- Help your neck, help your posture – Bad posture contributes neck pain and can aggravate symptoms. If you sit at a desk make sure your work station is set up correctly for you, see this article for a healthy desk set up. If you drive make sure your car seat is adjusted to ease loading on your neck joints and muscles.
- Keep moving – Exercise is good for our joints and muscles as well as our hearts. Exercise helps improve blood flow to your neck, nourishing your spine to keep it healthy.
- Pillows – get your pillow height right for you! People often ask how many pillows they need, if any at all. The answer is everyone is different and every pillow varies so there is no correct number. Ideally you want your neck and spine in a neutral position where the neck is not over stretched in any direction, minimising loading on joints, muscles and ligaments. This may take some playing around with. Alternatively you could look to get a Goldilocks Pillow sized just right for you.
- Ditch the Mobile and Look Up – Ok, well maybe not ditch the mobile as I suspect at least 50% of readers are reading from their phone or tablet. But at least hold it higher to avoid bending the neck too far and if you spend a lot of time looking at the phone or tablet give yourself a break and stretch off through your neck.
- Heat or Ice when in Pain – Many people get relief from either warming or cooling the area. Both are good and whichever creates the most relief is the one to stick to. Generally, it’s thought that ice decreases inflammation and heat eases tight muscles. You could even alternate. Take care with both hot and cold to avoid burns (including ice burns) use for up to 5 minutes.
- Have an eye Test – If you find yourself struggling to see clearly and craning forward to read you might want to get your eyes tested to allow you to read without craning. Craning forward can put unnecessary load on your neck joints and muscles resulting in aches and pains.
- Breath from your Diaphragm – Four muscles on each side of the neck (8 total) are referred to as accessory breathing muscles. They lift the chest to help with the intake of air. Breathing from the diaphragm can help take the load off these muscles. Also diaphragm breathing can be therapeutic for stress relief which may help ease tension in the neck. Here’s a great video on Diaphragm Breathing Techniques
We all want to feel great and look good for the summer. Summer is the time for getting outside more, holidaying, gardening, or playing ball with the kids. Bright early mornings, warm sunny days, and mild evenings, it’s hard to resist getting out and enjoying it. O.K…. So perhaps the Great British Summer can be a bit hit and miss. But that just highlights the reason we need to grab, enjoy, and get the most out of our sunny days.
The transition from winter to summer has arrived and its time we make the transition to our summer lives. It’s time to say farewell to our TV, winter feasts, Gadgets, and warm clothes and reintroduce ourselves to our bicycles, summer wear, gardens and local parks. Exercise and movement is good for our bodies and naturally we are drawn to green space, which is good for wellbeing. Interestingly, research has showed that urban living in greener cities improves health and wellbeing (take a look at this article if your interested) and our lovely Bristol is among the top cities for green space in the UK.
So how can an Osteopath check up help you get ready for summer?
You might not be in pain but perhaps a little less flexible than you were last summer, maybe you’re getting more active already and experiencing some aches that you feel really shouldn’t be there. We can help.
As Osteopaths we look at how your body functions from head to toe and how a restriction in one part of your body impacts another part. We want to get to the bottom of what is going on and work to improve the way your whole body functions. Like a full service for your body, correcting a problem before it goes wrong or causes pain.
Our bodies are amazing at compensating. Us humans wouldn’t be where we are today if we couldn’t compensate for all kinds of problems. An example of this could be a stiff neck from sleeping awkwardly. You’re still able to do your daily tasks, but maybe looking over your shoulder is harder. But the body has limits on how much it can compensate, a niggle here, stiff there, all adds and can eventually cause pain. Think of an empty glass, and each time you experience one of these little niggles you fill the glass slightly until it starts to over flow. Our aim is to stop the glass from overflowing or to empty it. Taking you back to a point where your body is functioning great and not having to compensate.
For more information on how you can benefit from a check-up with your Osteopath, or to book. Call Pure Health Osteopath Clinic on 01179 000 935. Or email: [email protected]
Parenthood truly is enjoyable and rewarding, I often find myself rushing home at the end of the day in the hope our son will still be up, just to get 5 more minutes with him that day! I know we’re meant to be winding them down in the evening but I can’t resist making him smile, or laugh, one last time before bed.
Parenthood, as rewarding as it is, is a lot of work. Early starts, night feeds, entertaining them, I can’t remember a lie-in past 7am! When you unconditionally love someone it goes without question to put their needs ahead of yours at all cost. But sometimes you need to have a bit of me time.
They want picking up, you hold them. If they want to ride on your shoulders, that’s what they get. Any manual handling training or advice you’ve ever had goes out of the window. Try lifting a child out of the bath with your knees and not your back!
With all of this poor posture and lifting habits, it’s not surprising that we get aches and pains. The job doesn’t stop, we can’t take holidays from being parents and there’s no sick leave. More importantly, we want to help our children every step of the way. We want to put ourselves out for them, and never want to say no because of pain stopping us!
So How Can Osteopathy Help us be Better Parents?
Well we can’t help you with family dilemmas or picking the right area for the best school catchment. But we can help you keep up with your kids and feel in top shape, no more saying ‘no, because mummy’s back is sore’ or not going out on the family cycle because of that niggle in your knee!
We can help by easing your pain, improving flexibility and posture and help take some of the strain and load off your body.
“We understand the strains parenting can put your body”
At Pure Health Osteopath Clinic we like helping parents. We take the time to really understand you, and carry out a full examination to get to the bottom of what is causing your problem. This includes understanding its impact on your life. All these factors are important to us and help to form a treatment plan specifically for you.
