Are You Deficient in Vitamin D? I am!

Have you been taking a vitamin D supplement over the winter?
If not, you may be deficient, as it has probably been a while since your body saw the sun!

I recently had my vitamin D levels checked and found out my levels were unsurprisingly “insufficient” (most people are this time of year).

Although I take a vitamin D supplement in the winter, I was not too surprised by this. There have definitely been days I have forgotten to take it when life has been busy. And despite my very fair skin meaning that my body makes vitamin from the sun quite easily, I am very thorough with applying sun cream as I also tend to burn very easily.

What Does Vitamin D Do?

Vitamin D is such an important vitamin, it is actually considered a hormone and does so much for your body. It helps regulate your genes, supports your immune system, regulates bone growth, maintains muscle strength and function and heart health. Unfortunately it is really hard to get from food, and is mainly made by exposing you skin to the sun.

Although you may be deficient or insufficient with no symptoms at all, some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be tiredness, muscle weakness, muscle and bone pain, which you can imagine a lot of patients have at least one of these?

Who Is at Risk of Deficiency?

Most of us in the UK are at risk between October and April, especially towards the end of winter.

But you may be at risk of deficiency all year round if you wear a lot of sunscreen (like me), spend a lot of time indoors (such as those who work inside or in care homes), cover up your skin, are obese, are over 65 or have darker skin, such as those of black or asian heritage.

What Are Optimum Levels?

Based on those who live near the equator and spend a lot of time outside, researchers have been able to figure out not just normal levels, but also optimum levels to make sure we feel our best.

As you can see in the table, my level of 40 nmol/L was in the “insufficient” range. I have a way to go to reach the optimal range!

RangeMeasurement in nmol/L
Deficientless than 25
Very Highmore than 250

How Much Should I Take?

This is something that is not fully agreed upon yet.

The NHS advises that everyone over the age of 4 years old take a supplement of 400 iu (10 micrograms) throughout the winter months.

But some experts think that this is too low and that we should be taking 1000-5000 iu per day.

Please beware you CAN take too much, causing toxicity, but this generally is when you are taking over 10 000 iu per day or taking high supplements for a long time without having your levels rechecked.

Should I Get My Vitamin D Levels Checked Before Taking a Supplement?

If you suspect you may be low in vitamin D, it may be prudent to get your levels checked before taking a supplement or adjusting your current dosage.

If you think you may be extremely low and are showing symptoms (severe aching in your bones and muscles or muscle weakness making standing up and walking difficult and painful), it is worth visiting your GP surgery for testing.

I decided to get my testing done privately (through Thriva) so I could track my levels and make adjustments to my current supplement myself. It wasn’t cheap, but it did mean that I could take my health into my own hands.

Testing was done via a finger prick blood test, which was fairly simple to do but if you’re squeamish with blood, I wouldn’t recommend. My sample was then sent off in the post and I received my results 3 days later.

Should I Take It With Vitamin K?

Yes. Sometimes taking a high level vitamin D supplement can increase the level of calcium circulating in your blood and can lead to heart disease.

Combining vitamin K with your vitamin D supplement helps your body take calcium into your bones. Here is an oral spray supplement that I recommend.

I will let you know how it all goes, once I have been retested after a few months.

And let me know if you think you’re low in vitamin D so I can give you advice on what to do.

4 Ways To Make A Healthy New Habit Stick

Make ONE easy, positive change in 2020 to avoid the inevitable new year boom or bust

Woman Slicing Gourd

We’ve all fallen foul of “boom and bust” at some point. In the past, January’s come around and we’ve taken the “new year, new you” slogan to heart. So we’ve pushed ourselves, such as an extreme diet or gym routine, which we inevitably give up after we miss a day or cave and eat something “forbidden”. Especially in the new year, I see plenty of patients who set themselves HUGE goals and then end up feeling sheepish when they’ve overdone it, either through injury, exhaustion or lack of motivation.

But the answer is not simply to avoid setting resolutions, it’s to set small, easy, enjoyable goals so they are achievable and long lasting.

First, picture a healthier version of yourself. What do they look like? What do they feel like?

As roughly 70% of our day is made up of habits, what you do every day can put you on the path to being that person. So let’s try and create or change a habit to get there.

