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Avoid Bank Holiday Gardening Pains

Posted on 10th April 2017 by

With the 4 day Easter weekend upon us and coinciding with National Gardening Week, it’s that time of year to get out in that garden, tackle those Avoid gardening painweeds and start to prepare for the nicer weather – whether it’s out of choice or because someone has nagged you to do it!

Here are our top tips to avoid injury, whether you’re gardening, painting the shed or washing the patio!

Warm up before starting

You wouldn’t go for a run or start a gym workout without warming up your body – so make sure you do the same before you start work. Go for a brisk walk around the garden, get the blood circulating round your body & do a few gentle stretches to loosen your muscles before you start that weeding!

Cool down when you finish

Same as tip number one – make sure you wind down to a stop and do some more gentle stretches when you finish to stop your muscles stiffening up after your activity. Don’t just sit down and admire your hard work (as tempting as it might be!).

Pace yourself!

With a 4 day weekend, it’s tempting to do all the work in one day to keep the rest of your time free – but this could lead to overworked and over strained muscles and joints. Spread your jobs out evenly over the weekend and build up to the harder jobs.

Variety is key

Try to avoid spending time in prolonged positions – by varying your tasks, you will limit the strain you put on each body part. For example, do 30 minutes of weeding, 30 minutes of digging and then 30 minutes of mowing the lawn. Put some mini breaks in between each job to have a rest, stretch and drink.

Avoid twisting

Keep your feet facing the same way as your hips and shoulders – this stops any rotational strain through your body. Stand straight as you mow the lawn or push a wheelbarrow and keep everything you need close by to avoid twisting to reach it.

Keep everything at the correct height

If you are working at a bench, make sure you don’t have to crouch or stretch to reach it – this could put extra strain on your back. If you’re working at a height, use a ladder or step to stop straining your neck by looking up for long periods.

Lift with your knees, not your back

When lifting heavy objects, make sure to bend your hips and knees to help support your back. Holding the object closer to your body will also help reduce any extra strain – so make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!

If you do injur yourself – don’t panic! Have a look back at our previous blogs on using heat vs ice and the ‘POLICE’ method of self treatment. If in doubt, give our friendly Patient Care Team a call and book an appointment with one of Physiotherapists at goPhysio. We’ll be able to assess, diagnose and treat any injury and give you the best advice on how to treat and prevent another episode!

You can also book an appointment online over the bank holiday.


 


New Exercise Guide For People With MSK Conditions From Arthritis UK

Posted on 15th March 2017 by

A new report has been launched, ‘Providing physical activity interventions for people with musculoskeletal conditions’ by Arthritis Research UK.

The report highlights that physical activity is a key part of a public health approach to musculoskeletal conditions and it has a range of benefits for people with musculoskeletal conditions in terms of improving quality of life and supporting people to be independent.

Musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis and back pain, are the greatest cause of pain and disability in the UK. They’re the reason why so many people seek out our help at our physiotherapy clinic in Chandlers Ford day in, day out. As physiotherapists, exercise and activity has always played a key part in our treatment and recovery programmes, so it’s great to see this being highlighted and the recommendations supported.

Exercise can reduce joint and back pain by 25% while also improving sleep, managing stress and reducing depression, anxiety and dementia.

Physical activity is a broad term. It doesn’t have to be thought of as officially exercising or playing a sport. It can include all forms of activity, such as everyday walking or cycling, … active play, work-related activity, active recreation such as working out in a gym, dancing, gardening or playing active games, as well as organised and competitive sport.

What the report does highlight, is that a one size fits all approach is not appropriate. People with different MSK conditions will have huge variations in their physical ability, levels of disability and also lifestyles. This is where a skilled health professional, such as a physiotherapist would come in, to help advise on and tailored physical activity for the best outcomes.

How can physiotherapy help with physical activity?

