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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


Driving Home For Christmas

Posted on 22nd December 2016 by

As the festive season is upon us many will find themselves with long car journeys ahead to visit loved ones. However hours spent in the car in a poor posture coupled with the stress and anxiety of traffic jams can leave us getting out the car feeling 10 years older!

We can’t do much about the traffic jams (sorry!) but getting your car set up well and following a few simple tips can make the journey much more pleasant, leaving you pain-free to enjoy the festivities.

Car Set Up 

The degree of adjustment available to you in your car will depend on it’s make, model and year but most modern vehicles will have an array of buttons and levers to play with.

  • Start with seat height – make sure you’ve got maximum vision of the road over the steering wheel but not so high your heads touching the roof!
  • Move the seat forward so that you can fully depress the clutch and accelerator without overstretching the legs
  • Adjust the seat tilt so that your thighs are supported but you don’t feel pressure behind the knees
  • Adjust the backrest so that you have contact right from the lower back up to shoulder height – try to make sure you are quite upright so that you don’t end up slouched in the seat with your neck craning forwards
  • Adjust the steering wheel height so that your arms are in a relaxed position
    Adjust the head rest so that its level with the back of the head

You may need to re-adjust your position as you move other things so play around with it until you feel comfortable and supported. It’s worth spending 5-10minutes doing this before a long journey to prevent hours of pain at the other end! Don’t forget to re-adjust your mirrors to suit once you are happy with your set up.

Lumbar support

If your car doesn’t have adequate lumbar support consider purchasing an addition lumbar roll to Lumbar rollsupport your lower back. Place this in the small of your back, just above your pelvis. You can also use a rolled up hand towel for this. We stock a range of lumbar supports at the clinic and can advise which style or shape is best for you.

Driving time

Make sure you stop at least every 2 hours – more if you have a pre-existing neck or back complaint. Get out of your vehicle and walk around for a few minutes. Stretch out your neck, roll your shoulders and gently rotate your trunk from side to side. Whilst driving use natural pauses such as red traffic lights to gently stretch out the neck or tilt the pelvis back and forth to relieve any tension.

Heat patches

If you’ve already got an ache or pain in your back or neck try using stick on heat patches to ease heat pack the pain whilst you’re driving. Remember these stick to the inside of your clothes rather than to your skin, but they stay hot for around 10 hours so should get you through the longest of journeys. We stock these and other forms of heat at the clinic if you need one urgently.

When you arrive

Stretch when you get out the car, try to move around for a while or go for a walk rather than swapping the car seat straight for the sofa. But try to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise immediately after getting out the car until you’ve loosened up a bit.


Tension Headaches: Causes & Solutions

Posted on 14th November 2016 by

A tension headache is the most common type of primary chronic headache, affecting around 3% of the general population and accounting for 40% of headaches seen within a specialist headache clinic.

They are more common in young adults but can occur at any age. They are often linked to periods of high stress or emotional distress.

A tension headache will often affect both sides of the head, with a tight band or vice like grip around the forehead. They can last from 30 minutes to several days, but on average will last 4-6 hours.

There tends to be a strong association with poor posture and often trigger points within the head and neck muscles will either cause or contribute to this type of headache.

There are a number of causes for developing tension headaches:

  • Stress
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor posture
  • Irregular meal times
  • Eyestrain
  • Teeth clenching/grinding (also known as Bruxism)
  • Prolonged uncomfortable positions

Tension headaches can be classified as either:

  • Episodic – fewer than 15 days within a month
  • Chronic – over 15 days a month for over 6 months

Physiotherapy can help address tension headaches with the following:

  • Postural rehabilitation
  • Strengthening weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Releasing trigger points
  • Easing tight muscles

If you suffer with the distress of regular headaches and think they may be tension headaches, get in touch. We’ll be able to carry out a full assessment to find out what issues may be causing your headaches.


