Category: Blog

Watch Your Back!

This time of year brings me a host of patients who have injured their backs whilst doing the gardening.

 

We sit around all winter and with the first sign of spring dash out to sort the garden out – spend a productive day sorting out the mess, go inside to have our dinner, then seize up.

 

The next day we can barely move and our lower back is in agony and away we go to the osteopath.

 

Yet this is such an easy problem to avoid with a few simple changes to how we do things.

 

The first thing to do is to take a look at all the jobs that are waiting for you in the garden. I can guarantee that there will be some that require you to kneel, some that require standing and others that demand you lift and move things.

 

Step one is to plan a ‘round robin’ of tasks that require different postures and spend twenty minutes on each job, gradually getting each job completed over several hours. The commonest mistake I see is one of people focussing on one job, such as weeding a flower bed, and starting it and finishing it all in one go – regardless of time. This may mean someone spends several hours kneeling down, leaning over and reaching across the flower bed.

 

Now, if you were a professional gardener and used to such work this would be less of a problem but when you are not used to such work there will be enormous strain placed on your body from maintaining a posture for a long period of time. Pressure through your knees and through your flexed lower back with a double whammy on your lower back from the weight of your upper body reaching across to pull weeds up.

 

The same is true for digging and even more so if most of your life is spent working in a sedentary job.

 

Therefore, the golden rule is to never spend more than twenty minutes on any one job and after twenty minutes switch to another job that requires a different posture. After twenty minutes in your new posture change again, either back to job number one, or to a new job with a different posture again.

 

Of course, this requires a little planning and above all else you must think about your body rather than ignoring it to get a job done.

 

An easy reminder to do this is to set a timer on your phone for twenty minutes and when it goes off you change to job number two, reset the alarm and go again.

 

Step two in preventing injury in the garden is to make sure you do a warm down after you have finished. This can be some simple leg and whole body stretches such as standing, then bending forward to touch your toes with legs kept straight, or gently rolling your shoulders and arms to release all the muscles that have been working hard. There are a myriad of stretches that are really useful.

 

Gardening is a physical activity and our body should be gently warmed up and warmed down afterwards to enable it to reset and recover from the work. It may not be a sport but is using your body in a very strenuous way so please stretch it afterwards.

 

An Epsom salts bath is also useful so add that into your post gardening routine once a week. You can even apply Magnesium oil to any aching muscles and this will also help them recover.

 

And if the worst comes to the worst there is always your local osteopath to help you out – and if it is me, I will also tell you how to prevent future trouble, the question is…will you heed my advice? J

Health Confusions – A thought…

I stopped by my local coffee shop this morning to grab a Flat White before my working day began. Whilst I was waiting for it to be made I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation at a nearby table.

An elderly gentleman was explaining to his friends at the table that he had read in the paper last week that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day are good for you and can help prevent cancer and heart disease amongst other things.

What struck me about this was not the subject matter he was talking about – though if I had six cups of coffee a day I’d be zipping around faster than roadrunner – but the fact he had garnered this snippet of information from a newspaper.

These little gems of health information are drip fed to us regularly in the media – presumably because they have nothing important to write about and to my mind they are responsible for confusing people about how to maintain health.

In the last few months in my health food shop in Garstang I have seen demand suddenly rise then fall after a while for kefir (it is good for your gut and immune system) and inulin (it helps you sleep) – we had inulin last year too as it helps burn off brown fat! I won’t bore you with the details about that but the information is out there if you want to find it.

Before that it was raspberry ketones for weight loss! All these trends come and go over a few months as people look for a magic bullet to help their health improve. It is human nature to look for the easy options and a magic pill is so tempting to many of us but I have news for you….there is no magic bullet. There is no magic pill that will give you extraordinary good health all your life.

In my opinion much of this idea stems from the pharmaceutical industry who by stealth have brainwashed us into thinking our health is maintained by taking pills. It is not. They have bought up our healthcare systems and turned them into massive dispensing systems for countless drugs handed out without thought or logic.

A simple example of this is that millions of people are given anti inflammatory drugs when they have an injury. So let’s unravel the almost pavlovian response from many people to take such a drug when they have pain:

First of all, what is acute inflammation? It is a rapid response by your body to an injury – it causes swelling, immobility, redness, heat and pain – but why does it do this? Simple – the acute inflammatory response happens to heal your injury, yes, that’s right, it is a HEALING response. Which begs the question…if acute inflammation heals you why on earth would you take an anti inflammatory that actually suppresses your body’s attempts at fixing you. There is no logic in doing this and in my experience, repeatedly suppressing your body in this way leads to worse trouble down the line such as damaged joints, weakened soft tissues and chronic pain. However, it is inconvenient to think of it like this so we are fed the message that pain is bad so get rid of the pain with a pill.

Yet pain is our friend…just look at the terrible condition called Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP) where children with this problem will eat scalding hot food or bite off their own tongue! Pain protects us so look for WHY you have pain and get it fixed if you can.

Sadly, because of media bombardments and misleading advertising along with a medical system that focuses on disease, we are left without any sense of how to maintain health and look for snippets of miracle cures in the media.