  • Advise on a specific exercise programme tailored to your condition and lifestyle. As part of our service we always provide a customised exercise programme, including clear explanations and videos, which we email to you.
  • Help you modify your daily activity so that you can stay physically active, balancing activity with your condition, pain levels and physical abilities.
  • Give you confidence to be physically active. With our support and knowledge we will empower you not to be afraid of being physically active.
  • Help you manage your pain so you can stay physically active. We give you the tools to help manage and work with any pain you may be experiencing, as well as using our physiotherapy skills to help ease your pain.

Read more about arthritis and how physiotherapy can help here:

An overview of arthritis

How can physiotherapy help with arthritis?

The importance of lean muscle mass

In addition to our one to one physiotherapy service, we offer a range of other services to help support your physical activity and wellbeing if you’re managing an MSK condition. This includes our specialist Physio led Pilates classes, which are a great way to exercise gently and safely under the supervision of a physiotherapist. We are also introducing clinical yoga and Positive Steps, a supervised exercise class specifically for over 60’s keen improve and stay active.

If you need any help with your MSK condition, please do give us a call on 023 8025 3317 or book an appointment online.


physical activity older adults


Common Triathlon Injuries

Posted on 31st January 2017 by

Triathlon is a highly demanding discipline, consisting of swimming, cycling and running. It’s an endurance sport which requires suppleness, agility, flexibility and strength throughout the whole kinetic chain, all of which take their toll on the athlete.

Triathletes commonly train between 10-15 hours per week, so injury is normally due to overuse of the body. Additionally, due to the time expended training and competing, participants tend to get less time to recover or sleep as they fit in intensive training regimes around work and/or home commitments. It is particularly important, therefore, to be in the best of health. Eating a high protein diet, facilitating better recovery and building muscle mass, is a smart way to stay ahead.

Common triathlete injuries

Knee Injuries are very common in triathletes, they can be caused by:

  • The excessive forces generated from poor knee over pedal spindle position when cycling, leading to patello-femoral mal-tracking & patellar tendonopathies.
  • The excessive rotational forces through the knee caused by a poor technique in swimming, causing ligament sprains, cartlidge or meniscal problems.
  • Overuse soft tissue injuries caused by excessive heel strike or flattened foot arches, when running i.e. Achilles tendonopathies, shin pain, ilio-tibial band friction syndrome.

Tendonopathies Achilles tendonopathies are one of the most common tri-athlete injury. The achilles tendon tends to shorten on the bike and when transitioning into running, is over-stretched and over time, it becomes overloaded and injured.

Ligament Sprains Affect mainly knees and ankles, sustained through trauma when falling, twisting or landing awkwardly.

Muscle Tears These commonly occur within the explosive accelerating muscles of the lower limb. They frequently occur at the start of a speed or hill session (with inadequate warm-up) or as a runner becomes fatigued towards the end of a session.

Shoulder Injuries 60% of swimming injuries are related to the shoulder, due to repetitive excessive over-rotation and constant overloading of the joint and muscles. This causes impingement (trapping of the soft tissue against the bone), rotator cuff tendonopathies, sub-acromial bursitis, or muscle imbalance, trigger points or an unstable joint.

Neck and Shoulder Injuries With poor alignment on the bike, over-stretching and reaching can cause a build-up of tension within the neck joints and muscles, causing facet joint stiffness, myofascial trigger points, disc injuries and nerve entrapment.

Back Injuries The lumbar spine is often affected, due to the sustained, unnatural flexed position of the cyclist. Long-term overuse lumbar facet joint and disc conditions often occur, as do chronic muscle imbalances, trigger points and painful protective muscle spasm.

Foot and Ankle Injuries Poor running technique (excessive heel strike) or flattened foot arches, can result in shin pain, achilles tendonopathies, ilio-tibial band friction syndrome and back injuries.

