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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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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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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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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Not digging your back pain?

 Now the weather is beginning to get a bit warmer there's nothing nicer than spending time in your garden, either working on some gardening or just relaxing. Our gardens are the most perfect place to just spend some time connecting with nature and allowing ourselves to be mindful of the world around us. For those of you amongst us who are keen gardeners, when did you last stop and think about any bodily injuries that can occur from working in the garden? Lifting pots, moving compost and long periods of time bent over weeding can wreak havoc on our bodies, and many injuries sustained in gardens are related to poor manual handling. It's always busy at this time of year for osteopaths in clinic as we see many people who have sustained gardening related injuries. Commonly, these injuries are muscle and joint related, and often involve shoulders, lower backs and necks. So, if gardening is so risky, what can you do to help protect your body from injury? Let's take a look at some tips to...

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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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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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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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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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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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