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8 top tips for travelling with back pain

According to the NHS, lower back pain causes more disability than any other condition, affecting nearly 1 in 10 people and becoming more common with increasing age. The condition is most common here, in Western Europe, with many travelling with back pain.

Another study shown on the NHS website (written by the Mail Online) reveals that slouching and driving for long periods without breaks is causing 8 in 10 Britons to suffer from severe lower back pain. This includes sprains, strains, bulging discs and chronic pain. These conditions can all prevent people from taking their dream holiday and/or making their daily commute unbearable. 

Writing this as a London-based chiropractor, I recommend that if you’re in pain, it’s a case of dealing with it as soon as possible – especially if you have a holiday looming!  Sadly, so many people come into the chiropractic clinic in a panic before their holiday, worried traveling with lower back pain will ruin their plans. 

If this sounds like you, get yourself assessed by a professional who can provide guidance on the best environment for healing, and strategies to prevent further flare ups.  

Here are some top tips for travelling with back pain while you’re on holiday. 

    • Book the best seat. If you are lucky enough to fly with more leg room – or even first class, this extra space is great news! However, most of us travel in a standard upright seat with limited leg room. In these circumstances I recommend booking an aisle seat so that you can get up regularly with as little disruption as possible. Here are a few travel friendly mobility exercises you can do while traveling (only suitable if they are within your pain free range).

  • Focus on mobilising your spine, hips and glutes every day on holiday. Switching the glutes and core on can take the pressure off the back. 
  • Plan ahead. Preventing possible injuries is the secret to avoiding back pain. For example, exercise correctly. This is best done using an experienced personal trainer or Pilates instructor. Some trainers have a fantastic eye for detail and precision which is really important for injury prevention. 
  • Travel light. Think about what will you really need while you’re away and leave behind everything else! For hand luggage, preferably use a small backpack and make sure the straps are tight and fitted so it doesn’t weigh down too hard. If you are taking luggage to check-in, keep it light and make sure it has wheels. Think about how many times you’ll need to lift it during your trip (putting it in an overhead locker on the flight, lifting it into the car etc). And remember to lift with your legs and hip hinge, not your back.
  • Use your jacket or sweater as a pillow. You can take your own pillow but remember that’s another thing to carry! Using this lumbar support really does help cushioning, straightens the spine, prevents slouching and alleviates pressure. 
  • Pick a hotel with a pool and/or Pilates facilities This is a nice way to gently keep things moving properly. Remember to listen to your body; if you feel pain it’s telling you something’s not right. It’s likely your posture or exercise is the problem, so I recommend you work with an experienced Pilates instructor. When it comes to swimming, keep your spine straight as this is its optimum position (no breaststroke). Front crawl with your head in the water, backstroke or, if you prefer, something more steady… Sculling is a nice way to move in the water. If you aren’t a great swimmer, using floats to move around in the water can still be good, as it minimises the effects of gravity and takes the strain off your joints. Moving around is better than sitting around. 
  • Watch your diet! We can all be a little too blasé about what we eat, especially while on holiday. Remember that inflammatory foods (such as sugar, fried food, artificial additives) are likely to contribute to your discomfort. Eating foods with good nutritional value such as oily fish, blueberries and broccoli will provide your body with a better fuel source for repair. As a general rule, less processed food choices are always better. Obviously, we want to experience the culture and cuisine of our destinations, but all in moderation, balanced with healthy meals. Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation and lower intestinal bloating which can switch off your core and result in an overused, sore back.
  • Keep hydrated. Fluids are important to keep our cells and discs at optimal potential. Discs are the spongy shock absorbers between each vertebra in our spine; if they aren’t hydrated, the transition of shock when our feet strike the ground is increased up through our spine. If you feel bloated when you drink a lot, try increasing the amount of water-rich foods you eat, such as cucumbers and tomatoes (both contain 95% water). 

