In theory, a hybrid working week is the best of both worlds for both the employee and the employer. It combines the best of pre-Covid collaborative office-based working with the flexibility of working from home. Allowing employees to be fully engaged with the company and their colleagues all whilst offering the opportunity for solo focus that comes with home working. It is thought that many companies will permanently adopt a ‘hybrid’ way of working.
With this being a long term model of working, many people have realised that their makeshift home office will not suffice without causing havoc on their bodies. Making sure that the physical and ergonomic set up of your home office is correct is imperative for avoiding any musculoskeletal problems.
A bad home office setup has the potential to cause you repetitive strain injury, lower back pain, increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and could even be the cause of your headaches and migraines. It is worth taking the time to understand what a good home office set up is and work out the best way to adapt your setup to make a healthier home working space for you to work from.
Back to basics:
We always start at the basics. Even though they may seem obvious, time and time again it has been proven never to assume the basics are widely known. So, let’s go over them briefly:
- Choose the right chair: You should invest in a chair that offers adequate support. Try and get a chair that is fully adjustable – meaning you can alter the height, back position, and tilt to best suit you. This will be much more comfortable and will support your body when you’re sat for long periods of time.
- Support your back: You should adjust your chair so that your lower back is supported, this will reduce strain on your back. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.
- Arm position: Your elbows should be positioned by the side of your body so your arm forms a right-angled L-shape at the elbow joint.
- Screen level: Your screen should be directly in front of you with your monitor placed at about an arms length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye level. You may need a screen monitor to achieve this.
- Keyboard and mouse position: Your keyboard should be placed in front of you with a 4-6 inch gap at the front of the desk to rest your wrists. You might consider a wrist rest. You should aim to position your mouse as close to you as possible. A mouse mat with a wrist pad can help.
Now for some suggestions a little more out the box:
It’s important to be fully facing whatever you’re doing. Trying to work while twisted, even a little, is going to cause problems. This often happens when someone needs to type at a screen, but also use a book, write, or use two monitors. A great solution is to set up your desk in an L shape (two desks perpendicular works). This allows you to swivel your chair to face whatever you’re doing at that moment.
Plain monitors are cheaper than you’d think. Instead of hunching over a laptop, or piling books up to put a screen on, think about investing in an extra monitor, maybe with a bigger screen and a stand. If you need documents open, think about a second monitor, it will cut down on mouse usage of having to keep swapping between windows. It can also be used vertically to get whole pages on which means less scrolling. Equally, extra keyboards and mice are really quite cheap and ergonomically so much better. Lots of different mice for arm/shoulder complaints are available. You can have a full setup in place and simply plug in your laptop when you arrive.
If your desk isn’t height adjustable, chances are your chair is adjusted to match the desk, not you. This is ok, as long as your feet are still flat on the ground with knees at about 90 degrees. If not, you may find a footrest makes a great difference, taking pressure off the back of the thighs and preventing over extension of the lower back. If you’re too tall, leg extensions for the desk are a simple remedy.
If you’re looking at buying a new desk. I recommend adjustable ones. Costco stocks an electric one for under £200. This can allow you to spend part of the day working, standing.
Creating an environment that is visually pleasing will do wonders for your mental wellbeing. This is equally as important as physical setup and will improve mood, lower levels of tension, and increase productivity. Try to utilise lots of natural light if you can. Position your desk where it feels airy and open. Choose light colours to surround your workspace. Add a couple of green leafy plants. Whatever little changes that make you feel happy!
Try to incorporate regular movement to your working day. If you can, get up every hour for 30 seconds and have a quick stretch. When working statically for long periods of time, the muscles fatigue.
This may all seem like a lot to consider for a workstation but these are simple changes that can easily be implemented. Optimising your work space can make a huge difference in both your comfort and productivity.
If you are experiencing any musculoskeletal problems, book an appointment online with our osteopath, Andrew Doody.
Or for more information on osteopathy, see here.
Osteopathic manipulation, or HVT (high-velocity thrust) as it is more technically known, is the “click” that many people associate with osteopathic treatment.
