Some handy hints and tips to help you cope with aches and pains and make life a little more comfortable.

Tips to Avoid Knee Pain When Starting a New Sport

 Starting a new sport, especially one as invigorating and accessible as running, can be an exciting journey towards better health and fitness. However, for many newcomers, the thrill of the activity can be dampened by the onset of knee pain. Knee pain is a common complaint among beginners, but with the right approach and precautions, it can often be avoided. Our osteopaths at Nene Valley Osteopathy  understand the importance of preventing injuries and promoting healthy movement patterns. Here are some tips to help you avoid developing knee pain when starting a new sport, such as running:  1. Start Slow and Gradually Increase Intensity: One of the most common mistakes new athletes make is doing too much, too soon. To avoid overloading your knees, start with shorter distances and lower intensities, gradually increasing your intensity over time. This allows your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to adapt to the demands of your new sport with...

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Help! I've got a slipped disc!

We often hear the phrase in clinic "I've got a slipped disc!" often coupled with "X practitioner clicked my disc back in" but did you know that these 2 statements are very misleading and that they are not exactly true? Let's have a look why… A little anatomy lesson. The discs themselves are really known as Intervertebral Discs, which are located between 2 bones in your spine, the vertebrae. The discs are comprised of several incomplete rings of ligaments, known as the anulus, with a jelly like substance in the middle, the Nucleus Pulposus and have tougher fibres above and below them, the End Plates, that connect into the bones above and below. Discs allow a wide range of movements to happen in the spine whilst also acting as shock absorbers.  As you can see from the disc's construction, they are tough, and will oppose almost any type of force placed on them. Thanks to the surrounding ligaments of the spine, and the disc's thick end plates which attach directly into the vertebrae, ...

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Back pain after raking leaves?

Are you dreading the leaves falling and those autumn gardening jobs this year? Autumn is a wonderful time of year with leaves turning an array of colours to brighten up the countryside, but for some it sees extra jobs in the garden that become a chore! Every year, we see people in clinic who have injured themselves from raking leaves and carrying out other heavy gardening jobs! If you're feeling a little overwhelmed with the gardening and how your body will cope, read on for some handy hints to keep yourself injury free! For some people, gardening only produces a mild discomfort that is short lived, but for others it can create a burning pain in your back or even an overstrain injury. Repetitive twisting whilst sweeping and raking leaves can easily strain ligaments throughout the body. The same is true for lifting heavy pots and bags of compost when you've not lifted anything heavy for a while. Lack of balance, repetitive twisting and lifting, and poor fitness can all contribute to you...

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What is fascia and how can we treat it?

 Welcome to the weird world of Fascia! It's a phrase that some of you may have heard, along with myofascial release therapy, and it's becoming a key component of the body as we research more and more and understand it's role better. That's all well and good, but what IS fascia, and how is it relevant to you? Let's look a little further at what this mystery tissue is, where it's found, what it does and how we can treat it. Read on for more information... The Fundamentals...  At its very basic level, fascia is a connective tissue in the body. For many years, medics thought that it was simply a packing material to fill gaps, but science has disproven this! Fascia is like the skin on a sausage which wraps around the muscles, but as science has investigated it more, we now know that it webs throughout all the tissues of the body to encase everything together, wrapping around individual muscles, nerves and blood vessels! Yet, fascia isn't just about muscles, it joins in patter...

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How to avoid back pain this Christmas

Your guide to a pain free festive season! We all look forward to some time off work over the forthcoming festive season, whether you prefer to celebrate with family or head out adventuring somewhere fun, but none of us want to be lumbered with unforeseen back pain. With a few little changes to your activities in the run up to Christmas, we've got Christmas all wrapped up so you can relax and enjoy yourself! Look after yourself this year:  Making a few small tweaks to your normal routine can help you feel good, why not give the following tips a try? Lighten your Load - When did you last muck out your handbag or the bag you carry? Take out anything that you don't need to carry that day such as a water bottle, extra keys, overstuffed purse of receipts? A few minutes to organise your bag will see your neck, shoulders and arms thanking you for removing the extra luggage they won't need to carry! Take your wallet out of your pocket! Sitting on a wallet in a back pocket or having that wa...

