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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


Centering – The Building Block Of Pilates

Posted on 9th February 2017 by

One of the key element of Pilates is ‘setting your centre’. In every day speak that means getting all your deep abdominal & pelvic muscles working together in harmony! This action forms the basis of many Pilates exercises. It sounds easy but can take some practice to get it right!

Start by lying on your back in a rest position and finding a neutral spine position.

Pilates abdominal setting

Finding neutral spine position

  1. Place your thumbs in your belly button, your fingertips on the pubic bone and flatten the heels of your hands onto the bony pelvic bones to form a diamond shape – the pelvic diamond.
  2. Tilt the pelvic diamond away from you to exaggerate the arch in your lower back.
  3. Tilt the pelvic diamond towards you to flatten your back.
  4. Repeat these gentle tilting movement a few more times.
  5. Now position the pelvic diamond in the middle of these two positions – this is your neutral spine position.

Setting your centre with abdominals muscles

  1. Feel your deep abdominal corset by placing your fingertips on your bony pelvic bones and then sliding your fingertips in and down 4cm.
  2. Now imagine your deep abdominal muscles forming a natural corset, criss-crossing the torso in layers. There are 10 notches in this corset, below the belly button, just like a belt. Breathe in to prepare, breathe out all the way and before the next breath in slowly and gently draw in the muscular corset from below the belly button onto the third notch.
  3. You should feel the muscles under your fingertips subtly draw away.
  4. Hold your centre and keep breathing normally. Less is better – the contraction is very gentle so don’t over do it.

Setting your centre with pelvic floor muscles

  1. Gently draw your pelvic floor muscles in and up to hold your bladder from emptying.
  2. Now breathe normally and try to keep that engagement in your pelvic floor muscles.
  3. Now place your fingertips onto your deep abdominal muscles. You may also feel the muscles under your fingertips gently draw away – this is normal!

You should practice both the abdominal and pelvic floor elements and combining them.

Once you’ve mastered it laying down, you can also practice it standing up or sitting.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Pilates or coming along to one of our specialist rehabilitation Pilates classes, just give us a call on 023 8025 3317. We have a full timetable of classes, for all levels of ability.


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.


The Benefit Of Pilates For Winter Sports

Posted on 16th January 2017 by

Winter is upon us and with that, ski and boarding seasons are in fill swing!

We get lots of enquiries at the clinic about how best to prepare for skiing holidays and how to prevent the worst from happening with injuries.

In today’s blog, we’ll look at why preparing for your ski or snow boarding holiday is important and what Pilates is – if you haven’t come across it before

Ski holidays are a big commitment, both physically and financially. They are also time limited, so most people ski around 6-8 hours a day for 5-7 days in a row. This can be a huge increase in demands on your body if you normally sit in an office all day!

Pilates can help to prepare you for the slopes in many ways:

  • Helps to prepare the body for intense period of exercise
  • Reduces the risk of injuries
  • Improves fitness
  • Addresses muscle imbalances
  • Helps you make the most of your holiday!

Pilates is a low impact form of exercise, usually mat based, that centres around the idea of maintaining a strong ‘core’ during dynamic movement patterns. It works on improving balance, flexibility, muscle strength and posture. It incorporates elements of yoga, martial arts and Western forms of exercise.

So how does having a well trained ‘core’ help me on the slopes? 

There are 4 key elements that will help you during your time on the slopes – Posture, Alignment, Control & Muscle Balance.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, some people struggle to even stay upright! During this struggle their muscles are so tense and working so hard to keep them upright, thinking about posture goes out of the window!

Posture

A crucial part of winter sports is how you stand on your skis or board.

Incorrect posture will force your body to work much harder than it needs to, which is really inefficient. So, you’ll find that some of your muscles will tire much more quickly and your body will generally fatigue.

When you’re on your skis or board, your posture needs to be stable, yet easily adaptable to the dynamic nature of snow sports.

Pilates helps posture by educating the right postural muscles for you. It teaches postural muscles to work effectively and efficiently.

Alignment

This follows on from posture. Alignment is the relationship in your body between key areas like your head, shoulders, pelvis, hips, knees & ankles. So, if you were drawing a line between these key points like a dot to dot – there will be good and not so good patterns of alignment.

Learning to align your body in its optimal position, will reduce the strain on joints and muscles. Correct alignment will improve your control and balance.

We take it for granted, thinking our body will naturally do this, but a lifetime of postural stresses, injuries, sitting at desks, driving etc. will effect our optimal alignment. We may have tight weak muscles or even some that don’t ‘switch on’ when they’re needed.

Pilates really works to optimise your alignment, teaching all those bits of your body to work efficiently in relationship to each other. Being conscious of your alignment will carry over to your time on the slopes and you will reap the benefits in efficiency, endurance and preventing injury.

Control

Being able to control your body effectively allows you to make small changes without over or under compensating. This skill is vital in skiing and boarding. Reduced control results in working harder than you need to, overstraining the body.

All the moves and exercises in Pilates will challenge and educate body control. Practising control off the slopes will help it become second nature when you’re on the slopes! Let’s face it, when you’re hurtling down a slippery mountain with an equally slippery piece of equipment attached to your feet, a bit of control is a nice thing to have!

