World Osteopathy Day Offer

  • June 22, 2017
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  • World Osteopathy Day Offer

It’s World Osteopathy Day today. To help raise awareness of the incredible benefits that treatment can have on your health and mobility we are running an offer.

If you book in with Jenny or Kieron today you can save £10 off the normal price if you are a new patient or £5 off if you are a returning patient.

You can book any future day but you must book today to get the offer.

Don’t delay book today to get yourself on better form.

If booking online please add the word OFFER in the notes section to get your discount.

Book Online

or call 01392 428141

Feeling Stressed? Acupuncture can help.

  • April 28, 2017
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  • Feeling Stressed? Acupuncture can help.

 

Stress is a normal part of life. Each of us can manage certain levels of stress. But when stress exceeds these levels our bodies suffer a wide variety of consequences – muscle tension being the most common. When muscle tension lingers particularly in the neck and shoulders, we can further experience muscle spasms, knots, headaches, jaw pain, migraines and even nausea.

Other common symptoms associated with stress include:

* Inability to concentrate or complete tasks

* Irritability

* Difficulty falling asleep or waking frequently at night

* Changes in appetite

* Anxiety

* Flare ups of illness

Although stress is an inevitable part of life, we don’t have to live with it! Acupuncture is an effective treatment for dealing with stress.

A study from Georgetown University Medical Centre, published in the Journal of Endocrinology, studies how acupuncture works to treat stress. In this study it proves that Acupuncture targets the same key pathways that are affected by stress. Acupuncture can block the NPY sympathetic pathway and the chronic, stress induced elevations of the HPA (hypothalamus – pituitary – adrenal axis) which is involved in the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. The study also confirms that acupuncture is not only an effective treatment for stress, but also effective in treating anxiety and depression.

 

Book in Now and feel those shoulders drop!

Have you Injured your Back? You are not Alone.

  • April 21, 2017
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  • Have you Injured your Back? You are not Alone.

Each year over 137 million working are lost due to employees taking sick days for back injuries. It is a common problem which I am sure a lot of us have experienced. Perhaps we have had treatment from a therapist or the injury has just healed over time. But how many of us pay attention to our attitudes towards our backs and what are our beliefs about them? 

When you injure your back the chances are that you have sustained a strain to a muscle or a joint. Our backs are very compact and strong structures and serious damage to the back does not happen as often as you might think. It may seem at odds that quite a small action such as picking up a pencil can cause such pain but while the back is strong, it is sensitive and it has to be. The spinal canal houses the spinal cord with branches of nerves which supply the muscles in order so that we can move efficiently. Should anything external damage the cord or come into contact with the cord it can potentially damage our muscle system. So the tissues around the spine have to be sensitive in order to advise us that damage has occurred and that it needs addressing. 

I have often heard how patients have been told that they need to strengthen their back through weights and or a course of Pilates or yoga. Sometimes this is true, but often the patient just needs to keep moving which in turn will strengthen the back and the whole body. Of course, yoga, Pilates and weights are excellent methods of retaining elasticity, suppleness and strength. But sometimes we might just need to rest our back and then get it moving.

There is much that we can do for own backs in terms of recovery and sometimes it can just be small steps all added together that make the difference.  Generally it’s worth reminding ourselves that our backs are strong solid structures that can withstand alot. Keeping our bodies moving helps to keep the back supple and strong and now that the summer is upon us, putting down those hand held computers and getting out into nature is most definitely going to help! 

Give our backs positive instructions, if a movement hurts then don’t do it

Check out our website which gives some ideas on how to gently stretch your back and other muscle groups. Remember that if it hurts then the stretch is either too strong or not for you.

Sometimes there is nothing like some expert advice to save you time and get you on the road to recovery. We are on hand six days a week to help you and have evening appointments too.

Book Online Now

Are you sitting uncomfortably ……… then we will begin!

  • March 28, 2017
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  • Are you sitting uncomfortably ……… then we will begin!

With 50-70% of people sitting up to 8 hours a day, it’s no wonder as osteopaths we find that patients are getting all sorts of back and shoulder problems. Not only does it cause spinal problems but the latest research showed that prolonged sitting causes other disease and poor health.