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What is referred pain?

A common question we hear in clinic is "What does referred pain mean?", and it's quite a valid one as it can be quite confusing!  Put simply, referred pain relates to pain felt in an area which is elsewhere from the source of the pain, the pain originates in a different part of the body. This confusing occurrence is caused by a network of sensory nerves that all connect. These nerves join with each other in the spinal cord and signals passing through a small number of these nerves can get confused. This triggers sensations in parts of the body that are supplied by the same nerve but that don't have anything wrong with them. Sciatica is a great example of this, often people experience pain and symptoms in their leg, but the root cause is often a lower back problem, however the nerves all join the spinal cord at roughly the same area and sometimes signals get confused.  Is referred pain always from the skeletal system?  There is another style of referred pain, known as vis...

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Help! I've got a slipped disc!

We often hear the phrase in clinic "I've got a slipped disc!" often coupled with "X practitioner clicked my disc back in" but did you know that these 2 statements are very misleading and that they are not exactly true? Let's have a look why…  A little Anatomy…  The discs themselves are really known as Intervertebral Discs, which are located between 2 bones in your spine, the vertebrae. The discs are comprised of several incomplete rings of ligaments, known as the anulus, with a jelly like substance in the middle, the Nucleus Pulposus and have tougher fibres above and below them, the End Plates, that connect into the bones above and below. Discs allow a wide range of movements to happen in the spine whilst also acting as shock absorbers. As you can see from the disc's construction, they are tough, and will oppose almost any type of force placed on them. Thanks to the surrounding ligaments of the spine, and the disc's thick end plates which attach directly into the vertebrae, t...

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Can Osteopathy help running injuries?

With a new year beginning many people start new goals for fitness and health which often include running, but whether you're running for general fitness, as part of cross training for another sport or for a particular running related goal such as a marathon, there is always a possibility you may get injured. Nearly every person who participates in any sport will experience an injury at some point, and runners are no exceptions. The good news is that, in most cases, injuries can be treated and with a few tweaks, can often be prevented!  Common causes of running injuries When we are in clinic, two of the most common reasons runners get injured are down to simple things, such as being too keen and overworking your body, not giving it enough time to heal, and also running with poor technique: Any level of running is considered to be a high impact form of exercise. It's important not to push too hard at the beginning so as not to overload your body. Gradually increase the distance/spee...

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What can help my headache?

Headaches. Let's face it pretty much everyone has one at some point in their life. But what can osteopaths do to help those of us who suffer frequent headaches? Let's take a look at the different types of headaches commonly see in clinic, and how osteopathy can offer relief for them: Tension Type Headaches Tension type headaches are the most common headaches seen in adults, reported to affect around 45% of the population. They're often described as a dull pain, a tightness or a pressure around the forehead or at the back of your skull extending down to the neck. Patients often describe the pain as a "band around the head". Tension type headaches are more commonly seen in women than men, and can either be episodic (occurring less than 15 times a month), or chronic (occurring more than 15 times a month for at least six months).The exact cause of tension type headaches is still not fully understood however there are known triggers, including, but not limited to: • Stress and anxiety• Dehy...

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How can Osteopathy help Rugby Players?

Rugby is the kind of sport that places huge physical demands on the player which inevitably leads to a high incidence of injuries. Physical contact from tackles and scrums can make spectators eyes water from the fierceness displayed by the players! Rugby injuries can be categorised into different injuries such intrinsic injuries, often caused by repetitive strains and overuse injuries and extrinsic injuries, such as collisions with other players. Osteopathy can offer hands on treatment and rehabilitation for both styles of injuries, by ensuring that players with imbalances of muscle strengths, poor flexibility and old injuries are treated appropriately and helped to function at their best by restoring the body to its optimal function. Intrinsic Injuries As we mentioned above, intrinsic injuries describe those of a repetitive nature and of an overstrain pattern. When areas of the body are subject to repetitive patterns of movement, such as sitting at a desk or in a vehicle throughout th...