Muscle Balance

Muscle imbalances are common throughout the body and don’t always result in a problem. But if your body is being put under greater prolonged physical stress (like a week skiing!), imbalances can become problematic. Weak muscles can be forced to use increased tone or tension to help support them, which increases their work load. Other muscles can work overtime to try and compensate. As skiing/boarding is a whole body exercise, it’s important to address any imbalances you may have.

Pilates is a great form of exercise to do this, that really works the whole body. When practising Pilates exercises you can quickly find out which areas are weak or tight!! It will really teach those ares to work and address any compensations your body is making.

So, how exactly can Pilates can help prevent injuries and keep me safe during my trip!

All of the points above are vital injury prevention tips – correct posture and alignment, better control and well balanced muscles will all reduce the risk of injury.

Any area of the body can be injured when skiing, as it’s a whole body sport. This includes joints, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons. An injury can vary from a minor muscle strain to a major bone/joint injury such as fracture or dislocation.

Pilates specifically can help you:

  • Maintain control
  • Improve balance – reducing the risk of falling
  • Distribute the load evenly throughout your body – reducing the risk of overworked muscles
  • Increase your flexibility – helping you maintain the correct posture and stance
  • Improve your dynamic movement control – allowing you to adapt to your terrain

Pilates will give you the skills needed to have a safe and enjoyable time away – plus it’s a great form of exercise all year round! The benefits are transferrable to everyday life and exercise too, not just extreme winter sports.

If you’re interested in experiencing for yourself how Pilates can benefit you, come and join one of our classes. We run an extensive timetable of classes, including daytime, evening and Saturday mornings – with a range of levels to suit all.

The goPhysio Team also have some top tips to help reduce the risk of injury on the slopes

Fiona – Listen to your body! Don’t keep going if you feel like you need a break.

Kim – Get any pre-exisiting injuries treated BEFORE you go – don’t leave it until the last minute! You really wouldn’t believe the number of people we see at the clinic a few days before they’re due to go skiing, who’ve had an injury for ages and call us in desperation (normally looking for a knee brace to solve their problem!). Think ahead!!

Paul – Pace yourself throughout the day and have regular breaks to top up energy levels with a hot chocolate!

Sarah – Just in case……make sure you have some insurance to cover any injuries or illnesses while you’re away.

We hope you have a safe & happy holiday!

p.s. Obviously, some injuries are totally unavoidable. So if you do find yourself heading home not quite in one piece, we’re here to help you recover too. You can book an appointment online or give us a call. We aim to offer you an appointment within 24 hours, if not the same day so you can get sorted without delay. All our team are keen skiers or boarders, so know exactly what you’re talking about.


A Pair of Pilates Socks Up For Grabs Today

Posted on 14th December 2016 by

Pilates Socks Chandlers Ford5 days to go and today is another chance to win a pair of Pilates socks.

The APPI Pilates Sock has been designed with a non-slip sole and a seamless toe. The APPI Pilates sock helps with balance, control and gripping of equipment, floor surfaces, and mats.

The Socks design also includes ‘unique reflexology points’ on the sole of the foot.

Just like and share this post for your chance to win!


Day 14 – Win a 1-2-1 Pilates Session Today

Posted on 14th December 2016 by

Pilates Chandlers Ford

1-2-1 pilates session up for grabs!

In recent years, Pilates has become recognised as one of the most effective ways to maintain a pain free life.

Our specialist, Physiotherapist led classes, will help you learn how to move efficiently, giving you strength, control and physical durability. Enthusiastic exercisers, Mum’s to be, the elderly and anyone that values their body, can all benefit from Pilates. If you’re recovering from injury it’s an excellent form of rehabilitation, training your body to ‘move better’, preventing re-occurrences.

We offer a range of classes to suit all abilities. All of our courses are progressive and encourage you to develop at your own pace. Classes are run 6 days a week, including evenings and a Saturday morning, so it’s easy to find a class that fits in with your diary. Take a look at our latest time table for the current class times.

Unlike other Pilates classes in the area, our instructors are all also qualified Physiotherapists. You’ll benefit from the small class size and the individual attention and expertise the Physio provides, guiding and progressing you through your tailored programme, enhancing your performance.

Like and share the post today and you could win a free 30 minute 1-2-1 pilates session!


Day 13 Countdown Giveaway – Win a Pair of Pilates Socks

Posted on 6th December 2016 by

APPI Pilates socks For today’s countdown giveaway, we’ve got a pair of APPI Pilates socks. These socks are perfect for your Pilates class, offering warmth, comfort and grip.

The APPI Pilates Sock has been designed with a non-slip sole and a seamless toe. The APPI Pilates sock helps with balance, control and gripping of equipment, floor surfaces, and mats.

The Socks design also includes ‘unique reflexology points’ on the sole of the foot.

Like and share for your chance to win!


Christmas Drop-In Pilates Classes

Posted on 1st December 2016 by

Be one of the first to experience our fantastic new Pilates Studio in Chandlers Ford by joining our Christmas drop-in Pilates classes.

