The problem with 10,000 steps a day

morning strollIt’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps a day. However, a recent study conducted at Stanford University found that the global average for steps taken per day is 4,961. Though the UK’s average is above this stat, it’s a far cry from the suggested amount.

But the 10,000 steps figure is not based on science in any case. It originated in a Japanese marketing campaign for a new step counter in the 1960s. Most people find it hard to do 10,000 steps in a day anyway. The good news is you don’t have to. You can get even better benefits from a less arduous programme.

Research shows that three 10 minute brisk bouts of walking a day will achieve the aim of getting your heart beating faster which reduces the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It will also help with back pain. You should aim to walk fast enough to be out of breath enough so you can’t sing but can still talk.

Walking has many benefits, besides reducing the risk of heart disease and back pain it can help you sleep easy! Where you can, swap walking on pavements for paths in green spaces or along the seafront, you’re likely to improve your mood, get the creative juices flowing and reduce feelings of depression. With so many lovely green areas and the coast in and around Brighton and Hove, a little change in your daily routine can do wonders for your wellbeing!

A good walking technique is key to ensure your back is properly supported. Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core and support your entire body weight. Spinal alignment is vital; try to stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Let your arms swing naturally and roll through your foot from heel to toe.

It’s also a good idea to shorten your strides; this will reduce the strain on your knees, calves and shins. Make sure you get the right technique as you start off so that bad habits don’t develop! Getting the right footwear is key to ensuring you establish a good walking method. When buying shoes you’re going to walk in make sure you go at the end of the day as your feet will be a little swollen meaning you’ll purchase the right size. It’s important that your toes have room to move and that your heel doesn’t slip. This will give you ample support both in your ankle and further up in your lower back.

Try incorporating a walk into your daily routine. By releasing endorphins and boosting vitamin D levels, walking’s benefits will leave you feeling refreshed and energized as well as strengthening your core and back muscles.

As part of your next appointment, we can measure your foot size so that you can get the correct sized walking shoes.

Little-known cause of back pain starts in childhood and is entirely preventable

Back pain often comes on apparently without reason. In fact, one possible cause might stretch all the way back to childhood. Hove dentist, Pieter Grobbelaar, tell us how teeth and jaw problems can be behind chronic pain.

The jaw joint (TMJ) and pelvic joints (sacro-iliac joints) both work in conjunction with one another, compensating for one another when either joint becomes misaligned writes Pieter Grobbelaar. With an abnormal bite the TMJ becomes dysfunctional and this creates instability at the weight bearing sacro-iliac joint in the pelvis. This leads to poor body posture which can cause low back pain, neck pain, headaches and other health problems.

The majority of children (75%) now have crooked teeth, incorrect jaw development and other orthodontic problems, which is evident from 3-5years of age, are not caused by big teeth in small jaws or hereditary factors. However, rather than blame genetics for crooked teeth and poor jaw development, modern research has produced evidence that points to other causes.

Concordia dental healthcare has recognised that Soft Tissue Dysfunction or poor myofunctional habits such as mouth breathing, incorrect tongue position, reverse swallowing and thumb sucking are the real causes of malocclusion and poor cranio-facial development.

The restricted development limits the space available for erupting teeth and prevents them from emerging into their natural position.

75% of growing children are affected and most commonly will presents with crooked teeth, undeveloped facial and jaw bones, TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) dysfunction and poor body posture.

Mouth breathing is abnormal and is one of the causes of Sleep Disorder Breathing (SDB) problems.

SDB in children has been recognised as causing widespread health, developmental and behavioural problems, including snoring, gasping, cessation of breathing such as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and interrupted sleep, which can result in drowsiness during the day as well as behavioural problems in children. Additionally, as well as being detrimental to the development of the face, jaws and teeth, if left untreated paediatric SDB can lead to significant and serious health problems causing poor quality of life later in adulthood.

If a child breathes through their mouth during the day or while sleeping at night, the tongue drops to the bottom of the mouth, which results in upper and lower jaw development problems. Allergies, asthma and open mouth posture also cause the jaws to develop incorrectly.

Incorrect dental and facial development can be detected at an early age, but so often no treatment is recommended. It is well known that the majority of our children do not develop their jaws and face correctly. This results in crowded teeth and underdeveloped faces.

Braces and extracting teeth in teenage years does not solve the underlying problems behind the causes of crooked teeth and incorrect facial development.

The balanced cranium provides the anchor points for the tension membranes which support the brain. The rhythmic pulsing of the brain as it expands and contracts, when breathing, provides the basis for the sacro-occipital pump which circulates cerebo-spinal fluid.

One of the most important aspects of normal cranial function is the position of the jaw. When the lower jaw (Mandible) comes in contact with the upper jaw (Maxilla) the movement should be symmetrical, simultaneous and even. This constitutes normal cranio-dental function. When the jaw becomes distorted the entire balance of the cranium is put in jeopardy.

A misaligned jaw will change the bite plane and ultimately the bite, affecting the cranium, TMJ, muscle balance, normal spinal mechanics and pelvic stability.

Good cranial development is needed for optimum neurological development.

The cranium consists of 28 bones, any distortion will affect transmission within the brain, cranial nerves and ultimately the nervous system.

Cranial development is 65% completed at age 8 years and 95% completed at 12 years of age, therefore it’s essential that intervention occurs as early as possible assisting cranial development to its optimum genetic potential.

Pieter-Grobbellar

 

 

Dr Pieter Grobbelaar BChD

Founder and Principal Dentist of Concordia Dental,

51-53 Church Road Hove

 

 

Exercise mistakes that make your back worse

Most back exercises are great for the back and it doesn’t seem to matter much what exercises you do as long as you stay active. But some exercises can be harmful and actually damage your back. So whether you like the gym, Pilates, yoga or a sport it is important to know the good and the bad. Matthew was recently interviewed about just this topic by Stu Girling from Love Yoga Anatomy. Stu trains yoga teachers and practitioners on safe ways to do yoga.

One of the exercises that does more harm than good is forward bending despite the fact that lots of people do it to stretch their back. As we bend forward huge pressure builds on the lower discs. As you bend from the waist, if the lumbar spine is held in neutral, with its natural forward curve, the pressure on the disc is reduced. If you round your lower back as you bend forwards then the discs are vulnerable. The jelly inside the disc gets forced backwards and can cause cracking in the outer disc wall. If this carries on it can cause a disc bulge or a “slipped disc”.

 

Forward-bending
Lumbar-loads

 

If you bend, as in a yoga forward fold, over and over again then it can cause injury. It is like repeatedly bending a credit card, a white line appears and ultimately it breaks.

Many people with back pain feel that their back is too stiff and want to stretch it. A better goal for exercises is the right mix of flexibility and stability. If your back is too stiff and this causing pain then the solution is to unlock the spinal joints with chiropractic manipulation or mobilisation. If, however, your problem is too much flexibility then we work to stabilise your spine.