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Pain from racket sports ruining your game?

You'll know that racket (sometimes known as racquet) sports such as tennis, badminton and squash are demanding games that can be hard on the body. Those quick lunges to return the ball or shuttlecock to the opponent can result in strains and pains that are an unwanted nuisance, threatening your performance and your enjoyment of the game.  Let's take a look at the most common injuries we see from racket sports and an idea into how we begin to treat them. It's always important to note that this information should be used in conjunction with, rather than in replacement of, a full assessment of your individual case to make sure you're getting the most appropriate advice. Tennis ElbowPossibly one of the most frequent injuries from a variety of sports, this painful condition is due to an irritation of the tendon that attaches into the side of the elbow. Pain often comes on slowly initially, often after activity, but can increase in severity as time progresses. It can cause havoc with yo...

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What's the difference between western and traditional Chinese acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a popular style of treatment that can be used to help a variety of health problems including back pain, headaches and migraines. However, did you know there are 2 very different styles of acupuncture? Acupuncture's roots lie deep in Chinese history, with the first written text reported to date back to between the first century BC and the first century AD. Thankfully, it's moved on a long way from those eras where they used sharpened bones as needles! Traditional acupuncture follows the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, whereby it believes that blockages in specific flows of energy through the body, or meridians, can cause dis-ease. By needling certain points, the blockages are encouraged to clear, helping to improve health and wellbeing. Medical acupuncture, sometimes known as western acupuncture or dry needling, is a whole different style of treatment. The medical model uses anatomy, physiology and current medical models to create a diagnosis for your condi...

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Golf swing upsetting your back pain?

For anyone who has never played golf before, it's a curious sport that is hugely demanding on the body. Regular golfers will tell you that lower back pain is one of the most commonly reported pains amongst golfers, and some research suggests that up to one third of all golfers will suffer with lower back pain at some point in their lives! We see many golfers in clinic, and whilst each individual's case is different, pain can be caused by some common factors, mainly lack of mobility in the ankles, hips, upper back and shoulders, all forcing the lower back to work exceptionally hard to compensate for the lack of mobility elsewhere. What causes pain?When you go through a golf swing, the spine has to twist to not only create the turn, but also help to drive the ball forwards. By doing this, the fine ligaments of the spine and where the pelvis connect to the back, can really be subject to a huge amount of pressure. Combine this with muscles that are not functioning at their best, due to bei...

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How do I know if I'm Double Jointed?

We see lots of people who are hypermobile in clinic and it's sometimes referred to as being "double jointed", but how do you know if you are or not?  Do you find you just can't feel the stretch, despite being able to stretch really far?Do your hips and back still ache despite doing stretch classes a few times a week?Do you often dislocate joints or keep getting sprains and strains? If you answered yes to the 3 questions above these symptoms suggest you could be hypermobile.  Hypermobility basically means that the joints are overly mobile because the ligaments and tendons that support the joints and act as retaining straps are too elastic, and stretch too much, therefore they don't provide good support for the joints and let the joints move too much. Hypermobility itself doesn't usually cause pain, and often will barely affect your normal daily life. But why do hypermobility sufferers get pain? The pain is caused by the muscles working extra hard to support and stabilise ...

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Missing your comfy office chair?

It's no secret that we've all gone through a radical change with how we work thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak, and its effects are being felt in so many different ways, one of which is body aches and pains from poor posture. So, if you're missing your comfy office Herman Miller chair, let's see how we can make you more comfortable without splashing out lots of money! Space - One of the biggest changes we need to make to be able to work from home is to create some space. Take some time to create a space big enough for your needs, and don't forget you're going to be working here for the next few months at least, so don't compromise!Invest – We all appreciate that laptops are convenient for working on the go, but they're not so great for home working. Invest in a decent keyboard/mouse and allow your body freedom, so you're not constantly scrunching your body to work to your laptop's confines.Sofas – Take it from someone who knows: Sitting on a sofa for 8 hours a day with a laptop i...

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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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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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