Is Stress Causing My Neck and Shoulder Pain?

31.10.2022 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

Stress, everyone has it too some degree – some is healthy, lots is not. 

What effect does a lot of stress have on your body?
Stress is known to affect the whole body but we shall focus on the way it affects the neck and shoulder girdle. Much research over the years has confirmed a connection between neck pain and stress. One study, for instance, in the BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders Journal, found that of nearly 500 people tested, those with stress,  anxiety or depression had significantly worse neck pain that lasted longer than those without.

Even without the research though, lots of people will tell you that stress makes their neck and shoulders feel tight. When someone consciously relaxes, one of the most noticeable things to happen is their shoulders drop a couple of inches. 

I’d go even further, and say that as the brain recognises the connection between stress and neck & shoulder tightness (and in fact initiates it). Let me explain, if someone has a tight neck or shoulders due to another cause, the brain, rightfully or wrongfully interprets this as the body being stressed. 

If you have those muscles massaged and loosened and the neck releases, most people feel immediately less stressed. 

Some of the many causes of neck or shoulder girdle dysfunction and stress crossover, such as long hours working at a computer to meet deadlines, and not sleeping very well. From this, secondary symptoms can develop, most commonly, headaches.

Some exercises that I recommend for tension headaches can be found here

So what can we do about it?
Well, as always, firstly make sure there is nothing else causing your symptoms. Get a health professional to assess you and diagnose what is causing your symptoms.

If the diagnosis is stress or posture-related then get it treated. It’s important to treat from both a musculoskeletal point-of-view as well as understand and address the cause of your stress.

Alongside this, there are a number of at-home techniques you can do to help ease the tension in your neck and shoulders. 

1. Do neck and shoulder mobility exercises.

A couple of quick and easy exercises I would recommend would be:

Exercise 1 :

Exercise 2 :

Exercise 3 :

2.  Get a good amount of quality sleep.

Stress is known to affect your ability to sleep. There are things you can do to give yourself the best chance of sleep.
– Make sure you’re comfortable in bed
– Be strict with no blue light (screens) for at least an hour before bed
– Having a warm bath or shower to help you relax

3. Find something to relax you.

It doesn’t have to be meditation or yoga, it could be exercise or playing an instrument. Perhaps avoiding instruments such as the violin which will exacerbate neck & shoulder pain. The ides if to find something that sends you to your flow state. Something that will distract you that you really enjoy and will relax you.

4. Work in a good environment.

Set up your workstation in an ergonomic way will do wonders for your posture. Remember to have lots of breaks and consider investing in a standing desk. If you’re interested in knowing what an ergonomic workstation set up looks like, continue reading here.

5. Speak to a healthcare professional.

Your health professional may recommend you get support or therapy for your stress, anxiety or depression, or any mental health issues you may be experiencing.

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Is Osteopathy the right path for you?

Osteopathy is a holistic way to diagnose and alleviate stress-related musculoskeletal problems including shoulder and neck pain and secondary symptoms such as headaches. The treatment is catered to the individual and Andrew will take all aspects of a patient’s lifestyle into consideration when suggesting a treatment plan.

All treatment starts with an initial consultation followed by any recommended follow up treatment. You can book your initial consultation with Andrew Doody online.

How walking can help chronic pain 

31.08.2022 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

How walking can help Chronic Pain 

Firstly, what is chronic pain?

Chronic or persistent pain can be explained as pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment.

The root cause can vary person-to-person, with it sometimes due to illness or an injury. In other cases it can be due to being overweight, having years of poor posture or improper lifting of heavy weights. It can be debilitating but movement is known to help.

Exercise is a common treatment for chronic pain. Depending on your current state of health, it may help decrease inflammation, increase mobility, and decrease overall pain levels, with no additional medication required.

As an osteopath, the conversation I seem to have at least once-a-day is; how much exercise should someone who is in pain be doing?

As you can imagine every case is different, and exercise advice varies hugely from person to person and condition to condition. There is a big difference between chronic pain and recovery from injury pain. I am focusing on exercises for people with chronic pain conditions, specifically walking.

Many people with chronic pain are afraid that movement, including walking, will worsen pain. But as many have subsequently discovered, the opposite is very often true. Using your muscles and joints less can often cause pain to becomes worse. Gentle exercise like walking can really help to bring those pain levels down, as well as many other benefits like improving your circulation, strengthening your bones and of course helping to keep those extra pounds off.

