Some of the ways I can help you 😀

Personalised nutrition is certainly an ideal scenario, but not accessible to all. However there are some aspects of nutrition I can now support you with at Rivermead Osteopaths. One is to address the fatty acid balance in your body.

The intake of appropriate fatty acids supports our whole health. If the ratio of omega 6 to 3 is too high, this creates an inflammatory state in the body. An Omega BalanceTest accurately measures an individual’s fatty acid profile. Taking away any guess-work.

If you are interested in the importance of omega fatty acid balance. Take a look through this link.

If you would like more information please get in touch.

A quick reminder of the other ways I can help you!

  • Individualised osteopathic care. With treatment sessions that encompass evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. A selection of appointment lengths are available to best suit your needs.
  • Laser therapy. An additional treatment method that may be used alongside osteopathic treatment, or alone, to speed up and assist effective healing.
  • Pilates sessions. These can be taken as one-to-one appointments, either in your home or in the clinic. Some class places are available too. Pilates can form part of rehabilitation from injury, or be used for general care of your mobility and posture.

Get in touch to see if osteopathy, laser therapy or Pilates could help your problem. Or if you are interested in supporting the omega balance of your body.

Is your head on the right way?

I am committed to keeping you aware about important aspects of your wellbeing. In this newsletter I will shed a little light on an often overlooked aspect of posture and its impact on our overall health – head and neck positioning. The head and neck contains important sensory equipment and many crucial structures relating to our well-being. So it’s orientation has an impact on our ability to move efficiently, to engage and relate to the world around us.

Many of us spend a significant amount of time looking down at screens, hunching over desks, or engaging in activities that strain our necks. Over time, this can lead to a range of health issues, including muscle imbalances, headaches, and sometimes chronic pain.

Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Neutral head and neck alignment: Maintaining a neutral position for your head and neck is essential. Imagine a string attached to the crown of your head, gently pulling upward, aligning your head with your spine. This helps to distribute the weight of your head evenly and reduces strain on your neck and upper back.

2. Ergonomics matters: Whether you’re working at a desk or using your mobile device, it’s important to pay attention to ergonomics. Ensure that your screen is at eye level, your chair supports your lower back, and your arms are comfortably positioned. Small adjustments like these can make a big difference in reducing strain on your head and neck.

3. Regular breaks and stretching: Taking short breaks throughout the day to stretch your neck and shoulders can help alleviate tension and improve circulation. Simple exercises like neck rotations, shoulder shrugs, and gentle stretches can go a long way in maintaining flexibility and reducing discomfort.

4. Osteopathic care: If you’re experiencing persistent neck pain or issues related to head and neck positioning. Seeking professional help from an osteopath can be beneficial. Osteopathic treatment focuses on restoring balance and function to the body, including the neck and spine.

Remember, a proactive approach to maintaining proper head and neck positioning is crucial for your long-term health and wellbeing. By making small adjustments and seeking appropriate care when needed, you can enjoy a healthier, pain-free life.

If you have any questions or concerns about head and neck positioning or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am here to support you on your journey to optimal health. The online booking system can be accessed via the red button at the top of the page.

Be aware and be proactive. Wishing you great posture and wellness.

Is sunshine doing the job for you?

There are many nutrients we need to ensure we consume in our diets. Most can be found by having a varied and whole-food approach to the food we eat.

However it is more difficult to eat enough of the relevant foods to gain adequate vitamin D intake via the diet. Vitamin D is more appropriately called a steroid hormone because in the presence of sunlight, our body can synthesise vitamin D itself. Hence it is known as the “sunshine vitamin”.

In the UK, due to the lack of intensity of sunshine over the autumn and winter months. It is advised that a vitamin D supplement is taken. According to the NHS, 60% of the UK population are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is found in food (eggs, cheese, salmon, milk, mushrooms…) but you would need to eat a great deal of these foods to meet the advised requirements. Supplementing is also particularly important because as we age our bodies ability to manufacture vitamin D decreases.

The government directive advises a recommended dose of 10 micrograms (mcg) daily, which is seen as enough for most people however, additional advice is given to not take over 1000mcg a day. (In individual situations your GP may advise high doses and you should follow the advice you are offered.) Otherwise taking too much vitamin D over a long period could also be problematic. A condition called hypercalcaemia can develop. Which can have the effect of weakening the bones, and causing heart and kidney problems.

So this becomes yet another dilemma, what’s enough and what’s too much!? But there is a solution, if you choose to take away the guess work and test your vitamin D levels.

Rivermead Osteopaths can now offer a vitamin D test kit. This is an exciting opportunity to add a further way in which your musculoskeletal health can be supported via the clinic.

A simple pin-prick blood test can be performed at home, and posted to an independent and world-renowned laboratory. Results are returned alongside an informative report to support you moving forward.

Not only is this a great opportunity to assess your status right now, supplement or change dietary habits if needed. You could also re-test at a later date to ensure that sufficient action has been taken.