Compared to people who sit the least, those who spend most time in a chair have a 112% higher risk of developing diabetes, a 147% higher risk of suffering “cardiovascular events” such as strokes and a 49% increased risk of death from any cause.

 

This sounds really bad but how can you limit the damage and get moving whilst being stationary. The new buzz word is ACTIVE SITTING. ie moving whilst sitting.

 

What are the best ways of achieving this?

 

The easiest and cheapest: £20-

A Togu or Sit Fit wobble cushion. Basically, an air filled cushion that you can place on your normal office chair. It keeps your spine moving and activates your spinal muscles.

Bounce yourself better: £20-30

Exercise balls have been around for years in gyms to help with core abdominal strength but are also fantastic to spend time on in the office as a chair substitute. Get one and spend 30 minutes on it and then give to a work colleague! A 65cm ball would suit most people.

Stand at work: £250-800

These are all the rage at the moment (in Sweden there is new legislation that all government employees must be allowed access to one!). Your normal desk elevates so you have to stand whilst working. Great for all joints and burns more than 30% more calories than sitting.

See local Bristol Company – www.deskacademy.com

Rock yourself better: £800

The ‘Ten Two’ chair has been around since the 1970’s and is a classic design, loved by all who buy one. Gently rocks you and keeps all your joints in your leg and spine on the go. Expensive but brilliant.

Visit Bristol’s best spinal product shop in Park Street – www.backinaction.co.uk/tentwo

 

There are many other ways of doing the same thing, but these are no substitute for actually getting up and walking. Old fashion but we have been doing it for thousands of years! 10000 steps on your pedometer is the recommended daily amount. Few do this much each day.

Call us on 01392 428141 for more information on how Osteopathy can help you sit well or BOOK ONLINE.

Look after your feet!

  • February 24, 2017
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  • Look after your feet!

Coming in all shapes and sizes, the foot is one of the most vital structures that we possess.  A study in 2015 discovered that the average British person takes 6322 steps a day. That’s an incredible amount of stress going through the foot and this is just in one day, so during an average week, we can expect to take somewhere in the region of 44,400 steps!

The foot is a hugely complex structure made up of 26 bones, 33 joints and over a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. Being the foundation for stability and movement it is essential to keep our feet as supple and as well supported as possible.  During Osteopathic practice, it is often the case that pain experienced in the lower back and in the hips is the result of foot condition or dysfunction.

But what can we do to keep our feet healthy and functioning optimally? With the feet being the furthest structure from the vital organs they can be the first to experience a lack of oxygenated blood especially during winter when we are less active. To keep them stimulated, practice massaging the sole (plantar fascia) of the foot to activate the muscles and keep the blood moving back up the body.

With the weather improving and getting warmer, take time to walk out on the lawn in your bare feet. Again this can stimulate blood flow to the area and allows the muscles to fire and keep the foot mobile. If you have any problems walking barefoot then please consult your doctor before doing so.

With all the different shoes out there all claiming to be the right one for you, it can be difficult to know which way to turn.  Getting your feet assessed by an Osteopath can be a great start to improving the health of your feet, alternatively a  qualified podiatrist can help with more severe foot types, which may need a particular type of specialised shoe. If you need any guidance with this then please get in touch with us here at the Exeter Osteopaths, we will be delighted to help you in any way we can.

 

Book Online to see Kieron or call us on 01392 428141

Improve your Golf

  • February 24, 2017
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  • Improve your Golf

Mark Twain once said that golf was a good walk spoiled. Now I am not known to argue with literary geniuses, but on this occasion I feel that the bearded wonder may have got this one, well, wrong. I have had many a fine evening wondering the hallowed turfs of England’s green and pleasant land and apart from the odd time when I have scuffed the ball into the pond I have never considered it wasted.

 

Perhaps like many others, you were entranced by the recent British Open going into Monday and there being a three way tie at St Andrews Old Course. Perhaps you have become inspired by the professionals and either want to don the plus fours again or take up the sport.

 

If so, then there are a few things you need to consider. In Golf, it is one sport where in order to achieve the perfect shot, all the components of the swing need to be in harmony.  For this, we need strong, flexible feet, stable and moveable hips and a responsive and adaptable thoracic spine (the bit in the middle).