But what habit or goal should we choose? Identify one part of that person that your new habit will work towards, for instance: increased energy, happier, fitter, etc.

But for Your New Habit To Stick, Follow These 4 Tips :

1. Get Some Enjoyment!

To be able do your habit long-term, it can’t be something you hate. There’s no point starting to go to a spin class if you hate spinning. You have to get some enjoyment out of it, whether it’s a nice new pair of running leggings or using tasty spices to flavour the vegan curry you’re making.

2. It Must Be Easy

If you were to rate your new habit out of 10, with 10/10 being the easiest, if it’s lower than a 7 chances are you’re setting yourself up for failure.

3. Create a Good Environment

Create an environment that is supportive. Keep nuts and seeds in you desk draw rather than biscuits. When you’re feeling tired, stressed or lacking in motivation it’s natural to crave higher calorie foods, so make it harder for yourself. Leave your gym kit by the door. I’ve even heard of people sleeping in their yoga clothes so they can spring out of bed in the morning!

4. Be Kind To Yourself

Don’t punish yourself into success, be compassionate to yourself. Studies show the kinder you are, the more likely you are to succeed. You’re less likely to procrastinate, more likely to have positive mental well-being and more likely to stick to your health goals.

So go into it with the mindset of kindness. You shouldn’t want to exercise to lose weight because you hate your body, you should exercise to get fitter, feel happier and have more energy.

The other part of being kind to yourself is to forgive yourself when you fail. If you miss that gym session, examine why it happened to stop it from happening again, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re tired, listen to your body instead of pushing through, take a break and get some fresh air.

Hopefully, with those 4 tips, you’ll be able to but good habits into practise and end 2020 feeling healthier.

It’s Back Care Awareness Week 2019

How common is back pain?

Although as a chiropractor I treat the whole of the body (with or without symptoms), back pain is by far the most likely reason for someone to seek my care. And a lot of people suffer with it: a recent report published by Arthritis Research UK, found that back pain affects 10 million people in England and Scotland alone. That’s 1 in 6! And disability due to back pain has risen by more than 50% since 1990.

Why is Back Pain On The Rise?

In general, many of us are spending more time being sedentary, whether that’s sat at a desk, watching TV or using tablets in the evening. Research shows us that this lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for lots of health concerns, including back pain.

I am also seeing more and more cases of back and neck pain amongst a much younger age group, which is a sign of how our lifestyles are changing. With young people particularly, it’s important to remember that their bones and skeletons are still developing. This means that habitual behaviour, like bending your head over your phone, is more likely to lead to postural issues later on.

What Can We Do To Prevent It?

This Back Care Awareness Week, I want to shine a light on the easy steps people can take to improve their back health and mobility, whatever your age. It’s not about drastically changing your routine, or never using a device again, it’s about incorporating simple steps into your day to day routine to break up the periods of sitting or being still. We’re often sold technology on the basis that it will make our lives easier, but it’s important to remember that a lot of the tech we have in our home encourages to stay still, so the key thing is to bring movement and balance into your day.

Regularly changing posture and remaining seated for no longer than 30 minutes at a time are just a couple of the simple ways to prevent or reduce pressure on the back. Research by Arthritis UK also proves that physical activity can reduce the risk of developing join and back pain by 25%; a claim supported by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA), with 68% of its members believing that exercise is the single most important element for maintaining good back health.  

Top tips for better back health

With devices and new technologies now a staple in both homes and workplaces, I’ve shared the British Chiropractic Association’s top tips for keeping mobile and your back healthy

1. Sit up

If you’re watching TV or using a computer or mobile device for a prolonged period of time, make sure you are sitting comfortably with your back supported in the base of the chair. Sitting with your head forward adds strain on your neck and back, so also make sure that you are sitting with your head directly over your body. 

2. Get Moving

You back loves to stay active, so try and move around every 20-30 minutes, whether at home or at work (an easy trick is to stand up every time you’re on the phone). Being active is also a great way to keep back pain at bay, but don’t be tempted to go straight in, full throttle with high endurance-based activities, especially if you haven’t exercised in a while. You can gradually build up your exercise load with swimming, walking or yoga which can be less demanding on your body, while still keeping you physically active.

