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Time to question ‘Sitting Up Straight’

Posted on 2nd August 2019 by

Posture is a frequent topic of discussion for patients, clinicians, the media, and society.

A commonly held belief is that back and neck pain is caused by sitting, standing, or bending “incorrectly.” Despite the absence of strong evidence to support these common beliefs, a large posture industry has flourished, with many interventions and products claiming to “correct” posture and prevent pain. 

Here’s a fantastic infographic that summarises some of the latest findings surrounding posture and the best principles to be aware of.

Posture Back Pain goPhysio

It’s certainly a task to undo all the years or messages that were sent along the lines of………

“Lift carefully”

“Watch your back!”

“You’ve got terrible posture”

Sound familiar? Hopefully in time these new messages will reassure people that they don’t have to be wary of or afraid to use their back or adopt certain positions. That they don’t have to be so worried about their posture or what ‘perfect’ should be.

Your body is amazing – it’s strong, adaptable and capable of great things!



Physiotherapy For Cycling Injuries

Posted on 1st June 2019 by

Bike week 2019
The 8th – 16th June 2019 sees in 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.


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Perfecting Your Posture With Pilates

Posted on 1st February 2019 by

You might be surprised to hear that there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Posture’. It has become a deeply ingrained belief that slouching will lead to back problems. However, the most recent evidence makes it clear that posture variability – so changing positions regularly, is the most effective way to prevent back issues. In fact, trying to hold yourself straight and upright all the time may even add to back problems, as you’ll be creating unnecessary muscular tension.

But, that said, if you do spend a lot of your day sitting at a computer, driving or sat in meetings, doing regular exercises such as Pilates, can be really beneficial.

Here’s some excellent Pilates exercises that may help combat the effects of sitting.

#1 Spine Twist

  1. Starting position: Natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest and place the palms onto the front of your shoulders.
  3. Action: Breathe in to prepare.
  4. Breathe out as you twist your upper body to the right, keeping your pelvis stable. Imagine growing taller from your waist as you twist.
  5. Breathe in as you twist your upper body back to the centre, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  6. Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Arm Openings Level 2

  1.  Start Position: Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Head supported on a small cushion. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 45 degrees and knees bent to 90 degrees. Arms reaching in front of the body and resting one on top of the other.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, float the top arm upwards and over your head, beginning the first part of a circular motion, keep the eyes in line with the hand.
  4. INHALE for the second half of the circle as you return to the starting position.
  5. Tips: Imagine holding a piece of chalk in the top hand and drawing a large circle above the body for level two. Think of your shoulder blade drawing downwards as the top arm lifts like the counter weight on a railway gate.

#3 Cobra

  1.  Start Position: lie on your stomach with a cushion under your tummy for support if required. Ensure centre is engaged, shoulder baldes are drawn down and back of your neck is long. Bend your arms into an ‘L’ shape and place your elbows slightly higher than shoulder height. Hips turned outwards and legs wider than hip width apart.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, gently slide your shoulder blades downwards and lengthen your upper body off the mat, using your hands for support. Maintain length from the crown of the head to your tailbone and continue peeling your body away the mat, section by section until your hip bones are lifted.
  4. INHALE and hold your cobra position.
  5. EXHALE, layer your body back down onto the mat commencing with your hip bones and finishing with your forehead to return to neutral spine position.
  6. Tips: Imagine peeling the body away from the mat section by section beginning with the forehead, then the shoulders, breastbone, lower ribcage, waist then hip bones. Reach your tailbone towards your heels to prevent over extending your lower back.

#4 Breaststroke Prep Level 2

  1.  Starting position: Lie on your front. Forehead resting on a small (1 inch) cushion or folded towel. Back of the neck long. Arms resting long beside the body on the floor. Palms facing inwards. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale, slide the shoulder blades gently downwards and reach from the shoulder blades to the fingertips towards the feet and allow the arms to hover 1 2 inches off the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body off the mat to hover the breastbone approx, 1 inch form the floor (no lumbar extension). Keep the back of the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale, relax the shoulder blades and arms to the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body as to lowers to the mat to return to the starting position. Keep the back of the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

#5 Swan Dive Level 1

  1. Starting position: Lie on your front. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart. Arms bent up beside the body, with the elbows slightly below the level of the shoulders. Forehead resting on small cushion or folded towel. Neck long.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, lift your breastbone to hover off the floor, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale and lower the breastbone to the mat, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

Doing these exercises throughout the week can be really helpful at easing any built up stiffness and areas of tension and reminding muscles to work! But there’s no substitute for moving regularly. Don’t forget, the most important thing is moving and changing position throughout the day!

#LovePilates


Osteoporosis

Posted on 25th May 2017 by

The definition of osteoporosis comes from, ‘Osteo’ – a prefix denoting bone and ‘porosis’ – implying the weakening of a structure or porous bone.

It’s the loss of boney tissue resulting in bones that are weakened and liable to fracture.

Osteoporosis

Who is at risk osteoporosis?

  • Those with low body weight
  • Maternal history of the disease
  • Smokers
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Low dietary calcium intake
  • Late puberty
  • History of eating disorders
  • Generally physically inactive
  • High caffeine intake
  • History of steroid use/treatment
  • Previous fractures, particularly after menopause

Who can be affected by osteoporosis?

Worldwide it is estimated that 200 million women suffer from osteoporosis. It is unknown how many men suffer from the disease but it is on the increase. Although it is commonly thought of as an affliction of the older population, it can affect people of all ages. It is more common amongst the white and Asian population and less so in black populations.

What potential problems arise from osteoporosis?

The bones become weakened and result in low bone mass and are, therefore, more susceptible to a fracture. In the UK there are an estimated 60,000 hip, 50,000 wrist and 40,000 spine fractures due to osteoporosis every year.

Other fragility fractures are also associated with osteoporosis e.g. pelvis and upper arm.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men surviving to the age of 80 will suffer a hip fracture.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

It is usually a silent disease until the individual suffers a fracture. However, there are many screening tests that can now be done and if you think you are at risk of osteoporosis from the risk factors above, it is advised to see your GP.

A Colles fracture is a break of the wrist and is most common among women aged between 45 and 65. It is often the first sign of osteoporosis.

Back pain can be a symptom of osteoporosis. Pain in the back can gradually creep up over time and your posture can become noticeably more flexed forwards. Over time, you can lose height too. Episodes of acute back pain which settle after a few weeks can be due to spontaneous vertebral fractures, caused by osteoporosis.

Physiotherapy and osteoporosis

Physiotherapy can have a key role to play in both the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. There are a number of ways in which we can help.

  • Education on appropriate exercise, posture, diet and lifestyle changes. This can be both to prevent osteoporosis or help minimise it’s impact of you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
  • Exercises to target vulnerable areas and help keep the bones and joints strong.
  • Core stability and muscle strengthening exercise programmes.
  • Balance exercises to help prevent falls.
  • Advice on water-based exercises to help strengthen core stability, improve range of movement and reduce pain.
  • Ongoing support in order to self-manage the disease in the long term including preventing and managing fractures.

The role of exercise in managing osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercise is proven to have a positive effect on bone mass.  The less weight that goes through the bones, the more likely they are to weaken further, so weight bearing and resistance exercises play a crucial part. Specific exercise, as prescribed by your physiotherapist, target the vulnerable areas of the body. Through strengthening the muscles and keeping joint stiffness to a minimum, you are less likely to suffer from pain and the risk of fractures may be reduced.

Other exercise to be considered:

We offer a range of services at goPhysio to help support you if you are looking to prevent or minimise the impact of osteoporosis. If you’d like any help or advice, please give us a call.


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.