Live Well

Information on this page may include links to external websites has very useful patient condition leaflets on many topics which can be downloaded.

Many common problems that people have, can often be prevented or improved with very simple measures, so here are suggestions for care of different parts of your body to keep yourself in good health. You can find a lot of information about mental health, pregnancy, child health and sexual health under the Family Health and Long Term Conditions tabs.

Neck Care

Neck and shoulder pains are very common and are often caused by overstretched ligaments due to poor posture when sitting or lying. When we are sitting and relaxing, the head tends to protrude forwards in relation to the spine and the low back slouches,  which influences the neck position, and can cause pain.  The weight of the head on the neck and shoulders increases significantly if the head protrudes forwards habitually.  has good illustrations about this.

 You should aim for a good sitting position with your ow back well supported and your shoulders back, so that your ears are in line with your shoulders vertically.  If you have regular neck pain you should sleep with only one pillow with a neck roll inside the pillowcase, or use a specially designed neck pillow which supports the neck.  A rolled up towel at the front of the pillow case works well. Sleeping on your front with your arms above your head twists your neck.  You should ideally sleep on your side on a reasonably firm bed with the neck support.  "Treat Your Own Neck" by Robin McKenzie has been found to be very helpful by a lot of people.  If you have constant neck pain , or recent onset pain, consult the doctor for advice and assessment.  A qualified chartered physiotherapist is a great help with chronic neck pain.  Contact details can be given on request.

Back Care

Poor posture is again a frequent cause of low back pain, especially prolonged sitting with the head protruding forward. If you suffer from back pain, you should sit with the low back supported, on a firm chair, and the shoulders back,  avoid sitting for long periods of time and avoid soft chairs or sofas.

A reasonably firm mattress on your bed helps and if this is not available, putting the mattress on the floor can help. Driving can cause problems and you can often adjust the seat and steering wheel, and use a small cushion in your low back to support  the back.  Exercise is good to keep the weight down, as a large tummy and poor abdominal muscles puts a lot of strain on the low back. Again a qualified physiotherapist will be able to give you exercises and advice. Robin McKenzie also has a good book called "Treat Your Own Back", which is available on  .

Skin Care

Skin protects our bodies from all the environmental assaults on it , so it is important to look after it and if it is irritated or broken down, to take steps to help it repair itself, which it will do.

Soaps, shower gels, shampoos, detergents, cosmetic creams and fabric conditioners all contain quite strong chemicals which are designed to remove grease and will also remove the skin's own protective oils, and can lead to dryness, rashes and itch.

If you have skin irritation or itching, you should avoid all the above products and use just water and a dermatological cream for washing and as a frequent moisturizer as these help to replenish the skin's own barrier. Suitable products for washing are Emulsifying Ointment, Aqueous Cream and Wash E45. Some products, such as Aqueous Cream,and Silcock's Base contain sodium laureth sulphate which can irritate if left on, so these should always be washed off and not used as moisturizer.  You should check the small print on the product for the presence of this ingredient. Some products also contain lanolin which can irritate some people. Most people find one to suit themselves.

 A good way to help your skin replenish it's protective layer is to soak in a warm bath with a product such as Balneum, Oilatum  Bath Oil, or Bath E45, for about 20minutes and then pat your skin dry and apply plenty of moisturiser. You should stick to dermatological moisturisers such as E45, emulsifying ointment, Diprobase, Doublebase etc and use plenty. It has been shown that copious use of these products reduces the amount of steroid creams which may be needed.  Treating the trunk and both legs and arms will need about 500g (a large tub) per week.

Genital Skin Care

Many women and men suffer from itch and soreness around the genital and anal area. If you have any bleeding or lumps you should see the doctor, but often good skin care of the area can stop the problem. 

You should wash the area daily with water and a soap substitute (see above), and rinse well then pat dry (do not rub). Do not allow soap, shampoo or shower gel on the genital or anal area. Do not use over the counter creams for thrush or haemorrhoids ,for more than a week or so at a time as they can sometimes cause sensitivity. You can use a small amount of a cream such as emulsifying ointment, or Morhulin to leave on to protect the area from urine and small leaks of bowel fluid. 

Other tips are to avoid dark underwear (dyes can cause allergies); use loose fitting cotton underwear; do not wear underwear in bed; avoid tight-fitting jeans; avoid coloured toilet paper and wipes; do not use fabric conditioner or biological washing powders for your underwear, and make sure you are completely clean after a bowel movement. You may need to use water to wash if you have a lot of skin tags or a small leakage of fluid from the bowel, and then pat dry without rubbing, and use a barrier cream such as Morhulin.

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