Right now is the perfect time to address any issues with vitamin D levels, ahead of the coming months with the loss of intensity in the sunshine, and the likely lessening of these levels in all of us.

Vitamin D has many important functions:

  • It is involved in gene expression.
  • It has a role in immunity.
  • It is essential in supporting muscle, bone and teeth health.

Possible symptoms and signs that can sometimes relate to a lack of vitamin D are:

  • Muscle pain.
  • Bone pain.
  • Increased sensitivity to pain.
  • A tingly, “pins-and-needles” sensation in the hands or feet.
  • Muscle weakness in body parts near the trunk of the body, such as the upper arms or thighs.
  • Waddling while walking, due to muscle weakness in the hips or legs.

It is important to look after this aspect of our health, as problems in later life can occur if deficiency is ongoing. Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults and excessive loss of bone density – osteoporosis.

If you need to supplement this important vitamin. Rivermead Osteopaths also recommends a vitamin D supplement called Zinoshine+. This is a naturally sourced vitamin D3 supplement, containing no “nasty” additives. It also contains magnesium which can support the actions of vitamin D in bone health and also performs multiple other important functions in the body. Including maintaining normal muscle and nerve function.

Would you like to test your vitamin D status? Or are you interested in supplementing this crucial nutrient? Please get in touch for further information.

Healing Is A Process

Healing is a process. It will have similar parameters for everybody, but there will inevitably be some variation from person to person. The nature and extent of an injury will also dictate the length of the healing process.

Osteopathy and laser treatment optimise your body’s natural biological reactions. In osteopathy, it is mechanical pressure, in laser, it is light energy that influences the body cells to produce the cellular products necessary for healing to take place. Both osteopathy and laser complement one another. The work produces good tissue length and tissue fibre alignment with as little or as good quality scar tissue as possible. Evidence also suggests that greater benefit will occur if these treatments are used alongside appropriate exercise prescription.

The following are the stages of tissue repair. In reality they will likely blend into one another as opposed to being isolated events:

Bleeding. All tissues will bleed with injury to a varying degree, on average for 4-6 hours. This is not the time to receive manual therapy, but could be a good time to apply an ice pack for no longer than 10 minutes.

The second phase is inflammation. This starts approximately one hour after the injury. The inflammatory process starts and reaches a peak over 1 to 3 days. However it can be quite normal for it to continue for a few weeks beyond an injury, inflammation is necessary to bring the products needed into the area for repair.

Inflammation gets tissues ready for mending – the proliferation phase. This can actually start quickly beyond an injury, but may continue for up to 6 months.

Finally the injury will enter the remodelling phase. The basic scar tissue formed in the proliferation phase is refined here. This process could still be continuing over 1-2 years. Despite people hopefully being able to return to more normal activity in the meantime.

Osteopathy and laser therapy will help guide these processes. This is one of the reasons why it is important to complete your course of treatment.

Your Holiday – Avoiding Back Pain

Fellow travellers pay attention. As many of us prepare for our long-awaited summer getaways, it’s important to take a moment to consider the impact of travel on our bodies, particularly our backs.

Travel often involves long periods of sitting or standing, carrying heavy luggage, and sleeping in unfamiliar beds. These factors can all contribute to back pain and discomfort, which can put a damper on an otherwise enjoyable holiday.

So, what can we do to prevent and alleviate back pain while traveling? Here are a few tips:

1. Pack light: Only bring the essentials and try to distribute the weight evenly between your bags. Consider using a backpack instead of a suitcase to evenly distribute weight on both shoulders.

2. Stretch: Take breaks during long flights or car rides to move around and stretch. Simple stretches like touching your toes or rolling your shoulders can help prevent stiffness and pain.

3. Invest in supportive travel gear: Consider investing in a neck pillow or lumbar support cushion for your seat on the plane or car. These items can help maintain proper posture and reduce strain on your back.

4. Choose accommodations wisely: When booking a hotel or accommodation, consider the quality of the mattress and pillows. A comfortable bed can make a big difference in preventing back pain.

Stay well!

Laser Therapy – Can Be Used Alone Or Alongside Osteopathic Treatment

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-power light to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It’s a safe and effective alternative to traditional pain management techniques, such as medication and surgery.

LLLT has been shown to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and accelerate tissue repair. It’s commonly used to treat conditions such as arthritis, back pain, and sports injuries.

One of the best things about LLLT is that it’s painless and has no known side effects. It’s also a quick and easy treatment that can be done in just a few minutes.

If you’re looking for an effective and natural way to manage your pain, LLLT may be the solution you’ve been searching for. It’s a safe and non-invasive treatment that can improve your quality of life and help you get back to doing the things you love.


Why Osteopathy Might Be Your Solution

Osteopathic treatment is a holistic approach to healthcare that aims to restore the body’s natural balance and promote healing. Unlike traditional medicine, which often focuses on treating symptoms, osteopathic treatment addresses the underlying causes of illness or injury.

