What is Plantar Fasciitis?

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 'itis' means inflammation, so any condition ending in itis is an inflammatory problem. Often, plantar fasciitis causes pain to the heel and the under-side of the foot that is worse in the morning or when you've been standing on your feet for long periods of time. Commonly, that pain eases off after periods of inactivity when you get moving again. The pain starts gradually, getting worse over time, and can produce a strong dull ache but can also be a sharp pain. If the condition isn't resolved in its early stage it can become chronic, and res...

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Can Osteopathy help my Arthritis Pain?

Arthritis is seen by some people as a scary prospect, but it shouldn't have to be. There are many self care things you can do to help tackle your pain levels and keep you moving. Whilst wear and tear (degeneration) to our joints is a normal part of the ageing process, the pain from arthritic changes can be debilitating, so let's look at some ways you can help yourself. This article will focus only on osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as OA, rather than other forms of arthritis. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines suggest that manual therapy such as osteopathy can relieve pain, increase flexibility and improve quality of life for people with osteoarthritis. This is also reflected by the NHS guidelines which recommend manual therapy (stretching and manipulation), alongside exercise, weight loss and pain medications to manage symptoms. Clearly, there are many things people can try before considering surgical options! What is osteoarth...

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Avoiding pain when travelling

As the schools close for summer lots of people are beginning to think about going on holiday, but there are a number of things about Summer that can lead to trouble, like heat, insects and bored kids! Yet long, hot summer travelling is right up there amongst the things that aggravate back and neck pain. So, before you head off on your holidays here are some easy but practical tips to keep your back and neck in top shape over the next few weeks: Lighten the Load. Pack as lightly as possible. Don't worry about forgetting something. Chances are that where you're going has shops, so you won't be left stranded. Carrying heavy bags can do more harm than whatever it is you've left behind is worth! It's always worth pushing cases in front of you rather than dragging them along, too. Go easy with the lifting. Take your time when putting cases into the car or if you're lifting things from low to high (like a case into an overhead locker). Do it in stages, so lift it from the floor to the se...

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How do you treat horses with Osteopathy?

Some of our customers come in and are surprised that we also treat horses with osteopathy. Just like us, horses can suffer with back, neck and joint problems and sometimes need a little help! Unlike human practice, the treatment of animals is strictly controlled by the Veterinary Surgeons Order 2015, which requires all therapists to seek express veterinary permission BEFORE they treat an animal. It stands to reason that if a horse has a major injury or is lame you should first of all contact your vet for further advice, but for the purposes of this blog we'll assume the vet is happy with the use of Osteopathy. We know from its use on humans that Osteopathy is an established, recognised system of manual therapy with a strong emphasis on anatomy and biomechanics of the body. Osteopathy uses soft tissue techniques including massage and myofascial release, stretching, joint mobilisation and sometimes manipulation to help improve the function of the body and its biomechanics. Horses are oft...

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Rider Biomechanics don't have to me mystifying...

Sometimes, being an Osteopath isn't all about standing in a clinic and treating people. Occasionally, we get to go out into the beautiful countryside and work too! Thanks to Cromwell GB for organising a great clinic on Saturday 13th April 2019,I managed to get out and demo how changing the biomechanics of horse riders can make a big difference to the horse's performance by addressing small asymmetries in their posture and joint mobility. The picture shows a great example of this: by assessing the contact surface between the rider's legs and the horse's side, you can see if there is a symmetrical pattern each side. I was joined by the very clever Stephanie Bloom, a saddle fitter specialising in AH Saddles, and together we had attendees from the equestrian discipline of endurance along with several who weren't endurance riders. One rider even travelled from Surrey to Cambridgeshire to attend! It really did work very well to have a saddle ...

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Meet the Osteopath - Georgina Bull

Why did I become an osteopath? I had a really bad fall from a very large horse when I was 15, breaking and dislocating my shoulder enough to have surgery to pin it back together. When it had healed, I had tremendous neck pain so a friend of mine said to visit an Osteopath… From that moment, I was fascinated! What do you enjoy about your work? It never ceases to amaze me just how incredible the human body is. Give it the right environment and the body will heal itself time and time again. Of course, we all get frustrated at how slow that healing appears to be sometimes, but on a tiny cellular level the body is busy correcting things and improving itself. I also really enjoy the opportunity to treat horses when it arises, they're so honest and open and the results can be staggering. Any memorable moments? Several relating to funny things I've been told, and that people have done over the years, but I think one that stands out for me was the utter relief at finishing my degree and ge...