Happy holidays from Karen at KH Chiropractic Aldgate. For more information or a pre-holiday treatment, please call 020 3633 0565 or email Karen at 


My Personal Cholesterol Experiment

Although I have always exercised 5-6 times a week and eaten a good balanced diet – rarely touching a take away or drinking alcohol and being unable to ever remember purchasing a ‘ready meal’ – I still had remarkably high bad cholesterol levels (LDL) at 24 years old. Don’t panic, I’m not super human – I do have a massive weakness for sugar and more particularly for chocolate! So how can we take an active roll in controlling cholesterol?

I requested my first cholesterol check at 24 years of age due to a family history of high cholesterol. The nurse told me ‘30% of cholesterol can be genetic’ which I could not control, but my overall cholesterol level was nearing the upper limit of the acceptable range and therefore it would be likely I would need to go on statins in the near future! I have to admit I was in complete shock at this statement and did start doing some research into diet choices. However the other half of my brain was saying this is crazy! I lead a relatively active lifestyle with a varied diet so I’m going to live my life and carry on.

At 29 years old, following a bout of IBS, I made some drastic changes.  I completely removed anything processed and, although not a big drinker, I completely stopped alcohol. And the big one for me – I cut out sugar. Three months into these changes, and one stone lighter, I was walking down a London street and noticed a free health check station including NHS cholesterol checks. What a fabulous idea I thought, but after a quick chat with staff I found I was not eligible as I was under 40! We chatted further and I explained how odd I thought it was they were turning away younger people as surely prevention was far better than cure. Anyway with our further discussion and the fact no one was waiting, the man performed a ‘roadside’ cholesterol check on me.

From my recent research into controlling cholesterol it seems that overall cholesterol reading is not as important as once thought and in fact we should be more concerned with the cholesterol/HDL ratio. There are two types of cholesterol, good ‘HDL’, and bad ‘LDL’. What scientists are now drawing our attention towards is increasing HDL levels. Let’s look at my readings since my personal experiment:-

Karen 24 yrs 03/11/11 Karen 29 yrs 28/10/16
Total Cholesterol (should be under 5 unless its HDL pushing it up) 5.5 6.09
LDL (Bad cholesterol), highest risk of heart disease) 3.4 3.3
HDL (Good cholesterol) 1.56 2.43
Trig (should be under 1.5) 1.19 0.79
Chol/HDL ratio 3.53 2.5


So even though my overall cholesterol has gone up from 5.5 to 6.09, the LDL reading has marginally lowered and the HDL dramatically increased bringing my overall ratio down from 3.5 to 2.5 which current research suggests is a success!

Chiropractors generally like to look at the whole body approach and realise that lifestyle and diet play a key role in our overall health and recovery. We can help with the functional side of problems and help you accelerate healing with a combination of treatment and lifestyle advice. If you would like help with your back, neck or joint pain call us on 0203 633 0565.


What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in almost every cell in your body. Therefore, although it’s frequently been promoted as a bad thing, it requires a much deeper understanding. Cholesterol is needed by all of us to:

  • make hormones
  • make Vitamin D
  • digest food
  • protect your nerves, and
  • produce cell membranes

The more important thing to understand is the two types of cholesterol HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol).


So what is good and bad cholesterol?

LDL is comprised of small particles which can squeeze between the cells in your arterial wall and become stuck between these gaps. This causes plaque to build up and narrowing of the vessels putting you at risk of:

  • Heart diseaseWhat is Cholesterol?
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

It’s been shown that eating saturated fats (‘good fats’ like nuts, avocado, coconut oil basically naturally occurring unprocessed fats) can help increase the number of large particles ‘HDL’.

Interestingly, cholesterol levels are not higher in fatty meats or lower in lean meats. Fat cells contain as much cholesterol as other cells in the meat. Like human body cells all mammal cells contain cholesterol. All meat averages about 25 milligrams of cholesterol per 1 ounce, including beef and poultry. Dietary absorption rates vary from person to person ranging from 20-60% in individuals so quite a marked difference, perhaps explaining why cholesterol levels vary so much between individuals?

