Month: August 2021

Dog walking/owning injuries!

Did you know that a lot of injuries are caused by walking dogs?  It doesn’t make sense, does it?  Walking the dog is a wonderful form of exercise: you get fresh air, increased heart rate, movement through the whole body and the company of a furry friend.
But what happens when your dog sees a cat, or a half-eaten sandwich on the ground, or another dog he or she wants to greet?
The tugging, pulling and straining on the lead can cause all sorts of problems.  We often see repetitive strains to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of shoulders and a lot of these are brought on by dog walking.  A sudden jerk on the lead from even a small dog can give you terrible elbow pain.  A dog suddenly pulling in the opposite direction can put you in a weird twist that messes up your back. 
And that’s without mentioning the knee injuries caused by dogs accidentally crashing into the back of your legs while racing around at playtime or the black eye caused by over enthusiastic mis-timed jumping!
You see, dog walking is not as innocent as it looks!
So, what can you do to stop these injuries?  Well, I’m not a dog psychologist, but I’d suggest that good, consistent training is an essential starting point.  Dogs are bright animals and all of them are able to learn clever tricks.
So, if your dog is behaving in a way that causes you pain, get help, – spend time and effort reinforcing steadiness or possibly enlist the help of a professional dog trainer and try to fix the cause.  In the meantime an Osteopath may be able to help fix the injuries caused by our best friends doing what they do best!
Hannah the Osteopath and Murphy the Golden Retriever

Osteopathic treatment of Sciatica

Sciatica is common and affects a number of people of all ages and abilities. Yet it is also surrounded by a number of myths.Sciatica is pain or numbness anywhere along the sciatic nerve (which runs from the lower spine, through the buttocks, and down the backs of the legs) caused by compression of the nerve.

Myth: We do not know what actually causes Sciatica
Fact: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, which is often caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae in the lower spine.
Other causes include a bone growth on the spine itself or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. Thorough examination can typically enable us to determine the cause and therefore the best treatment and recovery path.

Myth: Sciatica is a diagnosis or a condition
Fact: Sciatica is actually a symptom, indicating that something is irritating a nerve root in the lower back. As Osteopaths, our goal is to determine the cause of that pressure on the nerve and advise on the best treatment plan for each patient.

Myth: I should stay in bed and rest if I have Sciatica
Fact: As with back pain, we recommend that most of our patients will benefit more by remaining active and avoid bed rest. We see little to no benefit to staying in bed compared with staying active for people with sciatica.

Myth: Medication is the only way to provide relief from Sciatica
Fact: Reaching for an anti-inflammatory drug is generally most people’s first instinct to help ease the pain of sciatica. However “a systematic review and meta-analysis published in February 2012 in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) found a lack of evidence of the efficacy of drugs including NSAIDs, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and opioid analgesics.”

Osteopaths are highly trained to identify if you are suffering from sciatica using a number of neurological and orthopaedic tests. However, it is not always possible to relieve true sciatica with just osteopathic treatment and your osteopath will know when to send you for further investigations or a different treatment approach.

Myth: All leg pain means I have Sciatica
Fact: There could be a number of reasons for your leg pain including muscle strains, vascular issues or another nerve being irritated. The symptoms of Sciatica runs from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg, commonly past the knee and down through the calf.

Myth: Sciatica is caused by an injury or event
Fact: This is not always the case. In most cases the intervertebral disk has a small defect and is ready to herniate, which means the Sciatica is not necessarily caused from any specific event.

Myth: Surgery is the only way to truly address Sciatica
In most cases, Sciatica can be resolved within about six weeks and do not need surgery. We may recommend other treatment options if the Sciatica is particularly stubborn to treat.

Myth: Sciatica cannot be prevented
It is true that not all cases of Sciatica can be prevented, but maintaining an active life, correct posture, strong core and body maintenance will all help towards preventing lower back pain and Sciatica. We highly recommend Pilates as an effective form of exercise to help prevent and address Sciatica as it focuses on strengthening your core.