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How can Osteopathy help Horse Riders?

Horse riders are a special breed of people: We work hard to care for our horses, we bend, twist and lift heavy weights on a daily basis and that can play havoc with our body. We often habitually muck out one way, or sweep one way, heavily favoring one side of our body, yet we expect to be able to sit centrally on our horse to help his body and use each side of our being independently. That takes some serious skill! Riders don't think twice about trying to work out what's gone wrong with our tack or our horses if we encounter a problem, but riders ourselves generally are very last on the list to ever get any attention, and the impact on our horses from that can be huge. Did you ever think that your own body and your riding can be hindering how your horse uses his body? If we sit in an unbalanced way, our horses have to not only compensate for their problems, but ours too which will limit how well they perform. Certainly not what we want if we are competing! Osteopathy can be a really us...

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Is modern living contributing to your aches and pains?

In today's modern world many of us suffer from injuries and pain in our muscles and joints arising not only from our hobbies, but from our lifestyles, work and illnesses too. We now spend far longer sitting behind computers, bent over our mobile devices and stuck in traffic behind the wheel of a car. We appear to do very little exercise and tend to neglect our bodies. When it comes to pain, too often we see only the symptoms being treated medication but sometimes we need to look at why the pain is originally occurring, not just that it's there. Sciatica is a prime example of this. We often hear that someone has sciatica and the doctor has prescribed medication to help to mask the pain, but the definition of sciatica itself is pain effecting the leg, therefore it's use as a diagnosis doesn't describe what the root cause of it is. The sciatic nerve is made of 5 nerve roots that exit the spine, and combine together to create a thick, cord like nerve which runs through the pelvis and down ...

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Tips for Good Posture whilst Sitting

Whilst working, many of us are not aware of what our posture is like. The risk from poor posture comes from a reduction to the movement in the joints of the body, along with repetitive patterns of strain. When we get pain from our poor posture, medical advice and physical therapy treatment will often be required to reduce the imbalances created over a period of time. So what can we do to avoid these restrictions? Well, quite a lot, beginning with good sitting posture! In an ideal world, good posture includes the head being positioned over the top of the spine and the buttocks, with a slight 'S' shaped curve through it. Neck and shoulder muscles should have even tension at the front and back of the body, and the lower back should be in its natural curved position.It's advisable to support your pelvis against the back of the chair. Good posture makes breathing and digestion more efficient by helping to de-compress the front of the body. Chair Ergonomics. When working in the office, there...

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What is Osteopathy and how can it help you?

​Osteopathy is a system of medicine that focuses on treating, and preventing, painful muscle and joint problems. By using specific hands-on techniques, Osteopaths focus on creating balance within the body. Osteopaths use joint mobilisations and manipulations (the 'click') together with stretching and massage techniques to increase the flexibility of joints and body tissues. This helps to relieve muscle tension, relieve muscle spasms and improve tissue health, all of which help the body to heal itself. Osteopaths are commonly thought of for treating back pain, and while this is something osteopathy can work really well for, osteopathy can be used to treat a variety of other things too, such as:• Neck pain• Shoulder pains, e.g. frozen shoulder• Elbow problems, e.g. tennis elbow • Hip and knee problems• Arthritic changes• Sports injuries• Generalised aches and pains• Headaches, particularly those arising from tension and neck problems• Migraine prevention• Nerve pain such as neuralgia or ...

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Getting a good night’s sleep – Sleep Awareness Week 10th – 16th March 2019

So many people we see struggle with the effects of poor sleep, so, in aid of National Sleep Awareness Week, we thought this would be an excellent topic to talk about! A good night's sleep is as vital to your health as eating the right things and exercising. Your physical and emotional wellbeing depends on getting enough, yet we're living in sleep-deprived times. Some people like to be competitive about how much sleep they get, like being sleep deprived is a badge of honour, but it's not good for our bodies. Scientists say we're now getting an hour or two less sleep each night than we were some 60 years ago. Each person has different needs when it comes to how much sleep we need. We should be waking up feeling refreshed in the morning, and the ability to wake without an alarm is a good indicator that you're getting enough sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, you may be irritable or agitated, be unable to concentrate properly, have blurred vision, be clumsy and disorientated or slow to ...