Here are tips before you start: 

1. Talk to your healthcare professional first
You should always take the advice of a health professional before starting any exercise. They can ensure it is safe for you to start, and guide you with the types of exercises you should begin with. They will also help you understand your limits and outline suitable goals. As a rule of thumb, if you are in pain, stop!
I, or another osteopath, can check your posture and gait and give you tips on engaging the correct muscles.

2. Get the right shoes
A good pair of supportive trainers will prove invaluable. Walking boots that protect the ankle are only really required if you’re planning to walk on loose surfaces or heading off into the mountains. Otherwise, walking trainers will suffice. To find out more about choosing the right footwear, read our blog on How To Avoid Running Injuries.

3. Start slow
What we’re aiming for is about half an hour to an hour of physical activity five days a week, but this may take some time to achieve. There’s no rush! A good indicator that you are at the right intensity level is that even though your heart rate is up a little, you are still able to carry on a conversation while walking. When starting your walk don’t go full speed immediately. Allow your muscles and joints to warm up for the first few minutes before getting up to speed. This will help prevent damage and injuries.

4. Keep hydrated
You may need to carry a bottle of water, especially for walking in hot weather. If the weather is hot, make sure you also take sunscreen and a hat to stop sunburn.

5. Finally, try to enjoy it!
The more you enjoy it, the easier it becomes. Find somewhere nice to walk, even if that means
driving somewhere. Listen to music/ podcasts/ audiobooks, or even better get a walking buddy to join you for a chit chat along the route.

 

For more information on osteopathy services, visit the main page.

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OSTEOPATHY AT FLEET STREET CLINIC

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).
Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling 0207 353 5678, email info@fleetstreetclinic.com or book an appointment online.

How To Avoid Running Injuries

14.07.2022 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

With (hopefully!) sunnier and longer days upon us, summer is a great time of year to get your running shoes on. As a keen runner myself, I understand the appeal; it’s pure, it’s meditative, and it gets your blood pumping like little else.

Unfortunately, for all its positives, running can be problematic for the body and it tends to bring out minor issues and turn them into major ones. These often include achilles tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome, stress fractures, hip and lower back issues, and more knee problems than I have time to list.

Many of the problems from running come from two areas. Firstly, heel strike which is where the heel hits the ground repeatedly and sends a shock through the whole skeleton which causes issues from the heel itself all the way up to the lower back. Secondly, gait – which is the way a person walks; the whole lower limb (especially the knee) is quite finely tuned to work in certain ways, and anything that affects that can begin to cause problems. A dropped arch, tight muscle, old injury, slight one-sidedness etc can bring these issues on.

What can be done to prevent these issues? 

Like always, the number one rule is to get any symptoms you are experiencing looked at as soon as possible. Early diagnosis, advice and treatment is vital.

One thing that can really help heel strike and gait is by getting the right trainers. Here’s a few things to consider:

  1. Don’t confuse fashion and effectiveness. Good running trainers generally don’t look cool! Some of the bigger brands will advertise to you that they are great for sports but do your research. I would usually recommend Asics or Brooks.
  2. Replace your shoes regularly. The soles of most trainers are good for about 200-250 miles maximum. So, if you’re running 20 miles per week, you’ll probably need to replace them after 4-6 months.
    The shoe may still look okay after that but there is an increased risk of injury. It is, therefore, important to ensure that you are replacing your trainers as regularly as required.
  3. You don’t need to buy the most recent model. Many of the best running trainers are on their 20th/30th or so iteration. When a new model is released the price of the last couple of iterations will drop quite significantly, and will still be an excellent option.
  4. Good arch support. Trainers largely work on preventing pronation etc. by the way they flex. Many have little if any arch support, even with good ones you may need an additional orthotic insole made for your specific needs. This may also mean you need half a size bigger.
  5. Speak to the experts. A running machine in a shoe shop is useful, but remember the shop assistant has probably only had a brief introduction in what to look for, and no idea of your other contributing factors. Speak to a specialist – an osteopath, podiatrist, or physio.

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OSTEOPATH AT FLEET STREET CLINIC

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).
Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling 0207 353 5678, email info@fleetstreetclinic.com or book an appointment online.