 

Most of the drive and power in golf come from the hips, so having good strong buttock muscles are essential. In order to do this, squats and lunges are a good start. The feet need to be strong too because a) you are going to be doing a lot of walking and b) a lot of movement and stability is required in them to keep the swing in check. If your feet are inflexible you will start to recruit muscles from higher up the chain and this will reduce your impact when striking the ball.

 

The rotation in golf starts in the thoracic spine and this is the really key area. If this part of the spine is inflexible, then the lumbar spine (the lower part) begins to do too much rotation and this is where problems start to happen. The low back should really just be the channel between the hips and the thorax, just passing the information between each other. The moment it stops being the messenger is when we begin to injure ourselves.

 

So how can we prevent this. First have a try of these exercises below:

 

Feet

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhj1ZAHeRrE

 

Hips

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNgs9aguMw4

 

and Spine

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfhGEK5sqA0

 

 

If you feel that you might need some assistance with these exercises, then please contact us and we can help you with any queries you may have.

 

Book Online to see Kieron for expert help or call us on 01392 428141

 

Golf is meant to be fun and is a great way of exercising and keeping fit. Allied to all of the exercises above, always make sure that you warm up for 10 minutes at least before you play.  Go for a walk, swing the club in the opposite direction to normal and get the blood pumping by running on the spot. You may get some strange looks, but then you won’t be the one nursing a sore back at the end of the round! Good luck!

Top tips for skiers

  • February 13, 2017
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  • Top tips for skiers

For many of us a ski holiday is the perfect way to get away in the winter and do some physical exercise. The only problem is, due to the short days and cold nights, most of us have actually cut down on our level of exercise during the winter.

Start early – Get yourself to the gym, pilates, aerobics at least 1 month before your holiday and work on your core abdominal muscles and leg strength.

It’s a balancing act – Balance is the single most important factor in skiing. Use a wobble board to improve balance and build up ankle muscles. For a thorough ankle work-out, rocking heel to toe is good for snowboarders and left to right is best for skiers.

Get it checked – Most skiers find turning one way easier than the other. Poor technique might not be the problem – muscle weakness and joint alignment could be. Visit one of our osteopaths to sort out any misalignments and improve performance.

AT HOME

Work those legs  – You need to target the thigh muscles (quadriceps) so squat and stand up repetitively whilst making tea, brushing your teeth or in the adverts on TV. As you get more advanced do your squats on a bed or wobble board to improve your coordination and stability. One legged squats are next.

Challenge! – Think you’re an expert skier and well coordinated? I will believe you if you can do a one legged squats on your bed, with both eyes shut for more than one minute without falling over! – TRY IT!

Target the calves – Due to being on a heel or toe edge on your board, your key muscles are on the front and back of the calf. To train them walk up and down the corridor on your tip toes and then return only on your heels (ie lifting your toes off the floor). You’ll look strange but it really works.

Sit down, stand up – As you spend a lot of time sitting in the snow and getting up, your arms get a good work out and in particular your triceps muscles. Practise by placing your back to a table, resting your hand on the edge and dipping the body down and then pressing up.

ON THE SLOPES 

Hot and Cold – Warm up before strenuous skiing. Start off gently rather than heading first for the black runs and round the day off with a stretch. Take plenty of breaks – Overexertion will ruin your holiday – moderate the length of skiing time and listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it.

Liquid lunch – Drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to avoid dehydration and stay clear of alcohol, tea and coffee. Drink plenty with breakfast.

Put the boot in – No matter how many lessons, skiers won’t improve without the right boots and this is where most skiers put their first foot wrong. Skiers often choose on comfort alone – don’t make this mistake. Get a moulded footbed (called Orthotics) from the ski shop first as this improves fit, comfort and ski control. Opt for a shop with a wide range of boots so you are spoilt for choice.

(Freeride in Meribel, Precision Ski in Val d’Isere/Les Arcs, Footworks in chamonix)

Carry on – Always be careful when carrying skis/boards. Leave them standing upright so you don’t have to bend to pick them up. Carry them over your shoulder, swapping shoulders regularly.

Ice is nice – With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat.