Many of the common triathlon injuries can be prevented through education and body conditioning. Making sure you are aware of injury risks and crucially, taking steps to avoid them is the best course of action. This includes:

  • Warming up effectively
  • Being aware of any personal ‘risk’ areas i.e. tightness, weakness, imbalances – and more importantly dressing these
  • Using the right equipment, set up in the best way for you
  • Working on your technique
  • Balancing training with rest and recovery
  • Mixing up your training with other activities, such as Pilates
  • Not ignoring any niggling injuries that may build up

If you suffer with an acute injury or have developed an overuse injury, get in touch with us at goPhysio. Our team of Physio’s are well equipped to help you overcome your injury and build long term, physical durability to help stop you suffering an injury again – getting the best enjoyment from your triathlon!

Read more on cycling injuries, running injuries and runners knee.

 

 


Low Back Pain & Sciatica – The Latest NICE Guidelines

Posted on 20th January 2017 by

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published new guidelines on best management of low back pain. This includes both people with ‘simple’ back pain (localised to the back) and those with referred pain (sciatica) which can affect the nerves down one leg. These guidelines are based on latest evidence and expert analysis of what is the best course of action for people with low back pain.

Here’s how we’re putting them into practice at goPhysio

Assessment

When you come to see us with back pain we will do a thorough assessment by asking a number of questions to find out more about your pain and to rule out any ‘red flag’ conditions. These red flags can indicate serious pathology such as cancer, infection, trauma, inflammatory conditions or Cauda Equina Syndrome. Thankfully these conditions are rare but if we have any suspicion we will referral you on to the appropriate speciality for further investigations without delay.

We will do a complete back examination to assess how the joints, muscles and nerves are functioning. We know there are a number of factors that can influence your recovery both positively and negatively so our staff are undergoing further training on use of the STarT Back Risk Assessment tool. This will help us identify those who are at risk of poorer outcomes and ensure that we tailor our treatment to address these factors.

Treatment

Self-management education is a vital aspect of treatment for any patient. We help you to understand why you have pain and what steps you can take to reduce it – both during an acute flare up of pain but also long term strategies or simple changes you can make to your lifestyle which will help your back.

Your treatment will vary depending on the nature and cause of your pain, how severe it is and a variety of individual factors. Physiotherapy treatment may include manual therapy such as joint mobilisations or massage, alongside a personal exercise programme and advice on pain relief.

Research has shown that anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID’s) such as Ibruprofen or Naproxen are much better than paracetamol for back pain, however, for people that are unable to take NSAID’s or that find them ineffective, weak opioid medications such as Co-codamol can be recommended for simple back pain.

For acute sciatica your GP may recommend stronger ‘neuropathic’ pain medications which are much better for nerve pain (tingling/burning/shooting pain). Please note all medications have side effects and can interact with other medications you are already on or other conditions that you may have so please check with your GP or a pharmacist before taking any new medication.

What happens if you are not responding to treatment?

For acute sciatica you may be referred on to a spinal consultant, who in more severe cases can consider epidural injections or a spinal decompression surgery. However it is important to remember that this is never a first course of action as most episodes of sciatica resolve within 6-12 weeks. Your physio will help you decide when it is appropriate to be referred on depending on how you respond and recover.

Sometimes there are psychological factors affecting your rehabilitation such as depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. In this case your physio may recommend that you are referred on to a psychologist for cognitive-behavioural therapy. This is because we know that people with negative mood and health beliefs rarely respond well to usual treatment without first addressing these factors.

So if your pain is persistent or not responding to usual treatment it is important to seek professional help.

What about x-rays and scans?

X-rays are no longer routine for lower back pain unless there is the suspicion of a fracture (such as after a severe trauma or in people with osteoporosis). This is because it exposes you to radiation but does not often provide any useful information on how we should best treat your back. Likewise MRI’s are only needed to rule out serious spinal pathology or to help a consultant identify if a nerve in your back is being significantly compressed to warrant injection or surgery. The vast majority of this information your physio will be able to deduct from a thorough assessment.