The best positions for cycling

03.07.2021 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

SUMMER CYCLING

Summer is the perfect opportunity to dust off your bike and think about turning that commute into an opportunity to get fitter or shed a few pounds!

Cycling – a low impact sport

Compared to many sports, cycling is one with a relatively low injury rate. Crashes and collisions apart, cycling is impact free – good for your joints and muscles. In addition, if you select the correct gear to match the terrain, it means that you can avoid overloading your muscles and joints, keeping the cranks spinning rather than pushing a big gear.
Also important is that because your feet are fixed in place, spinning the cranks requires very little coordination, which also reduces the risk of injury due to poor technique, which is very common while running. Still, despite all these advantages, cyclists can, and regularly do, suffer overuse injuries.

Fix a good riding position:

One of the main issues is the set up of the bike itself. Here are a few pointers as to how to best achieve a good riding position:

SADDLE HEIGHT

This should be positioned so that when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke and the ball of your foot is on the pedal, your knee should have a slight bend in it. If you want to get technical, saddle to pedal distance should be 109% of your inside leg measurement. Hips shouldn’t move sideways during crank rotation and you shouldn’t have to stretch at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Don’t be put off by feeling you have to come off the saddle to touch the floor.

SADDLE ANGLE

This should be in a horizontal position, parallel with the floor when viewed side on (but sometimes a very slight downwards tilt can be helpful for those who experience a lot of pressure in the perineum area. However, don’t do this just because it feels more comfortable, as this can cause lessen support and affect riding position).

POSITION OF THE SADDLE

With the pedals adjusted so that they are at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions, a vertical line dropped from the kneecap of the forward knee should pass through the axle of the pedal.

HANDLEBAR POSITION

This is where opinion varies a little. Racers want the handlebars low to lower wind resistance, climbers want the handlebars low so they don’t feel too high when the bike’s angled up. The rest of us want them higher than this. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t want to be leaning on the handlebars too much, only holding them. If it feels like your upper bodyweight is being supported by the handlebars, try them up a little. Not all bikes are adjustable enough at the front but a stem raise is a cheap efficient way of remedying this. A bit more height in traffic is safer anyway.
And if you haven’t bought your bike yet, put a bit of research into what frame/wheel size you need before you do.
Cycling is a great way to get fit and works well with core stability, however, if any injuries do niggle don’t push through and do get them checked out!

Osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).

For more information on our osteopathy services, click here.

Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling on 0207 353 5678 , email info@fleetstreetclinic.com or book an appointment online.

Injury-Free Marathon Training

19.05.2019 Category: News Author: Andrew Doody

FINISHING THE LONDON MARATHON

The 2018 London Marathon is just around the corner! Are you preparing for the run this year? If so, you’ll be very aware of the struggle ahead. A challenge like a marathon is incredibly rewarding but also tough on the body. Increasing your exercise capacity to this level pushes the limits of endurance both physically and mentally.

But even though this can feel torturous at times, you should not ignore recurrent pain or discomfort that persists after adequate rest. A common mistake is to push through and wait until pain prevents training before seeking care. By then, prolonged time off is often necessary to heal. It is estimated that 50 to 70 percent of first-time marathon runners drop out before their race.

If you do pick up an injury:

  1. First and foremost, stop and get it assessed.
  2. Maintain your strength and endurance as much as possible while recovering from your injury. If it prevents you from running, low-impact cardio exercise such as swimming, cycling or pool running can continue to improve exercise tolerance.
  3. Don’t be over-anxious to return to running, a good indicator of readiness is once you can walk for 30 minutes without pain during or after, you can begin a slow, careful return to pain-free running.
  4. Do not push through the pain.

Moving forward

As you increase your training and running, consider a biomechanical assessment. Slight problems in gait caused by many issues from footwear to posture to old injuries can cause new injuries (knees are particularly susceptible), or cause you to have to slow your pace or walk during the race.

Listen and respond to your body throughout training and recovery, and that finish line is waiting for you!

Post race

As you can imagine, a marathon takes its toll on the body in many ways. A post race assessment is well worth it, to identify any issues caused, not to mention a treatment to work out some of that lactic acid and to restore full function to the joints and muscles.

Our osteopath Andrew Doody and podiatrist George Hill can help with any marathon-related complaints. For more training tips and advice, or marathon injury treatment you can book an appointment online.

Tennis Elbow Revisited

19.05.2019 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

As our glorious British Summer continues and everyone basks on the tennis court, our osteopath, Andrew Doody, calls time on an old problem.