Tread carefully – A great deal of people are injured by slipping on ice at the ski resort, not just on the slopes. Wear shoes with a deep treaded sole and use strap-on studs for ski boots to help keep you upright.  (see – yaktrax at www.ellisbrigham.com )

Get Protected- Buy a helmet and wrist guards before you have a fall.

WHEN YOU GET HOME 

Should you be unfortunate enough to be injured during your holiday, all our osteopaths are experienced in treating sports injuries and post operative rehabilitation so don’t put off getting treatment on your return.

Have a great holiday!

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Top 6 Stretches for Cyclists

  • February 7, 2017
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  • Top 6 Stretches for Cyclists
Jenny has recently completed a gruelling ascent of Alpe D’Huez in France. Here she gives some top advice on how best to prepare for yourself for injury free cycling.

For all the fair weather cyclists (and tough it out winter lot!) who are upping their mileage in the summer, here are some stretching basics to keep you going both on and off the bike.

When stretching there are right and wrong ways and to do it, but here are the simple rules:

  • Only stretch when you are warm, so this could be prior to a workout (but only after you have warmed up for 10 minutes), or post workout when you are still warm from the workout.
  • Timing and length of holds are important too. If you are stretching before the workout only hold for 5-10 seconds, do both sides twice
  • If you are stretching post workout, then you will still be warm and the stretches can be held up to 10-20 seconds, do both sides twice.
  • If you really want to work on your flexibility, stretches are best done in the evening, after a nice warm shower or bath, and should be held a long time, 30-60 seconds, and do both sides three times.
  • If you are naturally very flexible/hyper-mobile, stretch very little and for short duration, or not at all. There is a upper limit of how much flexibility you want as this leads to instability and potential injury to joints.

This is not an exhaustive list but these some of the major groups to focus on; Just click to follow the links to the video demonstrations.

Quadriceps and Primary Hip Flexors (the most used muscles in cycling!)
Location: front and top of thigh into front of hip
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jv_IYFgbTg

Hamstrings
Location: back of thigh
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHuMv3EyTKQ

Glutes
Location: you’re sitting on it
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpaExOK4S8M

Calves (Gastroc and Soleus)
Location: back of lower leg
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PQleXdrnXg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2TIznUwbQw

ITB (Iliotibial band)
Location: side of leg at top
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GodaVDAhOYQ

Abdominals
Location: front of torso
Stretch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ceFn3bH5ls

DO NOT CONTINUE WITH ANY STRETCHES THAT CAUSE PAIN.
Book and treatment or a Stretch Class online with Jenny here!
Call 01392 428141 for Phone Booking

Avoid Walking Injuries

  • February 7, 2017
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  • Avoid Walking Injuries

There are many common injury presentations found in walkers. Particularly in those who are occasional walkers. Those of us who believe ourselves to be fit and healthy, can run for half an hour or complete many exercise classes often find many new body parts that begin to ache very quickly.

Going away for the weekend or a holiday break to discover the surrounding countryside and hills, we often take a “short” 3-4 hour stroll, using completely different sets of muscles, which may result in: upper and middle buttock pain, hip pains, low back ache, achilles tendonotis, patellar tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, thigh and hamstring pains. Most of these injuries are preventable given correct stretching and a sensible build up plan to hill and distance walking.

Steep downhill walks can really work the fast twitchmuscles in the quadriceps, the following day this can lead to very deep aching in the front of the thighs. Steep uphill walks mean raising the toes higher often giving rise to shin pain. Going through some gentle stretches at the end of a days walking can greatly reduce the muscle soreness for the following day.

Here at the clinic we are able to offer a full check up prior to setting off walking. We are able to observe and identify potential problems before they arise and recommend corrective treatment and preventative exercises and stretching.

Remember when walking in the country the paths are invariably on slopes and inclines are usually followed by declines. These all place the foot at precarious angles to the leg putting the ligaments, joints and tendons at risk. Correct shoes are essential not only to prevent ankle sprains and support the feet, and good grip stops you falling and injuring other areas of the body so that hopefully you won’t need to call on these guys…

North Dartmoor Search and Rescue …training exercise only! No one was harmed in the making of this photo 🙂

injuredwalker

If you feel need help with an injury or just a tune up before heading off to the hills, please call us on 01392 428141 or BOOK ONLINE with Jenny

Five things you never dreamt would cause Back Pain

  • January 27, 2017
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  • Five things you never dreamt would cause Back Pain

Have you ever hurt your back by simply bending to tie your shoelace?  Have you ever just got into the car, driven to the shops and then couldn’t get out?  Have you ever wondered why your back all of a sudden goes into spasm when it was seemingly fine just minutes before?