For more information and advice about how Osteopathy can reduce your symptoms and treat sciatica please call me or send a message. 

Hannah Ramsay

Foot and Ankle pain

Ankle and Foot Pain

Did you know?
One quarter of your bones are in your feet! 

Ankle and foot pain can occur at any age for a multitude of reasons. It is probably most common however in sports people, especially those who do a lot of running. This is due to repeated high impact through the feet and ankles, a tendency for tight calf muscles and increased likelihood of ankle sprains due to awkward landings.
Unsupportive and constricting footwear, especially amongst women is also a common cause of foot pain. High heels place immense strain on the calf muscles (as well as the lower back and hips), while flat shoes or flip flops provide inadequate support to the foot arches.

Common Causes of Ankle or Foot Pain

  • Plantar fasciitis leading to pain on the sole of the foot and/or heel pain. This can be due to overuse (eg. running), increased weight (eg. pregnancy) or unsupportive footwear (eg flip flops, flat-soled shoes).
  • Sprained ankle due to awkward landing, pre-existing ankle injury or hypermobility.
  • Achilles tendinopathy due to overuse, excessive stretching, foot over or under-pronation.
  • ‘Wear and tear’ of the foot joints due to osteoarthritis.
  • Unsupportive or constricting footwear (eg flip flops, flat-soled shoes, pointed, high-heels).
  • Referred pain, cramps or ‘pins & needles’ from the lower back.

How can Osteopathy Help with Ankle or Foot Pain?

An Osteopath can assess what is causing your ankle or foot pain. We can provide treatment and advice for all of the conditions above. Treatment may include massage, joint mobilisation, stretching and advice on exercises to do at home. As well as treating the foot and ankle directly, we may also work on the hips, knees pelvis and the back, if assessment reveals contributing factors in those areas. 

When Is Osteopathy Not Suitable?

Ankle and foot pain may be caused by something that is not suitable for osteopathic treatment, in which case we would refer you on to a specialist. Examples include: cardiovascular problems, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, fractures or congenital bony anomalies.
If you need any further advice or would like to arrange an appointment please call 07908 415376
Hannah Ramsay

It’s your age….. or is it?

Have you ever had an ache and been told by friends and family
​ “It’s your age, you’ve just got to put up with it”? or “There’s nothing we can do, it’s age-related”?

Just this week a patient told me he was just old, and asked what should he expect at his age. Well, there are somethings that can’t be stopped or reversed, but some aches and pains are unnecessary.

So how do you know the difference?

Usually, arthritic pain starts gradually, it’s bothersome at the start, but not agony. It starts when some of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones roughens and becomes thin, then the bone thickens. So the pain is not sudden. As time goes on (we’re talking months and years here, not days) the bone at the edges of the joint thicken and form bumpy bits called spurs or osteophytes. That’s why arthritic joints look a bit fatter than normal. Of course as all of this wear and tear happens it can cause pain, but it also causes a change in the way the joint works, which means the muscles can get tight, and the joints above and below have different strains put on them. So, not only does the arthritic joint hurt, you’ve now also got pain from the changes in the muscles and other joints. And these can be helped with treatment. Muscle strains and joint pains can be treated with osteopathy, and we can give you easy things to do at home to help keep the area mobile. You’d be amazed at how many patients think their pain is caused by arthritis when it’s only a muscle strain. So, don’t sit there and blame your age – get the right exercises and treatment. You don’t have to put up with it!

If you want to know if Osteopathy can help you why not give me a call.

Postural Pain

​A patient came to see me complaining of neck pain this week. It wasn’t ‘text neck’ but more shoulder and neck pain associated with their adopted position to hold a mobile whilst typing on a lap top. It seemed simple but, by suggesting the use an earbud, we demonstrated that they could sit straighter and relax their shoulders and therefore hopefully avoid the need for further treatment.

5 simple things you can do to avoid neck and shoulder pain arising from desk based activities.

