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Joint Focus: The Shoulder & Arm

Posted on 8th February 2017 by

Shoulder injuriesThe shoulder joins the arm to the trunk and is the most mobile, yet unstable joint in the body. It relies on a complex, synchronised pattern of muscle and joint interaction to maintain stability and function of the whole arm.

This excessive mobility is its main weakness, causing it to become easily injured through trauma, overuse or the cumulative effects of poor posture.

Common shoulder and arm injuries

Injuries we often see at goPhysio to the shoulder & arm include:

If you’re suffering with shoulder or arm pain and it’s stopping you doing what you love or being as active as you need to be, our team can help you. We offer a range of services from our clinic in Chandlers Ford, which can help identify & resolve your shoulder or arm problems and also address the prevention of such injuries.

If you want any advice, please do give us a call on 023 8025 3317 or you can book an appointment online.


Day 15 Countdown Giveaway – Ease Those Aches & Pains With A Massage Roller

Posted on 4th December 2016 by

Massage roller goPhysioAnother one of our favourites on today’s giveaway. Like us, follow us & share this post and you will be entered into a draw to win a massage roller.

These handy little rollers are great for easing tense, tight areas – they apply an even pressure and you can use it yourself or get someone to use it on your back, neck or shoulders. It saves their hands!

You can even put massage oil into it.


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


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.


The Effects of Pregnancy on the Body

Posted on 19th July 2016 by

We all know the obvious changes that your body goes through during pregnancy, but there are some less know changes that occur, sometimes without you even realising!

Almost all the systems in the body will undergo changes to help prepare you for the arrival of your new baby:

Soft Tissue Changes

  • The hormone Relaxin starts to be produced 2 weeks after conception and peaks at 12 weeks. It continues to be produced throughout pregnancy and the effects can last up to 3-6 months after delivery.
  • Relaxed muscles and ligaments are at an increased risk of injury, with an increased possibility of sprains and strains.
  • Conditions such as Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD) and Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) are also more common due to the increased elasticity of the joints, muscles and ligaments.
  • Muscles undergo adaptive length changes, to accommodate your increasing bump – with Rectus Abdominis (your tummy muscles) increasing by up to 50cm in length.
  • Due to the increased length, muscles can develop a ‘stretch weakness’ – putting you at a higher risk of injury.

Postural Changes

  • Pregnancy postural changesAs your baby grows, it causes your centre of gravity to shift forwards. To compensate and keep you balanced, your spinal posture will change.
  • As the image here shows, your thoracic spine will become more kyphotic or rounded. This leads to an increased lordosis or curve in your lumbar spine. This causes increased tension in your paraspinal muscles and reduced activity & strength of the gluteal muscles.

Circulatory System

  • Blood volume will increase to prepare for any loss during delivery and your heart rate will increase by 20 beats per minute (BPM) in the first trimester and by up to 50 BPM in the third trimester.
  • Blood vessels will increase in diameter to accommodate the additional blood volume, leading to low blood pressure. Lying flat on your back and changing position too quickly may also cause dizziness and feeling light headed.

Fluid Retention

  • In early pregnancy, this will show as increased weight, but will come increasingly more noticeable throughout the pregnancy. Hands, feet, ankles and lower legs tend to be most affected by fluid retention.
  • Fluid retention in the hands and arms can cause compression of the median nerve, leading to carpal tunnel symptoms.
  • Swollen feet and ankles may restrict your mobility – calf raises, ankle mobility and support/compression stockings can help.

Digestive System

  • Relaxin, a hormone to relax your ligaments for labour, causes a reduction in smooth muscle activity. This can lead to issues such as reflux, indigestion and heartburn. It can also slow your digestive tract down, leading to constipation.
  • Eating little and often may help, as well as staying hydrated and eating a high fibre diet.

physical changes to body

How Can Exercise Help?

