Text Neck

The more recently titled problem of “text neck” grows ever more prevalent. This is neck pain as a result of ongoing use of and looking down at a mobile phone or other device.

It may cause pain, muscle tension, sometimes nerve interruption and if practiced regularly enough, maybe speed up wear and tear changes. Long term practice of any postural bad habit will cause some areas to get over-worked and others to weaken, creating an imbalance in the way the body is held and consequently functions.

Some tips to avoid this problem:

  1. Raise your phone or other device more to eye level to avoid tilting your neck forward.
  2. Stand or sit up straight.
  3. Take frequent breaks away from the device you’re using.
  4. Stretch and strengthen your body to maintain good function. 
  5. Treat pain as a warning sign and address any potential problems if and when they arise.

Follow this link for some basic neck mobility exercises. Let me know if you need further help.



Do you have spiky balls?

Trigger points are recognised by most of us as sore spots or knots in our muscles. However not every sore spot is a trigger point. They can be long-term and cause deep discomfort and aching.

They are painful “lumps or nodules” found within tight bands of muscles and they are characterised by the following factors:

  • The pain is intense and felt at a specific point.
  • A “lump/nodule” can be felt within a tight band of muscle.
  • Applying pressure to the area reproduces the pain and may sometimes cause referred pain elsewhere. These referred pains are specific in their distributions.
  • It is not trigger point pain if it can be explained by findings from a neurological examination.

There is often no known mechanism of injury. Sometimes trigger points might cause unexpected symptoms due to their interaction with the autonomic nervous system. For example skin blanching, goosebumps, increased sweating, dizziness, earache, stiffness, difficulty breathing… Of course other possible causes to such symptoms may need to be ruled out first.

Trigger points reduce the efficiency of the muscle they lay within, so they are important to identify and address in order to reduce pain and restore normal function. Other benefits of addressing them are improving posture and increasing range of motion.

In clinic I can identify and interact with these trigger points through examination and hands-on treatment, laser therapy can also produce quick and profound changes. Exercises can be a useful approach to try and prevent the return of the problem.

At home it is possible to use various tools, most commonly foam rollers and spiky balls so you can address the problem yourself or support a course of treatment at home.

They’re an acquired taste, but spiky balls may help you?!

Osteoporosis – Know About Bone Health

As the weather becomes more consistently Spring-like, we now may be more inclined to get outside. This should be positive for the health of our bones.

  • The sunlight triggers a reaction in our skin producing vitamin D. Good news as this helps us use calcium which is necessary for strong bones.
  • If we become more active, the pressure through our bones will increase their strength.

A loss in bone density is normal as we age. Some illnesses and medications may also cause problems with bone density. Sometimes the losses are greater causing conditions called osteopenia or osteoporosis. These put you at a greater risk of a fracture. These conditions don’t hurt. They are often not discovered until someone unfortunately experiences a fracture. Other consequences of these problems can be changes to body position and the discomfort and disability that may bring alongside this.

These changes affect both men and women. In ladies they are often more prevalent due to the sharp shift in hormones around the menopause.

It is never too late to be looking after your bones and we should encourage the younger people in our lives to take good care of themselves in order they effectively build a “bone bank”. So they are in good place before these natural changes occur.

Care needs to be taken to exercise regularly. To create controlled stress into our limbs and spine to allow the bones to remodel. There is something that everyone can do, but depending on your situation you may need guidance as to what is most appropriate for you regarding activity and exercise.

We should also maintain a healthy diet. Balanced and varied containing those vitamins and minerals required for ideal bone health. Sometimes supplements might be appropriate.

If you receive a diagnosis of osteoporosis there may be prescription medication you need to take to assist with this further.

I am very happy to complete a FRAX questionnaire on your behalf. This assesses your susceptibility to these kind of fractures. This would be most appropriate for ladies over 65 and gentleman over 75 years of age.

When you’re next in the clinic, let me know if you would like me to do this for you. If needed, I can also help advise you on the care you should ideally take for good bone health.

In the meantime take care, look after yourselves and stay well.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy can be taken as a stand-alone treatment or combined with osteopathy. From the latter part of January 2022 Rivermead Osteopaths are trialling a laser therapy machine in the clinic. If this trial proves successful we will install laser therapy treatment as a permanent option.
– Laser therapy might help you become more comfortable and go from dismayed to happy!

Laser therapy works at a cellular level. It promotes changes that increase energy in the cell, this has the effect of speeding up healing and reducing inflammation. It also works to reduce pain by reducing the stimulation of the nerves at the area.

