Avoiding the sun is as dangerous as smoking!!

kilkenny-castle in evening sun

The Swedish Melanoma Cohort looked at the effect that smoking and sun exposure have on life expectancy. They found that those with the highest active sun exposure had a longer life expectancy. Non smokers avoiding the sun had a similar life expectancy as smokers with active sun exposure!

During the recent ECU (European Chiropractic Union) conference in Oslo, professor Johan Moan shared the results of the latest research on vitamin D and the importance of exposure to the sun.

For optimal levels of vitamin D we need half an hour of sunshine on our face and hands between 12.00 and 13.00! This means going for a walk before or after lunch, IN the sun, should provide us with enough of the sunshine vitamin.

BUT: These results were recorded during summer sun power levels with no clouds, NO SUNSCREEN and with participants of average age. Therefore, longer exposures are necessary for:

  • Older people.
  • Coloured people.
  • Autumn, Winter and Spring.

Vitamin D is not just important for strong bones, teeth and muscles. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), type I Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s or Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Furthermore, Vitamin D has also been shown to be anti-carcinogenic; it helps the body fight cancer in many ways. And it boosts the immune system, which could be why we get more colds in Winter than in Summer.

So, if you’re in doubt about your sun exposure, take vitamin D as a supplement on a daily basis. Take at least 1000 IU, preferably 2000 IU.




“Seven myths of back pain cost millions”


Irish times article-2The Sunday Times (Irish Edition) published an interesting article last Sunday highlighting the cost of low pain on the Irish economy and how many sufferers (and GPs) are unaware on what action should be taken to address this issue.

The article states that the problem is partially due to the fact that there are no official guidelines in place for early management of the condition, which may explain the widespread misconceptions among Irish people about the causes and treatment of low back pain.

The seven myths are:

  1. If you have a slipped disc (herniated/ruptured disc) you must have surgery.
  2. Radiographs (X-rays) and newer imaging tests (CT and MRI) can always identify the cause of pain.
  3. If your back hurts, you should take it easy until the pain goes away.
  4. Most pain is caused by injuries or heavy lifting.
  5. Back pain is usually disabling.
  6. Everyone with back pain should have a spine radiograph (X-ray).
  7. Bed rest is the mainstay of therapy.

The article refers to the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) in the UK which provide evidence based advice for healthcare professionals on the most effective  treatment methods for their patients.  For low back pain sufferers (more than 6 weeks but less than 12 months in duration) these include drug treatment to manage pain AND a choice of physical treatments (exercise and manual therapy including spinal manipulation).

The guide lines go on to specify that manipulation should be performed by chiropractors and osteopaths, as well as by doctors and physiotherapists who have undergone specialist postgraduate training in manipulation.

For more information on the recommended early management of low back pain please check



The Sunday Times  22.05.2016

“The Myths of Low Back Pain” Ihlebaek and Eriksen. SPINE Vol 29, No 16, pp 1818-1822.