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.

Upper back pain and advice to reduce the strain of coughs and colds

The upper back is a common area for pain and discomfort. The upper back, or thoracic spine, is by its very nature the less mobile part of our spines. It is surrounded by a rib cage and has a role as part of a protective structure around our vital organs.

Pain in this area can occur in anybody, but it is common in children and adolescents, and more so in females. Often in younger people the problems relate to the use of backpacks, and the weight of the backpack. It might be related to sports activities. The seating at school can be problematic. Issues can also arise in relation to emotional stress and anxiety.

All of the above can be relevant in adults too. Often being seated at a desk all day is troublesome, or any prolonged slumped postures.

Common reasons for upper back pain are:

  • Trauma or injury. Trauma may be actions such as coughing and sneezing.
  • Strain/poor posture over time.
  • Shingles.
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
  • Rib injuries.
  • Muscular/soft tissue injuries.
  • Inflammation, degeneration, infections, metastases to the spine.
  • Sometimes pain in this area may be related to primary conditions, such as osteoporosis, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, and Scheuermann’s disease.

A problem with the positioning and mobility of the upper back could also have consequences for adjacent areas of the body that are mechanically linked. Very often problems in the shoulders and neck will occur alongside upper back issues.

Osteopathy takes a holistic approach and considers your general health and overall mechanics when tackling any issue.

Osteopathy can help mechanical problems by working directly into the area, and offer advice about self-care. It could also serve a supportive role alongside some chronic respiratory problems and primary conditions (such as those detailed above) to support well-being as well as providing pain relief.

We are now in the season of coughs and colds. These can cause problems, or can be incredibly difficult to manage if you are in pain. The following are a few tips that could help you avoid or manage issues:

  • If you have a cough or feel a sneeze coming on. Try and stay in a neutral position in your spine. Don’t bend forward or twist if possible.
  • You could place your hands on a table/surface ahead of you to brace yourself.
  • Standing against a wall with a pillow behind your back can reduce the impact.
  • Hugging a cushion to your chest can also reduce the “trauma” of a cough or sneeze.

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.

Why leave it to chance? Test, Treat and Re-test

Now available at Rivermead Osteopaths. A high quality and effective Omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 is important for maintaining an ideal balance of fatty acids. A balanced ratio in the body supports:

  • Heart health
  • Brain function
  • Eye function
  • Normal bones
  • Muscle function
  • Normal teeth
  • Cell division
  • Normal blood triglyceride levels, blood pressure and blood calcium levels

The optimum ratio of Omega 6 to Omega-3 is 3:1. Both are important, but many people are “out-of-balance” and have too much Omega-6. This creates a more inflammatory state in the body.

Rivermead Osteopaths is now partnered with a company called Zinzino. They produce a product called BalanceOil+. This is a unique blend of oils. – A combination of Omega-3 from wild caught small fish, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and vitamin D3. The ingredients are natural, including natural flavours for a pleasant taste. (Also available in a capsule).

There is a vegan option of the oil, the Omega-3 source here comes from micro-algae.

Olive oil introduces polyphenols into the mix. Polyphenols facilitate effective movement of nutrients into the cells, and protects the product from oxidation. Polyphenols support the health of our cell membranes. This means they support the absorption of all nutrients.

Of course we can choose to eat Omega-3 rich foods. Examples of foods to consider are oily fish, especially cold water fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Nuts and seeds such as chia, flaxseeds and walnuts. Plant oils such as canola, flaxseed and soybean oil. For many, these types of foods aren’t taken in sufficient quantity, or with great enough regularity.

The average omega 6:3 ratio for those not supplementing Omega-3 in Northern Europe is 12:1. (For comparison 15:1 elsewhere in Europe and 25:1 in the USA). The data was accumulated from the blood tests gathered at the independent laboratory (Vitas Analytical Services). They also found that following taking the BalanceOil+ for 120 days. The omega 6:3 ratio had been reduced to below 3:1.

So you may ask – how do I know if I need to supplement Omega-3? The answer is you don’t know unless you test your levels.

This is the reason a connection has been made with Zinzino, they offer a test to assess your Omega fatty acid balance.

An easy-to-use blood-prick test is all that’s needed. Tests are sent to a state-of-the-art, and importantly independent laboratory (Vitas). Results are returned in approximately 2 weeks. Results are returned alongside an informative report.

You may just choose to add a supplement to your daily routine, but the most all encompassing option is to test, take the supplement, then re-test after 120 days.

After 120 days (enough time for normal cell turnover) you should see a change, as long as you have been taking the daily dose. If you choose this option, and your initial test is returned showing you are in Omega balance. Your money will be refunded.