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow. It’s clinically known as lateral epicondylitis and often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint.

You may notice pain:

  • on the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of your elbow
  • when lifting or bending your arm
  • when gripping small objects, such as a pen
  • when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar

You may also find it difficult to fully extend your arm.

The name tennis elbow is because the tennis backhand shot is a common way to develop the problem, however any strain or overuse can cause it.

Lesser known golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is a similar issue but on the other side of the elbow.

These conditions are easy to get but can hang around for weeks and months if left untreated. This is largely due to the fact that lots of the muscles in the hand and forearm attach to those two spots on either side of the elbow. This means that once the area is enflamed, most everything you do with the hand can re-aggravate it, from drinking a cup of tea (or Pimms) to opening a door (or raising a trophy).

Once diagnosed, treatment involves firstly reducing the inflammation with rest, cold compresses and anti-inflammatories, followed by massage and careful mobilisation to help relieve pain and stiffness and restore the range of movement. Specific supports can also be quite beneficial at this time.

Preventing tennis elbow

Preventing tennis elbow is tough but here are a few pointers:

  • If you have tennis elbow, stop doing the activity that is causing pain, or find an alternative way of doing it that does not place stress on your tendons.
  • Avoid using your wrist and elbow more than the rest of your arm. Spread the load to the larger muscles of your shoulder and upper arm.
  • If you play a sport that involves repetitive movements, such as tennis or squash, getting some coaching advice to help improve your technique may help you avoid getting tennis elbow.
  • Before playing a sport that involves repetitive arm movements, warm up properly and gently stretch your arm muscles to help avoid injury.
  • Use lightweight tools or racquets and enlarge their grip size to help you avoid putting excess strain on your tendons.
  • Wear a tennis elbow support when you are using your arm, and take it off while you are resting or sleeping to help prevent further damage to your tendons. Ask your osteopath for advice about the best type of brace or splint to use.

Increasing the strength of your forearm muscles can help prevent tennis elbow. Your osteopath can advise you about exercises to build up your forearm muscles.

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC). Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries.

5 Tips To Achieve Your New Year Fitness Goal

16.04.2019 Category: Dietitian Author: Andrew Doody

So you’re back to work and the tree’s on its way back to the loft. Time to come through on all the New Year’s resolution bravado. Here are a few tips about how to do just that.

Create a plan

Decide what it is you’re wanting to achieve and tailor your program towards it. Do you want to lose weight? Get fitter? Tone up? All three? Don’t just choose the new fitness regime trend, think what you enjoy to do and go with that! You stand much more chance of continuing if you do. Identify times of day when you can exercise and which days you will do it. It’s much harder to stick to a regime that is just squeezed in when and if you have the time (not to mention inclination!)

Determine your readiness

Make sure you are mentally and physically ready to start, and more importantly ready to stick to, a regime. Check with your GP if you have any concerns about your health before you start. A good proportion of my new patients come from people who have caused injuries in the first few weeks, or even days sometimes, of starting a new regime. If you have any niggles, get them treated, and get advice on how to prevent them from recurring.

Be realistic

Set goals that are achievable and realistic. To lose a stone or be able to run 10k by Easter are realistic. To decide you are going to the gym every day before breakfast probably won’t last long. Fitness needs to be built gradually with a good base. Get advice on what exercise you need to do. Just running will help cardiovascular fitness somewhat, but needs to be part of a balanced all-around program if you want to be healthier generally. To maintain it, alone, running will also soon start to cause musculoskeletal problems.

Talk a friend into joining you

There will probably be no shortage of people thinking along the same lines as you. Teaming up hugely increases the chances of you both sticking to a program and makes it much more fun and less painful than trying alone. Even just planning together and talking about what you’re doing, (even if diaries don’t allow actually exercising together), is really encouraging.

Think long-term

Don’t look at this as a quick fix just to drop a few pounds. Take it easy and don’t rush. Tailor your plan around becoming more fit and healthy permanently. If you do it will help with so many other things, from energy levels to less aching joints or back, to stress relief and better sleep.

By Andrew Doody | Osteopath

Andrew is available for pre-exercise assessment, advice on exercise/regime planning, and diagnosis/treatment of outstanding or new issues, as well as advice on injury prevention. You can book an osteopathy appointment online

Backcare awareness week: Back pain at work

12.04.2019 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

As it’s backcare awareness week, let’s talk about back pain at work.