3. Check your workspace

If your job primarily involves sitting at a desk and staring at a computer for hours at a time, make sure your desk is set up to support a comfortable position. This is different for everyone so if you don’t feel comfortable in your current set up, try altering the height of your chair or screen.  

4. Straighten Up!

The BCA has created a programme of three-minute exercises, Straighten Up UK, which can be slotted in to your daily schedule to help prevent back pain by promoting movement, balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.

Let me know if you have any back pain woes or need any help to be more active by getting in touch at [email protected] or give me a call on 0115 7788 179.

Does Wear and Tear Always Mean Pain??

Have you ever had an X-ray or scan only to be told you have “Wear and Tear” or “Arthritis”? Or even a “slipped disc” or “disc bulge”?

These terms can sound scary BUT it may mean absolutely nothing!

For instance, 75% of people in their 20s WITHOUT pain or symptoms have a disc bulge in their neck. And 80% of people at the age of 50 have disc degeneration (“wear and tear of the discs”). And these people had NO symptoms.

Have a look at this infographic for a few more examples around the body:

Remember, all these people scanned were asymptomatic, so had no pain or symptoms.

So what does this mean? It doesn’t mean that theses issues can’t cause pain or symptoms, but it does mean that sometimes these findings are irrelevant. At Symmetry Chiropractic, I “treat the man and not the scan” as I always correlate with imaging findings and what I find when I examine you.

Man holding an xray of a spine.

And it’s also a good reason why we don’t scan everyone willy nilly as we may uncover these things that are not causing you any issues, but after hearing you have them you end up feeling broken or old. And we do not want you to feel that way!

So, if you’ve been told in the past, you have a slipped disc, wear and tear or arthritis, the majority of the time, it is no cause for concern.

How to Improve Posture During Pregnancy

Chiropractic care is an extremely safe way to promote comfort and minimise back pain during pregnancy. We use gentle, hands-on techniques to help balance the pelvis and womb, and use special pillows to make your treatment more comfortable (you can lie on your front – bliss!).

Exercise is great to do while pregnant but how you sit, stand and move throughout the day is just as important and can help you feel more comfortable and help the baby position well in the pelvis.

Here are some great tips, from one of my favourite resources,, to help your posture.


  • Sit with your hips higher than your knees
  • Sit with your back straight and your rib cage lifted off your middle, without over arching
  • Sit on a firm exercise ball that allows your hips to be level with your knees or higher than your knees
  • Lie with your navel aiming towards the bed, floor or couch/ sofa, if not directly on your bump, then so that eventually an imagined light-beam coming from your navel would eventually find the floor
  • Brief Forward-Leaning Inversions, once a day
  • Squat or supported squatting with your back flat against the wall and your knees bent (work gradually up to where you can squat with your feet flat on the floor for 2-5 minutes)
  • Holding your shoulders back, yet relaxed, while you walk briskly
  • Lie on both sides, but preferably the left

There are also a few ways of holding yourself which you should avoid if possible.


  • Lying flat on your back
  • Sitting curled up in a chair, with your naval facing upwards
  • Staying in one position for too long

Try to follow this advice when possible, especially if you sit at a desk all day and hopefully you will feel the benefit!

If you’re still feeling sore, you know where to find me!

Parenting Back Hacks: How to Parent Without Back Pain

I’ve always said to patients that parenting can be hard be hard on your back not only if you’re the Mum, but for the Dads and Grandparents too.

Parent giving child a piggyback

First there’s pregnancy, with all the changes in the pelvis and alterations in weight loading, then labour, c-sections, breastfeeding, bending over changing nappies which seems to suddenly morph into carrying a toddler around!
All these put extra strain through your spine.

But we shouldn’t give in and settle for years of pain just because we’re parents, there are certainly ways to prevent back pain and ease any discomfort that has accompanied your new role.

Now I am also a parent, I’ve had the chance to test out some of my own advice and this is what I have learnt:

Raise Your Changing Table

Father and newborn son

At the beginning, it seems like you’re constantly changing their nappies and dirty clothes. All this bending puts your back under extra strain. so before your baby becomes really active (after then it’s too risky) my tip would be to change your little one on a raised surface such as a tall bed or a changing table (we modified an old chest of drawers).