Tip 1: Feet firmly on the ground
Keep your feet flat on the floor and slightly ahead of your knees, which are bent at a 90- to 120-degree angle. Use a lumbar support cushion or if one is not available, grab a small throw pillow to alleviate back pain.

Tip 2: Shoulders relaxed and natural
Shoulders are relaxed, upper arms fall normally at your sides, elbows are close to your body. Head is generally in line with your body — not thrust forward — and the middle of your computer monitor is at eye level.
Tip 3: “Arm” yourself for success
Hands and forearms are parallel to the floor. The ideal keyboard position is slightly below the height of your elbows and sloped slightly away from you. This position allows your upper body to relax and keeps circulation from being cut off in your lower arms and hands.
Tip 4: Neck-free when talking
Use earbuds, a headset or speakerphone so that you don’t have to tilt your head and hold the phone between your neck and shoulder.

Tip 5: Keep moving
Even with the best posture, you can get aches and pains from sitting in one position for too long.
Set a timer to remind yourself to get up once an hour to:

  • Stretch and walk around
  • Bend over and touch your toes
  • Do some jumping jacks
  • Run in place
  • Roll your shoulders slowly
  • Do arm circles to get your blood flowing

These activities won’t just help your body, they will also help your mind and concentration. If you use a lumbar support cushion, change its position on your chair. If you can, do some of your work, such as phone meetings, while standing or even walking.
If you do develop neck and shoulder pain 

  • Take a hot bath with bath salts
  • Alternate ice, then heat on the affected area (allow time to warm up naturally and cover the pack where possible to prevent skin burns)
  • Have your family member give you a massage

Or talk to your Doctor or an Osteopath if you have on going pain.
H B Osteopathy

Osteopathy and Sports Injuries

Sporting activities are part of everyday life for many of us and a sports injury can be incredibly frustrating, especially when there is potentially a long recovery process and you just want to get back out there and play.

We aim to help by:

  • Restoring joint flexibility
  • Improving joint mobility
  • Restoring structural balance
  • Reducing adhesions and soft tissue restrictions

Sports injuries may be caused by direct contact, an accident such as a fall or a heavy blow, not warming up properly, using inappropriate equipment or poor technique. They often happen if you push yourself too hard or overuse.

The most common injuries we treat are:

  • Knee injuries
  • Hip injuries
  • Ankles
  • Foot injuries
  • Muscle strain
  • Ligament injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Back pain

An Osteopath will treat these issues accordingly using physical manipulation, muscle stretching and massage. This combination of techniques enables the therapist to improve mobility, relieve muscle tension or soft tissue restrictions by enhancing the blood supply to muscles and connective tissue to ensure your body is in its optimum state and enable you to perform, or train, to your full capacity.
Hannah is our Sports Injury Osteopath, and, having supported Fareham Hockey Men’s 1st X1 players through their premiere league hockey for two seasons, she has experience in immediate first aid as well as short and long term rehabilitation support. The Osteopathy and Injury Management Centre at Abshot Country Club is open to non-club members too, we are here to help: 07908415376
#sportsinjuries #sportsrehab #musclepain #getbackoutthere #abshotosteos #rehab #osteopathy #sportsmassage

Cycling Pain: Self Help or Osteopathy Treatment

Unless you are unlucky enough to have a fall whilst out for a pedal, cycling is one of the best sports you can do for your well-being. Good for your brain, your heart and your bodily health in general, recent research conducted by the British Medical Journal has found that cycling regularly can significantly lower the risk of many serious illnesses, such as heart disease.
However, as with all endurance sports, you can sometimes end up with a ‘pain here’ or a ‘niggling ache’ there. If not managed properly by a medical professional, these cycling injuries can develop into longer term problems that could slow you down and even stop you cycling.
We Osteopaths want to keep you pedalling. Manual therapy can provide an easy solution to your issues, keeping you on the roads while shedding light on the reasons behind your injuries and giving you simple ways to prevent them from happening again.
As a starter for ten, here’s a list of the most common cycling injuries, what causes them, and what you can do about it. An Osteopath can help if you need further explanation, massage manipulation and an individual treatment plan.