Once an acute episode of back pain has eased off, we recommend continuing with exercise to help keep any further recurrences at bay. Research indicates that any form of exercise is great for people who’ve had back pain – being active and moving helps! many of our patients go on to our specialist Pilates classes. These are particularly beneficial as they are taken by our Physiotherapists, so they are well equipped to deal with any concerns or issues you may have with your back and can modify and progress the exercises for you individually. The classes are also small, so you aren’t lost in a sea of people struggling – you get individual care and attention. We run 16 classes a week, so there’s plenty of choice to fit in with your weekly commitments.

NICE back pain

If you’re suffering with back pain and want some peace of mind and reassurance that it’s nothing serious and help to get on the road to recovery, come and see one of our Physio’s at goPhysio. We make it easy for you, with appointments available 8am – 8pm and Saturday mornings, we can normally offer you an appointment within 24 hours, if not the same day. Just call one of our friendly Patient Services Team on 023 8025 3317 or book an appointment online.


Technology Pains

Posted on 23rd December 2016 by

With consumers set to shell out billions of pounds on gadgets such as smart phones, tablets and games consoles this this Christmas, how do you make sure your gift doesn’t turn into a pain in the neck?

Technology has revolutionised every aspect of modern life from how we communicate to how we do our shopping. However recent research has suggested we now spend as long as 5-8hours a day on our smart phones and tablets! These devices are designed mainly with portability in mind so many of us will be familiar with the stiff thumbs from tapping away on games consoles, the burning neck pain from looking down at your ipad for a couple hours and the achy back from curling up on your sofa with your laptop on your knees.

Here our top 3 tips to avoid these pains

  1. Limit technology time – set some simple boundaries like no gadgets at the dining table, switching off an hour before bed or no more than an hour at a time in front of a screen. Think about what you’re actually going online for – to complete a certain task or just as a distraction?
  2. Think about your posture – your head is the heaviest part of your body so looking down at a tablet for hours on end is sure to give you a sore neck. Instead try a laptop or tablet stand, ideally with an external keyboard to bring your screen up to eye level. For smart phones straighten your back and hold the phone higher.
  3. Stretch out after use – if you’ve over done it stretch out your neck muscles by gently rotating your head left and right and tilting it side to side several times, roll your shoulders and rotate your trunk left and right too. Use a heat pack or microwavable wheat bag to ease the tension and pain.

technology pain


16 Days To Go – Spiky Ball Countdown Giveaway & Some Great Exercises!

Posted on 3rd December 2016 by

Today we are giving away one of our favourites – a spiky ball! This ball can work wonders for easing off tight, sore muscles and areas of tension.

Ball Back Release 

This is a great exercise if you sit at a desk or drive a lot. It really helps to loosen up a stiff back and counteract the affects of being hunched over.

  1. ball-releaseSit at the wall with the ball at the bottom of the stiff upper back curve, feet planted firmly on the ground. Place your hands on your breastbone to guide the lift.
  2. Keeping the chin tucked, lift up with the breastbone to lever up over the ball. The head should move towards the wall ball-relesae-2because of the lift, but not because the neck has arched back.
  3. You can use a bit of a push up through the feet to encourage the lift.
  4. After loosening one level, move the tennis balls up a level and repeat. You can continue up to the top level of the upper back, but not into the low neck.

Plantar Fasciitis Ball Massage 

We often recommend self massage for the common foot complaint, plantar fasciitis. It really helps release the tightness and ease discomfort. Heres how:

planatr-fascia-ball

  1. Stand up and step on a hard ball with the foot.
  2.  Move the ball under your foot to find tender spots.
  3. Once you are on a tender spot, hold the position while applying pressure. You can hold the position as recommended to release the trigger point.
  4. Next, move to another tender area.

 


For your chance to win a very useful spiky ball, like or follow us on social media and share this post!


Clear Your Leaves with Care: Top Tips for Autumnal Gardening

Posted on 28th October 2016 by

Clear your leaves with careIt’s that time of year and you can’t avoid the carpet of leaves that covers our paths, gardens and walks. Many of the areas of fallen leaves can look beautiful and are an enjoyable part of this season. But inevitably they may need to be dealt with or cleared.