This is why it is far more important to concern yourself with your cholesterol ratio rather than your overall cholesterol level. These ratios are comprised of good:bad cholesterol.

These good fats help increase our HDL levels.

These Good fats increase our HDL levels.

Scientists have found that the smaller LDL molecules carry the highest risk for cardiovascular disease. Even more interestingly they have found that increasing the intake of saturated fats increases the size of your small LDL molecules to the larger sized HDL molecules reducing your overall risk of CVD.

At KH Chiropractic we not only treat mechanical dysfunctions but we also educate people on how to maintain healthy spines in the long term to reduce the chance of future flare ups. We have to respect the building blocks of our body and what we eat can have a massive impact on our overall health and ability to heal following injury.


Are you training in the correct footwear?

Footwear choices are important in every day life, however here we will talk more specifically about training footwear and sports injury prevention. High impact physical exercise (running, juming etc) transfers a lot of forces through the body. If your feet and the surface you are on don’t absorb much shock the energy has to go somewhere, so the majority will pass up through your body to the knees, hips, lower back and so on. As we predominantly walk on manmade surfaces with little to no absorption (such as tarmac) we can rarely depend on the ground absorbing any shock.

For specific running trainers I recommend going to a good running shop and selecting a trainer most suitable to your foot shape. Many running shops now provide a gait assessment in various trainers, this can help you select the correct trainer to support your foot. Each trainer brand varies, for instance you may find one is more suitable for a wider foot and a different brand for a slimmer foot. It is also important to consider support in other areas of the foot, particularly if you have a history of foot pain.

There are 26 bones in the foot so lots of opportunity for dysfunction. The foot is the primary shock absorber as we strike the ground and when funtioning well the arch of the foot responds to this positively. However these bones can do one of three things:-

  • Function well
  • Become restricted
  • Move too much

Your chiropractor may check your feet to asses for any restriction and treat these accordingly to improve your function. Poor foot mechanics can often lead to issues at the knee, hip, lower back or elsewhere in the body, therefore it’s important to get the foundation right.

Once you have selected the correct footware you must wear them correctly. Tying up your shoes properly and using all the eyes, to provide an equal support can help prevent sports injuries. Do not get lazy and force your foot into any shoes without untying them in an attempt to save time, undo your shoe laces properly each time. It is important to make sure your trainers aren’t too small as this can lead to extra stress on toe nails and other areas of the foot, which can lead to blisters and foot pain, preventing you training and leaving you seeking sports injury treatment.

Should you need Sports Injury Treatment in Liverpool Street / Aldgate call us today to book your free 15 minute consultation 0203 633 0565 or email


Are you walking on egg shells this Easter? ………Let E1 Chiropractic help you

Are you walking on egg shells this Easter? ………Let E1 Chiropractic help you

£5 New Patient discount this April at our E1 chiropractic branch.

Many people wait until they are in pain to visit a chiropractor. We all know prevention is far better than cure. If we wait until we have tooth pain usually the decay is well established, hence why many of us have 6 monthly – yearly check ups. So why do we wait until we are in unbearable back, neck or joint pain to consult E1 Chiropractic ?

E1 Chiropractic - Easter 2016 offerRestricted joints can compromise the bodies ability to send signals from one area to another. For instance your brain sends signals down the spinal cord to multiple nerve roots. These nerve roots correspond to different muscles, organs and the skin instructing them on how to function, therefore it's vital these signals remain undisrupted.

This Easter 2016 E1 Chiropractic is offering a £5 discount to any new patient who books before the end of April (quoting 'Easter 2016'). We have limited new patient slots so book now to avoid dissapointment in Aldgate/ Liverpool Street (E1 Chiropractic) 0203 633 0565.

Discount avaliable during April 2017 only.