1. Neck Pain

Symptoms: Pain and ache in neck, can radiate to middle part of the back. Rotating and bending your head can be difficult, making it feel ‘blocked’.

Common Causes: One of the most common complaints for any cycling discipline, it is often the result of reduced flexibility in the upper back or neck with poor adaptation to sustained posture. Your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body, but it can be very sensitive when overstrained leading to a painful muscle spasm. Muscles like to be active and moving, so holding a static position you aren’t familiar with or for longer than you are used to can make them painful and stiff.

What you can do: Gentle neck stretches can help loosen your neck and get it moving more freely.

2. Hand Pain

Symptoms: Pain, which can be accompanied with weakness and pins and needles, in your ring finger and little finger.

Common Causes: Irritation of a nerve which passes on the underside of your wrist, known in medical terms as ‘ulnar neuropathy’. This is caused by holding handlebars in one position for too long, this can be associated with restriction in the forearm muscles and wrist joints.

What you can do: Try altering your grip position more frequently when out riding to prevent the build-up of tension. If things don’t improve, an Osteopath can help to increase the mobility of your wrist and elbow to reduce any tension on your nerve.

3. Forearm Pain- ‘Arm Pump’

Symptoms: The nemesis of every downhill or bike park rider, an intense ache in the fore-arm that hits at the end of a lap and can make ‘un-gripping’ your hands difficult.

Common Cause: Tired, tight forearm muscles.

What you can do: To start, consider altering the rotation on your handlebars or brake lever angle, so the wrist is in line with the arm when standing on the bike. Including some post ride stretching into your routine.

4. Low Back Pain

Symptoms: A sharp pain or ache in the lower part of the back, which can radiate to the buttock and thighs. This can be accompanied with a feeling of stiffness when getting up from sitting.

Common Causes: Another very common condition affecting up to 60% of all cyclists at some point. Low back pain is often the result of sustained posture with decreased flexibility in the hips. As the low back is relatively fixed when sitting on the saddle in order to encourage efficient power transfer through the hip, this can lead to a strain in the lower back muscles. Having a desk job can also not be helpful, as it can reduce the flexibility in your back if you don’t have regular stretches to keep supple.

What you can do: Check the angle of your saddle isn’t too low or tipped up first. Lower back and hip stretches can relieve tension in the muscles.

5. Hip pain

Symptoms: Pain at the front and outer side of the hip, can travel down the thigh towards the knee cap.

Common Causes: Tightness in muscles at the front of the hip (known as the hip flexors) from prolonged sitting (either cycling or at work) can lead to decreased flexibility and be linked with irritation of bursa located at the front of the hip (these are fluid filled sacs that sit between the muscle and bone to reduce friction). Commonly known as ‘Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome’.

What you can do: Check first that your saddle height is correct. Stretches will help to make your hip muscles more flexible, and seeking treatment from your Osteopath can relieve the tension and get your hip moving normally again.

6. Knee Pain

i) Patella-Femoral syndrome:

Symptoms: Pain or a deep ache around the kneecap. The knee can feel stiff when first getting up from sitting.

Common Causes: An imbalance of muscles on the thigh or at the hip can sometimes lead to a change in balance of tension across the knee cap. This is known as ‘Patello femoral syndrome’.

What you can do: Firstly, check the height of your saddle to make sure it is optimal for your height and not placing extra load on one group of muscles. Getting into a routine of hip and knee stretches can also help reduce tension over the knee cap and get things moving a better. Over-training can also be a cause for knee pain, so if you are putting in some hard miles to work up to a sportive, make sure you are sequencing your training appropriately and having enough rest days

ii) ITB Syndrome:

Symptoms: Pain focused around the outside of the kneecap, often accompanied with a feeling of tightness in the hip on the same side.