Cervicogenic Headaches: Causes & Solutions

Posted on 12th November 2016 by

Cervicogenic headaches are the most common secondary type of headaches and are defined as a

“referred pain perceived in any region of the head caused by a primary source in the musculoskeletal tissues innervated by cervical nerves”

In more simple terms, these headaches are caused by a problem within the neck.

This source of pain can be any structure in the neck/head area, including:

  • Cervical joints (the little joints in the neck)
  • Ligaments
  • Muscles
  • Discs

Cervicogenic headaches affect 1-2% of the general population and account for 15-20% of headaches seen within a specialist headache clinic. They tend to affect middle aged people more often, but can occur at any age. They are 4 times more common in women than men.

The pain can either be a dull ache or a more piercing pain, deep within the neck and head. It will often start at the base of the skull and radiate up over the top of the head. This headache can last from a few hours to several days. In some more severe cases, it can be a constant unremitting pain.

They tend to be aggravated by:

  • Neck movements
  • Awkward head positions
  • Poor posture

Cervicogenic headaches are a common symptom of neck trauma – around 60% of whiplash cases will report cervicogenic headaches.

They are also often associated with additional symptoms:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Referred shoulder & arm pain

Physiotherapy & massage can help address tension type headaches with the following:

  • Postural rehabilitation
  • Strengthening weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Releasing trigger points
  • Easing tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

 


The Prevalence of Headaches: Types and Causes

Posted on 10th November 2016 by

We often get patients coming into the clinic complaining of headaches. This blog series will look at the prevalence of headaches – what causes them, how they are classified and then will look at some of the more common types of headaches in more detail and how Physiotherapy can help with managing and resolving these.

Most of us have experienced a headache previously – the World Health Organisation has reported that:

  • 75% of adults aged 18-65 have experienced a headache in the last year
  • 47% of adults have experienced an episode of headache disorder – recurrent or prolonged headaches – in the last year
  • Around 30% of adults reported suffering from a migraine in the last year
  • Around 4% of adults report having a headache for over 15 days each month, known as Chronic Daily Headaches

These figures show us that headache disorder is a worldwide issue and they are ranked as the 3rd highest cause of ‘years lost due to disability’. Migraine on its own is the 6th highest cause. Headaches tends to affect women more than men – for example, for every one male reporting Chronic Daily Headaches, three women will be affected.

Headaches can be triggered by a number of factors:

  • Mechanical issues – poor posture, neck position, working habits
  • Hormones – likely why more women report headaches than men
  • Stress levels
  • Medication induced – known as ‘medication overuse’
  • Teeth grinding
  • External factors – smell, bright lights, pressure and humidity

Headaches can also be classified into either primary or secondary.

  • Primary headaches are benign, often recurrent but are not caused by an underlying disease or structural problem. Tension type headaches are the most common type of primary headaches.
  • Secondary headaches are a result of an underlying disease or structural issue, such as infection, head injury, vascular problems or spinal issue. Cervicogenic (neck based) headaches are the most common type of secondary headaches.

Both tension type and cervicogenic headaches are types of mechanical headaches and can be helped greatly with Physiotherapy intervention.

If you suffer with headaches and would like help in tackling them, give us a call on 023 8025 3317 and find out if we can help.


5 Tips for Working at your laptop pain-free

Posted on 9th November 2016 by

Flexible working, working on the move, working from home and the advances in technology mean that more and more people use a laptop for their work. But ergonomically, laptops aren’t great for working on and overtime can cause issues.

So, here’s a few tips to help keep back, neck, shoulder and arm pain at bay.

