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Universal Children’s Day

Posted on 20th November 2017 by

Established by the United Nations in 1954, the 20th November is Universal Children’s Day; a time to celebrate the future generation and promote well-being among children.

Here at goPhysio we remember that children aren’t just mini-adults but have a completely different physiology (let alone psychology!) to adults. This means they will experience different injuries to adults and will need different rehabilitation strategies to get better. All our Physio’s and Sports Therapists have experience treating children and undergo child protection training.

One of the most common problems we are increasingly seeing in children is back and neck pain linked to inactivity and poor posture. As the evenings get darker playing outside is swapped for ipads and movies, meanwhile there’s an increasing pile of homework to be done at a computer as the new school term gets underway. This increase in sitting still, often in slouched positions can lead to aches and pains in the short term but also lead to poor habits as we get older.

If we can instil good habits in children when they are young we can ensure these issues don’t follow them into adulthood. With childhood obesity also on the rise the message to get active is more pertinent than ever.

Here’s our 5 top tips to prevent postural back and neck pain and get your children moving this autumn.

Limit IT time

It’s estimated that teenagers spend an average of 6.5hours a day in front of a screen. Whilst technology can be a great learning tool these sustained periods can have a detrimental effect on both mental and physical health. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that we limit screen time to 2 hours a day. As a parent try to lead by example and set boundaries such as a technology free night or tech-free rooms in the house, particularly bedrooms and meal times.

Get set up

There are times when using a computer or laptop is necessary for homework and other tasks. Get a good set up at home by sitting at a proper table or desk in a straight-backed chair (not on the sofa!) and aim to get the screen to eye-level. This might mean using a laptop stand or placing the screen onto a thick book to make it higher. Remove other distractions and take a short break every 30-60minutes. Not only will this improve concentration, but it will allow time to stretch and move around so our muscles don’t get tired and achy from being in one position too long.

Try new activities

Allowing your children to experience new activities can be an important confidence booster. Not everyone is going to be great at school sports such as athletics and football, but the more opportunities children have the more likely they find a sport that suits them and that they are good at. Therefore, they will be far more likely to participate in regular exercise. The NHS recommends kids should be doing at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. Think outside the box – rock climbing, ice skating, martial arts, watersports…you never know what you could be good at until you try! NHS choices has a great search tool for activities in your local area.

Explore the outdoors

Autumn is a great time to wrap up warm and go and kick up some autumn leaves. We are lucky to live in an area with so much beautiful countryside with the New Forest, South Downs and Farley Mount on our doorstep so get outside and get exploring! You might even try building a den or tree house!

Make small changes

Getting more active often doesn’t need a radical change in lifestyle, instead start with small changes. For example, try walking or cycling to school at least once a week, or getting off the bus one or two stops earlier. Before you know it, you might be signing up for you first Park Run (5k) or Junior Park Run (2k), which happen in Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester every Saturday morning.

All these small changes could make a big difference overall to your child’s health.


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


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 Tension Headaches Physiotherapyheadache 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

How we can help you

Our speciality is working with muscles. Given that tension headaches are caused by the muscles around you neck area, seeking help at goPhysio for these types of headaches can be very effective. We would start by thoroughly examining the neck region to find out exactly what may be causing your headaches. We will then put together an active treatment plan which may include:

  • Postural rehabilitation and education
  • Strengthening any weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Using hands on techniques to ease any trigger points or tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

Through working with you, we will aim to ease any immediate issues that are causing you pain or distress but more importantly arm you with the tools to help stop these types of headaches being a frequent part of your life.

Some people find a regular, deep, soft tissue massage with one of our professional massage practitioners can be a highly effective way to keep headaches at bay. Surprisingly, doing regular postural exercises, such as Pilates, can also be of great benefit. These exercises will help you focus on strengthening key areas and postural muscles, which longer term can help reduce the build up of unnecessary tension.

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 area (or cervicogenic area) hence the name.

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
  • Sustained postures e.g. sitting at a computer for a long time

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 and even face pain

How we can help

Our speciality is working with joints, bones and muscles. Given that cervicogenic headaches are caused by exactly these structure, seeking help at goPhysio for these types of headaches can be very effective. We would start by thoroughly examining the neck region to find out exactly what may be causing your headaches. We will then put together an active treatment plan which may include:

  • Postural rehabilitation and education
  • Strengthening any weak muscles in the neck & upper back
  • Using hands on techniques to ease any trigger points or tight muscles
  • Mobilising stiff or sore joints

Through working with you, we will aim to ease any immediate issues that are causing you pain or distress but more importantly arm you with the tools to help stop these types of headaches being a frequent part of your life.

Some people find a regular, deep, soft tissue massage with one of our professional massage practitioners can be a highly effective way to keep headaches at bay.

 


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


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

 


Look after yourself when working from home

Posted on 1st March 2016 by

Look after yourself when working from home

We seem to spend hours at a computer nowadays, not only working but shopping, socialising, researching……….

Technology now means we can work from almost anywhere, and the number of people working from home is now estimated to be 14% of the workforce.

Whereas in an office or workplace, we tend to be mindful of our workstation set up or have support and guidance from an occupational health service, at home this isn’t so. The work station can often be a lap top at a kitchen table or desk that doubles up for the kids homework!