First Trimester

This trimester is important for development of your baby, so gentle exercise focusing on activating your pelvic floor and core abdominal muscles is key. If you start off with good habits and postures, it will help the whole way through your pregnancy. Often, women can suffer quite badly with morning sickness, tiredness and a lack of energy at this stage of their pregnancy. Gentle exercise may help to improve mood, aid with sleep and keep your joints & muscles flexible.

Second Trimester

When you reach your second trimester, things will ease up – morning sickness will reduce and you will have more energy. Your body will now start to show physical signs of changing, with a bump becoming visible and you may find that your breasts are increasing in size – which may lead to tension and strain in the upper back. It is vital to keep exercising at this stage, continuing to strengthen your core and pelvic floor as your bump grows. Exercise will also help to reduce fluid retention, keep muscles stretched and make the most of your new found energy!

Third Trimester

Final stretch now! You may find that you feel tired and breathless now, with most women carrying an extra 12kg of weight. Continuing gentle exercise will help keep you moving and prepare you for delivery and the arrival of your new baby. Ensuring the core and pelvic floor muscles remain strengthened will help support your uterus and will also aid in your post natal recovery.

Pilates is a great way to stay active during your pregnancy. It is safe, low impact and helps to strengthen all the key core and pelvic floor muscles, along with strengthening your arms & legs to help prepare your body for carrying, lifting and holding your new arrival – plus the car seat, pushchair, nappy bag…!

Here at goPhysio, we run specialised Ante and Post Natal Pilates classes. These are run by one of our Physio’s Kim, who has undertaken specialist ante & post natal training to help make sure you exercise safely and effectively during and after your pregnancy.

You can look at our website for more information, or call our team on 023 8035 2217.


Help! I’ve got back pain – what should I do?

Posted on 16th July 2016 by

Sudden onset of back pain is not uncommon, we see dozens of people a month at goPhysio who come in with quite severe pain in their back. Often this has come on suddenly without any warning.

It can be quite a scary experience, especially when it comes on quite quickly and is quite an intense pain. However, in the majority of cases back pain isn’t anything too serious and when handled in the right way will resolve quickly.

So, if you wake up with back pain or suddenly suffer with pain in your back, what should you do?

  1. Try and keep moving. Even though moving may make the pain worse, it’s very important to keep moving. If you’re afraid to move and just stay in 1 position this will actually make your problem worse. Moving will help reduce muscle spasm and help act as a natural painkiller by de-sensitising the injured area.
  2. Use a heat pack or hot water bottle on your back. This will help reduce muscle spasm, relieve pain and make it easier to move about. 10-15 minutes every couple of hours is good.
  3. Try and do some back exercises every couple of hours (after you’ve used heat above is a good time).
  4. Take painkillers. Speak to your pharmacist about the best ones to take for you, but painkillers are worth taking as they will help ease the pain which will make moving easier.
  5. As the pain eases, build up what you are doing. When the pain is quite severe, you may have to modify what you do day to day to minimise aggravating your pain, but try and get back to ‘normal’ ASAP.
  6. If your pain isn’t easing after 3-5 days or is getting worse, come and see one of our Physio’s. We’ll do a full assessment to get to the bottom of what’s causing your problem and start a penalised recovery plan to get it better and stop it coming back too.

These simple exercises are a great way to gently get your back moving and help ease pain and tension.

Pelvic Tilt – lying on your back, gently tilt your pelvis backward and forwards, so you’re alternately arching and flattening your lower back. You can also try this in sitting or standing.

Exercises for back painBack pain exercise

Lumbar Rotations – lying on your back, gently rotate your knees from side to side as far as you feel comfortable.

Spinal rotation exercisesExercise for back pain

Back Stretch – lying on your back, gently bend one leg up towards you with your hands round your knee. Repeat with the other leg.

back stretch

What if it doesn’t get better? Back pain will often ease off over a few days. If you find your pain isn’t improving or is getting worse, you’d benefit from coming to see one of our Physiotherapists. They’ll be able to work with you to provide relief from your back pain. Just give us a call on 023 8025 3317. You can also book an appointment online.

