Love yourself – embrace self-care ❤️

Taking care of oneself should always be a top priority. It isn’t the only priority in life for sure, but it’s an important factor if we want to better manage general wellbeing and support our longer term health.

Even before the pandemic the UK population was living longer but unfortunately in poorer health. A direct quote from the UK’s Health Foundation Report 2022. “Smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, and harmful alcohol use are leading risk factors, driving the U.K.’s high burden of preventable, ill health, and premature mortality. All are socio-economically patterned and contribute significantly to widening health inequalities.”

The “top” conditions viewed as Western world/lifestyle related problems are; diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, some cancers and stroke.

It’s common for people to neglect self-care activities or feel guilty when they do make time for them. However, self-care is crucial for overall wellbeing. Whether it’s dedicating time to socialising, relaxing, exercising, preparing a nutritious meal, or seeking assistance from a trusted osteopath for any musculoskeletal health concerns. Self-care encompasses a range of valuable activities.

Have a think about the small changes you could make in the coming weeks to do the best you can to support long-term health. Maybe challenge yourself with a new activity. It can empower you and enhance your resilience in life. Just spending time in nature stimulates all our senses, and has been demonstrated to improve our neural health, and reduce the likelihood of dementia.

Remember to prioritise your own self-care and make time for activities that nurture your physical and mental health. If your muscles and joints need support, please get in touch for assistance.

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.


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.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward – Happy New Year!

To ‘Put Your Best Foot Forward’ originated from when ladies looked for a well turned leg in men. This phrase was first recorded in 1613 by Sir Thomas Overbury (a poet and courtier).

A good phrase perhaps to start a new year? However, this post is really about footwear. If I wasn’t an osteopath I would love to be a shoe designer. I often consider the design of a ‘perfect’ shoe – for both health and style. Nothing yet I’m afraid! However in my current capacity as an osteopath I am made aware in my daily work that foot care is 100% necessary. Not only for the health of the local area, but also for the rest of the body and it’s position and consequent well-being. Good fitting footwear is an essential contributing factor towards foot and general musculoskeletal health.

In our shoes we should consider:

  1. A stable heel, approximately 25mm in height. The heel of the shoe shouldn’t slip up and down at the back.
  2. Adequate width and depth to the mid/front part of the shoe.
  3. Enough room in the toe portion of the shoe to allow proper foot function. A minimum of 6mm in front of the longest toe is suggested.
  4. A soft and flexible upper and lining to the shoe.
  5. Laces, Velcro or buckle fastenings allow the most adjustment and potentially a better fit.
  6. The tread on the undersurface of the shoe should extend over the whole area.
  7. A supportive insole may be a consideration for some. Consulting a health professional like myself, other manual therapist, chiropodist or podiatrist could advise you around any need for this.

Please get in touch if you need any help with a problem.

Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy new year.

A Festive Tip

A lot of people come in to the clinic to see me in the weeks running up to Christmas and explain to me how they have hurt their back. Or often strained their neck and shoulders wrapping Christmas presents! So here’s a few considerations to try and make this process more comfortable.

  • Not all gifts are table-sized, but where possible sit at a table (as opposed to on the floor) to wrap your gifts. A patient told me this week they sit at an ironing board as they can adjust the height to make it work perfectly for them. I think this is a great idea.
  • Avoid twisting and bending at the same time.
  • Take regular breaks away from the wrapping activity. Go and do something different or just have a move around regularly.
  • Be mindful of where your shoulders are. Are they up around your ears? Relax them down.
  • Try and stay calm, try not to hold your breath -practice relaxed breathing. This will support both body and mind.

I personally am a bit of a Christmas Grinch on this subject as I have very little patience for sticky tape! So I definitely need to monitor my breathing and shoulders. Happy to help if any issues arise in you.


Things You Should Know About Receiving Osteopathic Treatment

A systematic review into the risk of adverse events following manual therapy treatment, concluded that the risk of major adverse events is low. The relative risk of adverse events appeared greater with drug therapy. They did find that about half of manual therapy patients experience “minor to moderate adverse events” after their treatment.

It isn’t uncommon for people to experience a non-serious treatment reaction. The most common of which is feeling muscle soreness or a temporary increase in pain beyond your treatment session. This is most often felt much like the discomfort you might be familiar with – the muscle soreness you can get after an exercise session. It varies, but commonly starts the evening or day after the session, and may be apparent for 1-3 days.  A further study found that the majority of these reactions (67%) resolved within 24 hours.

People very often respond the same way to any manual therapy. So if you’ve experienced post-session soreness after chiropractic or physiotherapy sessions, you will probably have the same experience with osteopathic treatment. There are clearly variables that will contribute – a new injury will feel different to a pain that’s lingered for some time, the treatment modality used, the area you’re having worked on, the time in a lady’s menstrual cycle, someone’s emotional state… We all follow rhythms and variations in our bodies which may affect our response to treatment.

I am mindful of people’s treatment reactions following their visit to me and will try to factor this into my treatment plan. Not always, but very often, a reaction gets less or doesn’t occur at all as a treatment course progresses. However some people always follow a familiar pattern to them. I will let you know how to deal with any treatment reaction in your session. Often tactics like hot or cold applications will alleviate any discomfort.

Another common treatment reaction is feeling tired. If you experience this and you’re able to, have a nap. Your body perhaps needs a little rest-time to deal with the problem being experienced.

Following osteopathic treatment:

  • Think, rest and regular gentle movement. Don’t go to the gym or embark on a major DIY project. But do stay gently mobile.
  • Have a drink of water beyond your session. A hydrated body will work better and respond more swiftly.
  • Follow any additional self-care given to you. Such as cold or hot applications. Maybe specific exercises.

Give me a call if you’re experiencing any problems.

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