  1. Use a laptop riser. There are multiple types available varying from small and inexpensive to large and more expensive. This will allow you to adjust your screen height to the correct level preventing back and neck pain.
  2. Get a separate keyboard. This will allow you to have your screen at the correct height without compromising on optimal keyboard level. A wireless keyboard is often a better option as it avoids being restrictive due to cables.
  3. Work at an adjustable desk allowing you to sit or stand. Recently, there have been desk risers released which sit on top of a normal desk, are height adjustable themselves and have separate spaces for both your keyboard and mouse, and laptop enabling correct posture when using all equipment.
  4. Posture – sitting and standing upright while looking straight ahead will reduce the risk of back and neck injuries which arise from prolonged periods of poor posture.
  5. Try using the keyboard and its shortcuts more than the tracker pad or mouse. This will reduce the risk of overuse injury to your shoulder and arm.

Lap top ergonomics


‘Shake Up September’ Workplace Challenge

Posted on 5th September 2016 by

Shake Up September Workplace Challenge

Companies and organisations across the UK are invited to take part in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ this month, in a campaign named ‘Shake Up September’. The aim of the programme is to promote sport, physical activity and health improvements across the UK’s workplaces.

With both the Olympics & Paralympics fresh in people’s minds, the Workplace Challenge aims to encourage employees to bring physical activity into the workplace by trying out as many Olympic or Paralympic sports as possible throughout this month.

Why get active in the workplace? 

We spend up to 60% of our waking hours at work and an estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, according to Public Health England. To help combat the issue, Workplace Challenge, seeks to inspire businesses and encourage workers to get active in and around the working day.

Inspired by Team GB, workers are being urged to sign up to Workplace Challenge for free and try at least five different sports throughout ‘Shake Up September’. The more activities they log via the Workplace Challenge website or mobile app, the more points they will earn for their workplace as they go for gold on a national challenge leaderboard – with prizes on offer for winning individuals and workplaces, plus spot prizes available for those who get active and get involved with the challenge.

County Sports Partnerships across England will also be running local events and activities, as well as offering a host of online offers with local businesses and National Governing Bodies covering a wide range of sports.

Research has shown that physical activity can boost morale, communication, lift team spirit, increase productivity and reduce the number of sickness absence days taken. From our point of view, being active in the workplace can really help prevent and minimise any work related injuries such as back pain, neck pain and overuse injuries or repetitive strains.

The site also has some great resources and ideas for helping encourage activity in the workplace, such as the Flexible Lunch Break Manifesto.

So, download your Sports Bingo card, sign up and get active!

#ShakeUp2016


Using Your Tablet Without Pain

Posted on 30th August 2016 by

Tablets are now an integral part of many peoples daily lives. We work, read, shop, socialise and watch TV on them. They’ve got lighter and more portable, so are easy to use single handed and for long stretches of time. But with this great device comes some inherent problems.

Using a tablet can put immense strain on your back, neck, shoulders are arms, which can cause pain and overuse injuries.

  1. Avoid staying in 1 position for long periods of time, instead, adjust positions regularly and move around a bit so that you’re neck, shoulders, arms or hands aren’t having to hold a sustained position. It’s recommended to change position at least every 15 minutes.
  2. Hold your device at eye level which helps keep your neck in a neutral position. Always looking down at your tablet overstretches the back of your neck putting you at risk or neck pain and headaches.
  3. Limit how long you’re using your tablet for. Sounds obvious, but maybe use a timer or an app which helps you time your tablet use. Before you know it you can rack up hours on a tablet which can lead to considerable stress on your body.
  4. Use a stand and key pad to optimise the set up of your device. There are lots of accessories available to use with tablets. These can be used to help you set your device up more like a desktop, where you can use ergonomic principles to help minimise the risk to your body.
  5. Balance tablet use with other activities. If you’ve been on your tablet for a while, have a break and get up and do some stretches, rotating your shoulders and stretching your neck. If you can, go for a brisk walk.

Tablets and mobile devices are likely to continue to grow in popularity, so being mindful about their use and the effects on your body is crucial.


How having acupuncture at goPhysio helped my neck pain & stiffness

Posted on 26th August 2016 by

My name is Martin and I’m a local sales manager, who commutes for a living & works a lot on the laptop. During a recent very busy period at work I suddenly developed a really stiff & painful neck. I was commuting hundreds of miles & nothing would ease the pain.