There are many common myths surrounding back pain. These include ‘Moving Will Make My Back Pain Worse’, ‘Should I Avoid Exercise?’ and ‘Do I Need A Scan?’, which you can read more about on our other blogs. We’ve also written about the latest NICE Guidelines on the management of back pain.

If you’re experiencing back pain and also have symptoms that affect you going to the toilet, having pins and needles or numbness around your seat area or pain or pins and needles in your leg, these may be signs of something more serious going on. If this is the case, it is advisable to go and see your GP.


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

 


Physiotherapy For Cycling Injuries

Posted on 11th June 2016 by

Bike Week 2016This week is Bike Week, which aims to inspire more people to take to 2 wheels.

Cycling is a wonderful way to exercise, whatever your level or age. It’s great for cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and has a host of health benefits.

It’s a safe form of exercise and is often a great way to start fit if you need to maintain your fitness with a lower impact activity. It’s also a fab way to incorporate exercise into a mode of travel!

However, like many forms of exercise, cycling can become a source of injuries. Cycling injuries tend to fall into 2 camps, either a traumatic injury or an overuse injury.

Traumatic Injuries – these are caused by some sort of trauma. This is normally a fall or collision and can be very minor to severe. Traumatic injuries are often accidents that can’t be avoided, but you can take precautions. These include:

  • Wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a helmet
  • Being up to date with bike maintenance to make sure you bike is in top working order
  • Knowing and reading the weather conditions and environment to make sure they fit with your plans
  • Understanding your personal limitations and being realistic with your ability. Many accidents occur when people are pushing themselves unrealistically.

Common traumatic cycling injuries include:

  • Fractures – often the clavicle (collar bone) or scaphoid (wrist) as you put your arm out to protect you as you fall.
  • Bruising – to the muscle and/or bone. This is as a result of falling directly onto the area, often a prominent bony area such as the outside of the hip.

Overuse Injuries – as the name implies, are caused when a part of the body is being ‘overused’ and can’t cope with the physical demands being placed upon it. Cycling is a very repetitive activity, an average cyclist might perform well over 5,000 revolutions an hour. The human body has a threshold of what it will tolerate and sometimes it just can’t cope with prolonged repetitive demands being placed on it. This is when an overuse injury rears it’s head.

The problem with overuse injuries is that they often start gradually as a tiny niggle that you ignore. Before you know it that niggle is a regular occurrence but you think it will just go away just as it appeared. Then it eventually becomes really annoying and can actually becomes so severe it stops you doing the things you love and that may have caused it in the first place, which is even more of a pain!

You can take steps to avoid or minimise the impact of cycling overuse injuries. These include:

  • Make sure your bike is set up correctly. This is crucial given the repetitive nature of cycling. Very small adjustments such as saddle and handlebar height can make a huge difference.
  • Increase your cycling gradually. Whether its speed, distance or hills – don’t do too much all at once. You need to give your body time to adapt and adjust to the demands being placed upon it.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel a little niggle, hold back a bit until it eases off to give your body chance to recover.
  • Seek advice at the right time. If a niggle is becoming more than that, it’s better to come and see us sooner rather than later. Overuse injuries that are ignored can often become long term problems and then they’re much harder to resolve and take longer to recover.

Common cycling overuse injuries include:

  • Back pain – which is often related to your posture on the bike and easily resolved by changing your bike set up.
  • Neck pain – again, this is often posture related and being more aware of your posture and position on the bike can be really helpful.
  • Knee pain – including tendonopathies, patellofemoral pain (front of knee) or ITB problems (side of knee).
  • Foot or ankle problems – such as achilles tendonopathy or forefoot pain from the pressure of peddling.

As Physio’s we’re highly skilled at identifying and resolving all the injury issues that may arise from cycling. Many of our team are keen cyclists themselves, so can truly identify with what you’re experiencing. If you are suffering with an injury as a result of cycling, give us a call to see how we can help you and get you back on your bike! #BikeWeekUK


Read more about Physiotherapy for Cycling Injuries on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists website.