To do this safely, make sure you have everything you need ready before you begin, such as wipes or cotton wool and water, nappies and nappy bags.

Bend Through The Hips

Model showing how to bend properly

Rather than bending from the waist, move through your hips to push less pressure through the spine . Often I cue patients by telling them to “stick their bum backwards”.

Buy a Car Seat That Spins

Leaning over to safely buckle in your little one can be a bit of a stretch. And lifting them into the car when they’re toddlers at an angle is awkward. Instead, invest in a car seat that spins to face outwards. Having to fiddle around with straps and buckles is a little easier when they’re right in front of you too.

Kneel At Bath Time

Baby in metal bath tub

Instead of leaning over the bath while standing, kneel on the floor. And if the hard bathroom floor doesn’t agree with your knees, get a cushion or a specialist kneeler for comfort.

Don’t Always Hold Them On One Hip

If you’re always carrying your baby on one hip, you could cause tightness to build up on one side. Either switch them between, or even hold them in front, close to your body.

Baby Wearing?

Baby is a carrier

If you’re using a sling or baby carrier, make sure you use it properly to support not just your baby but you as well. This is very important as your baby grows (the heavier they get – the more support you need!). Watch out for a future blog on this with more information, or if you’re inpatient, visit your local sling library or meet (the Nottingham one can be found here).

If you’re a parent who suffers with back pain, I may be able to help. Get in contact to find out how.

Katie Scorer
Chiropractor and Owner of Symmetry Chiropractic

Can You Be TOO Flexible?

Do You Think You Could Be a Little Too Flexible?

We’re often told that keeping limber and flexible will keep our bodies in tip-top shape! If only things were that simple, as sometimes our joints can be a little too flexible and cause us problems.


This is labelled as “hypermobility” and 1 in 4 people are affected by it, although it can vary widely with some being symptom-free and never realising that they are hypermobile!

Others may suffer from joint pain and it can even affect the rest of your body with fatigue, anxiety, depression, reflux, stomach issues, fainting, dizziness, and gynaecological problems.

Check If You Might Have Hypermobility

The Beighton score is a simple check that can tell you if you might be hypermobile.

Give yourself one point for each of these you can do:

  • Pull your little finger back beyond 90° (one point for each side
Flexible finger beighton score hypermobile ehlers danlos joint pain
  • Pull your thumb back to touch your forearm (one point for each side)
Flexible thumb beighton score hypermobile ehlers danlos joint pain
  • Bend elbow backwards beyond 10° (one point for each side)
Flexible arm elbow beighton score hypermobile ehlers danlos joint pain
  • Bend knee backwards beyond 10° (one point for each side)
Flexible leg knee beighton score hypermobile ehlers danlos joint pain
  • Lie hands flat on the floor while keeping knees straight and bending forward at the waist

If you’re an adult and scored more than 5, or a child more than 6, you might be hypermobile!

As hypermobility is such a wide spectrum, it may never cause you any issues but if you are concerned, get checked out, and as long as your Chiropractor of GP is up to date with the recent guidelines, we should be able to help you find the right care.

And even if you didn’t score over 5, you might fit some other criteria (that are a little more complicated) so do visit your Chiropractor or GP for an assessment.

How Do I Help Myself?

There is plenty you can do for yourself, alongside getting any joint pain checked by a good Chiropractor. They can also help you to improve your muscle strength and fitness as well as your posture and balance.

Here is are some things to do:

  • gentle low-impact exercise like swimming or cycling – not doing any exercise can make your symptoms worse
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • buy good, firm shoes
  • if you have flat feet, use special insoles (support arches) in shoes

And things NOT to do:

  • overexercise, especially high impact exercise
  • grip things too tightly
  • overextend your joints just because you can!

If you want any more information, the Hypermobility Syndromes Association and the Ehlers-Danlos Society websites are full of some good info and resources.

Or give me a call for an assessment if you’d prefer to discuss this face to face.

Katie Scorer

Doctor of Chiropractic

The “G” Word…

Around this time every year, I have many patients tell me they’ve “done something” doing the “G” word.

No, not gymnastics, golfing or even grooving. It’s gardening!

After a long winter, the sun suddenly makes an appearance and you realise that the lawn needs mowing, the borders need weeding and seeds need planting. And on that first sunny day, we all rush outside, ready to tackle our backyards.