In fact it wasn’t fine just moments before, it’s just you didn’t realise it.  When your back all of a sudden gives out on you with a small movement it is a case of straw that just broke the camel’s back.

Poor posture, bad movement patterns and repetitive motions can gradually lead to degeneration in your discs and spine.  It may take years and can happen so gradually you don’t notice, until that one thing that puts you over the limit of your body’s ability to compensate.

While the best way to avoid this is to have a strong, flexible body, good postural health and get treatment as needed, there are some things you can avoid that you probably never dreamed would be a problem.

1.

Looking at your phone or tablet

 

We all do it, walking along reading a text or email with our chin approaching our chest. The muscles in our upper back are under huge strain from the weight of our head in this position. Soon it becomes a habit and if we are also working at a desk our posture will gradually deteriorate.

 

Solution: Keep your phone or tablet at least chest high when texting or typing. Lift your chin and pull your shoulders back to correct your posture.

 

2.

Reading in bed

Do you read in bed with your head and shoulders propped up on a couple of pillows so your chin is almost on your chest?  It’s a great way to relax at the end of the day.  It’s also a great way to jam up your occiput (the bone at the base of your skull) and strain your upper back and neck.  When ligaments are on stretch they undergo something called creep.  Very slowly, they start to stretch.  The ligaments’ job is to guide and restrict a joint.  When they stretch  they don’t do that job well.  Your joints then move in an unnaturally large range of movement, which makes them vulnerable to strain and getting stuck in the wrong position.

Solution:  If you notice a headache or neck pain coming on while you’re reading, move to a lying position, either on your back or side with your pillow tucked up under your neck to support it.  Your spine should be in line.

3.

Sleeping on your front

Some people naturally love to sleep on their stomachs.  Unfortunately  it’s also a great way to strain your jaw and neck and compress your facial bones.  Imagine how comfortable you’d be if you laid on your back all night with your head twisted to the side and a weight balanced on one side of your face.  Again, creep kicks in and you end up with rotational strains through your upper neck and back, restricted ribs and a painful jaw.

Solution:  If you really can’t shake the habit, try putting clothes pegs on the front of your pyjamas so every time you turn on to your belly they wake you up and remind you to lie on your side or back.

 

4.

Crossing your legs

It’s comfortable sitting with your legs or ankles crossed, but it also puts a nice twist through your pelvis.  Your upper leg tends to tip your ilium (the bone that houses your hip) back and out.  It also lends itself to your piriformis muscle tightening and bringing your tailbone over to that side.  Crooked tailbone equals unhappy spine.

Solution:   Sit with your knees together.  It’s hard work, but at least your adductors (groin muscles) will get stronger.

5.

Missing the curb

Have you ever been looking to cross the road, missed the curb and felt yourself  jolt down onto one leg?  You’d be amazed at how frequently we see this injury in clinic.  Often it will go unnoticed but in the days following your back gets more and more painful for no apparent reason.  Osteopathic examination will usually reveal what we call an upslip of the ilium (the bone that houses the hip) of the leg you jolted down onto.  The whole bone slides upwards on the sacrum (tailbone) straining the supporting ligaments and causing protective muscle spasm and pain.

Solution:  This is one that is best dealt with by a professional.  Osteopathic treatment is usually straightforward.  Soft tissue and fascial work to relieve the muscle spasm and mobilisation/cranial work to release the upslip and rebalance any compensatory strains in the rest of the body.

 

In general the best way to keep your back in good shape is to stay strong and flexible.  Some, but not all, do well with yoga, or pilates, a stretching regime, some resistance work and cardiovascular exercise.  Whatever you do, make it fun so your back can serve you well for years to come. If you need expert advice then call us at Exeter Osteopaths today  01392 428141 or BOOK ONLINE