Back pain can be the result of heavy lifting, repetitive movement or simply by sitting at your desk all day.

We know how hard it is to live and work in pain and back pain is no exception. By now I’m sure we all realise that sitting for long periods is bad for you. But just how bad have our habits become? And what can be done about it? 

Sitting in an office chair for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your lower back. In addition to many other joints and muscles. Simply stated, our bodies weren’t made to sit for prolonged periods of time. In fact, our bodies developed a heck of a long time before chairs were around at all. 

According to research, the average office worker spends an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk. The same study also found that those who sit longer at work are more likely to sit more outside of work as well. 

Overall, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950. With physically active jobs now only make up about 25% of the workforce. That’s 50% less than in 1950. Additionally, the average working week is longer. We now work an average of 47 hours a week, 164 more hours a year than 20 years ago. 

On top of the time spent sitting in the workplace, on average, we spend 7 hours sleeping and 4.5 hours watching tv a day. 

So should we be standing?


A recent study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that standing for almost six hours a day instead of sitting not only prevents weight gain — it can help people shed pounds. 

They calculated that standing burned 0.15 calories more per minute compared to sitting. If an average person stood for six hours a day instead of sitting, they would burn an extra 54 calories a day. Some studies had it even higher. 

In addition, muscle activity from standing is also associated with lower risks for strokes and heart attacks. Quite a few studies have shown that a single day of breaking up sitting with standing or short walks seems to have a beneficial effect on health parameters. Which include blood sugar control, blood pressure, and feelings of pain and fatigue.

However, before we all decide to stand all day instead, let’s look at the downsides. There’s a confusing array of conclusions from recent studies involving the health implications of standing vs sitting for long amounts of time. There have been studies, for example, that have concluded that people who primarily stand for long periods of time during the day, instead of lowering their risk for heart disease, maybe up to twice as likely to develop it. Perhaps long periods of standing are not the answer either. It has also been pointed out that standing for extended periods of time isn’t safe for all people, such as those with joint or vascular issues. 

However, swapping out some sitting time for standing time is not only about heart disease. 

One variable that makes sitting for extended periods damaging to the spine is the sustained contracture of the abdominal and hamstring muscles. This creates an imbalance. This, in turn, creates affecting the mechanics of the lower back. It also increases the load on the lumbar discs. 

Using a standing desk, even for a portion of a workday, can minimise this imbalance. This helps maintain better spinal alignment and muscle symmetry. 

So is a combination of sitting and standing the answer?


A recent study was performed where office workers of varying ages and body masses used a sit-stand desk where they alternated between sitting and standing throughout an 8-hour workday. The study found that the participants reported a 31.8% reduction in standing desk back pain when compared to sitting for the entire workday. 

But just like sitting and leaning forward for extended periods can increase pressure on the back, the same applies to standing with poor ergonomics. Maintaining good posture and taking frequent breaks is the best way to ensure you’re standing or sitting optimally. 

Try not to wear high heels (you can swap out for flats or slippers while at your desk if needed). Have the top of the computer screen at about eye level, and vary posture. When you’re in a sitting phase of your day make sure your chair and workstation have been fully ergonomically assessed. Discuss any conditions with your osteopath. They can advise how to adapt both the sitting and standing phases to suit you better. Have regular breaks from your desk altogether when you walk around the office. 

And then of course if you really want to blow the budget there are treadmill desks… 


If you’re experiencing back pain you can book an appointment with our Osteopath, Andrew Doody, online.

Going Skiing This Winter?

25.09.2018 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

Most people who ski go from a sedentary job to a full week of intensive activity, and not just skiing itself, but lifting skis/boots and twisting getting on and off lifts, not to mention the après-ski…

Here are the TOP TIPS from our consultant osteopath, Andrew Doody, on how best to prepare and get the most out of your holiday, injury free!

BEFORE YOU GO:

    • Build up your fitness gradually. Just a few sessions on the cross-trainer will wake up those muscles to avoid problems in the first few days on the slopes. Even walking to work or using the stairs will get things going.
    • Start a stretching program. Concentrate on quads, hamstrings and calves.
    • Don’t ignore any twinges you may have, get them checked out and sorted before you go!
    • Work on your balance. Dig out that old yoga DVD.
    • Have your alignment checked. Most skiers find turning one way easier than the other. Poor technique may not be the problem! One-sidedness or muscle weakness is often the cause. Desk based workers are particularly susceptible.
    • Get professional advice on the best products to support problem knees, ankles, wrists or backs.