This is an exciting opportunity! It is accessible, forward-thinking and another way we can take control of our own well-being.

There are more options for testing – Vitamin D and HbA1c (gives a picture of blood sugar control over time). More information about these options coming soon.

In the meantime if you have any questions please get in touch. Or if you’d like to take a look, follow this link.

Optimise your sleep – boost energy, improve mood, reduce pain

Being able to get an optimal amount of sleep is so important to all aspects of our health. Many would regard this as the cornerstone of our well-being. Reduced sleep and reduced quality of sleep is a factor in many health problems, including heart disease, stroke and dementia. Sleep is necessary for repair. For the brain, immune system, blood vessels….everything!

Everyone is different but it is believed that all adults need at least 7 hours sleep a night.

Discomfort or body pain can make it tricky to settle to sleep, or wake you from your sleep. Sometimes moving around in bed is challenging. People can find themselves moving in bed in a very robotic manner. Waking early due to the need to get up and move for relief may also pose an issue.

There are so many factors that contribute to a good night’s sleep. Consider the following to aid your restful night:

  • Have a routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time.
  • Exercise daily, but not too close to bedtime. Exercising outside is useful.
  • Avoid stimulants close to your bedtime eg. Caffeine and nicotine.
  • Avoid alcohol or a large meal close to your bedtime.
  • Develop a relaxing routine leading up to sleeping – a bath, reading… limit or avoid electronics in the bedroom or their use before bed.
  • Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and a cool temperature. If your phone is with you, silence it.

Sleep myths

  • It isn’t true you need less sleep as you get older.
  • You can’t catch up on your sleep.

Sometimes a specific sleep disorder may need to be addressed. Consider a consultation with your GP if you think this may be the case.

If you’re struggling to get physically comfortable in bed I can help. I can assist you in resolving your pain or helping you to manage it. Sometimes looking at your pillows and mattress, or the position you sleep in may need to be addressed or supported more effectively.

Rest well and take care 😴



Would You Benefit From An MOT?

We pay regular attention to our cars, but would you benefit from an osteopathic MOT? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, help and advice could benefit you.
  • Do you struggle to bend over to tie your shoelaces?
  • Do you find it difficult to look around to reverse your car?
  • Can it be tricky when driving/cycling/crossing a road, to look comfortably to the left and right?
  • Is it a strain to reach your car seatbelt easily?
  • Is it hard to stand up straight?
  • Do you have problems sitting comfortably? – Is it challenging to get up from sitting with ease?
  • Is it difficult to lay comfortably in bed?

These are obviously just a sample of the activities normal to many of us in our day-to-day lives. We take them for granted often, when our ability to do them diminishes it can be painful, uncomfortable and very frustrating.

Osteopathic treatment could help you. Examination to assess the problem, treatment to address the issues and improve function, and advice on how you could adapt, maintain and manage any ongoing challenges.

Get in touch to book your MOT. If booking online please select an “Initial or Re-examination” appointment.

Three Areas You Could Look At Today For Positive Change

Here are three things you could choose to implement now, and/or over the coming week. They don’t have to cost you anything and they all support your musculoskeletal well-being.

1. Stretching and flexibility exercises: Engaging in regular stretching routines can help improve your flexibility and maintain good muscle and joint health. Consider incorporating simple stretches into your daily routine, focusing on areas like the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. Remember to stretch gently and avoid any movements that cause pain or discomfort.

2. Proper posture and ergonomic setup: Maintaining good posture is crucial to prevent musculoskeletal issues. Whether you’re sitting or standing, try to keep your spine aligned, shoulders relaxed, and avoid slouching. Additionally, ensure that your workspace is ergonomically set up, with a comfortable chair, proper desk height, and adequate support for your back and wrists.

3. Regular physical activity: Engaging in regular physical activity not only benefits your cardiovascular health but also supports your musculoskeletal system. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or strength training can help strengthen muscles, enhance bone density, and improve joint flexibility. Find activities you enjoy and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Remember, these are just general suggestions. If you do need more assistance with any of the above, please get in touch. Invest in your well-being.


Try Mindfulness To Support Your Nervous System And Help Manage Pain

A Simple Mindfulness Exercise To Try

Set a few minutes aside, find a comfortable and safe place to be. Close your eyes, or just try not to focus on anything.

Turn your attention slowly and deliberately to each part of your body. Focus on your body in order, from toe to head or head to toe.

Become aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body. If you notice pain or uncomfortable feelings, acknowledge them, and gently try and breathe through them, try to relax this area.

This exercise, although simple in its nature, doesn’t always feel easy or possible. Try it regularly for a while, it does get easier.






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