If you are struggling with chronic pain, injuries, or other health issues, osteopathic treatment may be the solution you need. This form of treatment uses gentle manual techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and promote overall wellness.

Osteopaths are trained to look at the body as a whole, rather than just treating individual parts. This approach allows them to identify and treat the root cause of your condition, rather than just managing the symptoms.

Whether you are dealing with back pain, headaches, digestive issues, or other health problems, osteopathic treatment can help. It is a safe, non-invasive, and effective way to improve your health and wellbeing.

So if you are looking for a natural and effective way to address your health issues, consider seeking out osteopathic treatment. With the help of a skilled osteopath, you can achieve a better quality of life and live pain-free.


What do I do if I experience an episode of lower back pain?

Experiencing a sudden episode of lower back pain is alarming. It is incredibly frustrating, painful obviously, and also can be very scary. If you find yourself in this situation this is what I would advise:

  1. Try not to panic, take deep breaths.
  2. Assess your symptoms. Most episodes of lower back pain give you a pain in the lower back (obviously, but bizarrely not always) and sometimes pain or other symptoms such as tingling, pins and needles or numbness into the legs. This is a sign of a nerve being trapped or irritated in the lower back and can be an expected consequence of a lower back pain episode.
  3. If you were to experience changes in your bowel or bladder habit, and/or numbness around your bottom. Perhaps you would not be able to feel yourself wiping your bottom after going to the toilet. These symptoms are reasons to seek extra help from your GP or the hospital. This can be a sign of the nerves, supplying your bowel and bladder, being compromised and requires urgent attention.
  4. Number 3 is rare. Most lower back pain issues can be managed conservatively. For this you need to:
  • Try and stay gently mobile. This can be so challenging when you’re in this situation. Try and get up regularly. Maybe every 30-60 minutes to move around gently. Your back may let you know when it needs to be moved.
  • You could take pain medication or anti-inflammatories in the short term. Please ensure they are appropriate for you alongside any other health complaints or medications that you take. These can calm down the initial reaction and also allow more freedom of movement moving you out of the episode more readily.
  • Applying heat or ice packs (wrapping whatever you use) and placing on the lower back for just 10 minutes at a time. Doing this as much as once an hour can help improve comfort.

It can take a little time to settle. The recovery time from one type of injury to another will vary. Sometimes extra help is needed, contacting myself, other manual therapist or your GP might be necessary for further guidance and treatment.

Please get in touch if you require more help.



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Osteopaths Treat More Than Just Backs

I often hear, “I only thought you treated backs”. A common misconception. Osteopaths treat musculoskeletal problems from head to toe. That is problems that relate to the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia directly. Often we are also working on the nerves and blood vessels in relation to where these structures pass, and how we can effect their function.

Today I’m going to highlight a fairly common issue I see, but one you may not expect? Golfer’s and tennis elbow. Misleadingly named as these are not the only activities that might cause this. They are a form of repetitive strain injury. Their official names are medial (golfer’s) epicondylitis, and lateral (tennis) epicondylitis. Logically named as they are an irritation of the muscles that attach on the structure called the epicondyle at your elbow.

They can be caused by repetitive elbow or wrist activities. Also gripping and lifting repetitively. Occupations requiring the use of vibrating machinery may create these issues.

The pain may just be at the elbow, but sometimes above and below. If nerves and blood vessels are compressed additional tingling and/or pins and needles symptoms may occur.

The objective of treatment is to calm down the local source of inflammation and work into the effected structures that lead up to and attach to the elbow. Sometimes working on the spine and shoulder can help if someone has had to adapt their body position. This may either be one of the issues that has caused the problem, or may be a result of the pain.

Osteopathy will take an objective and holistic view of you in examination, treatment and self-care advice in order to get on top of the problem.

Are You Wonky?

Are you wonky? Well I know I am, and I haven’t met a person yet in my clinical life who isn’t “wonky” to some degree.

Our bodies are a combination of what we’re dealt with naturally, and the way we use and position ourselves and are often an expression of the way we feel. Bodies are also very clever. Commonly they will adapt and allow us to get on with our chosen activities.

Inevitably however, if our bodies are used in a repetitive and misaligned way an imbalance is created. This very often manifests as restriction, weakness and tissue shortening in varied combinations depending on the pattern we have adapted to.

This can be a feeling we get used to. We may not even recognise we are feeling restricted or tight as these changes tend to accummulate gradually over time.

They might be the reason why our bodies don’t accept a challenge so readily. For example, the sudden pain when you lift a box or reach up to the top shelf. Pain that occurs seemingly out of the blue.

Everybody is different and as such will experience these issues to varying degrees. If you are aware that you are becoming uncomfortable – stiff, experience twinges, adapt to activites differently. It may be a sign that poor movement patterns are developing. It is better to act sooner than later.

Poor movement patterns can be addressed through physical therapy which will help facilitate positive change, and specific and tailored exercises for your situation.

Change can take a little time, but TIME, PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE EQUALS PROGRESS, and happier bodies.

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