BUT, your body (just like your flowers) has been hibernating all winter and isn’t used to this type of movement.

Imagine if you did a few hours of exercise in one day after resting all winter? You’re putting yourself at risk of injury and you can see why this so often leads to an extra trip to the Chiropractor!

cacti  gardening  grow  growth  hands  holding  plant  plants  pot plants  pots  soil

Here are a few tips to ensure you can garden happily and healthily

View the garden as a “circuit class”

Break up all the jobs you have to do into bitesize, 15-20 minute sections. That way you’re not spending too much time doing one type of movement. Don’t worry about finishing it as you’ll come back to it later.

Remember You Have Two Hands

Try to alternate which side of the body you’re using to stop the tissues from tiring as easily.

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For example, you’re digging with a fork or spade with your left hand forwards and your right on the handle. Swap over after 10 and put the right hand forward for another 10 times before swapping back again. The same can be done for pruning.

Get Down On One Knee

When kneeling on both knees, unless your hip hinge (or “booty pop” as we sometimes jokingly call it in clinic) is perfect, you’re likely to be bending forward through your lower back. The lumbar spine isn’t too keen on holding this position for long periods so it’s best to try and avoid it.

agriculture  close-up  cultivation  dig  environment  garden  ground  growth  hands  leaf  little  mud  outdoors  person  planting  plants  seed  soil  sprout

The easiest way is to kneel on one knee only, as this is more likely to keep your lower back safe.

Take Regular Breaks

Make sure you’re taking a break, at least every hour. Make the most of the weather with a cool drink of your choice outside, or it’s it’s still a little chilly, pop inside for a cuppa. It’s a good excuse to keep yourself hydrated too!

beautiful  blooming  blossom  blossoming  blossoms  countryside  female  field  flowers  garden  happiness  happy  landscape  natural  nature  outdoors  park  person  season  spring  springtime  summer  sunny  sunshine  tulips  woman  young woman  royalty free images

Clear Up Before You’re Tired

Don’t underestimate how long it’ll take to clear up those pruned branches or put the equipment back in the shed. This is still hard work for your body so make sure you haven’t used all of your energy up. This is the time you’re likely to injure yourself as the tissues are fatigued.

Lastly, remember my rules of pain during exercise:

  • If you’re getting a sharp pain, stop the activity
  • If the pain is getting gradually worse, stop the activity
  • If the pain is low level and isn’t getting worse, it’s okay to continue
  • If you’re suffering the evening of or the day after the activity, rethink how you did it, or ask my advice on what to do

Let me know if you have any other queries,

Katie Scorer

Doctor of Chiropractic

Mental Health or Mental Fitness?

These two phrases should mean the same thing, but most of us label mental health with mental health problems that we need to seek medical help for (talking therapy, medication etc). And yes, this is appropriate for some people but a lot of us could just use a little boost to our mental health.

That’s where the phrase “mental fitness” comes in handy. If we view our mental health as something to keep fit and healthy and needs some of our time and attention, just like our physical fitness, we’re one step closer to feeling good.

Stress and anxiety have a big physical effect on our bodies and are highly linked with muscle and joint pain. So, it makes sense for us to focus on this, not just to help our back and neck pain, but our overall health.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.


I’m going to share with you two of my favourite mind techniques that can help boost your mental fitness during stressful times and have personally helped me through stressful points in my life.

Leaves On A Stream

This exercise is used to calm the constant chatter inside our heads. It helps us observe our thoughts, rather than becoming wrapped up in them.

close-up  daylight  ecology  environment  environmental  flora  growth  hand  leaf  light  nature  outdoors  plant  summer  tree  wood

Firstly, close your eyes and focus on your breath and the rise and fall of your stomach. After a little while, become aware of the thoughts that pop into your mind. Imagine a stream, this can be somewhere you know, or something fictional. Observe your thoughts, and place them “on a leaf” onto the stream, watching them float away.

Place each thought that you notice onto a leaf, and watch it glide by. You do not have to search for thoughts or wait for them to arrive, just let them enter your mind, and when they do, simply put them on a new leaf and watch it float downstream.

calm  cascade  clean  creek  flow  forest  green  nature  peaceful  river  scenic  stream  trees  water  woods

Your attention will wander from time to time, and when it does, that’s fine – that’s what minds do! As soon as you notice your mind wandering, congratulate yourself for noticing this, just gently bring your focus of attention back to placing your thoughts onto the leaves.

