Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Is Winter causing your back pain?

Case Study: Once the cold weather hits my back tightens up and starts hurting.

A patient recently visited us complaining that since the weather has gotten colder their back pain has become worse. They were looking for suggestions to combat the problems of back pain during the winter months.

Many patients complain of increased pain at this time year and it is not the fault of the patient, the low meteorological pressure during the winter months has a physical impact on your joints, compressing them and making movement more painful.

Also we are less active in the cold weather and the less our muscles get used the tenser they are which causes them to ache. Even the gentlest of exercises will increase the flow of blood to the muscles which will help them to relax and make them less prone to stiffness. Exercise also releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers.

Self-management can be very effective in terms of controlling your diet and exercise; however, regular massages and physiotherapy sessions can also be very beneficial to deal with any underlying problems before they are exacerbated by the cold winter conditions.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Travelling home for Christmas....

Ok it’s a bit early to be thinking about travelling home for Christmas just yet, however, DVT can strike at any time of the year and it is worth knowing what signs to look out for and how to avoid them.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein and it most commonly occurs in the calf muscles. If a part of the clot breaks away and moves around the body it can block blood vessels and could cause heart attack or brain injury.

A journey over four hours by plane, train or car can increase the risk of DVT. However, the odds of suffering DVT are only 1 in 6000. Restricted movement on long journeys causes the blood to thicken, alongside factors such as dehydration, pregnancy or a family history of blood clots which can all contribute to the chances of DVT.

There are things we can do to avoid DVT, here we have a list of do’s and don’ts:


  • If you have a calf that’s tight or you have had an ankle injury the risk of DVT is increased, see a physiotherapist and get it treated. We find that one session is often all that is needed.
  •   Drink plenty of water as dehydration can increase your chance of getting a DVT.
  • Keep moving, stand up and move around as well as sitting and rotating feet.
  • Consider wearing flight socks, they work by minimising blood pooling in your veins to prevent DVT
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Do not sit with your legs crossed; this will cause the blood to pool
  • Do not over indulge in alcohol as this causes dehydration.

      How do I know if I have a DVT? Sometimes there are no symptoms at all but your limb may be red hot, swollen or painful. If you think you may have a DVT you should see a doctor straight away.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

87% of young people have back ache. The other 13% don't own a computer!

It’s funny to joke, but there is a serious side and that is that excessive computer use can lead to back and neck problems.

The 3 main reasons computers cause problems:

1. Bad posture - Faulty posture is one of the main reasons we suffer from back pain. Computer screens are often below eye level and sitting continuously in the same position and hunching or slouching are very bad examples of posture which everyone falls prey to when using computers.

2.  Repetitive strain injury – Sitting in the same position and repeating the same bad posture can put strain on the back muscles and injure the spine.

3. Lack of exercise – When sat in the same position for long periods of time our muscles get cramped and this can cause pain.

 By following some basic rules we can get relief from the back pain caused by computer use:

1. Correct posture - Correct posture means, sitting straight and making sure our back gets proper rest. Yoi could put a cushion behind the back for more comfortable sitting and your legs should be firmly placed on the ground. This posture distributes the pressure equally in the body and will make sure that the spinal cord is not affected.

2. Take regular breaks – Working continuously in the same position leads to muscle stress and injury. To prevent this take a 10 minute break for every hour you sit in the same position, stretch and de-stress the muscles.

3. Exercise – There is no better way to beat pack pain than regular exercise, working out the muscles is essential to strengthen them and improve blood circulation. Regular computer users can get a hunch back and exercise helps to keep an upright posture.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Can losing weight help to heal a bad back?

Patients that are overweight may not be aware that their weight is actually contributing to their back problems. Although we do not know exactly why weight contributes to back pain, studies have shown that it does and that people who are overweight are more at risk than those who are not.

Those who are severely overweight may have problems with breathing and shortness of breath during periods of exercise which can lead to an avoidance of exercise. One of the greatest causes of back pain is a lack of exercise and so the link between excess weight and back pain is proven once more.

For those who are overweight there is additional strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back, to compensate for the extra weight the spine can become tilted and the back may lose its proper support. More seriously for those with a BMI over 25 there is a risk of developing osteoarthritis or put more simply arthritis of the spine of which one of the recommended treatments is weight loss.

So while we appreciate that we all come in different shapes and sizes simply shaving off a few extra pounds could make all the difference to your back pain dilemmas. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Post - Pregnancy Problems

Any woman who has had a baby will tell you that getting back to normal isn’t always as easy as they’d hoped.

Here we will discuss two common problems and offer tips on how to deal with them.

Client case study 1: Still suffering from the back ache after pregnancy

We recently saw a lady who was still suffering from the back ache she had during her pregnancy six weeks after the birth of her daughter. Due to altered pregnancy posture it is common to have lower back pain during and after pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it and that there is nothing you can do about it.

Your body changes so much throughout pregnancy and if it wasn’t for the hormone induced stretch that develops in the ligaments, you wouldn’t be able to give birth at all. However, this leaves joints less protected and aches, pains and even injuries become more common.

The good news is that for an osteopath these lax ligaments makes treatment much more effective and even the most severe pain can respond really well with just one gentle treatment.

Client case study 2: Getting back into shape after two babies

Pregnancy weight is very easy to put on, but can prove tricky to lose. We are often asked what are the best exercises to tone up after birth, particularly when many women still feel fragile and achy.

