Massage or Osteopath, who should I choose?

The world of manual therapy can seem to all do the same thing if you've never used a therapist before, but how do you decide which therapy you need to help take care of your body? Let's have a look at the differences between how massage can help you and how an osteopath can help you. As an overview, the main difference between all therapies is the therapist themselves. Different therapists receive different training. A massage therapist in a beauty clinic will have far less training than a sports massage therapist, who has less training than an osteopath! Massage The title Massage Therapist in the UK is not one which is protected meaning anyone can call themselves a massage therapist. It then stands to reason that the training for massage varies hugely. As an example, a beautician can take a 2-5 day course as part of their overall qualification and often learn a set routine that is based around relaxation. The techniques are often light, smoothing over the skin and incorporating blends...

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Christmas 2020 - What a year!

 Well, we've (almost) finally come to the end of 2020 and what a year it has been, possibly not for the right reasons! We know many of you have battled through covid-19 to both keep working and with your own health. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back because it's been no mean task doing so! We have loved helping to support you all this year even if it has been through face masks and lots of PPE. We are so grateful to all of you who have been into clinic and have kept supporting us this year, we really couldn't have done it without any of you. The clinic will be closed from the end of Wednesday 23rd December 2020 until early Monday 4th January 2021 to allow us to have some time to take a break and recover from the stresses 2020 has given us, our fingers always appreciate it too!The new year will hopefully bring us an opportunity to move forwards again and we've got some exciting things lined up for it already. From everyone at Nene Valley Osteopath...

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Heel Pain not going away?

Have you got heel pain that won't go away? This blog is for you! Let's take a look at the particularly painful condition known as plantar fasciitis (pronounced fa-she-eye-tis). It's often characterised with a strong, dull ache to your heel and mid foot under the arch that is worse on beginning to stand and walk when you've been inactive for a while, i.e. first thing in the morning on getting out of bed. Most people find they almost have to walk on tip toes until they 'loosen up' and the pain eases. Does this sound like you? Yes? Read on… Our feet are amazing structures. They have a tough, fibrous band of connective tissue under them called the plantar fascia that runs between the heel and the balls of the toes. This tissue is designed to support the foot muscles, prevent the arch of the foot flattening too much and to provide sensory information to the brain about the position the ankle and foot is in. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the plantar fascia is inflamed. In Latin, the term 'it...

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Let's Focus on Cycling.

Now we're back in clinic after the lockdown, we're seeing an emerging trend where people have tried new activities and sadly picked up injuries along the way. One of the common ones we've seen are relating to cycling, so we thought we'd talk about some tips on how to set up your bike to help reduce strain on your body. Before we start, it's worth talking about bike fit here. If you're new to cycling and are enjoying it, hopefully wanting to do more, it's worth going to a specialist cycling store and asking them about a bite fit consultation. They may seem expensive initially, but by assessing your body's ergonomics and postures and setting your cycle up for your own quirks, you can save yourself a lot of pain and misery in the long run by preventing injuries. It really is a case of "prevention is better than cure", and whilst you think this is counterproductive to our business, your well-being is our ultimate priority, we want to help you stop being injured! So, let's look at the most ...

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Why do Osteopaths click backs?

 "What IS that clicking noise my back just made?" So many times, we have customers who come into clinic who say "X, Y or Z just needs clicking back into place" or "It's out of alignment", but what exactly is that sound you hear? Its technical term is a High Velocity, Low Amplitude Thrust (HVLAT, or sometimes HVT) but is commonly referred to as a manipulation or "click". As a technique, it can be a useful tool that sets Chiropractors and Osteopaths apart from some other manual therapists, but it's really not the ONLY technique available to us. The technique is designed to take a joint past the range of movement it's stuck at in a short, sharp way to get the joint working to its full capacity and helping to redistribute movement through the whole spine. The clicking sound you hear is a release of a gas bubble formed in the joint fluid, like your knuckles going click, but is by no means vital to the technique being successful. One of its big benefits is a change to the nerve signals ...

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Can breathing help stress?