The general  benefits of laser therapy are:
  • It is non-invasive.
  • Painless to receive.
  • It is time efficient, often just 3-10 minutes.
  • Benefits are sometimes felt within minutes.
The problems laser therapy can be helpful in treating are:
Muscle spasm and back pain
Sprains and strains
Back pain
Hip pain
Knee pain
Haematoma and oedema
Sports injuries

Pilates 1:1 Rehabilitation

An announcement! I have been training away in the background so that I can add to my care of you in the clinic. I have been training in Pilates rehabilitation.

Unfortunately, in the time of COVID 19, as it requires closer contact, I don’t feel its appropriate to start this now. So when we get back to normal, this could now form part of your care at Rivermead Osteopaths.

However, in the meantime, and to avoid getting stiff in isolation. Take a look at this excellent selection of online Pilates classes. Created by the people I have trained under. Some very knowledgeable manual therapists.

Follow this link to take a look.


Do you have joint pain?

Around 8.5 million people are estimated in the UK to be struggling with joint problems attributed to osteoarthritis. One in five adults over the age of 45 have knee problems, and 1 in 9 are experiencing hip problems relating to osteoarthritis. Not all joint problems are the result of these changes. Day to day activities and injuries will inevitably cause problems occasionally. Whatever the underlying reason, osteopathy may help by improving the function of the area and reducing pain. Also providing a plan and advice to manage the area into the future.

If your car broke down you’d take it to a mechanic. If your pipe leaked you’d call a plumber. If your laptop malfunctioned you’d seek help from an IT engineer… So if you have pain in your body, and it is stopping you from working, or doing the activities you love. See an expert – visit an osteopath.

Taking time off work because of a problem with your muscles or joints doesn’t just cost you money, it can also affect your home life. Treatment from an osteopath may accelerate your recovery, helping you return to your normal activities quickly.

It costs less than you might think for a short course of treatment and could be a worthwhile investment in your health and wellbeing. So please give the clinic a call for advice.

Forward this to a friend if you think it could help.

Hip Stiffness

These exercises may help reduce hip joint stiffness in different scenarios. For people who are a little out-of-shape, to those with osteoarthritis and in many other scenarios. They offer controlled mobility through the hip joint, but all the same be careful.

If they cause pain then don’t persist with them, and if you had surgery or are a senior citizen you need to take it slower.


1. Lay on your side with your knees resting together to start. Keeping the feet in contact, open the knees as far as you’re able whilst keeping the spine straight and stable. Return to the start position. Repeat 10 times.


2. Keeping the knees together. Open the feet apart as wide as you’re able whilst keeping the spine straight and stable. Repeat 10 times.



3. Laying on your back. Place one hand on your knee. Think of this as drawing a circle on the ceiling with your knee. You can make the circles as small or large as you’re able to, but try and keep the spine straight as you do it. Repeat 5 times in an anti-clockwise, and 5 times in a clockwise direction on each side.


Happy New Year!! – Could a visit benefit your health?

Happy new year. Could a visit to the osteopath help you achieve what you want to in 2019?

Every day 30,000 people in the UK see an osteopath…We see and help a wide range of musculoskeletal complaints and support many people in achieving their physical goals. 

Patients seek help from an osteopath for a variety of conditions including neck or back pain, joint or muscular pain, sports injuries, recurring headaches and more. Many patients are pregnant mothers, unsettled children, those with work strain, or pain and stiffness related to advancing years.

Could a visit benefit your health?

Appointments are usually available without the need for referral from a GP. Give us a call today to see if you can be helped at the Rivermead Osteopaths.


Great, Healthy Boobs!

If you see me as a patient, or viewed any of my previous blog postings. You may have heard me talk about posture once or twice? Supporting your boobs in a well fitted bra can contribute to good posture and is important for ladies. The purpose of a well-fitting bra is to offer support of the breasts for comfort, wellbeing and appearance. It is estimated that 80% of women in the UK are wearing the wrong size bra.
Sometimes problems that I deal with as an Osteopath, can be caused by, or contributed to by a poor fitting bra.

Problems that can result from an ill-fitting bra
  • Pain from direct pressure.
  • Postural problems related to poor support, this may then cause pain.
  • Alongside changes in posture, you may get a knock-on effect on the internal organs/structures. Then possibly changes in breathing, circulation and digestion. Heartburn, indigestion, IBS have all been documented.
  • Skin rashes from direct pressure.
A well fitted bra can contribute to better posture and wellbeing