If you’re breastfeeding you shouldn’t diet as you need plenty of nutrition for your baby and even if you aren’t breastfeeding a crash diet isn’t the way forward. We suggest gentle toning and as your pelvic floor and abdomen have worked very hard re-educating them would be highly recommended. A specialist physiotherapist can help devise an exercise programme that is tailored to suit your needs perfectly. 

Swimming is a great type of exercise that is gentle and effective, just try to avoid breast stroke as it is demanding on the back and hips.

The key thing to remember is that most women can return to their original shape and size it just requires effort and determination!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Osteopathy can help you through your pregnancy

While undoubtedly one of the happiest periods in a woman’s life, pregnancy is also uncomfortable and at times painful. During pregnancy enormous physical, chemical and emotional changes take place over a relatively short period of time. The body has to get used to carrying a lot of extra weight, which can impose physical strain on the organs, tissues, joints and ligaments of the body. In order for the pregnant body to adapt to all these changes it has to find new ways to walk, sit and sleep resulting with new aches and pains arising.

Osteopathy can ease some of the symptoms that arise during pregnancy including:

  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Lower abdominal pain
  •  Nausea and vomitin
  •  Heartburn

As well as easing pregnancy symptoms, an osteopath can also

  • Provide advice on breathing techniques, stretches and exercise you can do to maintain your health and wellbeing throughout your pregnancy
  • Help facilitate a trouble free birth by improving flexibility in the pelvis
  • Help the mother to recover after birth.

 Here at the Wellness Hub we provide a top to toe well-being service and can make you as comfortable as possible during your pregnancy and afterwards too if needs be.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Can good posture make you live longer?

How many times as a child were you told to stop slouching or to stand up straight? This advice could actually make you live longer. Several studies have shown that good posture can have major lifelong health benefits.

Slouching strains our muscles, ligaments and tendons, wears out our joints and bones and causes spinal injuries and arthritis. People with these ailments have poorer general health and a shorter life span.

Poor posture is becoming more common as we spend more of our days sitting behind a computer, muscle fatigue causes the spine to flex too far forward and if this becomes habit it could cause permanent structural change.

As the link between posture and life expectancy has been proved by several studies it supports what osteopaths have been saying for a long time; an unhealthy spine can cause an unhealthy body. So next time you catch yourself slouching you may want to tell yourself to stand up straight. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Is reducing the size of your waist mad? Corset is!

On Monday the Daily Mail published an article which showed Nerina Orton (above) the owner of Britain’s thinnest waist. Her waist measures just 15.7 inches, less than 1 inch off beating the world record of 15 inches. Nerina trains by wearing her corset for 23 hours a day and she is not alone, so called ‘corset training’ has become a very popular way of shaping the waist. Burlesque star Dita Von Teese has apparently reduced the size of her waist by being strapped into a corset for days at a time.

Here at The Wellness Hub we cannot believe that anyone would think this is a good idea and would never advocate such an extreme approach. Forcing the skeleton into a new unnatural posture could mean that the ribs end up being tightened into the waist which would not allow for proper breathing.

However, while we would never condone the use of corsetry in such an extreme way it is ironic that medical corsets can be very beneficial for a bad back. Allowing the back to rest in the case of extreme spasms with a prescribed back support encourages a quick recovery.

So our advice would be that although we’d recommend you do not use a corset to change your shape they can sometimes help in recovery from severe back problems.

The full article is available here.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Top Tips for protecting your back when gardening

For many people gardening is an enjoyable and relaxing pass time, it also provides great exercise. However, to continue enjoying the garden you need to make sure you don’t injure yourself; our tips will tell you how:

Clothing – you should wear loose and comfortable clothing and wear supportive shoes with good grips on the soles, this avoids slipping and strained ankles. Wear clothes that will not get too damp and avoid jeans as they get too tight over the lower back.

Warm up – you wouldn’t go for a run without first warming up, the same should go for gardening. A few stretches and bending exercises will warm up the muscles and make the exercise less of a strain.

 Lifting – lift with your knees and not your back. Try to be upright with your knees bent and straighten your legs to lift. If it is really heavy then ask for help.

 Digging – this is the gardening activity which should be approached with most care. Limit the amount of time spent digging and make sure to take regular breaks, your back should be straight with your knees bent.

 Mowing – the best type of mower should be light and easy to start, also make life easy with a mower that collects the grass so you don’t have to strain yourself picking it up.

Above all else make sure you have realistic expectations of what you want to achieve and if you think you will need help, make sure you ask!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Crippled by back pain? Could it all be in your head?

Researchers have suggested that crippling back pain could merely be in our heads, that exposure to reports of back pain and its effects could actually increase the chances of getting it yourself. A leading and acceptable cause of work disability, back pain has long been considered frequent and unavoidable.

However, the osteopaths and physiotherapists at The Wellness Hub warn against thinking that back pain is a figment of people’s imaginations. In fact, most of the new patients we see complain of neck or back problems and the majority of these patients are genuine sufferers. We have patients who shuffle in to see us and who are doubled over after sitting in the waiting room, both classic signs of underlying injuries.

At The Wellness Hub we use detailed examinations to piece together the patients symptoms and reach a diagnosis, of which around 95% fit to a “classic example” of a particular type of back pain.

Back pain is one of the most common causes for loss of working days, which is why many businesses pay for their staff to visit us. Providing correct treatment resolves problems quickly and effectively.

Our advice; back pain almost always has an underlying problem at its root, so don’t think you are imagining it, come and see us straight away instead of leaving it too long.