Over recent weeks on my travels in and around the very leafy suburb of Chandlers Ford, I’ve seen people mid leaf clearing. On more than one occasion my natural physio though process has screamed inside my head ‘caution – injury risk’!!

With the weekend upon us, I thought it may be wise to share some tips on how to protect your body and minimise any risk of picking up an injury if you’re planning on taking part in leaf clearing this weekend.

Tackle it in short bursts.

Don’t go out and try and clear large areas all in one go, Set a time limit, clear what you can and then go and do another activity for a while to take a break. Then return to it and do another short burst. Keep on top of the job over the autumn so you’re not clearing such a huge amount in one go.

Avoid bending forwards.

Postures like this place an immense amount of strain on your back, particularly if it’s repeated over and over again in a repetitive, lengthy task like picking up leaves.

Get help.

Share the task if you can, get the kids or grandchildren involved to get the job done quicker and share the physical burden.

Use the right tools.

A rake or broom is probably the simplest way or clearing leaves, moving the leaves into large piles and then using a shovel to lift into a wheelbarrow or bin for disposal.. Again, this is easier if you can have help to share the load. This technique is OK for small areas but if you have large areas to clear there are lots of other gadgets that can help. Leaf blowers are often seen being used. These can be great if you can blow them into an area like a compost that they won’t need to be moved or picked up. But if you still have to pick them up once they’re piled, you need to take care. Leaf blowers can be light weight but it’s still better to tackle in sort bursts to minimise any injury risk. You can also get lawn vacuums now, that will collect the leaves efficiently.

Think about your posture. 

If you do have to physically handle the leaves, it’s good to have in mind how a small child would naturally approach the task. They will instinctively crouch down, using their knees to bend to get close to the ground. As long as you haven’t got hip or knee issues, using the power of the large muscles in your legs to crouch down and collect the leaves will help protect your back.

Listen to your body. 

If you start to get a little niggle, your body will be feeling the physical strain of the task you are doing. Take a rest and give your body chance to recover. Don’t ignore pain, it’s a warning sign. Tackle the job again when the pain subsides. If you pick up more of a serious injury that does’t ease, seek professional advice. Gardening is a great form of activity but it can be very physically demanding.

Approach it like you would a sporting activity, ease in gradually, warm up for the task and don’t overdo it. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful season!


BackCare Awareness Week 2016

Posted on 3rd October 2016 by

This week, 3rd – 8th October 2016 is BackCare Awareness Week. The focus this year is ‘Caring for Back care Awareness WeekCarers’.

Carers provide invaluable help and assistance to their children, friends, relatives, and partners. It is estimated that there are around 7 million unpaid carers in the UK.

But what happens when their work leads to back pain, compromising their ability to care?

Back pain is endemic among carers: a 2011 survey found that 70% of carers experienced back and shoulder pain. This issue seriously affects the quality of life of those who should be most valued in our society, as well as impacting on their caregiving work, which saves the NHS and local authorities very significant sums of money.

BackCare Charity aims to significantly reduce the burden of back pain by providing information and education to all people and organisations affected by back pain and to fund scientific research into the causes, prevention and management of back pain.

If you’re a carer, you can download BackCare’s publication ‘A Carer’s Guid to the Safe Moving and Handling of People’.

Our Top Tips for a Healthy Back

  1. Try and exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be specific back exercises, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates – any regular movement will help to strengthen your back muscles. Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for all ages and strengthens your core muscles that support your spine.
  2. If you do feel some back pain, keep active and moving. Take a look at a previous blog for more advice as to what to do if you do get some back pain.
  3. Get specialist training on manual handling techniques to make sure you protect yourself and the person you are caring for. Use appropriate equipment to help you whenever possible but again, make sure you have the right training to use it correctly.
  4. Think about your posture. Avoid slumping or staying in 1 position for extended lengths of time. This puts undue stress on your body which can lead to issues.
  5. Rotate and pace your caring tasks if you can, break up heavier tasks with lighter ones or alternate with a walk. If you can get help to share your responsibilities or can find the opportunity to take a break, accept this help. Your body needs a chance to recover too.