ON THE SLOPES:

    • Ensure ski boots are properly fitted: ill-fitting boots can impact on your posture when skiing.
    • Warm up before you start and stop and stretch off regularly, paying particular attention when you finish for the day.
    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Always wear a helmet!
    • Don’t ignore any pain you may experience, see it as the warning that it is meant to be and have it checked.
    • Beware in the village. Lots of ski injuries come from carrying kit badly or slipping on ice away from the slopes.

ON YOUR RETURN:

    • Don’t leave it another year to follow up on the cause of any pain you’ve experienced.
    • Consider ways to help you improve your fitness level throughout the year so that you are fit and ready to return to the slopes next ski season!

If you would like advice on the best exercises you can do to prepare for your ski trip, of have returned from holiday with an injury, you should book an osteopath appointment.

Fibromyalgia

19.05.2018 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

Although fibromyalgia has long existed, it has only recently been accepted as a chronic, debilitating condition.

The NHS and the Department of Work and Pensions now list fibromyalgia as ‘real’, which is a step in the right direction.

So what is fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it is thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves) processes pain messages carried around the body.

It may connected to other conditions, including various arthritis’s and may be genetic but even this is unsure. We do know it can be triggered after a traumatic or stressful event; anything from a virus to a divorce. Anyone can develop fibromyalgia at any age, but it predominantly affects women between the ages of 30 and 50. Some studies believe up to 1 in 20 people may be affected.

Symptoms

Unfortunately there is no specific test for fibromyalgia, so diagnosis is made purely on presentation and history. This makes life difficult as the symptoms of fibromyalgia vary according to the person, both in specifics and intensity. Symptoms may be aggravated by many things, from stress to the weather.

Widespread pain

If you have fibromyalgia, one of the main symptoms is likely to be widespread pain. This may be felt throughout your body, but could be worse in particular areas, such as your back or neck. The pain is likely to be continuous, although it may be better or more severe at different times.

The pain could feel like:

  • an ache
  • a burning sensation
  • a sharp, stabbing pain

Extreme sensitivity

Fibromyalgia can make you extremely sensitive to pain all over your body, and you may find that even the slightest touch is painful.

If you hurt yourself – such as stubbing your toe – the pain may continue for much longer than it normally would.

You may hear the condition described in the following medical terms:

  • hyperalgesia – when you’re extremely sensitive to pain
  • allodynia – when you feel pain from something that shouldn’t be painful at all, such as a very light touch

You may  be sensitive to things such as smoke, certain foods and bright lights. Being exposed can cause your other fibromyalgia symptoms to flare up.

Cognitive problems (‘fibro-fog’)

Cognitive problems are issues related to mental processes, such as thinking and learning. If you have fibromyalgia, you may have:

  • trouble remembering and learning new things
  • problems with attention and concentration
  • slowed or confused speech

Other symptoms

Other symptoms that people with fibromyalgia sometimes experience include:

  • dizziness and clumsiness
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • poor sleep quality
  • stiffness
  • feeling too hot or too cold – this is because you’re not able to regulate your body temperature properly
  • restless leg syndrome (an overwhelming urge to move your legs)
  • tingling, numbness, prickling or burning sensations in your hands and feet
  • in women, unusually painful periods
  • IBS developments
  • anxiety
  • depression

If you think you may be depressed, it’s important to get help from your GP or your fibromyalgia healthcare professional, if you’ve been seeing one.

So what can be done to help?

First and foremost you need a good diagnosis from your heathcare practitioner to make sure they think you have fibromyalgia and not other conditions that may need treating differently, or more importantly investigating differently to be safe.

Once this is done and other conditions have been ruled out, and fibromyalgia has been diagnosed, you may need to try a variety of treatments to find a combination that suits you.

Fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms, meaning that no single treatment will work for all of them. Treatments that work for some people won’t necessarily work for others.

These treatments include medication, lifestyle changes (from diet to identifying and avoiding trigger factors), exercises, physical treatment, relaxation techniques, counselling and CBT.