It is by no means always used by an osteopath, but when it is, it can prove to be a quick, efficient, and pain-free way of restoring function to a joint.
Many patients’ conditions may not be suitable for HVT, and many may not be keen to have it done anyway. In these cases, the osteopath will treat with a whole collection of other highly effective ways. HVT should be seen as a useful tool in some circumstances, but not a be-all and end-all of osteopathy.
So how does it work?
HVT is placing a short sharp tug though a joint, most often a spinal facet (which is what we will concentrate on here), a click may or may not be heard. The noise itself is a bit of a by-product. What it is has been disputed a little but the generally accepted explanation is that when the joint is stretched, the synovial fluid inside the joint itself physically does not stretch, so gas is forced out of solution causing gas bubbles that allow the joint to gap slightly, causing the clicking noise. This also explains why another click cannot be produced for a little while until the gas has been reabsorbed.
The gapping of the joint is the key to the effectiveness of HVT.
What I must point out at this point though is that the click is not a relocation of a joint.
Barely a day goes past that someone doesn’t tell me their osteopath “clicked something back in” often assuming it was a disc. As much as it can feel miraculous like this sometimes, and a patient can often feel and be quite a bit straighter following treatment, the HVT is about restoring function to the joint, not putting it back in place. Discs especially do not just “pop back in”.
So what does the gapping achieve?
Well, here we have to get a little technical. There are three predominant effects caused by HVT as far as we can tell.
Firstly, post-contractile sensory discharge or PCSD.
Imagine that the brain keeps many muscles at a gentle tension, this allows you to hold your posture. When an area is identified as problematic (painful or inflamed etc), the brain may choose to cause the muscles around the area to spasm, often to protect the area. The spasm itself may cause further pain. This then becomes a vicious circle and dysfunction.
Tension in the muscles is controlled by spindle fibres. This is what detects the short sharp tug of the muscles in HVT. Imagine the short sharp tug as a reset for these fibres. The brain then has to determine the level of muscle tension required and often can reset to the original tension, immediately bringing the joint out of spasm.
Massage of muscles, slow stretching over a longer period, has a similar effect but unfortunately can’t be performed on the small, deep muscles directly around and holding the joint.
Secondly, pain gate theory.
Even when nerves are reporting pain in a certain area, it is important that the body can still detect a soft touch in the same area. To achieve this soft touch and position detecting nerves override deep pain detecting ones. Where you ever told to rub your knee or elbow after you bumped it and it hurt? That’s pain gate, the soft-touch overrides the deep pain. It won’t stop it completely of course but even a little relief will make it feel better. In turn, this may again stop the brain causing the area to spasm.
HVT moves the joint quickly and sharply. This causes the positional detectors to immediately report this to the brain, inhibiting the deep pain.
Thirdly, meniscoid theory.
In a joint, smooth cartilaginous surfaces rub together, but they may not be quite as smooth as we used to think. Small pieces of cartilage appear to be in the joint. Possibly to fill small gaps; craters on a moonscape is a good way to think of it. It has been suggested that when the joint spasms, these small bits of cartilage, which are attached to the capsule around the joint can become trapped out of place. Gapping the joint allows the tethers to the capsule to quickly pull them back into place.
It’s possibly worth pointing out before I finish, that although I said earlier that the click is an unnecessary by-product, I do wonder if it could be argued that the psychological effect of hearing the click could be put forward as a fourth effect. Hearing a click and knowing that it may have relieved a painful joint does often make a patient immediately relax. This may itself be part of the healing process.
Osteopathic manipulation is often a quick efficient way of relieving dysfunction of a joint. It is not a miracle cure. Many other things have to be taken into account for the osteopath to treat fully and effectively.
HVT will not immediately heal damaged tissue or disperse inflammation, but it often is a good way to kick start the process.
By Andrew Doody | Osteopath | August 2019
A good night’s sleep is essential to your health, and an important part of your overall well-being. Back pain can significantly affect a person’s ability to get the quality and amount of sleep they need. Furthermore, poor bed posture can worsen or even be the cause of backache in the first place. This is because certain positions can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, hips, and back. Here are some pointers of how to maximise the quality of sleep you get if you are suffering from back pain.