If you do suffer with back pain, either a long term recurring problem or a severe one off episode, please do get in touch with us. We can help find out what’s going on and provide a comprehensive treatment programme to help your recovery and more important help you become more resilient to back pain in the future.


Back Pain Myth 3 – A scan will tell me exactly what’s wrong

Posted on 12th September 2016 by

To coincide with World Physiotherapy Day, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) have produced a series of evidence based myth busters to tackle the common myths surrounding back pain.

The CSP are busting myths about back pain and reinforcing what the latest evidence says is best for your back.

Back Pain Myth 3 – A scan will tell me exactly what’s wrong

There is a large and growing body of research that shows that not only do results of scans correlate poorly with symptoms in people with Low Back Pain, but also that most people without Low Back Pain have changes on scans and x-rays that do not cause any symptoms at all.

For these reasons and more, imaging alone isn’t capable of telling us exactly why someone is experiencing pain.

Of course this does not mean that all MRI scans are irrelevant in all cases, but it does mean that they are not always necessary or helpful. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that in some cases, having a scan can make situations worse.

Myth Busters Back Pain 3


References

Teraguchi et al, (2013) Prevalence and distribution of intervertebral disc degeneration over the entire spine in a population-based cohort: the Wakayama Spine Study.

Videman et al, (2003) Associations Between Back Pain History and Lumbar MRI Findings
Cheung et al, (2009) Prevalence and Pattern of Lumbar Magnetic Resonance Imaging Changes in a Population Study of One Thousand Forty-Three Individuals.

Endcan et al, (2011) Potential of MRI findings to refine case definition for mechanical low back pain in epidemiological studies: a systematic review.

Brinjikji et al, (2015) MRI Findings of Disc Degeneration are More Prevalent in Adults with Low Back Pain than in Asymptomatic Controls: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Webster et al, (2010) Relationship of early magnetic resonance imaging for work-related acute low back pain with disability and medical utilization outcomes.


Back Pain Myth 2 – I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

Posted on 9th September 2016 by

To coincide with World Physiotherapy Day, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) have produced a series of evidence based myth busters to tackle the common myths surrounding back pain.

The CSP are busting myths about back pain and reinforcing what the latest evidence says is best for your back.

Myth 2 – I should avoid exercise, especially weight training

Exercise is generally accepted amongst all respected authorities to be the best modality for treating low back pain in both the acute and chronic phases.

Studies have shown great benefits and long-term safety of various types of exercises, including high load resistance training.

Interestingly, no one type of exercise proves to be better or worse, so simply do what you enjoy and can tolerate! Gradually build up as your confidence and ability improves.

#StrongerForLonger

Back pain myth


References

O’Sullivan and Lin (2014) Acute low back pain Beyond drug therapies; Pain Management Today, Volume 1, Number 1.

Steele et al (2015) A Review of the Clinical Value of Isolated Lumbar Extension Resistance Training for Chronic Low Back Pain; American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 169–187.

Searle et al (2015) Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials; Clinical Rehabilitation 2015, Vol. 29(12) 1155 –1167.

Bjorn et al (2015) Individualized Low-Load Motor Control Exercises and Education Versus a High-Load Lifting Exercise and Education to Improve Activity, Pain Intensity, and Physical Performance in Patients With Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial; Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Volume:45 Issue:2 Pages:77-85.

Pieber et al (2014) Long-term effects of an outpatient rehabilitation program in patients with chronic recurrent low back pain; Eur Spine J 23:779–785.

Vincent et al (2014) Resistance Exercise, Disability, and Pain Catastrophizing in Obese Adults with Back Pain; Med Sci Sports Exerc. 46(9): 1693–170.

Smith et al (2014) An update of stabilisation exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 15:416 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-416