How often do you think about how you breathe? The general answer is not much, and that's o.k.! However, breathing has an amazing effect on our deep, primitive brain systems which are responsible for our "fight or flight" mechanism, and we can help to convince these systems that they don't have to be on constant high alert by focussing on breathing. Fight, Flight or Freeze?If you've never come across the phrase "Fight or Flight", put simply it means the response that is ingrained deep in our brain that dictates how we react to a perceived threat to us, and there are 3 elements to it. It helps us to determine if the threat is something we should run away from, or flight from, or whether we can stand up and fight the threat, but there is also another response commonly seen whereby we freeze under threat. This reaction helps our body gear itself up to respond by pushing blood into the muscles and the lungs to help us physically exert ourselves. More commonly in our current environment, we ...

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Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy? Shockwave therapy, or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), is an effective treatment option for chronic, poor healing issues in the body. The shockwaves are mechanical pressure pulses, not electrical pulses, which create an audible ticking sound thanks to a sound wave produced by the machine. These pulses are aimed over the affected tissue to create physical changes and encourage healing.What conditions is Shockwave used for?Shockwave therapy can be a great treatment if you are still struggling with that chronic joint and soft tissue pain condition and you have tried everything else. Or you just want to get better faster. It has evidence to support its use for: - Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain)Shin Splints/Medial Tibial Stress SyndromeStress Fractures + Non-union FracturesAchilles TendinopathyGreater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (Outside of hip pain)Tennis/Golfers ElbowPatella TendinopathyCalcific Tendonitis of the ShoulderRotator Cuff TendinopathyMetatarsalg...

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We're excited to be re-opening!

I'm sure you'll all agree with me when I say it's been a VERY long 2 months of lockdown. For the protection of my own family members, I've had to remain closed during the peak of the virus, but I have been following guidelines set by the Government and the General Osteopathic Council very closely and continuously reassessing the situation. Thankfully, I'm very pleased to say that the clinic will be re-opening as of Monday 1st June 2020, however, there have to be some big changes for the foreseeable future, and I'd like to take a moment to outline those here: - Everyone, without exception, who comes into clinic will need to undergo screening for Covid19 symptoms and potential exposure, and this will need to be done every time you attend. The appointment confirmation and reminders that our system sends out will have a link to a screening questionnaire you can fill in remotely, and it only takes 10 seconds. The details you respond with will be kept securely with your records and will show...

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Why Does Our Spine Curve?

It's a common occurrence that people come into clinic telling us that they have a 'lordotic' spine or a 'kyphotic' spine, and so I thought it would be good to write a blog about it. When it comes to medical terms, it's totally understandable that people can be worried about them, but as you'll see, the phrases lordosis (or lordotic) and kyphosis (or kyphotic) are actually totally normal findings! A kyphosis is where the spine curves in a 'C' shape that makes us flex forwards. The concave aspect of the C (so the right side of the letter as you look at it on here, the hollow bit) will point forwards and is best used to describe the thoracic spine shape, the upper back with ribs attached to it. On the flip side, a lordosis is where the C is the opposite way around, so puts us into extension, such as in the neck and lower back. The spine is shaped as it is to be a shock absorber for the body. The phrase 'normal' is a really broad term though! The depth of the curves of the lordosis and kyp...

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Foods That Help Fight Inflammation

It's becoming widely accepted that we can change the state of our bodies by changing our diet. There is a plethora of information out there which suggests that we can help some diseases by assessing how prolific our gut flora is. The same is true for inflammation – the foods we eat can help our body fight inflammation or can keep triggering it. Your immune system is an amazing system. It becomes active when it recognises anything that is foreign e.g. an invading pathogen, cell damage or chemical irritant, and creates a biological response to try and remove it. The signs and symptoms of inflammation can be uncomfortable, but it is showing the process by which the body is trying to heal itself. Inflammation is fine on a short-term basis, after all, it's designed to help heal and protect the body, however, over longer periods inflammation can be an enemy. Many major diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and depression have been linked to chronic inflammation. Where does diet come into...