Article by Andrew Doody – Osteopath for Fleet Street Clinic

There are many helpful bodies out there who can help and support if you are concerned you may suffer from fibromyalgia including UK Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia Action UK and the Fibromyalgia Association.

HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

You can find more information about out osteopathy services here. Or book an appointment with out osteopath, Andrew Doody.

Tennis Elbow - Advice from our Osteopath!

19.05.2018 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

With #Wimbledon in full swing again and everyone digging out their racquets in the beautiful sunshine, our osteopath, Andrew Doody, calls time on an old problem.

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow. It’s clinically known as lateral epicondylitis and often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint. You may notice pain: on the outside of your upper forearm, just below the bend of your elbow when lifting or bending your arm when gripping small objects, such as a pen when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar. You may also find it difficult to fully extend your arm.

The name tennis elbow is because the tennis backhand shot is a common way to develop the problem, however, any strain or overuse can cause it. The condition is easy to get but can hang around for weeks and months if left untreated. This is largely due to the fact that lots of the muscles in the hand and forearm attach to either side of the elbow. This means that once the area is inflamed, almost everything you do with the hand can re-aggravate it, from drinking a cup of tea (or Pimms) to opening a door (or raising a trophy).

Once diagnosed, treatment involves firstly reducing the inflammation with rest, cold compresses and medication, followed by massage and careful mobilisation to help relieve pain and stiffness and restore the range of movement. Specific supports can also be quite beneficial at this time. Preventing tennis elbow Preventing tennis elbow is tough but here are a few pointers: If you have tennis elbow, stop doing the activity that is causing pain, or find an alternative way of doing it that does not place stress on your tendons. Avoid using your wrist and elbow more than the rest of your arm. Spread the load to the larger muscles of your shoulder and upper arm. If you play a sport that involves repetitive movements, such as tennis or squash, getting some coaching advice to help improve your technique may help you avoid getting tennis elbow.

Before playing a sport that involves repetitive arm movements, warm up properly and gently stretch your arm muscles to help avoid injury. Use lightweight tools or racquets and enlarge their grip size to help you avoid putting excess strain on your tendons. Wear a tennis elbow support when you are using your arm, and take it off while you are resting or sleeping to help prevent further damage to your tendons. Ask your GP or osteopath for advice about the best type of brace or splint to use. Increasing the strength of your forearm muscles can help prevent tennis elbow. An osteopath can advise you about exercises to build up your forearm muscles.

If you think you might be suffering from tennis elbow and are seeking treatment or advice, you can book an osteopathy appointment online.

Tips For A Healthy Ski Season

07.02.2018 Category: News Author: Andrew Doody

Staying Healthy on the Slopes

Ski season is upon us, and it’s time to prepare yourself physically for your adventures on the slopes!

Skiing once a year can easily lead to injury – no surprise for such an intense activity, involving a range of muscle groups. And it’s not just skiing that’s physical; lifting skis, boots and using lifts can all take their toll on your body! In order to stay healthy this ski season, a little preparation is all that’s required.

Our Consultant Osteopath, Andrew Doody BSc (Hons), gives advice on how to avoid injuries so that you enjoy your holiday on the slopes.

Before your holiday:

  • Build up your fitness gradually – walking quickly to work or  weekend sessions on a cross-trainer will help you to prepare your muscles
  • Start a stretching programme. Concentrate on quads, hamstrings and calves
  • Don’t ignore any twinges you have – get yourself checked out by a professional before you travel
  • Work on your balance – yoga postures will help
  • Check your alignment; most skiers find turning one way easier than the other, which may be caused by either one-sidedness or muscle weakness
  • Get professional advice on the best products to support a problem back, knees, ankles, or wrists

On the Slopes and Après Ski

  • Ensure ski-boots are properly fitted. Ill-fitting boots can impact on your posture when skiing
  • Warm up before you start and stop to stretch, especially at the end of the day
  • Make sure to keep hydrated – easy to forget in the cold weather
  • Beware when you’re walking with you ski gear! Lots of ski injuries come from carrying kit badly or slipping on ice away from the slopes

On Your Return

  • Consider ways to improve your fitness level throughout the year and be well prepared for the 2018 season
  • If you have any lasting pains, make sure to have a professional health check

Book an Appointment at Fleet Street Clinic

Want more professional support and advice before your ski trip?

Book an appointment to see Fleet Street Clinic’s Consultant Osteopath Andrew online.