How to fit your bra – what to look out for
Look at the band around your torso. It should fit securely. You should be able to slide 2 fingers underneath the band at the back, and one under the middle part at the front, “the gore”.
If the band at the back of the bra rides up, then it is too big. In this scenario, you would tend to compensate by tightening the shoulder straps. So other signs that this may be the case are indents on your shoulders from the straps. Or maybe pain in the shoulders.
The central part, “gore”, at the front of the bra should also sit on your body. You should be able to raise your arms up above your head and for this to remain the case. If this doesn’t happen it maybe the case that you should increase the cup size and reduce the band size.
Another sign of an ill-fitting bra is the “quad boob”. So this is when breast tissue bulges over the top of the bra. The bra needs to encapsulate all the breast tissue.
To measure:
Measure with a fabric tape measure underneath the bust where the band should be. The tape measure should be tight, ideally you should do this naked. Make sure the tape measure is parallel. This is where 90% of the support from your bra comes from.
Bra sizes come in even numbers, round it up if necessary. This is your band size.
Next measure around the fullness of the bust. Do this naked and bending forward. This is so all your breast tissue moves forward and can be incorporated in the measurement. The tape measure should be looser on this measurement.
Then take the difference between the two measurements to get the cup size. SEE CHART.
Difference between 0″    <1″    2″    3″    4″    5″    6″    7″    8″    9″    10″   11″    12″
2 measurements
Cup size                  AA    A      B     C     D    DD   E     F     FF   G     GG    H      HH
So this is a basic guide. There will be variations between brands and so your bra size may alter between styles and brands. Remember that the band size is proportionate to the cup size, so if you reduce the band you will likely have to go up in the cup and vice versa.
In conclusion, if your bra doesn’t fit snugly and encompass everything, and/or causes pain. Then it is best to take the advice offered here today.


Please read this! I know it’s not the most stimulating of subjects. If you pay a little attention to your set-up at your computer/desk, both at home and work. Then it can make an enormous difference to your daily comfort. Trying to prevent the accumulation of an issue, which may result in pain. Everyday of my working life I spend talking about this! Believe me its a worthwhile practice, so I urge you to take note.

The basic set-up

Image supplied by Google

Start by looking at your seat. You should sit right back into your chair, so have your bottom to the back of the seat. When you’re sat up straight, the chair should be supporting the curve of the lower back. Office- style chairs may have an adjustable lower back support. You can buy lower back/lumbar supports if necessary. Cushions and pillows perhaps will offer temporary assistance.

So you should be sitting well in your chair. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, bring your elbows into your side and your forearms out horizontally. The level of your forearms should indicate the ideal height of the desk. So you may now need to adjust the height of the chair? You need to try and keep a flat wrist and hand to avoid overstrain of these areas. It’s personal preference if you use an armrest, and sometimes whether it is practical. Some people like them to keep their upper limb relaxed. Sometimes they prevent you pulling yourself close to your desk. If this is the case they maybe aren’t appropriate as you should be able to do this.

You may have to adjust the tilt of the seat base of the chair. The ideal is to have an angle of 90 to 120 degrees at the hip. So really this means that your knees should be level with or just below the hips. Feet should be flat on the floor, or on a footrest if preferred, or necessary.

So you should be sitting tucked in close to your desk. We now need to look at how the desktop is arranged. Your monitor needs to be set straight ahead of you, at an arm’s length away. The top of the monitor should be level with your line-of-sight. The keyboard should be straight ahead of you, and within easy reach. Everything you use regularly should be within easy reach. So the mouse, the phone any documents…

If you spend a lot of time on the phone, then a head-set may be a wise purchase to avoid the tendency to tuck the phone between your ear and shoulder. Or using a hands-free function on the phone. There are different style mouses which change the digit and position they are worked by and in. This may be helpful if you’re suffering any strains through the upper limb. Document holders may be useful if it’s necessary to constantly be referring to paperwork.

Above describes the very basic points to consider. There can be many different configurations depending on the nature of the work.  Feel free to email me with any queries.

It’s important to make sure you get up and move around regularly, try every 30 to 45 minutes.

The bits that caught my eye in the news

Musculoskeletal pains, like chronic back or neck and repetitive strain injuries. Account for half of absences from work, and 60% of those who are permanently unable to work due to their pain. This costs the European Union €240 billion every year in benefits, treatments and lost production.
Office workers, who often average around 40 hours a week sat at a desk, and on the computer and phone, commonly suffer problems. There is a tendency to hold a phone between the ear and shoulder whilst they attempt to multitask.
In 1983 the first call centre head-set was developed. This has now evolved into a lightweight, ergonomic and wireless device. The innovator company of the headset – Plantronics, and the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, have carried out a study on pain reduction in headset users. In 4 weeks, half of the subjects who suffered neck ache and headaches at the start  of the study (54% and 44% respectively) reported no pain. Shoulder and upper back pain was also reduced. 60% of the users found the headsets “very useful”.

A common practice 200 years ago was bodysnatching. An article I read recently made me think of everything that may have gone before, in order to create the anatomical textbooks I studied from. Cambridge scientists have claimed that bodysnatching has had a greater influence on medical science, than advances made in World War I. Both gave medical students a vital insight into the affects of disease and illness on the body.
Apparently bodysnatching became so prevalent, relatives would watch over their deceased, and even over the grave after burial.




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