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5 quick tips to boost body health

Stretch your body often:Having a sedentary lifestyle isn't great for our health. Our bodies are designed to move frequently. You don't have to do hours of yoga a day to stretch well, some shoulder rolls or ankle rolls can be done sat at your desk, and a quick walk round the office can be good to move your legs! We can all find time to do 5 – 10 minutes stretching a day.Find time for mindfulness – even if it's just 10 minutes:Our busy lifestyles can often drain our energy and leave us feeling like we have no time for ourselves. Take a few minutes daily to just sit and do nothing. Mindfulness can be described as feeling like sitting on a park bench and watching the traffic go past. Allow the thoughts to come and go without paying undue attention to them. It seems small but can make a massive differenceIf you use public transport get off a stop early and walk!By getting off the bus or tube train a stop or two before you need to, you can easily add a boost to your daily step count, allowin...

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What is Myofascial Release?

Myofascial Release (MFR) is a specific, specialised manual therapy which is often used for the effective treatment, and rehabilitation, of soft tissue and connective tissue aches and pains, tension and tightness. What is myofascia? Myofascia is a connective tissue in the body (commonly called fascia) that wraps around the body. Fascia is made of collagen and acts to stabilise, enclose and separate muscles and other internal structures. Fascia can be classified into 4 layers: Superficial, deep, visceral and parietal. The different layers have different functions and surround different parts of the body.Fascia is flexible and is able to resist large forces placed on it, however, fascia becomes important to therapists when it becomes too stiff or too loose, or stops gliding smoothly with other structures and becomes bound down. Commonly, fascia will get tight after some kind of trauma, such as inflammation or surgery.What does Fascia do? Fascia was traditionally thought of in western medi...

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5 Simple Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

We're all acutely aware that we lead a busy lifestyle, and often we tend to cut corners to "fit everything in" through the day. One of the easiest areas to skip is eating a healthy diet. Here's some quick and simple tips that aren't time consuming but will help you stay healthy...Keep a water bottle with you:Staying hydrated throughout your day is important help keep your tissues in tip top condition. Opt for the more durable glass or steel water bottles, rather than those made of plastic. If it has to be plastic, opt for BPA free ones. Eat at home more often and plan your leftovers:Home cooked food can be far healthier than ready made dishes. By cooking at home we can avoid consuming hidden salt, fat and sugar and when working out cost per portion it's often cheaper. The best bit is, if you cook a little too much, you can use left-over's for another meal!Maintain regular veggie intake by drinking green juice:Veggies are just as important as fruit is, and although we might no...

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Is your laptop posture friendly?

When people come into clinic with body pain and mention they spend a long time in front of a computer screen, either for work, leisure or both, we always ask about how their desk is set up. A correctly set up desktop can be posture friendly, but with so many people tending to use laptops and tablets, we thought we'd take a look at some things you can do to make them user friendly. Why are laptops bad for our posture?When we use a laptop, we generally position our head so that our eyes are in the best position to see the screen clearly. If the screen is lower than our head height when we're sitting at the device, we will poke our chins forwards and drop our head down to lower our gaze and look at the screen… I see you correcting your posture whilst you're reading this! This hunched posture leads to tight and overstrained muscles around the neck and shoulder area and alters the natural curves of our spines. Of course, the opposite posture can be just as pain inducing, when we crane our n...

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Focus on Runners Knee

We thought it was about time we did another condition based blog, so this time, we're going to look at Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), which is also known as Runner's Knee. Lets's start with a little anatomy... What is the Iliotibial Band? The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is often looked at as a source of pain to the side of the knee. Let's look at the basics of what it is and where it is first: the ITB is a thick band of fascia that runs down the outside of the thigh. The ITB blends with the Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL) and Gluteus Maximus muscles to attach into the crest of the ilium, commonly known as the wing of the pelvis, and at the other end attaches into the outside of the knee through the tibia (shin bone). The ITB works to stabilise the knee whilst it is extended and partially flexed and thus is used constantly during walking and running. What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome? Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is often referred to as an overuse injury but its origins can be due to multiple ca...