Common Causes: The ‘IT’ (Ilio-Tibial) band is a length of fibrous tissue which runs from the hip to the outside of the knee and is an important area which many muscles blend in to. With repeated movement and decreased flexibility in the hip external rotators (particularly Gluteus Maximus) this can alter the muscle balance around the knee and create tension on the outside of the knee cap leading to irritation of the knee cap. This can be the result of over training and incorrect saddle adjustment.

What you can do: Take a look at the height of your saddle and check if it is too high or low. Adding some mobility and flexibility exercises to your post cycling routine can help reduce the build-up of tension around the outside of your knee.

iii) Patella Tendonitis:

Symptoms: Tenderness and pain underneath the knee cap on the front of the lower leg. Sore after riding and can be painful during the first few minutes of cycling.

Common Causes: The patella tendon attaches the bottom of your kneecap to the top of your lower leg. Although it is very strong and can handle the large amount of force that pass through it when extending the leg, it can become irritated when placed under too much demand, such as with over training or poor bike set up.

What you can do: First thing is to continue riding but scale back on your training if possible, and make sure you take adequate rest days. A program of stretching and exercises to help strengthen the tendon have shown to be most effective by research, these can be tailored to you by your Osteopath. Lastly, check the size of the frame and saddle height you are riding with to ensure your riding position is efficient.

7. Ankle Pain

Common Causes: ‘Achilles tendonitis’, an overuse injury of the tendon which runs from the calf muscle to the back of the foot. Often the result of training too much, too quickly, where the tendon becomes irritated from not allowing time adequate time between rides to strengthen. Bike set up can affect it too, if pedal cleats are set up too far forward and the saddle is too high, the ankle can be held in a pointed down (‘plantar flexed’) position which can place further tension on the achilles tendon.

What you can do: Break up training to allow for adequate active rest and make sure the tendon gets enough healing time. Applying ice (wrapped in a towel for not longer than 5 minutes) can help with pain relief and then finally checking your saddle height and cleat placement are not placing too much load through the back of the ankle.

8. Foot Numbness

Symptoms: Pins and needles and/or with a loss of sensation in the foot (particularly the under surface), often after cycling for a short period, made worse by slow cadence and cycling up hills.

Common Causes: Ill-fitting shoes or cleats placed too close to the toes can create tension across the metatarsals (the bones in your feet). This can compress the nerves in the foot leading to temporary numbness. Lots of hill climbing can also create more pressure on the foot and create further tension across the joints.

What you can do: Check your shoe size and make sure they are a comfortable fit and not too tight. Additionally, having a good look at the placement of your pedal cleats and making sure that the pressure is directed to the ‘ball’ of your foot can help reduce tension across the metatarsals. If you have been riding lots of hills or training for a hill climb, try and vary some rides so to alleviate some pressure build up whilst out on the bike.

9. Saddle Sore

Symptoms: A real pain the backside. Soreness between the contact area of your buttock and the saddle.

Common Causes: Skin irritation from an increased in friction between the buttock and the saddle. Often from a poorly fitting saddle or old or inadequately padded cycling shorts.

What you can do: Head to your local bike shop and try out some different saddles to see which one is a good fit. Double check your saddle height and angle to ensure you aren’t creating pressure points. If the saddle is angled too far upwards, it can increase the side to side movement in the pelvis increasing friction. Invest in a new pair of shorts and some chamois cream to reduce the build-up of friction on the skin.

10. AC Joint Sprain

Symptoms: Pain on the top of the shoulder around the tip. There can be a raised area above the joint where the capsule has been damaged.

Common causes: Falling onto an outstretched hand from your bike can transmit the force through your arm up into your shoulder, where the joint capsule can be strained.

What you can do: First point of call after any major trauma or fall with prolonged pain should be to consult a healthcare professional. Depending on the grade of the sprain with affect what can be done about it. This can range from manual therapy to surgery.

An Osteopath can assess, diagnose and put you on the right treatment/ rehabilitation plan. If you would like help please call: 07908415376 and speak to Hannah.
​#hbosteopathy #abshotosteos #osteopathyforhealth