But good health is not a pill – it is a way of life – actually a pleasurable way of life. Take joy in cooking real food from raw, high quality organic ingredients. Ensure you have a balanced diet (and yes, CBD undoubtedly has a role to play in a balanced diet) Exercise and stretch your body every day and laugh a lot! Ensure your relationships are based on mutual respect and love and live in a clean environment. You own the keys to your health, not snippets in newspapers or pills from drug companies.

Enjoy your days

Nick Tofalos

I read a headline in the press recently about the drive to medicate half our population to help reduce high blood pressure.

It showed how studies point to aggressive use of medication to get this problem sorted. Yet I would argue that aggressive promotion of exercise for everyone should be the absolute first line of defence for this problem.

Most people’s high blood pressure problems are caused by a chronic lack of movement. This leads to a weaker heart from the fact it does not have to do much every day – our body is very dynamic and clever and it is always looking for efficiency savings so if we sit and do nothing it will let muscle waste away that is not required.

Muscle requires lots of energy to maintain it so if it is not being used your body will let some of it disappear so it can move important resources elsewhere, such as using energy to feed your brain. I am over simplifying the entire process but the old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ is very true.

Therefore, you sit all day and your heart gets weaker. The knock on effect of this is that your heart has to pump harder to get the circulation moving, therefore, your blood pressure rises.

This is where we then see the usual, predictable, standard medical response of treating the symptom (your high blood pressure) rather than the cause (your sedentary lifestyle) because getting you to deal with the cause does not make a single penny for a drugs company.

I’m sorry to say that the world is a very cynical place and being healthy does not pay. Of course, humans are also naturally lazy and always looking for the easy route so having a drug for a problem appears the simple, easy way out.

Yet this is not in any way the easy way out. Have you seen the side effects of using these drugs long term? In an issue of Cardiology Review it was shown that these drugs increase the risk of death and being hospitalised. They can also cause acute kidney failure.

There are many problems with taking long term medication for a symptom. However, using exercise brings nothing but enormous benefits to all aspects of your life.

Exercise does not just lower your blood pressure, it can improve your mood, ability to do things (like going up stairs – and believe me, I see plenty of people who start to lose that vital skill), get out of a chair and on and on.

If you have been sedentary for a long time, start with walking and get advice from a health expert before you throw yourself into a movement regime. Do not be concerned by picking up niggles, aches and even injuries when you exercise – your body will recover from these and you will learn from them too.

Medication should only ever be the option of last resort – nobody has ever become ill from a lack of meds. Avoid wherever possible.

Exercise is truly the wonder drug of drugs for your health. Use your body wherever possible.

Our body is a moving machine, so move it.

Take care,

Nick Tofalos

Our First Blog…

Welcome to CBD One and welcome to my little blog! Every month or so I shall endeavour to discuss the wider aspects of maintaining good health. From the myths and deliberate misinformation of some mainstream thinking to the more natural view of how your body works and how it responds to threats and disease.

I have worked for many years in the natural health field and advise my patients how to learn that they hold the key to good health in their own hands. It does not require a doctor or medic for you to be healthy. Of course, our health system has a vital role to play in helping us in times of need but it is my aim to educate you so that you do not have to always go knocking at your GP’s door.

We can start with this simple fact – the best way to not become ill is to be healthy. Of course, modern life throws many insults at our mind and body which mean it is not always easy to be healthy.

However, it is actually remarkably simple to ask your body to be healthy. There are only a few aspects one has to take care of to encourage good health.

Nutrition. You are what you eat. There are many nuances in this area that I can address over the coming months and years but rule number one in this field is: do not eat processed food, and for the record I consider bread, pasta and most cereals to be processed foods. Oh, and do not forget rule number two which is an extension of number one: do not consume sugar, or at least limit it severely. Your plate of food should be a rainbow plate of many colours.

Use your body. Your body is a moving machine and thrives on movement. We are made mainly of water and consider for a moment the difference between a flowing stream and a stagnant pond. The same is true for your body. Move it every day. An extension of this is to take care of your body’s structure both through exercise and getting experts (like we osteopaths) to check that it functions well every now and then. People happily get their teeth checked up by the dentist every six months – well what about the rest of your body surrounding your teeth?

 

Your environment. By this I mean both the physical and social aspects of living. Is your home clean and uncluttered? Do you interact with other people or are you isolated or lonely? Your environment may be difficult to change as it can be subject to many external factors but learning to manage this can help. Do you practice good hygiene? Such as brushing your teeth twice a day – I’m always amazed when my dentist friends tell me how many people do not do such a basic thing. By the way, good hygiene does not involve using antibacterial sprays, which are effectively an antibiotic – throw them all out please. One of the biggest mistakes of modern medicine, in my humble opinion, is to have declared war on bacteria – the very things which give us life.

You will notice from the above that there is no mention of taking medication. Drugs of any kind are not necessary for good health. Nor is there mention of worrying about such things as bacteria and bugs (what are these bugs that apparently do the rounds every year?) which apparently are floating around waiting to make us ill (they’re not!). I will go into more detail on all these subjects and many more but for now please have a good look around the CBD One website which is bursting with lots of information and keep an eye out for my next blog in the weeks to come.

Be happy.

Nick

Cannabis Trade Association Member

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