Experiment with different sleeping positions.
Finding the best sleeping positions can help ease your back pain. Make sure you have found one or two that are comfortable for you. Having more than one helps so that you are not stuck in the same position for hours on end. Everyone sleeps differently. So, there’s not one perfect position, but a good place to start is by making sure the head, shoulders, and hips are in alignment. The best way to do this is usually by sleeping on the back or side.
Lying on the back is probably the best all-around sleeping position for a healthy back. It ensures good spinal alignment from the head and cervical vertebrae, through the thoracic and lumbar, all the way down to the pelvis. Because the back is the body’s largest area, weight is most widely distributed in this position, minimising pressure hot spots. However, if you have any lumbar spinal issues, you may feel more comfortable with a pillow placed under your knees. This is because many areas that cause backache in the lumbar spine are at the back, the facet joints and nerve roots. Placing a pillow under the knees allows the lumbar spine to gently flex and gap posteriorly, taking the pressure off these joints and nerves.
Side-lying/ Foetal position
Many people naturally end up slightly flexing their spine for the same reason, by lying on their side with their knees towards their chest a little, the so-called foetal position. This may work well if your issue is more disc-related. Side-lying like this is often the position people find most comfortable. It can, however, twist the spine a little and put it out of alignment. To correct this, if you prefer sleeping on your side, place a firm pillow between your knees. This stops the upper leg falling forward and raises it. This will restore the alignment of the spine, hips and pelvis.
Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach if you can. This position puts a lot of strain on your back by over-extending it. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, it’s the only position they can fall asleep in, or any other position makes them snore. If you’re one of them, try putting a pillow under your stomach to take some of the pressure off your back. If you’re someone who falls asleep on their back or side, then rolls over in their sleep and wakes up on their stomach, try hugging a large pillow against your chest and stomach to keep you in position. Another reason sleeping on the front is considered bad is because the head is usually turned to one side. This twists the spine and places additional stress on the neck, shoulders, and back. To avoid this, you can try lying face down. Place a small firm pillow or tightly rolled-up towel under the forehead, or better still a face pillow, allowing room to breathe. In this position, you should still place a pillow under the stomach.
If all else fails, you can try sleeping in a reclined position. People with spondylolisthesis, for instance, may resort to this after finding it comfortable falling asleep in a recliner chair. There are beds available that can be sat up slightly. So, this is worth investigating.
Invest in a good mattress
It’s worth it! You spend about a third of your life on your mattress. Spend a little more money on the mattress and a little less on the car! You really do get what you pay for.
People generally find slightly firmer mattresses work well for lumbar spine problems. This is probably due to what we discussed earlier, in which, the lumbar curve is allowed to extend a little, taking the pressure off the facet joints and nerve roots. This only really follows if you sleep on your back though. People that prefer to side-lie may well find a slightly softer mattress allows your hips and shoulders to sink in a little. Therefore, helping to maintain spinal alignment. This is particularly important if your hips are wider than your waist. Also, for people suffering from upper back issues, too firm a mattress may put unnecessary pressure on the ribcage and therefore upper spine in any position. Perhaps a good compromise here is a ‘pillow top” mattress. This is a good supportive mattress with a softer layer on top. By all means, try different kinds of mattresses, but remember, one night is not enough to really judge. People often sleep in a hotel bed and find it comfortable so decide to buy it. Those mattresses are often designed for short term comfort, not long term support.
Be ‘Bed Fit’
The healthier and stronger your back is, the better night’s sleep you will get and the better your back will be when you get up in the morning.
Core strengthening exercises will help support the back during the night and prevent back spasms. Gentle stretching before bed can increase flexibility and help to relax the body and reduce stress.
Take care getting in, and especially out, of bed. Take your time. When you wake up in a morning, allow a few minutes to get your muscles and joints moving fully instead of leaping out of bed at the alarm. Roll onto your side then use your arms to push you upright while your legs drop over the side, the sit there for a minute moving gently before slowly standing up.