We have a range of classes on offer. It’s a great opportunity to take some extra classes whilst you’ve got some time off, try Pilates if you’ve never done it before or give it a go before signing up for a course in 2017.

All classes are taken by one of our Physiotherapists, the classes are small and supportive and will be held in our brand new, spacious, air conditioned studio.

To book a place on an of the classes (just 1 or as many as you like!), pop into the clinic (45 Bournemouth Road until 16th December, 11 Bournemouth Road from 19th December) and book your place. Payment is required in advance to secure your place as places in the class are limited.

Christmas Pilates goPhysio

 

 

 


 


Improving Flexibility: Yoga From A Physio’s Perspective

Posted on 28th November 2016 by

Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor, Gemma, recently attended a specialist yoga course for Physiotherapists. On this blog she gives a great overview of yoga and also highlights how it compares to Pilates.

Yoga combines movement, meditation and awareness of breathing through a sequence of exercises. This has many positive effects on the body from improving flexibility and strength, to aiding relaxation, body awareness and self-discipline.

Although originating in India, some 5000 years ago and linked with Hinduism and Buddism, Yoga is a non-religious practice and has been adapted into an exercise class format by Western cultures.

Is it different from Pilates?

Yoga and Pilates share many similarities and some of the exercises are indeed identical. However the philosophy and focus are different. Pilates works on training the core muscles, developing stability and improving normal posture. Whereas yoga focusses more on improving flexibility and mind-body awareness; tending to be a more flowing sequence of movements.

Which is better for me?

Generally if you are very bendy (hypermobile), Pilates will be better for you to help gain stability and strength through your joints, and if you’re stiff yoga is great to improve flexibility. However both types of class can be adapted to suit you so a lot of it comes down to personal preference.

What are the health benefits of yoga? 

Yoga can help improve:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Prevent falls
  • Help with arthritis
  • Reduce lower back pain
  • Reduce depression, anxiety and stress levels

Do I have to do headstands?!

No! Headstands are just one exercise from a branch of traditional yoga poses known as ‘inversions’ but other inversions can include simply laying on your back with your feet up against a wall which is much more achievable for most of us!

How hard is it?

Yoga can be as hard as you want it to be… from pure meditation and breathing to an aerobic sweat-inducing power yoga class and everything in-between!

Yoga can be done by people of all ages; from adolescents to octogenarians it can have significant health benefits. It doesn’t matter how flexible you are or how good (or bad) your balance is as all the exercises can be tailored, there are even chair based classes for those less able.

What are the different types of yoga?

There are many different forms, the most common are:

  • Hatha yoga – a simple, slow class of postures
  • Vinyasa – a faster flowing sequence of poses
  • Ashtanga – an intense and athletic ‘pure’ form of yoga postures
  • Hot yoga/Bikram yoga – done in a heated room up to 32degrees C
  • Sivananda – slow, gentle and spiritual, focusing on 12 main poses, breathing, meditation, proper diet and mindfulness

Is it better to do a class rather than use a DVD/Youtube video?

Whilst the internet has a wealth of classes online and DVDs can be a good way of keeping up practice at home, the only way to make sure you’re doing the exercises safely and correctly is to come to a class with a trained yoga instructor. They will also be able to guide you through exercises of the right level, help you develop correct breathing techniques and teach you modifications where necessary to prevent injury.

Gemma is incorporating yoga into her rehabilitation programmes where her patients will benefit. You can read one of her success stories here.

Yoga Pilates


Should I plank during pregnancy? goPhysio Advice

Posted on 21st September 2016 by

There was a great question today over on twitter that I saw,

Should I keep doing planks now I’m pregnant?

Exercise during pregnancy is great. There are so many benefits, which we covered in a previous blog. But what’s important is that you do the right exercise for you and the stage of pregnancy you are at.

Planks probably aren’t the best type of exercise for you to do whilst pregnant. There are so many alternative exercises that are more suitable and appropriate that would still work the areas that a plank does. Many of these are Pilates based, working on deep abdominal and pelvic muscles but in a much gentler way. The trouble with a plank is that it’s a fairly intense exercise and puts a lot of strain through your abdominals.

This work your abdominals really hard (the point of the exercise!) but your abdominals are already undergoing so many physical changes that planking may put too much exertion through them. The problem with doing inappropriate exercises is that you put yourself at greater risk of developing issues such as Diastasis Recti or pelvic girdle pain.

The general rule of thumb with exercise in pregnancy is if you’re already taking part regularly in an exercise pre-pregnancy, then it’s usually safe to continue this during pregnancy. So, if planks are a regular part of your exercise routine and you already have excellent strength and control in these areas, then modifying this exercise as part of your routine is likely to be OK. Just bear in mind the bigger your bump gets, the more strain those muscle are under. Most importantly, listen to your body. Don’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with and if in any doubt, seek advice from a suitably qualified professional.

The safest option is to join an exercise class that specifically focuses on pregnancy, under the guidance of a specially trained professional you can be rest assured that you are giving your changing body the best workout.