predisposes the tissues to injury. Chiropractic is so effective because it restores segmental motion and thus restores the proper communication between body and brain. This allows for better coordination of movement, the reduction of motor control errors, and less susceptibility to injury. A healthy spine requires proper segmental motion. Chiropractors are the world’s leading experts in detecting and correcting areas of segmental neuromuscular dysfunction and this is why chiropractic is so effective for spinal health.
Having good posture not only helps with keeping you injury-free, it also makes you looks taller and slimmer and gives you more energy! What’s not to love about that?!
Posture defined is the relative position of all of our body parts. Each joint has an optimal position and range of motion. In this position our joints are exposed to the least amount of wear and tear and the most efficient use of energy.
image from https://posemethod.com/pose-vs-posture2/
When we are out of alignment (poor posture) wear and tear and the cost in terms of energy are increased, not only to maintain this posture, but also to make every move. We are therefore more likely to sustain an injury. Poor posture is exactly why so many of us experience musculoskeletal pain – otherwise known as CHRONIC POOR POSTURE.
When do we first start developing our posture:
It all starts before we are even born! Nature is amazing. It is so important for mothers to look after their spinal health and remain active, because it helps their babies core muscles develop and provides them with optimal space for foetal development. At Peacehaven Chiropractic Rachel is experienced working with pregnancy and with children. Chiropractic care can help keep your pelvis aligned and moving eveningly side to side. Your uterus sits in your pelvis.
Babies are born with a set of primitive reflexes; these help them as they pass through the birth canal. Think of them as our original blueprint. As we grown, postural relflexes lay over the top and dampen down our primitive reflexes. These postural reflexes form the framework within all our systems operate effectively. The tranistiion from primitive to posural does not happen at a set time, but is gradual, often both reflexes existing together. The postural reflexes help to shape our spinal health, posture, movement and stability (1).
When babies lay on their fronts, by 6 weeks they should be able to lift their head in line with thier body and by 12 weeks maintain it there for several minutes; this helps the curvature of the neck and determines the development of the muscles that support the head (1).
At approximately 16 weeks we begin to use our arms to push our chest off the floor. eventually raising ourselves up onto our knees and rolling over (6 months) (1), this helps create our low back, lumbar, curve and imorove muscular strength. Crawling is paramount as it helps to develop an even pattern of movement across the pelvis and again improve our core strength, providing support for the lower back. These early stages are very imprortant and if a child misses any one of these steps problems can develop in the future.
Children tend to use their bodies functionally, therefore do not often feel musculoskeletal pain, however once we become a teenager we become more self aware and our posture can suffer. Teenage girls are notorious for standing with rounded shoulders to hide their developing breasts and if tall may stoop to become in line with their peers. Carrying heavy bags, often on one shoulder and spending far too long on computers, phones and tablets is definitely taking its toll!
What determines our posture?
The relative length-tension relationship between muscles is largely responsible for our posture. These muscles are controlled by our brain, via the spinal cord. Joints have 2 sets of muscles on opposite sides, if one side is long and weak, the other will be short and weak (tight). This affects the position of the joint and its full potential movement.
A good example is our hip flexors and bottoms! Many of us sit for long periods in the day, so the hip flexors shorten and the gluteals become weakened. The result, your pelvis pulls forwards resulting in an increased lumbar lordosis (curve) and if one side is tigher than the other we end up with a torsion in the pelvis. The hip joint, knee and ankle therefore are no longer in optimal position and this affects leg range of motion. Without correction this can lead to injury.
Poor posture can also have a knock-on effect on the rest of the body, not just our musculoskeletal system (everything is connected afterall!) If you slouch, your ribcage will drop forwards restricting your diaphragm and therefore your breathing. It also means your stomach is squashed and so can give symptoms of indigestion/reflux. It will restrict blood flow to the organs including the uterus, so painful periods can result and impaired bowel digestion, thus symptoms of IBS.
Circulation and nerve signalling from the brain can also become compressed (especially with a forward head posture) which can result in headaches, migraines and numbness in the legs and arms.
How can I help myself?
We can all do a ceratin amouont of assessment by just looking in the mirror, or if you feel brave have someone take photos of you front, back and side view. Use the guide picture at the top of this article to help yiou. If you just think about stnding and sitting tall you are already halfway there! The more you remind youorself the easier it becomes, new habits take time to form, old one die hard!
Stretching a sterenthening exercises can be very helpful; however specific ones depend on your postural weakness. Most people will benefit from doing a head to toe stretching and movement programme which focuses on getting the whole body active. The Straighten Up UK (SUUK) exercises developed by British Chiropractic Association are a great starting point. We also have free leaflets in clinic that show this routine.
Can exercise make my posture worse?
Some exercises can, yes! Although many people are tols that poor posture is a result of adbominal weakness, doing repeated sit-ups actually strengthens the muscles that cause you to slouch! Your deep abdominals and pelvic floor muscles are much more important to work on, however underused muscles are hrd to wake up! Pilates, initially 1-2-1 classes are super helpful in achieving this.
Most importantly is to focus on how you sit and stand, once you are aware of how to do this well, Yoga and Pilates are great, these focus on your postual stabilising muscles. Any other exercise that challenges your balance such as free weights and stability ball exercises are also great. Of course always discuss with a fitness professional, your doctor or chiropractor before you commence if you have any concerns.
Will I achieve perfect posture?
This is unlikely! You posture has developed over years, however you can always improve it. Our environment and how we use our bodies daily have a huge impact. The important thing is to maintain mobility and be aware of when you are not holding yourself optimally.
1) Goddard, S. Reflexes. Learning and Behaviour; a window into the Child’s Mind. fern Ridge Press, 2002.
2) Liao, M.H. and Drury, C.G., Posture, discomfort and performance in a VDT task. 2000, Ergonomics, 43(3); 345-359.
3) Sauter, S.L., Schleifer, L.M. and Knutson, S.J., Work posture, workstation design and musculoskeletal discomfort in a DT data entry task. 1991, Hum Factors, 33(2); 151-167.
That time of year is just around the corner. The daffodils will be in full bloom before we know it and many of us will be out in the garden weeding, pruning and potting getting ready for the summer ahead. After a period of relative inactivity this is the time that many of us overdo it and end up with various springtime niggles. We give all our attention to the garden and none to our own bodies. Remember you only have 1 body, it’s the only place you get to live!
Gardening isn’t exactly an extreme sport, but because of that we are less mindful about what we are doing.
Think about your posture when you are out there digging in the wilderness! The same rules that apply to lifting also apply in the garden. Keep you back upright, no stooping and if you do need to pick something up, no twisting, turn your whole body towards it, including your feet! Bend from your hips, not your waist.
If you are unfortunate to suffer with hay fever, aka allergic rhinitis, you will definitely know when spring has sprung. Dry itchy eyes, runny nose and blocked sinuses? Although the body of conclusive research is minimal for treating hay fever with alternative therapies, some people do have results with Acupuncture and Cranial therapies. These therapies tend to look at the overall health of the individual and take into account not just the current situation, but factors that maybe predisposing someone to the problem. Generally it it thought that commencing treatment before it (if seasonal) begins, can help reduce the severity of the symptoms, so now is the time to start! If you would like to be referred to someone local, call, we would be happy to point you in the right direction.
Aching and stiff from spring cleaning, massage can help, whether it is a deep tissue massage, Thai massage or a movement practice such as Thai Chi or yoga. Overdone the gardening, pulled something, be honest, were you mindful about your posture? Chiropractic care could be what you need.