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Do you get enough sleep?

It's no secret that we all need sleep for our tissues to heal, we've known about that for a while. Australian scientists and pain specialists Lorimer and Moseley suggest that sleeplessness may contribute to ill health and also to increased sensitivity of tissues. They also say that if we don't get enough sleep the body doesn't get a good enough chance to repair itself. There is a fascinating book by Matthew Walker, entitled Why We Sleep, that if you're interested in the topic is well worth a read. Matthew is a professor of psychology and neuroscience who has been researching what the role of sleep in health and disease is at the University of California for many years. Evidence now suggests that sleep deprivation is linked to heart disease and is even pointing to an increase risk of diabetes and Alzheimer's. We have 4 stages to our sleep that occur each night. One stage is REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. This stage of sleep is a deep sleep where we experience dreaming and is said to ...

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Using self care to reduce stress levels

When life is busy it's easy to forget that taking time out for yourself is vital for your health and well-being. In a society where we all rush around at full speed it can be easy to get caught up in the fast living rollercoaster but what happens when it all gets a little too much?  Our body reacts to stress whether you want it to or not. We have 2 components to the autonomic nervous system which controls our bodies; the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.Put in simple terms, the parasympathetic element controls the things we do without thinking, such as our heartbeat, breathing and digestion. On the flip side, the autonomic nervous system controls our 'fight or flight' response which kicks in when we are stressed, making our heart rate and breathing rate increase. This response also makes our blood pressure increase and directs blood to the muscles to prepare them to react quickly if needed.Used short term, the fight or flight response can be useful, for instance if y...

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Online Booking and Christmas Openings!

Our big news for November 2019 is you can now book your appointments online with us! (Check us out for getting to grips with technology!) There are lots of benefits of booking online: Book your appointment wherever and whenever you have internet access – The booking system is open 24 hours.Quick, easy booking process that takes under 2 minutes to book an appointment.Never have to wait for a call-back if the reception team is busy on another call.Get a confirmation email straight to your inbox and text reminder the day before your appointment.Option to add appointments directly into your google or iCal calendar. So, if you would like to book an appointment before Christmas or for the New Year, why not try out the new system from our appointments page? Lots are doing so and the reports so far are that it's so easy! Christmas Opening As I sit and write this it's exactly 4 weeks until Christmas, and time is absolutely flying past! We will be open until 23rdDecember (inclusive), and th...

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Should you use a foam roller?

Foam rolling is now a well know, popular method of self-massage and you will find them in most gyms and sports enthusiast's homes, but there are dangers to haphazardly rolling your muscles! So far, the few studies that have been done show that foam rolling does not improve performance but may improve muscle tone and reduce some post exercise fatigue. It is important to be clear what your objective is when setting out with your roller. Here's some advice on how to get the best from your foam roller and avoid injury: Choosing a roller; Get yourself a good roller: if you buy cheap you generally get cheap. Cheap rollers will often squash and give after just a few uses and become ineffective.Go for smooth foam, and avoid hard pipes, rollers with extreme spikes or knobbles. When should you roll? Try foam rolling after a warmup to promote flexibility of tissues. They can be used post-workout to help reduce aches and pains.Before bed may help to relieve tension in muscles and promote a go...

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Can you beat the winter sniffles?

 It's that time of year where everyone you meet has a cold, and people sneeze and cough and splutter spreading germs in your direction! Sadly, nothing can be done about that, but you can do a lot of simple things to help support your immune system through the cold winter months. Hopefully the information below will give you some ideas to get started... Your Immune SystemThe immune system is the body's natural defence against infections and illnesses that lurk in our environment. Whilst immune function is robust, it is a delicate system that can be quickly tipped off balance by many factors, including stress, poor diet, low mood, tiredness and many other things. Your blood contains White Blood Cells which help form part of the body's immune system by fighting invading organisms within the body and destroying them. Increased alcohol consumption and a diet too rich in sugar can depress the action of these cells, weakening the action of the immune system. Obviously, this is not a good...

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