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Hayfever – what you need to know

Spring and summer are a wonderful time of year. Back are the lighter nights that provide us with beautiful displays of colour as the sun sets. Nature wakes up from the long winter months; birds sing, and animals start to shed their thick winter fur. Trees and plants finally begin to grow leaves again and start flowering as the weather warms up, but alas, this means only one thing for some of us: Hayfever. Hayfever is an allergic reaction by the body to the inhaled dust and pollen from trees, flowers and grasses that causes the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose to inflame and causing running of the eyes and nose; and let me tell you, it's downright miserable! The most common Hayfever symptoms include:• A runny nose• Red and itchy eyes• Scratchy or sore throat• SneezingWe can also experience wheezing and shortness of breath alongside the above symptoms. Almost all sufferers have generalised feelings of fatigue, much like a cold is beginning.How long do the symptoms last for?For some ...

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Helpful tips for avoiding back pain on holiday

​We all look forward to going on holiday, often we've had it planned for months. The last thing you want is for back pain to ruin it for you. We all try hard to avoid doing anything to aggravate existing injuries, but when you're out of your usual routine – i.e. travelling, sleeping in a different bed and sitting for long periods – back pain can play havoc for you. To help you plan ahead, have a read of these hints and tips and make sure your holiday is happy and healthy! Before You Go:• Suitcase selection - buy the lightest case possible and ensure that it has wheels; hard cases can sometimes weigh a lot before you even start to fill them with travel essentials.• Two cases are better than one - you can distribute the weight more easily and equally.• Push your case, don't pull! Pulling cases makes the upper body and back twist to one side. If possible, push the case in front of you.• Get a good night's sleep. Travelling when tired increases your chances of injury, ensure you sleep well...

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Can an Osteopath Treat Sports Injuries?

It's no surprise that sports injuries go hand in hand with participating in our chosen sports, but did you know that osteopathy can play a key part in keeping you fit and functioning at full capacity? We often (mistakenly) hear that osteopaths can't treat sports injuries and that the athlete needs to see a sports massage therapist or a physiotherapist, but you may be surprised to find out that when it comes to sports injury treatment osteopaths can hold their own! Here at Nene Valley Osteopathy, we work with many sports players from all disciplines and levels with great results. Osteopathy not only looks at the injury and how that itself can be improved but also assesses your general health and how your body performs to treat you accordingly. Similar to a Sports Massage Therapist, we can use a variety of soft tissue techniques including massage and trigger point therapy plus some specialised extras like mobilisation, stretching and manipulation (the 'clicking') which, together with oth...

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I’ve got sciatica, what can I do?

We commonly see patients in clinic presenting with sciatic pain that is often described as a deep, gnawing pain from the back or the buttock and into the back or side of the leg that is sometimes electric, shooting or stabbing. It can occur without lower back pain, and sometimes it can cause a limp when walking. Sciatica is a very painful condition that can be grouped with a family of pains called neuralgia. Neuralgia literally means "pain with a neurological cause", or pain that is due to nerve problems – but that's not enough to make a diagnosis. We commonly see many primary health care practitioners use the phrase 'sciatica' as a diagnosis, but the word sciatica merely means the patient has pain in the leg, rather than be a proper analysis of the cause of the pain. To get to the root cause of the pain, we need to look at what can cause sciatica? Is all sciatica the same? Several different things can cause sciatica. Possibly the most common cause of sciatica is when one of the nerve ...

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Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Physiotherapy – What is the difference?

 A question we hear time and time again, but it's a very valid one and can be a little complicated too, so please bear with us, and we'll try and demystify it for you. Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Physiotherapy all fall under the umbrella term of Manual Therapies. This means we all use hands-on, or manual, techniques to help treat and prevent pain, along with exercise rehabilitation. The way in how we apply those techniques differ slightly which is often where the confusion lies. Osteopaths use hands-on manipulation techniques that include a combination of muscle work (such as massage, stretching and exercise rehab) alongside joint mobilisations (taking the joint through its natural range of movement and encouraging stiff joints to work better) and spinal manipulations that can involve clicking and cracking. The intention is to improve joint mobility, release muscle tension, improve circulation and to promote healing. Osteopaths also seek to improve the patient's posture which can...

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