Perhaps most importantly, if you do have a back or musculoskeletal issue, get it checked. A health professional can assess why you’re suffering and help treat the symptoms. They can suggest the correct investigations, treatment and exercises, as well as further helping you to choose that all important correct mattress.
Booking an appointment with an osteopath could be the start of ending your back pain for good!
By Andrew Doody | Osteopath | July 2019
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:
- First and foremost, stop and get it assessed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not push through the pain.
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!
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 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.
With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, our osteopath Andrew Doody takes you through some of the most common injuries in this most physical of sports.
The five most common rugby injuries:
A medial collateral ligament tear
This is the ligament on the inside of the knee. It stabilises the knee (along with the lateral collateral and cruciate ligaments). Due to the nature of tackling a player by hitting into the outside of the leg, this can often gap the opposite side, putting the ligament under enough strain to tear or even rupture. Quick changes of direction can also strain this ligament.
Haematoma of the thigh
In similar circumstances as the MCL injuries during tackling, impact on the thigh can often cause severe bruising of an area as the soft tissues are smashed against the thigh bone with blood vessels being damaged and blood then clotting around the area.
The three muscles on the back of the thigh, commonly known as the hamstrings are often injured in many sports, not only rugby. Rapid changes of pace can strain the muscle, especially if it is not fully warmed up (although research is beginning to show it’s not quite as simple as previously thought). Mechanical issues in the leg such as gait on running can also add to the danger of a tear.
In a similar fashion, the calf muscle is often strained, usually where it attaches to the Achilles tendon. Again, overuse, especially on a tired muscle, can cause strains, as can the mechanics of the foot and ankle complex.
The one that has the spotlight on it most recently is, of course, concussion. Any blow to the head can cause varying degrees of concussion. This can be from mild to extremely serious. Very difficult to prevent in rugby, the emphasis has fallen on rapid identification of when a concussion has occurred and immediate action to minimise the danger of ongoing damage.
Rugby is a rough sport and it is always difficult to greatly lower the risk of injury without hugely compromising what is a great game. The RFU is working hard to achieve this though, through changes to the laws of rugby. As well as raising awareness of injuries, both in regard to preventative factors and response after injury occurs.
Osteopathy can stretch and condition the muscles and ease the pain; a routine of stretches to carry out at home can also be recommended. Andrew Doody offers a trusted osteopathy service which can assist with pain relief and also address the underlying causes of injuries, decreasing your chances of future injury.
If you have had a rugby injury or are experiencing any musculoskeletal problems, you can book an appointment online.
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.
Massages are known to reduce stress and help you relax but they are often overlooked as part of an extensive exercise recovery plan. Not only are they important throughout marathon training programmes but are an essential part of recovery.
Recovering from a marathon is a critical component to a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. Post marathon massages are known to prevent injury, help repair injured muscle tissue and decrease recovery time to help you get back to your training regime quicker. Unfortunately, if you don’t properly recover from a marathon, it will be harder to break your PR and stay healthy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional runner or if it’s your first marathon, the impact of running such a distance has undoubtedly put your body under enormous stress and physical duress.
The most obvious physical impacts are muscle soreness and fatigue which cause damage. It will take your muscles approximately 2 weeks post marathon to return to full strength.
It is essential for marathon runners to have considered a 2-3 week marathon recovery protocol that focuses on rest and rejuvenation and we’d recommend 2 sports massages within that time frame to assist recovery.
It is never recommended to have a massage on the day of a marathon or the day after as your body firstly needs to rest and heal the muscular damage and correct any inflammation.
Day 1 – 3 Post Marathon
A light massage or using a roller massage stick to help loosen and stretch your muscles from any delayed muscle soreness. A deep tissue massage isn’t recommended just yet.
Day 4 – 7 Post Marathon
You should consider booking in a deep tissue sports massage. Point out any areas that are really bothering you and use massage to help prevent injuries. Your osteopath can also help identify any injuries you may have and the best action to recovery.
- Effects and benefits of sports massage
- Pumps blood and fluids around the body.
- Helps stretch muscles and improve elasticity.
- Helps get rid of lactic acid build up.
- Breaks down scar tissue.
- Reduces pain.
- Relaxes muscles, body and mind.