Then through the recommendation of a friend I went to see Paul at goPhysio. Paul used what he called ‘myofascial acupuncture’. This involved targeting the needles at the source of my pain. He also gave me confidence that it was OK to move my neck and some exercises to help get it moving again. Within only a couple of sessions the treatment relieved all my muscle spasm & pain, much to my delight. Without Paul’s treatment I think my neck would have got stiffer and stiffer and the pain would have got worse. He gave me lot’s of advice how to prevent it becoming a problem again too – thinking about my driving and working on my computer especially.

I don’t hesitate to recommend goPhysio now to anyone in pain!


10 Ways to Keep Your Neck Pain Under Control

Posted on 29th June 2016 by

Neck pain is a very common complaint. We see dozens of people every week at our clinic in Chandlers Ford, suffering from various degrees of neck pain. Rarely is it very serious and there are very effective treatments that we can use to help resolve the problem quickly.

Whilst physiotherapy treatment can help neck pain very effectively, it is very important that you learn to help control and manage the problem yourself too or better still, take steps to help prevent it occurring in the first place.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Sustained poor postures can cause and re-aggravate neck pain. Learn how to maintain a good posture during common activities such as reading, watching TV, sleeping and working. This will reduce neck strain. More importantly, don’t stay in any one position for too long – shuffle and move about. It’s sustaining one position for lengthy periods of time that can cause neck issues.
  2. Overuse can over-stress the neck structures. Performing the same activity repetitively is unwise. Try to break up and vary your activity from time to time. Examples when overuse can be a problem include painting, writing, gardening, practising your sport (e.g. tennis, golf), lifting & work activities.
  3. Poor muscle control in your neck may lead to fatigue and overuse of other muscles in the area. Strengthening your neck muscles can help you control your neck problem. We will always provide you with an exercise programme designed specifically for you to help strengthen the right muscles if needed.
  4. Treatment can often help if you’ve got neck pain. Arrange to see someone when problems arise or if your neck begins to deteriorate. Don’t leave it until problems become severe. Some people find a regular massage can be helpful.
  5. Heat & massage are useful self treatment techniques. Heat & massage often helps ease muscle spasm or tension.
  6. Regular breaks are important. Try to divide your activities into small chunks and have breaks in between. Performing gentle stretches and range of movement exercises (as advised by your physio) can be very useful during these breaks. Also, get up and walk around regularly.
  7. Your chair is very important. Make sure you have a good chair for work, study or when at the computer. Your chair should have a good lower back support, height adjustment and adjustable arm rest. You could even think about having a height adjustable desk so that you vary your work between sitting and standing.
  8. Computer height is important. The monitor should be at eye level and not too far away. You shouldn’t have to twist your neck to use your computer. You should have a document holder, good light and the keyboard should be at elbow level. Your physio can provide specific guidelines about setting up your workstation properly.
  9. Avoid tension whilst working. When you are tense or you are over using the wrong muscles it will put increased stress on your neck. An example of this tension is when you shrug your shoulders and hold this position. You will feel the tension in your neck. When you relax from this ‘shrugged’ position and let your shoulders drop down and relax. This reduces the tension. Learn to relax those ‘shoulder-neck’ muscles.
  10. Improve your neck flexibility. Reduce neck stiffness by stretching tight neck muscles and joints. A stiff neck is less able to withstand strain and loading. Have your physio show you what exercises are best for you.

If you’re suffering with neck problems and want to take control, get in touch with us at goPhysio – we can carry out a full assessment to help you understand your neck issues and create a bespoke recovery plan to not only relieve your symptoms but give you long lasting recovery. If you need any advice, give us a call on 023 8025 3317 or you can book an appointment online.

Here are some general neck exercises that are great to help ward off neck pain.

Neck Exercises and Tension Relief