Continue to do this for a short time and when you’re ready, bring your attention back to your breath and open your eyes.

Problem Solving Waterfall

This is great for when you’ve a got a problem swirling around your mind.

If you’ve taken classes or read about using mindfulness, this is a great way of putting it into practice to help with everyday stress and over-thinking.

To do it, follow this simple flowchart:

Problem Solving Waterfall

Hopefully, those two simple exercises (which can be done almost everywhere!) will help you as much as they have me.

Let me know if you want to find out more about mindfulness, or have a chat with me about YOUR mental fitness at your next appointment.

Does Your Bra Fit Well?

Fancy getting some new lingerie for Valentine’s day? Or is your underwear draw just due for an upgrade?

adult blur body bra breast close-up face fashion female fingers focus girl hair hand knitted sweater lingerie model nude person wear woman

As a Chiropractor, I’d advise you make sure your bras fit well! Badly fitting bras will not provide adequate support and will put extra strain through our spines meaning they could be the reason for your back or neck pain.

And plenty of us aren’t wearing the right bra size due to many high street shops using the old-fashioned way of measuring around your ribcage and adding 4 inches (this is an outdated relic from when bras were made of stiffer materials).

Firstly, use this fit calculator to get a picture of your true size. And don’t be surprised if you’re way off! I personally couldn’t believe the cup size but since using this method and wearing the correct shape bra, my bras have never fit better.


Then when trying on a bra, “swoop and scoop”. This ensures the tissue is in the right place. Make sure all new bras are fastened on the loosest hooks (unless you are pregnant, as your ribcage will likely grow it’s best to start off on the tightest hooks) and feel comfortable on those hooks. This is because the band will stretch over time.

Here are some signs of a Poor Fit

To determine if a bra fits well or not, you must look at each part of the bra. This includes the band, the straps, the cups, the wires, and the gore (which is the piece in between the cups, over your breastbone).

Fit IssueExplanationRemedy
Band rides up your backYour band is too largeGo down a band size while maintaining cup volume*
Band is uncomfortably tightYour band is too small or your cups are too smallTry the bra on backwards; if it still feels too tight, go up a band size while maintaining cup volume*. If it is now comfortable, your cups are too small, so go up a cup size in the same band size.
Straps dig into your shouldersYour band is too large (so you are compensating the lack of support by over tightening your straps)Go down a band size while maintaining cup volume*
Straps fall off your shouldersYour band is too large (so the straps are too wide set for your frame)Go down a band size while maintaining cup volume*
Cups have wrinklesYour cups are too large, or are the wrong shapeGo down a cup volume, or try a different shape
Cups are overflowing somewhereYour cups are too small or are the wrong shapeGo up a cup volume or try a different shape
Empty space between underwires and the outer side of your breastsWires are too wide (either due to the cup being too large or simply because you have narrow roots)Go down a cup volume or find a bra with narrower wires
Wires sit below where the bottom of your breast attaches to your chestYour cups are too small, or the wrong shapeTry a bra with wider wires, more depth at the bottom of the cup, or a narrower gore.
Underwires are sitting on your breast tissueWires are too narrow (either due to cup being too small or simply because you have wide roots)Go up a cup volume, or find a bra with wider wires
Gore does not touch your breastboneCups are too small or your breasts are too close set for the width of the goreGo up a cup volume or try bras with narrower gores (like plunges)

*To complicate things even more, something called sister sizing exists which means the volume of your cup changes with your band size. For instance, 34B is the same as 32C, 28E = 30DD, 36G = 34GG, etc. So think of this when you’re working out your new size.

Please note that the most important aspect of bra fit is comfort. If you are not comfortable in a bra, even if it meets all of the above standards, it is not a good fit.

Phew, this is all quite complicated (no wonder there’s so many of in bad bras)! If this is all too much for you it might be worth getting some professional help. I’d advise Bravissimo in Nottingham city centre.

Or if you’re not too shy, I can do a quick check next time you’re in for an appointment.