- Can help reduce anxiety.
Combining recovery massages with a good diet and plenty of water will help you recover much more quickly.
If you would like to incorporate recovery massages into your marathon training or book in for a post-marathon massage, you can book an osteopathy appointment online. Learn more about our osteopathy services here.
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.
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.
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
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 that people with fibromyalgia sometimes experience include:
- dizziness and clumsiness
- poor sleep quality
- 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
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
Arthritis and Osteopathy
Are you living with arthritis or know someone who is? Many people have experience of arthritis – there are currently 10 million people in the UK affected. Sufferers can often resign themselves to living with the pain, without realising there are a number of ways to manage it. For World Arthritis Week, we take a look at arthritis and the benefits of using osteopathy to help treat the condition.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition which causes pain, swelling and inflammation in the joints of the body.
The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear of the joints in the body. It is common in people over 50 and can affect the knees, hips, neck and back, feet and hands.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis may be hereditary but can often be caused by poor posture, heavy manual work and previous injury, symptoms include:
- Hip / Knee Pain
- Neck Pain
- Lower back pain
- Early morning stiffness
- Joint Pain
- Swelling and Inflammation
- Referred muscle pain
What can osteopaths do to help with arthritis?
The Institute of Osteopathy purports osteopathy as a way to manage arthritis and the associated symptoms. Mobilising arthritic joints and treating surrounding muscles can help reduce pain. Osteopaths work on the general mobility of the other joints and muscles in the body to improve overall function. Osteopaths may advise on posture, diet, exercise and health improvements.
Osteopaths in Central London
Top Osteopath, Andrew Doody works at Fleet Street Clinic in London and is able to treat arthritic conditions and help to alleviate pain. Osteopathic treatment can be used in conjunction with help from a dietitian, use of acupuncture and support from your GP to ensure a holistic treatment of the condition.
With the new football season in full swing, it’s apt time to address one of the most common football injuries; hamstring pulls.
This injury occurs when there’s a tear or strain to the muscles at the back of the thigh. By definition, hamstrings are a set of three muscles at the back of the thigh that all cross both the knee and hip joint, with only half of one (the biceps femoris) originating from the thighbone. Rapid acceleration movement is the main course of hamstrings getting injured. With football being a sport that relies heavily on quick movement in this area of the body, it is an injury your favourite footballer is highly likely to suffer from this season. There are three levels of severity to hamstring injuries. These are:
- Grade 1 – a minor strain
- Grade 2 – a partial tearing of the muscle
- Grade 3 – a complete tearing of the muscle
Symptoms of Hamstring Injury
This depends on what grade of the injury the player has.
- Grade 1 injury – consists of tenderness and sudden pain at the back of the thighs. Muscle strength will likely remain the same, but moving the leg might be painful.
- Grade 2 injury – more painful and more tender. Some bruising and swelling could occur in the area. There will also be a loss of strength in the leg.
- Grade 3 injury – have grade 1 and 2 symptoms at a more severe level. A popping or snapping sensation may be felt. The injured person may struggle to even be able to stand.
There are initial steps that can be taken to treat hamstring injuries including compression, applying ice, elevation and good rest. Taking painkillers such as paracetamol can help reduce pain. Full recovery time will depend on the grade of injury. Professional footballers have access to equipment and health professionals that can help speed up recovery. Although self-treatment is an option for the everyday person, seeing a healthcare professional is advised if you’re concerned the injury is severe, the symptoms worsen or healing is very slow.
Osteopathy Treatment for Hamstring Injuries
Osteopathy is a medical specialty focused on musculo-skeletal problems. An osteopath deals with diagnosing, management and treatment of these types of injuries. If you’re concerned that you might be suffering from a hamstring injury or your self-treatment is not working out, book an appointment online and we can book you a session with Andrew Doody, our osteopath.
Prevention of Hamstring injury
There’s no surefire way of preventing an hamstring injury but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood. These include;
- Gentle stretching the hamstring area after exercise
- Warming up
- A longer warm-up period in cold weather
- If you feel any tightness, you might want to stop as this could be a signal that a tear might occur
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.
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.