Over time, such a set up can wreck havoc with your body.

Ergonomics

Ergonomic principles are great. They optimise your work station set up to make sure any stress on your body from working in a sustained position is minimised. However, the trouble with ergonomics is that it can make a work station TOO COMFORTABLE. This means you don’t necessarily feel uncomfortable, therefore you stay in one position longer. Staying in any position for too long isn’t recommended as over time this can lead to pain and issues in areas such as your neck, back and arms.

So, although optimising your work station ergonomically is recommended, to have the greatest benefit you need to combine this with changing position regularly, being active in the working day and taking small breaks.

It can seem a bit daunting, reviewing your work set up, but small changes can make a huge difference.

Small Changes

  • Start with your chair. Decent chairs don’t need to be expensive nowadays. The key components are that it has arm rests, is height adjustable (both seat and back rest), that it provides support for your lumbar spine and that it can swivel (which helps you move around your desk and reach for things you need).
  • On your desk make sure your mouse and keyboard are as close together as possible. Position your key board so that the letter B is right in the middle (many key boards are asymmetrical). Your key board and mouse should be positioned at a height so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees when your working – this is applicable in both a seated and standing work position.
  • Position your monitor so that the top is about 8-10cm above eye level, so you can look straight on. It should be about an arms length away when you’re sitting. If you use a laptop, get yourself a docking station or device to raise it up so you’re not always looking down.
  • Make sure everything is within easy reach.
  •  If you use a lap top, invest in a separate keyboard and stand so that you can follow the same ergonomic principles.
  • Set your desk and chair height appropriately for your height. Ergotron offer a great interactive tool to help you work out what your optimal working position should be in both siting and standing.

Variation

As pointed out above, no matter how good your desk set up is, the key to staying pain and injury free when your work is mainly computer based is variety. Alternate positions when you can. A good way to do this is by task based working. For example, if you need to take or make a phone call, do this walking round. Put your printer in another room so you have to get up to retrieve any printing. Set a timer to remind you to take a minute out every 30 minutes or so to get up and stretch. Use your kitchen worktop for brainstorming or taking written notes. Invest in a height adjustable desk so that you can alternate between sitting and standing when you’re on your computer. Suggest a walking meeting so you can get out in the fresh air and get your body moving at any opportunity.

Working from home can be great, reduced travel time, more flexible hours and coffee at hand, but, the tendency to work longer hours at the desk can be part of it. So, just make sure you look after you body in the process.

If you’d like any help or advice with your work station set up, our team of Physiotherapist are on hand to help. Just give the clinic a call on 023 8025 3317.


Drivers – Steer Clear of Pain Behind the Wheel

Posted on 12th February 2016 by

Drivers steer clear of painWe seem to spend more and more hours behind the wheel, driving long distances for work, travelling or ferrying the kids around! Poor ergonomics and sitting in the same position behind the wheel for long periods of time can lead to much discomfort. Back, neck, shoulder and leg pain are all too common complaints.


Top Tips To Avoid Pain
1 – When choosing a new car, take several long test drives before you make your decision. People and cars are different shapes, so you need to find one that fits you best. The seat should be firm and well contoured to suit you. Fabric seats are better at helping you maintain the correct posture than leather.
2 – Set up your driving position to minimise the strain on your body (see below). Remember, if you share the car, adjust the position when the drivers change.
3 – Take regular breaks when you can if you’re doing a long drive. The Highway Code recommends at least a 15 minute break every 2 hours. When you do break, get out, have a walk and do some stretches. Circle your shoulders, rotate your neck and stretch your legs.
4 – Make sure your headrest is adjusted correctly. The top of your headrest should be aligned with the top of your head. This is crucial to minimise any injury to your neck in the event of an accident.
5 – Whilst you are driving, fidget in your seat a little every few minutes. Even some movement helps relieves built up tension.
6 – Keep a symmetrical position. Avoid twisting or bending to the side, habits we easily fall into that put extra strain on the body.


How to set up your driving position
• Start with your seat in the factory position with the steering wheel fully up and forward and your seat set at it’s lowest position with the cushion tilted down.
• Recline the back rest approximately 30 degrees from vertical and the seat positioned right back.
• Now start making the adjustments. First raise your seat as high as comfortable to give maximum vision of the road and adequate head clearance from the roof.
• Move the seat forwards until you can fully depress the foot pedals. Knees should be slightly bent with your left knee remaining bent when clutching.
• Elbows should be bent around 30-40 degrees when your hands are in the ’10 to 2’position.
• Adjust the cushion tilt angle so your thighs are fully supported and there is no pressure behind your knees.
• Recline your seat very slightly so your back is fully supported. If there is a built in lumbar support, adjust this so it provides support in the natural hollow of your back. It may be necessary to use additional lumbar support like a specialist lumbar roll.


Any activity that involves prolonged positions, no matter how good your posture is, can cause excessive strain on the body, that over time can lead to pain or injury. Make sure you take part in a range of physical activities and follow advice to balance out any impact.


If you are suffering with discomfort and you think your driving is playing a part, we can offer individualised guidance and support, including a car assessment to check your driving set up. Just give us a call.