Our treatments are safe, Natural, and drug free. Treatments are specific to you, and we consider techniques you like and don’t like. Treatments typically involve:
- Massage – to soothe tight or sore muscles.
- Mobilisation – helping your joints move easier.
- Manipulation – to free up restricted joints.
- Specific stretches – to loosen restriction and improve flexibility.
- Acupuncture – to decrease pain experienced.
- Advice – on management, aftercare and exercises that may help improve function.
For more information or to book an appointment, just give us a call. We will happily answer any questions.
Pure Health Osteopath Clinic
01179 000 935
Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that can have beneficial effects for a variety of muscle and joint conditions. Osteopathic treatment involves the use a wide range of gentle hands on techniques. Treatment varies between patients depending on your age, fitness and diagnosis, but often focuses on releasing tension, stretching muscles and mobilising joints.
Benefits of Osteopathy:
- Pain reduction.
- Improved motion of the joints
- Decreased stiffness
- Improved Posture
- Prevention of complications
Effective in following sports related conditions:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Joint related problems
- Ligament injuries
- Stress related injuries
- Injury prevention strategies
- Speedy recovery from injury
How massage is helpful in these conditions:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Decrease swelling and pain
- Improve circulation to the affected part
How Osteopaths Treat Athletes:
Treatment of injuries primarily focuses on recovery, rehabilitation, and prevention of reoccurrence. Performance enhancement focusses on personal evaluation and goal setting. This includes assessing; fitness, joint mobility, strength, muscular function, nerve function and posture.
Types of sports injuries:
Sports injuries can be categorized in to two groups.
- Acute traumatic injuries:
It includes fractures, sprains, strains, concussion, cuts, and head injuries. For example a blow to the knee when tackling, or a direct hit by a bat etc.
- Overuse injuries:
Stress fractures, tendonitis, runner’s knee and tennis elbow are characterized as overuse injuries. They happen due to continuous exercises such as running and serving a ball in tennis.
- Mobilization of joint
- Stretching exercises
- Soft tissue techniques
- Joint manipulation techniques
- Acupuncture and dry needling
This technique is used to improve range of motion in a joint and help restore pain free joint movement. This can benefit by restoring motion to an area restricted due to injury or overuse. This can have positive effects by improving musculo-skeletal function and improving fluid flow in and out of the specific joint (almost like lubricating a stiff joint).
Vigorous exercises are associated with tightening of muscles. The stretching exercises help to lengthen and relax tight muscles. This can help; improve flexibility, increase joint range of motion and relieve pain caused by tight muscles.
Soft tissue massage is often used to improve circulation and reduce pain to an area. It is also effective in easing tight muscles that may be responsible for restriction or pain.
Joint Manipulation Techniques
Joint manipulation techniques are advanced, powerful mobilisation techniques for specifically mobilising restricted joints. Manipulation is often associated with an audible clicking noise as the joint releases. Effects include; improved range of motion and decreased pain. Manipulation techniques can also have an effect of neurological feedback mechanisms, causing local muscle relaxation and pain inhibition.
Strapping and Taping
Strapping and taping techniques are used to restrict or immobilise a joint. Sometimes following an acute injury rest and immobilisation can benefit the area by preventing re-irritation and allowing the bodies healing process to take place.
Taping can be a great way to restrict or immobilise an area whilst allowing you to still carry take part in sport.
The main therapeutic effects of acupuncture are achieved through stimulation of the nervous system, these effects have been shown to; improve nutrient flow to an area, stimulate the release of your body’s own pain killers (endophines), inhibit the activation of neurological pain pathways. This overall, helps to decrease pain experienced and helps create an environment for your body to heal.
Osteopaths have a very good reputation for treating back pain or restriction, after all back pain is the most common type of musculoskeletal pain and as a result we treat it often.
So… Is Osteopathy Just For Backs?
Well… the spine is a very important structure, it helps hold us up for a start. It also protects the spinal cord. The nerves exiting the spine go on to control muscles of the leg, arms, chest, back and neck. So to ignore the spine or back when examining a musculoskeletal problem would be like examining a muscle or joint without considering its nerve supply. You could relate this to trying to find out why your kettle is not working without first checking if it’s plugged in or the electrics our on. The spine is very important to each bone, joint and muscle in the body, and so it is important to consider it with almost every problem we see. Even a problem unlikely to directly effect the back could have an indirect effect on it, for example a fractured wrist. The injury in this case is likely to be local to the wrist, but the secondary effects of the wrist being in a cast, and having to rely heavily on the other arm could place load through the back to compensate.
So What Else Can Osteopaths Treat?
Osteopaths work to facilitate the bodies own ability to heal, working with the bodies structure and function to provide your body with the optimal healing environment. A whole body system for wellness. With this principle in mind we could potentially treat many conditions. However, the efficacy of this may be questionable, and its important to know our limitations in practice. We do this by reviewing scientific research relevant to our practice and base our treatments on best research and practice. This is referred to as evidence based or evidence informed medicine, and is relevant to all fields of medicine.
Ultimately this means that we can provide therapy for many conditions but can not offer or imply that we can cure the problem without a strong evidence base (backed up by research).
The Committees of Advertising Practice have accepted that there is supporting evidence that Osteopaths can provide effective treatment for:
- generalised aches and pains,
- joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core osteoarthritis treatments and exercise
- arthritic pain,
- general, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident)
- uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e. whiplash)
- headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic) / migraine prevention
- frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
- circulatory problems,
- digestion problems,
- joint pains, lumbago,
- muscle spasms,
- inability to relax,
- rheumatic pain,
- minor sports injuries and tensions.